The question enters many homeowners’ minds whether it’s your first home or your fourth home. “Is our current home our forever home or will we be selling in the near future?” Often it’s a split decision. Sometimes, homeowners can’t easily decide what their feelings are on their current home situation, but today, we are breaking down the top four items, and corresponding questions, we believe you should weigh when trying to decide on whether you want to love your home or if you’re ready to list it.
You know the saying, location is everything. In real estate that couldn’t be more true since the location of your home determines its value. The exact same property in a different neighborhood can vary significantly based on its location alone. Questions to think about when deciding with location:
Do you love your current location?
Does the location of your property have truly unique features or can they be duplicated?
Do you love your neighbors?
Are properties available in your price range to purchase in the area you love?
Would you be okay with a neighborhood near your favorite location or do you need to be in a neighborhood within your desired location?
Unlike location, the size of a home can always be changed whether it’s to add more square footage, or in some cases, take away. But when thinking about whether or not you want to continue living in your current home, you need to think about how you actually live and utilize the space around you. Ask yourself these questions:
Do you need more or less space?
Are you using all the space you currently have?
Do you need more space?
Can you add on square footage?
Can you repurpose your current space to make it more functional?
Whether you decide on staying in your home or listing your home, you need to consider renovations. Not every house on the market is going to be move in ready, and maybe your current home just needs some extra love. Consider these questions:
Could a renovation change the way you feel about your home?
Can you live through a renovation?
Is a fixer upper something you would be willing to look at?
Would you have the time to manage a renovation project?
Are your renovation ideas actually doable from a cost perspective?
Knowing the cost of everything when it comes to buying or selling a home is important in keeping yourself educated and ahead of the game. With every home comes additional costs you didn’t plan for. Trying to keep this in mind is always helpful when deciding how to proceed with your current property. Here’s a few additional things to think about:
Can you afford to do a renovation to make it sale-ready?
Can you sell your home and make a profit to go towards a new home?
How much is your property actually worth on the current market?
What’s the going rate of properties in neighborhoods you love?
As Homes.com’s content marketing assistant, Sydney gets to combine one of her favorite pastimes with her job– keeping up with pop culture. Outside of work, she enjoys stepping away from her phone and computer and spending time with her friends, whether it’s just hanging out or traveling. Trying new foods, going snowboarding, and long road trips are some of her other favorite things to do, but what does she loves the most? When people read Homes.com’s blog articles, of course!
These days it seems like time has no meaning, so it may come as a surprise that Valentine’s Day is right around the corner. While it’s a bit of a challenge to make date night at home special when you’re home every night, we’re here to help.
To help get this year’s celebrations off the ground, we’ve rounded up eight sweet (and savory) must-haves for the ultimate at-home Valentine’s Day—whether that means staying in with your pod, or wooing your love over a homemade dinner. You’ll probably have to opt for rush shipping at this point, pick up from a local store, or just stock up for next year. Here’s everything you need to ring in the day of love the right way.
1. DIY ravioli kit
If you’re looking for a way to upgrade dinner plans for your date, look no further than this DIY ravioli kit ($45) from Williams Sonoma.
“When my wife and I first started dating, one of our favorite haunts was Magnolia Café in downtown Austin,” says Darren Bogus of Shop LC. “One night she had these mushroom raviolis that I’ve spent the next decade trying to replicate for her.
“Ingredients are pre-measured in this kit, so it’s really easy to start making dinner together,” Bogus adds. “Keep in mind you’ll need to pick up a couple of other ingredients, but it’s totally worth the effort.”
2. Mystery game (for adults)
Looking to turn up the heat with your valentine? Then you might just want to check out this “Murder Mystery Date Night: Emergency Room” game ($14) from Etsy. Part murder mystery, part role play, this downloadable, printable game might just be one of the best ways to spend the night indoors with your date.
3. Cozy faux fur throw
Whether you and yours plan on cozying up on the sofa or having a picnic in front of the fire, it’s always good to have an extra soft (and chic) throw blanket like this Pinzon faux fur throw ($30, Amazon).
