Woman working at a home office

Best Use of Space: Home Office Edition

With the spread of the COVID-19 virus causing offices to close, it looks like we’re all gonna be working from home for a while. So, for productivity purposes, it’s a good idea to set aside a space in your home for a home office. But what if you don’t have any room for a home office? The answer is: you do. It doesn’t matter if you’re working out of your garage or inside a tiny closet, a home office is essential for productivity. With that in mind, here are 5 ideas for the best use of space for a home office:

Under the Stairs

It may seem a little unorthodox, but that little space under the stairway is a great place for your home office! It’s quiet, it’s out of the way and just by adding some office supplies and decorations, you can give it a workplace feel that’s just right for you.

Inside a Closet

For those of you with smaller one-story homes, this’ll be a good option. You don’t even need to have a walk-in closet for your work space to be effective, just add some shelving and other supplies and it’ll be like you never left the office!

In the Garage

If you have a garage – use it. The best home office spaces are spaces that you already associate with work. Put your office in a spot that you wouldn’t have to move around too much (like if you park your cars in the garage, make sure your office wouldn’t be in the way), and set your office up with comfy furniture and a work desk.

***Tip: when you’re going to work, act like you’re actually going to work, i.e. dress professionally, grab your lunch and briefcase and head out to your office

Out in the Backyard

It might be risky, because you never know what the weather will be like, but working from your backyard is a great way to be productive while also staying healthy. During times like these, its important to get outside as much as possible. So, if you can, set up your home office in the backyard!

Young woman walking in a field of tulips

Celebrate National Garden Month

Greenhouses, xeriscapes, courtyards, who knew there were so many different kinds of gardens? This April, celebrate National Garden Month by planting your garden! Whether you’re a homeowner looking for a way to spruce up your front lawn, or you just wanna enjoy the beauty that springtime has to offer, take a look at these 8 different types of gardens for National Garden Month:

Vegetable Garden

There’s nothing better than the taste of homegrown fresh vegetables, and you can grow your own vegetables by planting your own vegetable garden! If you don’t like cucumbers, no problem! There’s so many kinds of vegetables you can grow, tomatoes, carrots, zucchini, it’s up to you!

Backyard Garden

This one is self explanatory. Your backyard is the perfect place for a garden! Whether you want to plant flowers, fruits, vegetables, herbs, or create your own concoction, your backyard is the place to go.

Window Sill Garden

If you live in an area where the weather isn’t ideal for an outdoor garden, or if you don’t have a big yard, try growing a window sill garden! First, you need to find the window in your home that gets the most sunlight. Then, decide how you’re going to set up your garden. You can place a bunch of different planters on the window sill, or you can use a raised garden bed. The best part about window sill gardens, is that not only can you keep them year round, but you can grow whatever kind of garden you want – no matter the climate!

Pollinator Garden

A pollinator garden is a garden that is planted in order to attract pollinator animals like butterflies, bees, and even hummingbirds. Pollinator gardens aren’t just good for the environment, they are fundamental to the ecosystem. Plus, all the different colors and scents make some of the most beautiful gardens out there!

Herb Garden

Another type of garden you could plant is an herb garden. Herbs are good for cooking, flavoring, fragrances, dyes, they’re even beneficial to your health. Check out some of the different types of herbs you can plant here. 

Vertical Garden

A vertical garden is a technique that you use to grow plants on a vertical surface, like a wall or a fence. There are a number of reasons that gardeners use vertical gardens – one reason is to take advantage of all potential space in a garden. Another is to be able to have a garden in a place where there’s usually no room for one, like in a big city. No matter where you live, you can brighten up your home by making your own vertical garden. 

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Vertical garden | Madrid flashback

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Fairy Garden

It’s exactly what it sounds like. A fairy garden is a miniature garden that you keep in a container or a flower bed. It includes a bunch of tiny sculptures and structures along with actual living plants! Fairy gardens are super fun for both kids and adults to create, and you can keep them anywhere you want!

