Monday, June 24, 2013

Family Rooms Are For Families

Family rooms.......there's a reason they are called that. It's where the family hangs out. Sometimes it's immediate family only, sometimes it's extended family, and sometimes it's friends who feel like family. Because it needs to work for the family it serves, there aren't any hard and fast decorating "rules" to follow. But here are some ideas that just might make yours a little more fun!

Roger Davies
Have younger family members? Rather than putting their art on the refrigerator, what about framing and using it in place of more traditional art? Simple frames in black or white won't interfere with more colorful art and make switching art projects easy.For art that can change more often, paint a large piece of plywood (make sure it's been sanded) or even the wall with chalkboard paint. Frame it and keep a basket of colorful chalk nearby and the "art" may change daily!

Need lots of seating? Use poufs as side tables, store small ottomans under console tables for extra seating, use a bench as a coffee table, decorate
with large pillows that transition easily from the furniture to the floor.

Place less emphasis on the television by having lots of games handy. Store them in an armoire or in baskets or bins, but make sure they are easily accessible - and there is room to play them.

Family rooms should have family memories. Keep a basket on the coffee table of photos from family vacations through the years. Or cover the coffee or side table with photos, then cover with a glass top to preserve them. Or decorate with treasures picked up during these trips. Fill a glass jar with seashells collected while at the beach, make a collage of leaves found during a fall foliage tour, or hang a map of the state, the country, or the world and put a decorative pin in all of the places the family has traveled.

Whatever you do, make it yours. Family rooms are all about families, so make sure yours reflects the love of the people who live there........and inviting to all those who visit. And if you would like more family room ideas, check out my board on Pinterest!

Monday, June 10, 2013

Preparing to Sell.......or Stay!

Two years ago my husband and I decided to downsize, so we made some upgrades to our  home. And guess what happened? We decided we really liked what we had done, so we were going to stay a little bit longer. This spring, the downsizing idea came around again. So we started making a few changes and........we'll see what happens, but it's looking pretty nice around here. So why didn't we do some of these things earlier? Good question. So in case you're considering selling - or staying - here are a few inexpensive (and mostly) easy ideas that will help you enjoy whatever time you have left in the house. And make a good impression on your potential buyers when the time comes to sell.

Paint the grout. We have an off-white tile in our foyer and kitchen which originally had an off-white grout. But over the years the dirt built up, making the floor look old and dated. Rather than regrout, I cleaned the old grout with a special cleaner, then used a combination grout paint and sealer to bring back the old color. For a fraction of the cost of new tile the floor looks fabulous!

Paint or cover dated tile. If you're selling your home, dated kitchens and baths can be deal-breakers. But removing dated tile is very expensive. Instead, try painting it. You need to cover the tile with a 2 JANE. They offer some solid colors and some patterns - with a frequently expanding selection. I've used them for staging clients and have just ordered some for my kitchen backsplash.
special adhesion primer, then use an epoxy-based paint on the tile. If painting tile is a bit more than you want to do, try Tile Tattoos from

Paint the brick fireplace. You can do this one of two ways. To simply tone down the color, use a rag to lightly cover each brick, which will tone down the color but not cover it completely. If the fireplace is really unsightly, use a color that matches the walls.

Paint the cabinets. Talk about an instant update to kitchens and baths! Change the hardware and you've got a whole new - and updated - look!

Paint paneling. Nothing dates a home faster than old, worn paneling. For a simple update, use a milk-based paint to cover the defects. To get rid of the wood-look completely, fill in the cracks between the panels, then paint when dry. Hard to tell it's wood.

Use vinyl tile. If you have a floor that really needs updating, vinyl tile may be an easy, inexpensivesolution. Now available in many different styles, it looks like the "real" thing, as you can see in this sample from Armstrong.  If you are putting it over an old floor, just make sure doors can still open and close properly.

If this seems like a lot of work, break it into manageable chunks. The results will be well worth it!