“Make some delicious truffle popcorn and cozy up together under this blanket to watch your favorite romantic comedies,” says Michelle Harrison-McAllister of Michelle Harrison Design.
4. S’mores kit
If a roaring fire is in your Valentine’s Day plans, then you’re going to want a few of these really cute (and practical) telescoping marshmallow forks ($10 at Amazon).
“S’mores always makes us think of campfires,” says Bogus. “If you can’t camp out, then indulge in personalized skewers and load up the yummy marshmallows.”
It’s probably too late to get these customized marshmallow sticks, but you can still put together a special s’mores kit for the two of you—or for the family.
5. His-and-her mugs
Cold nights inside call for strong, hot drinks, and maybe it’s just us but they always seem to taste better in a cute mug—one for each of you, like in this set ($12, Bed Bath & Beyond).
“There is simply no better way to enjoy your hot cocoa or morning cup of coffee on Valentine’s Day than in a cheeky mug,” says Harrison-McAllister.
Whether you’re newlyweds, or looking to pop the big question to your valentine this year, the spiked hot cocoa will certainly taste sweeter in one of these.
6. Gourmet milk frother
Speaking of hot cocoa, treat your valentine to the ultimate hot delicious drink this year by investing in one of these Dualit hot and cold milk frothers ($118) from Kohl’s.
“A staple for every at-home coffee bar,” says Harrison-McAllister. “A milk frother like this one can really bring your hot chocolate and coffee game to the next level.”
Satisfy your date’s sweet tooth with a night of creamy cocktails and rich dessert drinks.
7. Bourbon sampler
If your valentine prefers cocktails over hot cocoa, then you’re going to love this bourbon sampler gift set ($35) from Williams Sonoma.
“Surprise him with a crate filled with bourbon samples, and let his taste buds take him on a journey around the world,” says Harrison-McAllister.
8. Whipped cream dispenser
While this fancy kitchen must-have will undoubtedly come in handy for just about any dessert made better by fresh whipped cream (aka every dessert), it’s an especially great addition for such a sweets-centered holiday.
“Morning waffles will be even more elegant with your own whipped cream dispenser, making your kitchen feel like a private bakery,” says Harrison-McAllister.
Morning waffles or evening activities, the possibilities with this red cream whipper ($98) are truly endless.
The dining table was fine for a while. We were supposed to be working from home for only a few weeks. But then the weeks turned into months, and now the months have turned into (gasp!) nearly a year.
So we found refuge wherever we could—behind closed bedroom doors, out on the patio, or even inside our closets.
And so the “cloffice” was born.
Sure, we used to dream of closets filled with designer handbags and red-bottomed heels and stacks of cedar shelves meticulously filled with new fashions. But times have most certainly changed. And for so many of us trying to type and Zoom through the chaos, the closet has become the last bastion for something resembling a dedicated office space.
In fact, the idea of the cloffice has become so popular it’s been called out by Pinterest as one of the hottest trends to watch for in 2021.
“Say goodbye to open floor plans,” the folks at Pinterest say. “Pinners are getting creative with closed doors. In 2021 we’ll all learn what a ‘cloffice’ is. Even when doors aren’t available, people will find new ways to create some personal space.”
While the circumstances surrounding our collective cloffice creation are undeniably garbage, that doesn’t mean our personal spaces need to be, too. We reached out to the experts for their best advice on creating a cloffice—these smart ideas will make you want to work overtime to transform that cluttered, dust bunny–filled closet into a bona fide home office fit for a boss.
Your ‘cloffice’ must-haves
There are three primary things every good cloffice needs, according to Ginger Curtis, owner of Urbanology Designs in Dallas: a place for everything, good light, and comfort.
“Good lighting is extremely important to a functional and pleasing workspace. If you are lacking natural light, make sure you have good overhead lighting,” says Curtis. “Having a designated spot for everything is also critical to making it a comfortable spot.”
Ideally, a cloffice should be a beautiful, personal space that helps set the tone for the workday, even if there are barking dogs, leaf blowers, and TV cartoons blaring in the background.
