With more time at home these days, many of us are looking for ways to give our space a refresh. Others may be in search of inspiration to make a new home their own. Whatever the reason, here are four ways to revitalize and personalize your space.
Thousands of photos and videos live on our phones. While camera rolls may be a compilation of recipe screenshots and selfies showing off your quarantine ‘do, we’re sure there are some with significance. Have a special photo from a vacation you took a while back? Maybe a breathtaking view of the city? We encourage you to take some of those memories off your phone and bring them into your home as sentimental decor.
While you can take the route of printing your photos through companies like Mixtiles or Mpix, you may want to explore a more artistic route. Commission an artist to paint or sketch your digital print for an even more personalized, vibrant display. Paint My Photoscreates custom cartoon portraits, while Jenny’s Noodle Shop brings photos to life through hand-painted water colors. If you’re not sure where to start, Etsy is a hub of talented artists.
There are a number of different ways to incorporate both color and pattern, especially when it comes to throw pillows and wallpaper.
Whether you’re looking to spice up your living room, den, or outdoor space, pull in your favorite accent color through a gorgeous pillow and pair it with one that features a bold pattern. Popular patterns include stripes, geometric shapes, florals, and gingham. If you really dig patterns, go bold and pair two prints together for even more visual interest and personality.
Want your walls to be the center of attention? Bring in the wallpaper! From powder rooms to statement walls in bedrooms and living rooms, removable wallpaper makes it easy to change things up whenever you want. For more insight on wallpaper, check out our conversation with local home decor brand, Mitchell Black.
Photos + wallpaper from Mitchell Black
When it comes to home goods, shop local. When you shop local you’re not only investing in your community, more often than not, you’re finding exclusive pieces you won’t find elsewhere. You have the ability to hone in on merchandise that resonates with you and your style. Search for treasures at places like Roscoe Village’s The Lazy Dog Antique Store or The Golden Triangle in River North. By going this route, you can find an item that is either truly one-of-a-kind or extremely rare, making it a distinctive piece in your home.
You can even take it a step further by refurbishing your find and adding your personal touch to an already special article. Whether that be a fresh coat of a paint, a hardware swap, or adding modernized material, you can make it your own.
Showing off your hobbies is another way to add some personality to your living space. Avid bicyclists, for example, can use an antique bicycle as wall art or incorporate bicycle bookends to their décor – it’ll surely be a conversation starter. Those who dabble in art can display their own work, while music fanatics can thrift a record player, display their instrument of choice, or frame and mount their favorite vinyl.
The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) recently announced that it will raise loan limits for mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, giving some homebuyers greater purchasing power. Starting in 2021, the maximum conforming loan limit for single-unit properties will increase to $548,250 – a 7.4% increase from the current limit of $510,400.
The announcement is positive news for homebuyers, who will have the opportunity to borrow more money under conforming loan guidelines in addition to taking advantage of record low mortgage rates. Any loan amount above the conforming limit is considered a jumbo loan, which generally has more stringent requirements and tends to carry higher interest rates.
The exact conforming loan limit varies geographically, and while it will increase to $548,250 throughout most of the country including Illinois, Michigan, Indiana, and Wisconsin, it will be higher in more expensive markets such as areas in California and New York. Raised limits reflect rising home prices throughout the U.S. including Chicagoland, where prices are appreciating after remaining relatively flat over the last few years.
For more information, contact Jamie Hering at 847.345.2668 who can introduce you to a number of local lenders.
It’s a new year, which means that it’s officially time to start using Pantone’s annual Color of the Year around the house! Pantone has been designating a color of the year for over 20 years, and for 2021 the company chose not just one, but TWO colors. Allow us to introduce Ultimate Gray and Illuminating, a color combination that, according to Pantone, conveys strength and positivity following a year unlike any other.
Here’s how you can use these two colors at home:
Illuminating is a bright, warming yellow that represents sunshine and positivity. Showcase the color in your living area with bold furniture pieces such as armchairs or couches, or with smaller items like end tables, pillows, throw blankets, and accessories that provide a contrast to more neutral elements. Add dimension by playing with different textures such as velvet, as seen here on this sofa from Blu Dot.
