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10 Tiny Changes to Refresh Your Home For Fall

Discover living room design inspiration

As winter approaches, it's time to snuggle down and make the most of being at home. Although it can be hard to motivate ourselves to make major interior changes as temperatures drop, there are plenty of little tweaks that will make a surprisingly big difference. So ring in the new season with these small but enticing changes.

Trade pillows. If pretty florals are starting to feel all wrong, embrace the new season with something fluffier. Most of us are happy to switch our wardrobes from summer to winter, so why not our home accessories too?

Try swapping your current pillows for cozier and more tactile ones in winter whites, oranges or browns to mirror the seasonal hues - and switch light cottons for sheepskin, velvet, wool and felt. The shaggy numbers here make a pair of compact armchairs feel much more inviting on longer evenings.

Lay a jewel-bright rug. Gray has its place, but there's nothing like a colorful rug to give a living room a warm, inviting feel, especially now that the seasons are turning. It will also keep chilly toes warmer on hard flooring. If you're worried about rugs slipping and sliding around on hard floors, use double-sided carpet tape to keep them in place. Alternatively, use felt, rubber or vinyl nonslip rug pads. You can often cut them to fit (though watch out for cheap pads that leave a sticky residue on floors).

Sprinkle some fairy dust. Fairy lights definitely aren't just for Christmas. They add a lovely twinkly feel to rooms, which is especially welcome now that we're heading into autumn and winter. Hang them on a window to add an extra warm glow on those dark, cold mornings or to cheer you up at the end of the day as the light fades. They also look lovely coiled in a fireplace, hung on a mirror or picture frame, or arranged across a closet door.

Mix in metallics. Coppery and golden tones were made for autumn. They add a touch of warm luxury but also seem to fit with the colors and low light of the season. You don't need to make a big change — one or two lampshades, a side lamp or a vase can make a huge difference to rooms. Copper tones also go beautifully with a neutral palette of grays, whites and beiges, which so many of us have in our rooms these days.

Display evergreen foliage. You don't need to spend a fortune on expensive bouquets to cheer up your rooms. Spring and summer flowers such as daffodils and tulips may be behind us now, but you can celebrate the change of seasons with evergreen foliage or even a display of autumnal leaves.

Pop branches, cuttings and sprigs of autumn berries in tall, colorful vases to add natural beauty to the dining table. Head to your garden for ideas, but be careful not to collect poisonous berries if you have young children or pets.

Illuminate kitchen cabinets. Undercabinet lighting makes kitchens look more appealing at night, as it creates soft pools of illumination. It's also practical for cooking and prepping, especially in gloomy corners, when natural light is at a (inevitable as the seasons turn).

No need to despair if you don't want the fuss and expense of getting lights wired in. Instead, look for simple stick-on, battery-operated lighting that can be secured in place using sticky tabs and operated at the switch of a button. Puck lights are compact and often feature energy-saving LED bulbs.

Try a wall light. Similarly, if you like the practicality of wired-in bedside or office lights but your walls are already plastered and painted, then try this trick: an angled plug-in light that has the look of a wired-in number. With visible wires being very on-trend, this can easily be styled as part of your interior design.

Glam up your grout. If your grout is in need of a quick cleanup (and let's face it, whose isn't?), consider a grout pen. This nifty device can tidy up grubby grout in a flash. Although it may not be a long-term solution, or look quite as good as replacing it properly, it can tide you over, covering up stained and cracked patches.

Simply choose the color that matches your grout — or, if you want a change, choose another color and draw over the top. Most are antibacterial too, so they should help keep mold from sprouting.

Light a candle or two. Whether you refer to it as hygge or something else, there's no doubt that, as the evenings start to draw in, we're more likely to light a candle and hunker down, maybe with a mug of cocoa or something a little stronger.

If you already have an assortment of tea light holders and candlesticks stashed in your drawers and cabinets, why not turn them into a flickering display on a low shelf or table? Just always be safe and never leave open flames unattended. Ordinary glass bottles and jars can also work well if you don't have anything else at hand.

Add a bright blanket. Now that it's cold outside, it's time to take out your blankets. But don't view these just as functional accessories — they can be part of your design and give tired bedrooms a seasonal refresh.

Go outside your comfort zone and choose something with a bold design or shade to change the feel of your room. Replace summer pastels with rich colors that add a mellow autumnal atmosphere, for instance. This cozy mustard number ties in with the pillows and brings the neutral bedroom to life.

Also See:

How to Say Goodbye to Renting and Hello to Home Ownership

How to Say Goodbye to Renting and Hello to Home Ownership

Becoming a first-time homeowner takes a lot more than a desire to buy a house. It takes a lot of effort on your part to save up a down payment — which is usually a pretty good sized chunk of change — research neighborhoods, get pre-approved for a loan and other steps. Fortunately, it is quite possible to say goodbye to renting and hello to homeownership, especially when homeowners-to-be consider the following tips:

Focus on the Down Payment

In order to leave the land of rent, you are going to need a down payment — plain and simple. While it is common to put down 20 percent, some lenders now allow a much smaller amount, and first-time home buyer programs may go as low as 3 percent. While a smaller down payment may sound enticing, a 5 percent down payment on a $200K home is still $10,000 — not exactly a small sum. If saving money does not come naturally for you, don’t worry. With some relatively minor lifestyle changes you can speed up the down payment savings process. Come up with a savings plan to determine how much you need to set aside every week or month and then find ways to “find” that money in your budget. Using the $10,000 example from before, if you are determined to buy a home in two years, you’ll have to come up with about $415 a month to stash into your down payment account. Take a close look at your monthly bills and determine what you can pare down or eliminate — maybe you are paying $75 a month for a gym membership you rarely use, or you pay $40 extra for premium satellite channels that no one watches. These services can be cancelled and the money can go directly into your savings account. Eat out less, have Starbucks twice a week instead of every day and if you need to, consider a side hustle on the weekends to reach this magical monthly amount of $415.