“I would elevate a cloffice by doing some really fun wallpaper paired with amazing art,” Curtis advises.
For inspiration, Instagram and Pinterest are filled with gorgeous cloffice spaces—some more lavish than others—but all manage to carve out a tidy, functional, and beautiful professional oasis in the middle of home.
Plan how you’ll keep your cloffice organized
Kayla Wallace, the designer behind Chippy Charm, says she’s thrilled with the results of the cloffice (above) she just installed in her home.
“When designing your cloffice, keep in mind what is going to be the most effective for your family to keep it organized,” says Wallace. “Open storage is usually best, so utilize as much wall space as possible for shelving.”
That’s why the shelves in her home cloffice are custom-shaped, she explains.
“Our closet is deep past the wall on both sides,” she says. “This is why our shelving makes U shapes instead of standard straight-across shelves. This way we can still utilize the free space between what would typically be the shelf and wall. It also creates a more custom built-in look.”
But you don’t need custom-shelving talent to create your own cloffice. This chic, airy closet-turned-homework station for the kids was done by Jennifer Gizzi, the talent behind the blog Making Pretty Spaces.
She created it with the Elfa system from The Container Store. Here, the wallpaper gives the area a bit of fun and focus, and helps define it from the rest of the surrounding room.
Keep your closet-office hybrid simple
This cloffice space is done in a beautiful blue, anchored by striking art, and even has a high shelf for functional storage with offsetting wallpaper for a finished, detailed look. The designer Lahari Rao calls it a “space within a space, ‘Inception’-style.”
But even though it looks complicated, creating a beautiful cloffice of your own is all about keeping things simple, Rao says.
“With a cloffice, you can leverage the existing features of the closet easily—for example the side nooks to tuck away bookcases or the top shelves for storage/books,” Rao says. “Since it is a smaller space, it’s critical to add just enough to still maintain an open, seamless feel.”
Pick a neutral paint color and/or wallpaper (pictured: Benjamin Moore’s Gentleman’s Gray and a terrazzo print), she suggests, and be mindful of the small space.
“Avoid too many decorative accessories and clutter,” Rao adds. “Swap the desk lamp for a ceiling one, or the horizontal paper tray for a vertical magazine file to store papers.”
And don’t forget to have something inspirational to look at during the workday.
“I’m a big proponent of surrounding yourself with imagery that reflects and inspires you,” Rao adds. “For me, that was powerful brown women that broke norms.”
Rao’s cloffice came about because trying to get work done in the common areas of her home just wasn’t cutting it anymore.
“Like many others during the pandemic, I tried to work in transitional spaces—the kitchen, living room, front door area, etc. It wasn’t working,” Rao says.
“I realized I owed much more importance to my workspace—it wasn’t selfish, but rather a self-care gesture to provide my mind and productivity the respect it deserves.”
“Hoarders” host Matt Paxton may be best known for helping pack rats purge their possessions. But in his new show, “Legacy List with Matt Paxton,” he focuses on a far more common problem: What to do with all the stuff your parents and grandparents hang on to that might eventually end up with you.
“Legacy List with Matt Paxton,” which airs on PBS stations (check local listings for times/dates), follows Paxton and his team as they visit homeowners faced with downsizing attics and basements full of family belongings. Paxton helps his clients not only whittle this mountain down to a handful of valued mementos—aka their “legacy list”—he also helps them pinpoint surprising items worth thousands of dollars, from old baseball cards to antiques.
Yet Paxton is the first to admit that even he has struggled to unload family possessions. We at realtor.com® chatted with him to hear his best advice for handling the toughest clutter of all.
You had a lot of responsibility when it came to your own family estate. How was that experience?
I don’t remember a lot. I was 25, I was a kid. My dad, stepdad, and both my grandfathers all died within about two years, so I was just going through all these houses. And when you’re grieving, it’s not really the best time to go through it. If you’re moving and that’s why you’re decluttering, usually that’s positive, so you can make the decisions easier.
What advice do you have for people who are purging stuff from family members who’ve passed away?
I always say, “Focus on the things you absolutely know you don’t want.” That’s an easy way to get started.
