Last week I was in High Point, North Carolina for the spring furniture market, the world’s largest furniture event. Every spring and fall manufacturers, artists, craftsmen, furniture makers and workrooms from all over the world roll out their best new designs.
There were some very strong trends, several of which I actually started noticing last fall. One is a continued interest in “green” products, everything from low-emission paint and carpeting to furniture, art and accessories made out of salvaged or recycled materials. These are very Feng Shui “friendly” concepts and are getting easier and easier to incorporate into western spaces.
There is a big interest in vintage and retro looks and an emphasis on stability and simplicity. What that means in furniture is that things have kind of an industrial look with moving parts, hefty hardware and are often made out of salvaged lumbar and materials. I think men will really like this trend. Think big, hefty wood tables with great looking grain and distressed edges. You can put your feet right on it and not worry a bit. And some of the best pieces have casters and trays and storage so you can really make good use of your furnishings – very family friendly and easy to maintain – again, both perfect concepts for good Feng Shui.
If you are thinking about remodeling in the near future, why not make it worth your while? Here is a list of the biggest pay-offs in home improvement:
1 – Big kitchens — preferably with an island, are highly prized. Reports give kitchen remodels in the Houston area an 82-84% immediate return on investments
2 – Energy efficiency — appliances, insulation and windows
3 – The home office / study replaces the media rooms as a desired feature.
4 – Main-floor master suite
5 – Outdoor living spaces including summer kitchens.
6 – Ceiling fans
7 – Master bath soaker tubs
8 – Stone and brick exteriors
9 – Landscaping
10 – Two-car garages
Outdoor spaces are becoming more and more important for homeowners who are focusing on creating beautiful and harmonious landscapes. Part of this trend is the desire to make our outdoor areas exude tranquility and peacefulness. Feng Shui is a big part of that. Feng Shui, often called the Chinese “art of placement,” offers homeowners a method for creating outdoor spaces that are both harmonious and balanced.
Feng Shui encourages harmony with the seasons. Plant the right kinds of trees, bushes, plants and flowers at the right times of year for best results. Be sure to remove outdoor clutter first, especially dead trees or plants in the yard.
Many people love to enjoy a water feature to boost outdoor relaxation. Then consider balancing the water with fire. You can fire up your landscape with a fireplace, grill or summer kitchen in the back yard and with landscape lighting in the front.
Add sound to your outdoors. Wind chimes or bells are perfect in the landscape because of their beautiful tinkling sound. For good Feng Shui, be sure to hang them on a shepherd’s crook rather than from a tree, where the metal energy is considered harmful to the tree.
Q: How important is staging a home to sell?
A: Staging can really make a big difference. In selling your home, your main goal should be to get it sold as quickly as possible and for the best price. Staging goes a long way in helping your home in both of those areas.
Q: What is staging exactly?
A: In the industry, staging generally means setting up a home with attractive furnishings and accessories so that is looks like a model. Often staged homes are either new construction or perhaps the family has moved and the home is empty. Staging should mean checking the home to make sure everything is in good shape and in working order…
Q: So when does the furniture staging come in?
A: Once the house is in good shape, we like to move around your furniture, art and accessories and “edit” them. That is a nice way of saying we try to de-clutter and make sure everything is arranged so that the home looks attractive and welcoming. If you are living in your home, clutter should be removed, even from the garage, closets and attic. You want to the home to appear open and spacious, not filled to the brim with stuff.
If the home Is empty, some staging experts and realtors suggest that items be rented so that the home appears lived in and gracious. No matter what you decide to do, spending a little time making the home look its best is definitely in your best interest.
While the majority of us probably put some decorations up at Christmas, how many of us will do the same at Easter?
It’s not the most obvious thing to do, but adding a few Easter-themed touches to our interiors can make this time of year particularly special – particularly if you’re having people around for that special Easter Sunday lunch. There’s no need to completely redecorate – it is, after all, just an annual event – but adding accessories like cute egg-shaped candles that can create a lovely atmosphere for the Easter celebration. Here are a few ideas:
Make an Easter egg tree — An old German Easter tradition is to paint boiled eggs and use them to decorate the branches of a pine tree like that used at Christmas. This makes a fun Easter decoration and a perfect focal point. You can use a small artificial tree. The pastel colored and/or feather ones would be especially pretty. You can also use flowering branches or bare branches from your recent tree pruning and spray paint if desired.
Use bold and pastel colors — Soft pastel colors bring out the springtime season, but you can extend the theme with bolder versions of these colors, too. Hang ribbons, cover furniture and buy flowers in bright spring hues. These will be cheerful and fun throughout spring and well into summer.