Monday, October 27, 2008

Creating the Illusion of a Larger Room

Paint

Choosing color for the walls of a smaller room can be a delicate decision. Most people agree that lighter paint colors reflect more light and therefore create the illusion of a larger room. In terms of color, go with a monochromatic theme. Then, if you have trim, paint it an even lighter shade than the wall. This technique causes the walls to appear farther away than they really are. Crown molding is a great option in terms of trim because it creates the illusion of a higher ceiling by drawing people's eyes upward. If you're ambitious, another way to make ceilings appear higher is by painting vertical stripes on the wall.

Staging Furniture
This may seem counterintuitive, but when staging your furniture, larger pieces create the illusion of more space in a room. An increased number of smaller pieces make the room appear cluttered and they create more wasted space. If you choose to use larger pieces of furniture, stage them diagonally in the room. The longest line in your room is diagonal, and by placing furniture in this position, you're showcasing the length of the room's imaginary diagonal line. Keep furniture from disrupting natural walkways and the flow from room to room. Tables with clear tops also create the illusion of more space. In terms of d├ęcor and accessories, reduce clutter as much as you can—more floor space lends to the appearance of a larger room.

Walls
Hanging mirrors on the wall can create the illusion of a larger room. Utilize mirrors in spots that need expansion. For example, if you want to lengthen a hallway, place a mirror at the end of the hallway. This makes the hallway look twice as long as it really is. Another technique is to place a mirror behind a display of flowers. The mirror doubles the amount of flowers in the display.
Window Treatments

In an attempt to capture as much natural light as possible, stay away from heavy or dark drapes that block sunlight. If drapes fit well around your window, try and hang drapes made from a sheer fabric. Otherwise, go for light colored Venetian blinds or shades.

Lighting
Once again, when lighting a room, look for as much natural light as possible—specifically larger windows and skylights. If this isn't an option, try and illuminate all four corners of the room. Darker edges and corners make rooms look smaller. To create the illusion of a higher ceiling, install wall sconces that reflect light up toward the ceiling. This technique vertically elongates the height of the wall.

For more information on how to create the illusion of a larger room when in reality, you're stuck in a smaller space, contact me today!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Law Makes Housing Affordable for Veterans

Veterans across America now have expanded homeownership opportunities due to the Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act of 2008, which President George W.

Bush signed into law last Friday. The bill includes housing provisions for veterans who are already home owners and those who aspire to homeownership, according to the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®.

“This [bill] will go a long way toward helping veterans buy and keep their homes,” says NAR President Dick Gaylord. Three provisions in the legislation are critical to help veterans during the current housing turmoil.

1. The law will make it easier for veterans who have fallen victim to risky subprime loans to refinance their loans into safer, more affordable loans backed by the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs.

2. The legislation also makes the VA loan limit increases permanent, which will help veterans living in high-cost areas.

3. The VA also can now offer adjustable-rate mortgages to veterans. That would make homeownership more attainable for military families and personnel who often have to move more frequently than their civilian counterparts.

“We need to support and protect those who serve our country,” Gaylord says. “Helping ensure that every veteran who can afford to own a home and wants to do so will have the opportunity and that everyone who responsibly owns a home is able to keep it is part of that commitment.”

--NAR

Thursday, October 02, 2008

HOPE for Homeowners Expands Rescues
HOPE for Homeowners, a federal program to allow the replacement of up to $300 billion in underwater U.S. mortgages with federally backed FHA financing, began accepting applications under a legislatively authorized expansion Wednesday.
To qualify, borrowers must be spending more than 31 percent of their income on mortgage payments. Loans made this year are excluded, except for those completed on Jan 1. Borrowers must have made six months of payments on their loans.
Lenders must agree to participate and erase 10 percent of the home’s current value before the government will guarantee the mortgage. A concern among lenders is that investors in mortgage securities must take an immediate loss and can't recoup their lost money if home prices turn upward again.
The program is a "helpful step forward" in stabilizing the housing market and will help keep many families in their homes but it is not a cure-all, said Steve Preston, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, which administers the program.Troubled borrowers should contact their lenders.
Source: Reuters (10/01/2008)

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

5 Room Layout Rules

Here are five simple rules to follow when organizing your space:

Create a Conversation Space
When deciding on a seating arrangement, a U-shaped conversation area is ideal, while an L-shaped area is always uncomfortable. A sofa and a matching pair of chairs easily establish a comfortable U-shaped configuration that allows everyone who is seated to have an intimate chat facing everyone else.

Focus Attention to One Area
Almost every living room has at least one natural focal point. If yours has a fireplace, that will surely be it. Other focal points might be a picture window with a wonderful view or a pair of French doors. Whatever the focal point of your room, be sure you arrange your furniture to take advantage of it — since everyone's eyes will naturally be drawn toward it.

Think in Pairs
To create a beautiful room, think in pairs. If you have a good piece without a mate, find it a partner. For example, end tables will complement each other if they are of similar size and finish. Fit two lamps of similar height and style with new, matching shades.

Group Furniture Wisely
If you walk around your home and feel as if you're navigating an obstacle course, it may be time to rearrange your furniture. Be sure your living room chairs and sofa are grouped close together. Otherwise, anyone walking through the living room will be forced to cross between those who are seated and interrupt their conversation. If possible, avoid having the traffic pattern cross in front of the television.

Create Balance
With Chairs In small rooms, use armless upholstered chairs such as slipper style, which will allow more space than chairs with arms but will provide a more comfortable, small-scale alternative to wooden chairs. If your budget won't allow you to buy a pair of matching chairs, purchase one chair and a matching ottoman.