You recently packed up and moved. Did you have to purge beforehand?
My three sons and I had been in a house for about 15 years. And it’s funny, I do this on TV, been doing it with both “Hoarders” and “Legacy List” and for 20 years privately as well, but until you do it yourself, you forget how hard it is. I’ve helped thousands of families, but when you go through boxes of your parents’ stuff and your loved ones’ stuff, that’s when it gets hard.
Because stuff is memories—we keep it because they’re memories of people we care about. It’s not really the financial value; it’s the emotional value.
Did you find any surprising items during your move?
I did find a stick in a box that said “fragile” in my handwriting, so clearly I packed it. I don’t know what it was for. I don’t know why I saved it. But it obviously meant a lot to me at the time. Sometimes, if you don’t write down the stories, you don’t know why they meant so much to you. So, that I actually just threw away.
What tips do you have for people who want to get their home organized during the pandemic?
Try to do it now. Give yourself a box a week. You don’t have to do it all in one sitting. Bring one box down and do it while you’re watching TV. But give it the time that it deserves. If you try to cram it in a long weekend, you can’t get it done.
Many people have family heirlooms in their home that they don’t want, but feel guilty throwing out. What advice do you have for these people?
This is the hard part, when it matters emotionally to you but not enough to keep it. That’s when I tell people to call your family members and tell them about the item. If they don’t want it, it’s OK to donate, even if it’s something from someone you love.
I compare it to leftover pasta. You could say, “Do you want the pasta for dinner? Because if not, I’m throwing it away tomorrow.” Like, you don’t want it. Why are you pushing it on somebody else?
I really love those Facebook Buy Nothing groups. That’s a great way to empty your house quickly, and it doesn’t cost you anything. You know that those items will go to somebody in your community who can use them.
A lot of times people start going through boxes because it’s time for a parent or grandparent to move into a retirement home. What advice do you have for them?
Start small. I can’t ask my grandmother to work for 10 hours straight. Work for two hours every other Saturday. If I learned one thing from being on “Hoarders,” the worst way to clean out a house is five days straight, 10 hours a day. We do it that way on TV, and it’s the worst way we could possibly do it, but it’s the only way to knock out a job that big. At home, pace yourself.
I really challenge everybody that if you think you’re going to move in the next 10 years, now’s the time to start doing it. Give it an hour or two a week.
Your philosophy is to focus on keeping just five legacy list family mementos. Why five?
You have to have a limit. If you have more than five, it becomes 10, and then it becomes 30, and then you’re on “Hoarders.” It’s kind of like ice cream. If you eat it every night, it’s not really a treat. It’s just something you eat every day. The whole point of a legacy list item is that it’s special.
Do you mind sharing something from your own legacy list?
I have one of my dad’s old rings that he gave to me the night he died. I have my mom’s piano. I have a piece of art from my dad. I have a letter from my 9-year-old son.
When you come down to it, there isn’t a whole lot of stuff you really need. I think the older you get, the less you really need.
You’ve also seen people throw out things that are actually really valuable. Why does this happen?
People don’t go through the boxes. They’re, like, “Oh, this is china, this isn’t worth anything.” Put 10 minutes of research into everything. Google the value.
Now, don’t keep it just because you think it’s worth something. But it wouldn’t hurt to check, especially with things like baseball cards, coins, and stamps. The collections we’re finding now are often our grandparents’ collections, and those things can be a hundred years old.
What makes something financially valuable is scarcity. Beanie Babies? Not valuable, because there’s millions of them.
But the things coming out of your grandparents’ house, they may actually be financially valuable, even if you don’t want them. A lot of the midcentury modern furniture coming out of the ’50s is extremely valuable. I found a Picasso this year on “Legacy List” sitting in an attic.
What other advice do you have for sifting through family heirlooms?
With pictures, wear cotton or rubber gloves. You can ruin pictures and documents by not wearing gloves.
What has been one of your favorite finds from ‘Legacy List’ so far?
