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11 Design Tricks for Defining Your Open-Plan Dining Space

11 Design Tricks for Defining Your Open-Plan Dining Space

An open-plan living space gives your home a light and airy feel, but that doesn't mean it needs to be one sprawlingly large room. Check out these ideas to zone off your dining area and create an intimate space in which to share dinner with friends and family.

1. Zone the floor. You can separate your dining space by marking out the area on the floor. Here, an unusual hexagonal pattern stands out beneath the table and instantly closes the space. You also could use floor paint to mark out simple lines or create your own more elaborate design.

2. Add a rug. A simple way to zone the floor is to position a rug under the table. It will create a cozy area and feel wonderfully soft underfoot. To counteract food debris, go for something lightweight, so it can be easily picked up and shaken out.

3. Use natural materials. You can add warmth to a space by introducing natural materials such as wood, plants, woven elements and fabrics. This solid wood table and the lovely textures surrounding it have created a snug spot in the center of the white room. The dining space looks comfortable and welcoming.

4. Frame your viewpoint. The modern white table here sits in the middle of a concrete floor and is surrounded by white walls. It's prevented from feeling lost or clinical by the clever placing of two bright pictures. These colorful artworks root the table to its spot and allow other elements to fall into place around it. It feels cheerful and cozy.

5. Have everything close at hand. Create a comfortable space by bringing in practicality. The wall-to-wall sideboard in this dining area has plenty of room for glasses and tableware, which makes the area an easy place to be. The owners and their guests can quickly get at everything, so if someone needs an extra glass, it's right there. The functionality of the space should help to create a relaxed atmosphere.

6. Break up spaces. You can make your open-plan space feel cozier by dividing zones with furniture. This large cabinet helps to separate the living room from the dining area to create a more intimate feel. It also has the added benefit of providing vast amounts of storage.

If your budget doesn't stretch to a custom cabinet, try placing a large sideboard or shelving unit between the two spaces. Any kind of barrier will help to break up the space and make it feel snug.

7. Build in a bench seat. Cushioned benches are comfortable and flexible. Make the most of an open-plan space by building one next to other elements in the room. Here, the bench rests against the kitchen countertop, creating a snug and sociable spot where guests can gather while the cook prepares food in the kitchen.

8. Soften the lines. Isolate your dining space from any sharp edges in the rest of the room by choosing a curvy table. The dark, industrial kitchen here provides a moody backdrop to the soft, white dining table and chairs. The angled light fixture puts a spotlight on the dining area and highlights it as a oasis in the center of the room.

Also See:

5 Popular Home Trends by Region

5 Popular Home Trends by Region

Growth in home renovations and remodels has been steady since 2012, and the Residential Remodeling Index predicts continued growth into the future. Many renovations are trending from coast to coast, such as installations to increase energy efficiency, sustainability and security. There are some, however, which are more popular in specific regions.

Indoor/Outdoor Living on the West Coast

Indoor/outdoor living areas are trending across the nation, but the West Coast carries the torch. The region's climate practically begs you to incorporate the outdoors into your everyday activities.

  • An Open Wall - Remove the barrier between your yard and home by replacing an entire wall with glass doors, which can be opened and shut as-needed. You will find glass walls like this off of kitchens, family rooms and even bedrooms!
  • A Table Outside - Move your kitchen and dining area outside, right outside the home and covered for use in any weather. With an outdoor kitchen, you can enjoy nature and a fresh breeze while you cook, rather than being confined.

Basement Remodels in the Mountains

In the mountain region, more and more people are turning their basements into livable spaces. This is a fantastic way to add useful space, as well as value.

  • Family Den - Create a downstairs family area, complete with a bathroom, couches and a television for video gaming and movie nights.
  • Home Office - Shut yourself away from dishes in the sink, laundry on the floor and attention-hoarding animals.
  • Guest Living - Give your in-laws a space of their own when they visit so that you can all have your privacy, without tripping over air mattresses.