Avoid Identity Theft

Unfortunately, the chances of becoming a victim of identity theft increase when you are buying and moving into a new home. The stacks of documents that are part of buying a home and that are filled with your personal information may accidentally fall into the wrong hands, and once you move, mail may not be routed correctly and thieves may steal your mail and your identity from your old mailbox. Prevent this situation from happening by purchasing an identity theft protection program; find a trusted company that will help safeguard your personal data. In addition to letting you know when a bank pulls your credit report and asking if you have authorized this inquiry, certain services will monitor your financial activity and alert you if anything is amiss.

Check Your Credit Report

When you start the pre-approval process for a loan and then move on to the Big Kahuna of applying for an actual mortgage, your credit report will be pulled numerous times. Your credit score will then be used to determine if you are approved for a loan, and what type of interest rate you will get. Please do not wait until you have the down payment saved and you are champing at the bit to go look at houses to check your FICO score — check your credit as early in the process as you can. If you have a credit card that has been issued through your bank, give them a call and see if they can run your report for you for free; in the cases of some credit cards, they also offer a free monthly FICO score check. Read through the report and check for any errors; this includes credit lines you never opened and delinquent payments that you know were made on time. Dispute any mistakes that you find and look for ways to boost your credit score, like paying down credit card bills and setting up automatic bill pay so you are never late with your payments.

Selling Your Home For The Holidays? Don't Be A Curb Appeal Scrooge

Selling Your Home For The Holidays? Don't Be A Curb Appeal Scrooge

Thanksgiving means turkey and all the trimmings and family get-togethers and football and the Macy's parade and eating until you can't breathe. It also means you're going to be seeing your neighbors up on ladders in the next few days putting up their holiday lights. If your house is currently for sale or if you're considering listing it, you may be wondering whether you should bother at all with holiday decorations this year. In a word: yes. But there's more to it than that. There's a long way between Scrooge and The Griswolds.

"It's hard to argue with the fact that glitter lights and colorful accents make a home look more cheerful and inviting," said Realtor.com. "But you also probably know that if you're trying to sell your home, buyers need to have an easy time imagining themselves (and their own holiday traditions) in your home."

These tips will help you strike just the right balance.

Go ahead and put up lights

Being the only house on the street that isn't decorated could leave potential buyers feeling uninspired and unmotivated to purchase - or even come inside. If putting up holiday lights this year means heading to Target to buy new stuff, you'll have numerous options: white lights, colored lights, snowflake shapes, icicles. Think clean, simple, and elegant to best accentuate your home.

Don't overdo the lights

Putting up lights doesn't mean you have to create a spectacle. Plastering every horizontal surface and wrapping every tree and bush with lights may read festive, but people who are out home shopping at this time of year are likely serious about buying. And they want to see your house, not how many lights you own.

"You want them to be impressed with your house, not distracted by decorations," said Forbes. "So keep it simple this year. If minimizing the ‘ho ho ho' cramps your style, just remind yourself that you can go all-out next year in your new home."

Consider LEDs

Another thing to consider if you're buying new lights this year is what type of bulb to get. If you have had your existing lights for many years, you may not even realize how many LED options are available now. The benefit to LED bulbs is that they save energy, and therefore, money. They may cost a little more upfront, but if you are making an investment in lights you plan to use for years to come, it's worth it.


Travel + Leisure

Go ahead and pack up the inflatables

Keeping it simple definitely doesn't include that big, inflatable Santa or The Grinch family or an entire lawn full of holiday-themed Peanuts characters.

"One man's ‘merry' is another man's ‘tacky,' so tone down any garish light displays while your home is on the market," said HGTV. "(No, your neighbors didn't pay us to say that.) Instead, use simple string lighting to play up your home's architecture or draw attention to the gorgeous fir tree in your front yard."

Address your entry

You don't have to have a sweeping front porch to establish a warm welcome. Place a festive mini tree or cluster of poinsettias next to the door or hang a wreath to add a little holiday interest.

"Classic is always best: Hang an elegant wreath on the front door, rather than a ‘Santa stops here!' sign, Jamie Novak, author of "Keep This, Toss That," told Realtor.com

Go ahead and put up that tree

Putting up the tree may seem like a hassle when you're focused on decluttering and keeping everything in your home extra clean this year, but think of it as staging. A well-placed and well-decorated tree will make the home feel nice and inviting at holiday time. Placing it in a window that allows it to show through to the street creates that Norman Rockwell feel that will tug at your buyers' heartstrings.

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Caroline York,  Associate Broker
Caroline York
Mortell, Broker Associate
Caroline York RE / KW Realty St Pete
111 2nd Ave NE, Suite 400
St Petersburg, FL 33701

727-510-1811
York@carolineyork.com

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Caroline York, was so helpful and very patient with me in my look for a new home. She took so much time and was always there when I needed her. When I finally picked my new home, Caroline was so instrumental in getting it closed. I would be happy to refer her to anyone and everyone seeking a great experience looking for a home. 01/18/2016 - JoanneMarley
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Caroline Mortell | Caroline York Real Estate Co. | 727-510-1811carolineyork@mail.com
695 Central Avenue St Petersburg, FL 33701
Copyright © 2016. Caroline Mortell, All Rights Reserved

 

Serving Saint Petersburg, FL and Pinellas County in the Tampa Bay Area.