If you’re feeling hesitant about using yellow for larger furniture, Ultimate Gray is the perfect alternative. The neutral makes a great base, and can easily be paired with bolder accent pieces (cue Illuminating). Toss this throw pillow from West Elm on a gray sofa like this one from Interior Define, or add an eye-catching yellow end table to your space.
Photo by Room and Board
Bring light into your dining room with a shade of yellow like Illuminating. The vivacious hue adds vibrancy to mealtime and is fun modern addition to the space. Incorporate the color with your dining room chairs, or opt for yellow-toned glasses that offer a unique twist.
Keeping things neutral? Try incorporating colors similar to Ultimate Gray throughout various elements of your dining room, such as your placemats or dinnerware. The color keeps things sleek and grounded, and, as in your living room, can be paired with yellow accents for even more dimension.
Photo by Article
Add a pop of color and trendiness to your bathroom with an Illuminating-inspired yellow. The lively color is sure to brighten your mornings and bring visual interest to your space. Use the hue for larger items like bath towels, or simply spruce up your countertops with accessories like a candle or toothbrush holder.
Contrasting the brightness of Illuminating, Ultimate Gray is more reminiscent of natural elements such as pebbles on a beach, giving it a peaceful, spa-like quality. Create your own oasis by bringing the color into your bathroom through bath towels and a bathmat or with countertop accessories.
Photo by @ksears on Instagram
Whether you’re looking to redesign your bedroom, home office, or kitchen, yellow hues can add some much-needed brightness to your home. Dress up your windows with yellow curtains or drapes, pop a yellow lamp in your bedroom or office, or add fun accent pieces and yellow utensils to your kitchen.
Ultimate Gray can also be incorporated in any room of your home. Place gray agate or marble coasters on your coffee table, add a cozy throw to your bedroom, or add a gray chair to your home– the possibilities are endless!
Photo by lilpengeeGems
Whether you’re in the process of buying or selling a home, or just keep up with real estate news, you’ve probably heard about the lack of inventory in housing markets throughout the country.
While fewer properties on the market means increased competition for buyers, there are still ways for home shoppers to navigate inventory challenges and have an edge in the marketplace. Here are a few tips :
Pre-market (or private market) listings are homes that are for sale (i.e., there is a signed listing agreement), but are not yet publicly listed on the MLS. As a result, buyers won’t find these listings on major search portals like Zillow, Trulia, or Realtor.com, or national brokerage sites such as Redfin.
This could be for a variety of reasons. For example, a seller may want to do some prep work to get their home ready for sale or may be waiting for spring market. In some cases, it’s the desire for more privacy.
Pre-market listings make up a growing segment of the market, and they are typically on networks only available to real estate agents. And when inventory is low and there is strong competition among buyers, it’s so important to work with an agent that can tap into these networks and keep you informed on new opportunities.
At @properties, all of our agents and their clients have access to Zenlist, a home search app that includes both active listings from the MLS and pre-market listings, all in one collaborative platform. Meanwhile, @properties’ internal @agent app is another resource that helps our agents match buyers with homes for sale.
An up-to-date mortgage pre-approval (or proof of funds if you’re a cash buyer) is essential if you’re looking to purchase a home nowadays. As a buyer, this not only lets you know what you can afford, but also lets the seller know that you’re a qualified buyer, which is especially important in today’s environment if in-person showings are involved.
Talk to your mortgage broker to make sure your pre-approval is current, and if you don’t have a mortgage broker, your agent can share recommendations.
Whether you’re just starting your home search or preparing to make an offer on a property, a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) will give you insights into pricing and market activity in your specific area.
@properties’ proprietary Digital CMA takes the traditional CMA (think paper printouts and PDFs) to the next level by providing real-time MLS data in an interactive, digital platform that you can access on the fly. You can also add properties to the report and leave comments for your agent to review.