Xeriscape Garden

If you live in an area that doesn’t get a lot of rain, try xeriscaping! Xeriscaping is a landscaping process where you use plants that don’t require a lot of water, and they’re pretty popular in the western part of the US. Although people often think that xeriscapes just consist of desert plants (even though desert plants are pretty cool), most xeriscapes consist of a wide variety of colorful and vibrant plantlife. You just have to figure out how you want your garden to look!

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Soft morning light today 🌝🌵

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Interior Lighting Design Tips to Increase Home Value

Our real estate team recently had a lightbulb moment about a very important aspect to interior design. We’ve featured this topic in blogs about staging or renovation, but it’s time to shed some light on one of the most important parts of your home. 

In case you haven’t guessed yet, we’re talking interior lighting design. Not only does the right lighting improve your quality of life, it also adds value to your home. Find out the importance of light and how you can make some lighting-specific home improvements — we promise you they’ll make a difference.

The Importance of Light

Have you ever worked in a space with fluorescent overhead lights and gotten a headache? How about after staring at a screen for too long? What’s your mood after staying in a dark room for too long?

Light affects everything from our mood to our physical well-being. It’s often the reason (even if subconsciously) why people jump to sell or rent out your property versus why they pass it by. Far too often, we overlook lighting and take it for granted as a convenience instead of a necessity. 

The truth is that lighting is like food. Highly processed food and overexposure to bright lights can both make us feel a bit wonky. Natural light and healthy ingredients have the opposite effect. Trying out a new recipe is usually as exciting as installing a new, modern light fixture. With both lighting and food, we feel our best when we’re intentional with how we use it.

Interior Lighting Design Tips

The lighting changes you can make could be part of a bigger remodel project, or could cost under $30. You can pick and choose which lighting changes will add the most value to your home. It’s like we said: as long as you’re intentional, you will see the benefits from updating your lighting design!

Update your fixtures.

Budget: $$-$$$

While there are definitely some pricey options out there, you can find some beautiful, modern full-room light fixtures for less than $300 — some as low as $50. Hiring a professional to install them will add some costs, but adding a new bathroom or kitchen light fixture isn’t as costly as you might think. Plus, it definitely adds some value.

When people walk into a room and see a cool light fixture, that’s usually one of the first things they comment on. You’ll love the modern look, and it will also help you when you’re ready to sell your home. Potential buyers will immediately notice updated fixtures, which piques their interest in the property as a whole.

Bring in some natural light.

Budget: $-$$$

Natural light doesn’t just look amazing and add massive value to a home, it also saves you money. The less you leave the lights on, your energy bill (and wallet) will thank you. Natural light provides more scenery and vistas and less reliance on the artificial.

Not to mention, we live in a selfie culture. This writer knows a friend in Minneapolis who specifically chose to rent out a place because of its natural light, despite having to pay more. Many millennials and Gen Zers want to show off their home and their life. Adding more natural light is a huge benefit to your home’s overall value (and can attract a wider renting or buying demographic).

But how do you add light? Here are a couple ways that range from cheap fixes to remodel overhauls:

  • Hang mirrors
  • Paint walls a lighter tone, in cool or neutral hues
  • Install larger windows
  • Put in a sliding glass door
  • Install window treatments that allow for light to pass through while maintaining privacy

One thing to keep in mind: it’s also nice to block out natural light when you want (especially if you’re like this writer whose bedroom has east-facing windows). Look into some blackout curtains to make daytime Netflix binges or naps as enjoyable as possible.

Switch out lightbulbs.

Budget: $

Your lightbulbs might be clashing with the room they’re in and you don’t even know it. But when it comes time to sell, you can bet that at least one potential buyer will feel like things are off. 

WIthout having to massively overhaul your space, simply look at the tones in a specific room — are they warm or cool? Whatever the answer, update your bulbs to LED ones that match accordingly. Soft white or warm white are good in warm spaces (such as the living room or bedroom), regular LED bulbs for cool areas (such as the bathroom).