In the pilot episode while going through a client’s home, I actually found one of my dad’s paintings. My dad was an artist. We were filming the pilot, and there it was and I started crying. That was insanely special to me.
Of course, I had to buy it at auction because it was owned by a client, so I was just hoping no one would outbid me. I actually have that in my office now.
How do you let go of the items yet hold on to the memories?
Marie Kondo will tell everybody “What sparks joy?” Well, that doesn’t work for clients on “Hoarding” because everything sparks joy for them.
I just say, “Hey, tell those stories,” and document it. Either put it on camera, video, or audio. Somehow get those stories recorded and start sharing with your family. You spend 30, 40 years creating these memories, you’ve got to share the stories. Just get started an hour a week, and create your legacy list to share with your family. I think you’ll be amazed. You’ll hear the reaction of your family members; they’ll love the stories. And when you start to share those stories, you start to realize it’s not the items—it’s the people. You’ll find you’re able to let go of more items that way.
We need positivity right now in the world. This is a great way to just be happy.
Ever wonder what gives the homes of Ellen DeGeneres, soon to be ex-couple Kimye, and other stars their chic, Zen-like charm? The answer is often “Japandi,” a mashup of Japanese and Scandinavian styles that’s calmly infiltrating homes today.
In fact, Pinterest searches for Japandi doubled year over year, according to the decor site’s 2021 predictions report, so much so that it dubbed Japandi “the new modern” of the year.
Simple, uncluttered, neutral, and natural, the “Japandi design concept showcases minimalism and a low-key color palette,” says designer Marty Basher.
Ana Cummings of the eponymous design firm says that DeGeneres’ Montecito, CA, mansion is a perfect example of Japandi style, with its focus on natural materials (glass walls, bamboo ceilings), earth tones, and clean furniture lines.
Or look to the marble-clad, nearly all-white Hidden Hills, CA, estate of Kim Kardashian West and Kanye West.
“Japandi was adopted by the couple throughout the home,” says Basher.
If you’re looking to make a clean break from 2020 (and frankly, who isn’t?), embracing this fresh look is just the ticket. Here’s more on the history of Japandi style, and how to incorporate it into your own home.
The history of ‘Japandi’ style
Photo by Ward 5 Design
Japandi home design traces it origin to long-standing cultural ties between Denmark and Japan.
“It’s a relationship that began more than 150 years ago, when Danish artists and designers began traveling to Japan in search of new inspiration,” says Basher.
These seemingly disparate nations already had similar design philosophies, so a marriage of the two was inevitable.
“The wabi-sabi movement in Japan, which highlights imperfections and the use of natural, handcrafted materials, has a lot of similarities to traditional Scandinavian hygge designs,” says Cummings.
From ceramics and textiles to quiet colors and natural fabrics, the Danish and Japanese cherish a time-worn appearance and the rich traditions of crafting.
“People in both countries appreciate minimalist interiors, and the look has certainly gained a much bigger following during this past home-bound year,” Cummings says.
Make furniture functional
Photo by Rowland+Broughton Architecture & Urban Design
Clutter is extremely forbidden in a Japandi home as it clashes with the decor’s principles that emphasize a function-driven space with statement pieces rather than an abundance of items, says Karen Gray-Plaisted of Design Solutions KGP.
To that end, a dining room like this one fits the bill with furniture that features clean lines and practicality.
“Accessories have lesser importance in this design style, but the ones that do show up lean toward natural elements like plants and wooden bowls that add warmth to the entire room,” she says.
Choose quiet shades
Photo by IDF Studio
Whites, off-whites, and all manner of beige are typical in a Japandi home, but this doesn’t mean a little brightness can’t also be introduced.
“Japandi colors also include softer tones such as light grays, pinks, blues, and greens,” says Basher.
And natural light is key to this home style, so throw back the curtains (or remove them completely) in order to flood your interiors with sunlight.
Lean on wood and stone
Photo by Design Build 4U Chicago
A spare—or even bare—aesthetic is another Japandi calling card. Extra stuff has no place in this baby nursery nor does it rule supreme on kitchen counters or your bedside table. Instead, choose just a single accessory or two and showcase it.