Accessibility in the South

In the south, homeowners are making modifications which will help them to age-in-place. When people think of accessibility renovations, they don't often envision anything glamorous. However, your adaptations don't have to be boring. The changes you make can enhance the aesthetic of your home if you thoughtfully choose materials and design.

  • Easy Navigation - Widen doorways and remove steps between rooms and at entryways, so that access is flat and easily navigated.
  • Easy Access - Install a bathroom right by the entryway and retrofit the kitchen and bathrooms for wheelchair or walker access.
  • A Touch of Luxury - Build a tiled walk-in shower with recessed shelves, a bench, ambient lighting and spa-like fixtures.

    Deck Additions in the Northeast

    In the Northeast, deck additions have one of the greatest returns on investment, and the residents have taken note. Having a deck can make your home more competitive in the market. If you're renovating for yourself, it's a great way to create an outdoor area for family gatherings and relaxation.

    • Entertain - Build your deck off the kitchen and outfit it with a table and chairs, to make hosting more seamless.
    • Unwind - Put your deck in a shaded corner and furnish it with comfy, weatherproof chairs for lounging. Consider installing an outdoor fireplace and a television.

    Bathroom Upgrades in the Midwest

    Midwesterners are remodeling their bathrooms, even though the return on investment isn't as high as with many other projects. Bathroom renovations are often homeowners' treat to themselves, as they turn their house into their dream home.

    • Mirror, Mirror - Choose a theme that reflects your personality. Trending styles are farmhouse, vintage and minimal.
    • The Works - Install a spa tub or shower jets, and splurge on heated flooring.

    These are some of the most popular remodels happening across the nation, as people craft their perfect home or prepare it to sell. Making renovations isn't as simple as picking a project, however. You may be wondering how your neighbors have the resources to pursue such lofty endeavors. HomeAdvisor put out a True Cost Report which outlines several aspects of home improvement in 2017, including financing, which is a great resource on the year's trends.

How The Equifax Hack Affects Homebuyers And How You Can Protect Yourself

How The Equifax Hack Affects Homebuyers And How You Can Protect Yourself

Half of the country is freaking out. That's about how many people are potentially affected by the unprecedented Equifax hack. If you're the average person who's afraid of having your data stolen - and by data, we mean your name, Social Security number, birth date, addresses, credit card numbers, and driver's license number that were reportedly involved in this breach - you may have already taken some steps to limit the damage. But what if you're in the process of buying a home or are getting ready to do so? How does this hack affect you, and what can you do to make sure you are protected?

Potential fallout for homebuyers

"Take this scenario: Say your Equifax file was looted but you've done little or nothing to detect fraudulent activity on one or more of your credit accounts. You sign a contract to buy a house, and you apply for a mortgage. The lender pulls your credit and confronts you with shocking news: Your FICO credit score is too low for you to qualify for the loan because you've been running up too much debt on one or more accounts. Your ‘utilization ratio' on your available credit is too high, and that has depressed your score," said the Washington Post.

"Or there's a newly established account in your files that has put you deep in debt, even though you had nothing to do with it. It turns out that financial thieves have been racking up thousands of dollars in debts at your expense, and now - smack in the middle of a major lifetime investment - you're stuck with having to get the file corrected, which takes time and can be a pain. In the meantime, what happens to your purchase contract? Will the sellers bear with you, essentially putting off the transaction indefinitely and possibly blowing up their own plans to move into another house on a specific date? It could all get really messy."

Those who are already in escrow could also be derailed when the lender runs your credit before the loan closes and discovers fraudulent new accounts or charges that raise the debt-to-income ratio beyond what is allowed. "At the very least, whatever rate locks you had could be blown as you scramble to get your files corrected," they said. "Or your entire loan transaction could be jeopardized if the process takes too long."

Steps to take now

Have you still not checked to see if you were potentially impacted by the hack that affected as many as 143 million people? Not having dealt directly with Equifax doesn't guarantee your safety. "You may have never used Equifax yourself, or even heard of it," said CNN. "Either way, the credit reporting agency could still have a lot of your personal information. To find out if your data was compromised by the hack, go here."