Consider dimmers or colorful lighting.

Budget: $-$$

Both these ideas are a bit more fun, but might add a ton of dimension to your home. Dimmer switches range from $50 to $200 but add a massive convenience to any space they’re in. 

Colorful lighting is a growing trend and, when done right, can be a perfectly subtle way to impact the mood of a room. In fact, some people say that certain light colors can impact not just the mood of a room, but the mood of a person. Cool colors are said to increase productivity; warm colors provide a sense of calm. Who knows — maybe a simple lightbulb switch in your home office could drastically change your at-home job performance!

All of these interior lighting design tips can make an incredible difference in your home. But if your home is currently something resembling a cave or a 17th-century dungeon, maybe it’s time to look for something a little… lighter. Check out our RealtyHive listings to find some gorgeous homes for sale (with amazing lighting interior design to boot)!

Creating the Best Home Office for Remote Work

Remote work has taken off in recent years as an overall trend. But with the current coronavirus pandemic, tons of people are sent home to work remotely for the foreseeable future.

Even when going to coffee shops and libraries to work is an option, we live at a time where it’s good practice to have a designated home work space. Working from home is cheaper than going to a cafe or driving to a library, and who knows? You’ll likely have a time again in your life (such as staying home during a blizzard or with a sick kid) when it makes sense to work remotely. 

But if you’re looking at your studio apartment or 3-bedroom house with kids’ toys everywhere and are wondering how to make a home office possible, fear not. We’ve got you covered.

If remote work is for 2+ weeks, designate a space for work.

When working remotely is super short-term (2 weeks or less), you probably don’t need to overhaul your home for the sake of an office. But no matter the amount of time you’re working from home, it’s good to set up a designated work space.

How to do this:

Where’s an area of your home that you could take a phone call without disruption? A room with a door that you can close is the best option (particularly if you have kids at home). If that’s not possible, find a quieter area where you can set up a flat surface for working. In a place where you share walls with neighbors, maybe go to the wall where your neighbor is the quietest.

In this designated space, it’s also good to remove distraction as much as you can. Interestingly enough, one of the biggest distractors is if your space is near the fridge. The second you get bored, it’s way too easy to get up and find a snack or beverage and it can be a challenge to refocus after that.

Don’t forget — just as you leave your desk at the end of the work day, leave this space too. Creating distance between your work and your home is essential for your mental health, especially when the two spaces coexist.

Try to be as ergonomic as possible.

As great as working from the couch sounds, your back definitely disagrees. Keeping good posture is sometimes easier at work when you’re forced to be at a desk; being in the comfort of your home is a different story. Considering office ergonomics makes all the difference for your body and overall health.

How to do this:

Ergonomic Ideas That Cost $0

  • Take frequent breaks (at least once an hour) to get up and move away from screens.
  • Follow the 20-20 rule for vision — for every 20 minutes of work, look away from the screen for 20 seconds.
  • Look up yoga poses or stretches that specifically help your back, neck, shoulders, and wrists.
  • Spend 30-45 minutes over lunch taking a walk, stretching, or doing yoga.

Ergonomic Investments

  • Buy a standing desk.
  • Purchase an ergonomic chair.
  • Invest in physical therapy at-home tools (such as foam rollers).
  • Buy a headset so you can walk hands-free while taking a call.

For the things that cost money, you might be able to write them off as tax deductions, or your company may consider reimbursing you. Keep receipts just in case!

Don’t overlook the lighting.

Working in offices with bright overhanging lights can give anyone a headache, but working in a dark, dimly-lit basement isn’t ideal either. Lighting makes a huge difference in our work day, whether we realize it or not. It’s important to create a space with ideal lighting — this impacts everything from our eye strain to our mood!