Ultimately the Digital CMA ensures you always have the most accurate data to make the most informed offer on a property.
When inventory is low, multiple offer scenarios are more common. If you’re ready to make an offer on a home you love, work with your agent to do everything you can to make your offer stand out, especially if the seller has other offers.
Beyond being pre-approved, there are other ways to make your offer more appealing, such as increasing your earnest money deposit, waiving certain contingencies, or being flexible on terms that may be important to the seller, such as the closing date.
For questions, call Jamie Hering at 847.345.2668.
We don’t know about you, but spending all this time at home has us thinking a lot about what updates and refreshes we can make where we live. There has never been a better time to start cultivating your dream home.
Whether your home needs a few minor updates or a major facelift, we want to help you find the right balance between saving and spending so you don’t break the bank.
Follow our guide on where to splurge and where to save below.
Splurge: Upholstered Furniture
Comfort and durability are key when it comes to upholstered furniture and heavily used seating such as couches, sofas, and armchairs. Opt for pieces made of high-quality, natural fabrics with tight weaves, which will survive the wear and tear of daily use. Plus, you can always reupholster well-made furniture in the future.
Save your money on non-upholstered items such as end tables, nightstands, and coffee tables. Already smaller than the other furniture in your home, and therefore less expensive, these items are easy to find in different styles and/or personalize with decor.
Splurge: Area Rugs
Avoid ending up with a rug that rips, sheds, and fades by investing in a quality rug from the get-go. Rugs not only tie together a room and add interest to your space, but they protect your floors and can be a worthwhile investment in the long run.
Save: Window Treatments
If you’re not decorating your home with custom draperies or tailored curtains, you can easily save a few dollars on window treatments. Most curtains come in a variety of lengths, designs, colors, and thicknesses, so you have countless options to choose from.
We spend about a third of our lives in bed, so make sure you choose a mattress that supports you physically, and fulfills all your sleep needs. With firm support, soft support, and everything in between, take time testing out what mattress works best for you.
Save: Throw Pillows and Blankets
Look out for deals on common living room and bedroom accessories such as throw pillows and blankets. Rather than searching for that perfect color match, work within a family of hues and tones, or gravitate toward bold patterns or geometrical shapes. Textures are also on your side, especially when it comes to blankets. At the end of the day, just be sure to select items that are cozy and inviting.
Splurge: Light Fixtures
Lighting can make or break the atmosphere of a room. Standard lighting fixtures are easy to replace, but dramatic hanging light fixtures can elevate an entire room (and can be more expensive). Find the balance between functional and decorative by adding a dynamic and room-centering fixture in the dining room, foyer, or powder room.
Mirrors make any room feel lighter and more spacious, but you don’t need to spend hundreds of dollars to get a good one. Go for something simple that can work in several rooms when you want to change things up, and you’ll find that a $100 mirror can be just as convincing as a $500 one.
Do not cut corners on plumbing. Poor-quality fixtures can cause problems that will out-cost any up-front savings. Toilets, sinks, and baths rarely change with trends, so be sure to buy from reputable brands, and remember that long-term function is your number one priority.
Splurge: Kitchen Sink
From washing your hands and dishes to meal prep and cleanup, your kitchen sink does a lot of hard work. Therefore, it only seems right that you choose the one that will last the longest. Sinks can be costly to replace down the line, so choose a material like stainless steel or granite composite, which are both great for durability and maintenance.
You can save on cabinetry by choosing a less expensive cabinet material. Veneer cabinets are almost identical to solid wood, and can be made to look more expensive with appropriate hardware. Oak is also great for a renovation on a budget, and is the cheapest wood option.
Countertops are an important focal point of your home and should be chosen based on your lifestyle. Granite countertops are a less expensive alternative to marble, and are intended to take on years of daily use. Granite also requires less maintenance than its marble counterparts and is heat resistant.
Both granite and marble countertops come in a variety of colors and styles, and can be a timeless addition to any space, so we definitely think they’re worth the splurge!