Keep in mind that you'll have to enter your last name and the last six numbers of your Social Security number to check. Regardless of whether or not they believe you were impacted, you'll be prompted to enroll in their TrustID Premier credit monitoring service, which will be free for a year. Despite earlier concerns, "Equifax has confirmed that signing up for TrustID Premier will not prevent you from joining a class-action suit over this issue," said PCWorld.

Armed with this information, you can go about taking further steps to protect your credit and prevent thieves from stealing your identity. Pull your credit reports for free once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com. Look them over carefully to make sure there are not any fraudulent accounts and/or charges. If you see anything, get on the phone with the creditor right away and start the dispute process. If you're in the process of applying for a home loan or are under contract, you'll also want to call your lender immediately to alert them to what you found.

To freeze or not to freeze

There has been quite a bit of discussion about credit freezes since news of the breach broke, with some consumers concerned that "turning off" their credit could potentially damage their score or negatively impact them in some other way, especially during the homebuying process. The fact is that a credit freeze is "the most extreme method, but it's also the most effective" at preventing your information from being stolen and used to open new accounts, credit expert Barry Paperno, who blogs at Speaking of Credit, told NerdWallet. And, it can be turned on and off as needed for, say, a mortgage application or credit re-check before a closing.

"There are no downsides to this: You can still use your credit cards with the freezes on," said Realtor.com. "But no one will be able to check credit scores and personal information without your permission—so no bad apples can open up fraudulent new cards or get loans under your name. And you can undo the freezes at any time - typically for a small fee."

That fee varies depending on the state, and Equifax has said it will offer free freezes for 30 days, but the need for freezing will extend long after that is over. "Because a freeze can prevent fraud, it's better than a credit monitoring service, which only alerts you that fraud might have happened," said NerdWallet. "It's the difference between using a deadbolt to keep thieves out rather than a security camera to catch them after the fact."

You can easily request a freeze online for the three credit unions: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.

Fraud alerts

"If you don't want to lock out all creditors - perhaps you're in the middle of mortgage shopping or refinancing - you can place a 90-day fraud alert on your credit," they added. "This tells potential creditors to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name." A fraud alert is a good idea whether or not you freeze your credit. In this day and age, when hacks are more frequent and more damaging to more people, ongoing monitoring just makes sense.

"The biggest fears of identity theft "center around identity theft on an epic scale. It isn't tough to conjure up worst-case scenarios," said Realtor.com. "Think about it: Bad guys with all of someone's information could, at least theoretically, try to buy a home under that person's name. It's more likely, though, they would use those stolen credit card numbers - or use SSNs to open up new credit cards - and rack up lots of debt in that unsuspecting victim's name. And that damage could make it much harder for someone to qualify for a mortgage or refinance an existing mortgage."

Consumers have largely been turning to ID theft protection company LifeLock, who the Los Angeles Times said could be "one of the big winners from the big data breach suffered by Equifax." Not surprisingly, the firm has upped its advertising outreach in the wake of the breach. The result: "An executive of Symantec, LifeLock's parent company, told Bloomberg that since the Equifax breach was reported, LifeLock's Web traffic has increased sixfold and enrollments per hour are running 10 times ahead of the pre-Equifax era."

But, there's a rub: "Here's what LifeLock isn't advertising so widely: When you buy its protection, you're signing up for credit reporting and monitoring services provided by, yes, Equifax. LifeLock signed a four-year contract with Equifax in December 2015," and the relationship is still active.

If any (or all!) of that makes you queasy, there are alternatives to LifeLock you may want to consider.

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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
Very attentive to what you want in a home. Very knowledgeable of the entire Tampa Bay Area. Very professional Very personable A pleasure to work with. Look forward to contacting her again when I am shopping for another home. 10/02/2015 - user9471451
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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.