How to do this:

Download f.lux for free on your laptop — it adjusts your screen to warmer tones — or get blue screen glasses. You can also put a warm lightbulb in a lamp to set an equally warm tone to your workspace. If working near some windows, save on electricity by turning off lights and opening up the blinds for natural lighting.

Create boundaries between work and home.

It is extremely easy to “just keep working” when you work from home. There’s always something more to do, and it’s challenging to separate your work and home when they’re one in the same.

How to do this:

Use an online timer to track how many hours you’re working (if you don’t already have set hours). Even if you have set hours, still use a timer to remind you to take breaks, a lunch, etc. 

Additionally, decide on a time that you’re going to be done for the day and stick to it, as hard as that can be!

Working remote for the long haul? Build an office (or find a home that has one).

If working remotely is going to be a long-term thing, it’s in your best interest to create a permanent home office. It’s not just helpful for you while living and working from home, it also adds value to your home. 

Or if you’re thinking about selling and don’t want to go through the trouble of adding an office this late in the game, keep that in mind before you buy. Look through some of our RH homes that have offices already in them!

Georgia

Illinois

Virginia

West Virginia

Home Staging for the Holidays

Can home staging with holiday decorations help you sell?

As the holiday season approaches, home sellers wonder what to do with their holiday decor. Does stringing up holiday lights make your home stand out or will it turn a buyer off? Should you hang your stockings with care or keep them in storage as one less thing to pack? Will seasonal decorations distract a potential buyer from your granite counter tops or will it draw their eye to your Craftsman-style built-ins? 

According to REALTOR.com, 92% of realtors advise putting out some sort of decorations when trying to sell your home during the holidays. This home staging can range from putting out only non-religious seasonal decor (think snowflakes and ice skates) to putting out everything, including religious items like mangers or menorahs. When it comes to deciding what to do for your particular home, geography and local culture should be your guide.

Regardless of the specific type of decor you choose to use, here are a few tips home staging tips to make your place shine during a holiday-season open house.

home staged for holidays

Use the senses to your advantage

Scent is the sense most closely tied to memory and home sellers can use this to their advantage. Baking cookies is always a hit as it will make your kitchen smell divine. Use pre-made cookie dough so you won’t have dirty dishes to deal with and pop them in the oven just before the open house or showing begins to set a homey vibe.

Another tip is to light some seasonally-scented candles. The candlelight will bring a romantic flair to your rooms while the scent will add to the experience you’re creating. If you decide to set up an artificial Christmas tree, you may want to consider using a scent stick (available where most holiday decorations are sold) to really drive home the holiday smells, although be cautious of going overboard with this.

Assess your outdoor lighting

While you don’t need to string up lights (although you can if you’d like), you are going to need to make sure you have adequate lighting outside. As the hours of sun per day decreases, buyers are more likely to see your home in the dusk/dark so you want to make sure to have good lights. Not only will this help to showcase your property, it’s a necessary safety precaution.

A good rule of thumb is to use at least a 60-watt bulb, although if you have two fixtures together you can get by with 40-watt bulbs. These will provide enough light to show off your home without looking too bright or out of place. If your home is in a more remote area or you need additional light, consider using up to 120-watt bulbs in a floodlight fixture to really make your house shine.

Showcase the features of your home

The holiday season is the perfect time to showcase the special areas and features of your home. While you wouldn’t use your fireplace in the middle of August, lighting it up in December reminds buyers how nice a warm hearth can be. Have a built-in sound system? Show it off by softly playing some seasonal music. Have a lovely formal dining room? Set the table as if you were hosting a fancy dinner party complete with place settings and wine glasses. A little staging can go a long way to up the coziness factor throughout the home and provide the “wow” factor buyers are looking for.

While home staging isn’t required during any time of the year, it’s almost always a good idea. A trusty real estate agent can be a wonderful resource to help you find just the right amount of staging to draw in the best offers. Want to free up a little more cash for the holidays? Find agents who offer cash back credits to sellers through Cashifyd!