“Minimalism is an essential feature here, which applies to every piece of furniture and also means zero clutter,” says Basher.
Nix busy patterns
Photo by EightyTwo
You don’t need to go full-on stark with white walls and plain linens, but know that patterns should be sparse in a Japandi home.
“Stay away from textiles with a lot of lines, curves, and checks, as these are overpowering and defeat the purpose of this simplified style,” says Basher.
Shop related brands
Photo by BoConcept Pennsylvania
Estate sales and antiques shops can yield stunning one-of-a-kind pieces, but more cost-conscious homeowners can look to Ikea and even Target for Japandi pieces.
“These big-box brands are hopping onto this trend and fabricating items with this particular aesthetic in mind,” says Cummings.
Basher recommends Maruni, a Japanese brand that crafts mass-market options as well as BoConcept, a Danish company with stores in dozens of countries that’s known for modern furniture, accessories, and lighting with Scandinavian flair.
Drew and Jonathan Scott renovate a lot of homes in Las Vegas (after all, they have a house there), but on the latest “Property Brothers: Forever Home,” they’re given the rare opportunity to upgrade a home with true Strip-style glamour!
In the Season 5 episode “A Bit of Vegas Glam,” empty nesters Lisa and Jay ask Drew and Jonathan to take their $125,000 budget and give their home a Vegas lounge feel. This sounds fun, but the brothers know they need to be careful not to go overboard. After all, too much glam can end up looking gaudy.
In the end, the Scott brothers find a balance that makes this house perfect for both a dazzling party or a casual night in. Here’s how they bling up even the most mundane areas of this home, which might inspire a few changes around your own abode, too.
1. Frame your fireplace with molding
When Drew and Jonathan first see Jay and Lisa’s house, they’re unimpressed by the fireplace, which is off-center and sharing the wall with a dated TV nook. Unfortunately, the arrangement throws off the balance of the room and makes the whole living area feel uneven.
So Drew and Jonathan simplify the space by removing the TV nook, centering the fireplace, and mounting the TV. With a centered fireplace, the room already looks much improved.
However, the Scotts want to make this wall even more of a feature, so they add molding on either side of the new fireplace. This molding is an inexpensive but elegant way to pull more attention to this wall, adding extra style to the space.
As Drew and Jonathan install this molding, Jonathan points out how easy it is to add this feature.
“The cool thing, too, is once we caulk all the edges, fill all the corners, it’ll be perfectly seamless and—boom! All of a sudden, we’ve just widened the whole statement,” Jonathan says.
2. Add subtle animal prints
When the Scott brothers first meet Lisa, she tells them that she loves animal prints. In fact, she already has a collection of them in the form of a zebra-print chair and cheetah-print rug. While animal prints can give off an old Las Vegas vibe, they can also overwhelm a space.
“I did warn her that we can’t go overboard with all the wild patterns, textures, color, or bling,” Drew says. “Because if we do, then it’s just going to look overbearing. It’s not going to feel like a home.”
Drew and Jonathan end up using a spotted area rug to satisfy Lisa’s love for animal prints, and luckily, the rug works in the space. The spots add visual texture to the room while the subdued black and gray color keeps the room looking sophisticated.
3. Sliding doors can make a room sparkle
When Drew and Jonathan start the renovation, they offer to remove the windows and put in large, collapsable doors that lead out to their fabulous pool. Lisa and Jay decide to skip the folding doors (and spend their money on other parts of the renovation), but they do decide to install sliders.
Once installed, the doors end up adding lots of Vegas glam to the living room. Not only do these doors let in the sun, making sure all the living room finishes sparkle, but they also provide some fabulous indoor-outdoor living.
“They had already put so much money into their backyard, but the access to it was a little bit limited, kind of closed off,” Jonathan explains. “Now, with this beautiful big slider, you’ve got more light, you’ve got more flow, and you can actually see that beautiful yard and all the work that they did.”
4. Add mirrors in an unexpected place
Drew and Jonathan want to add lots of chic style to the kitchen, but they still want to be careful not to go overboard with shiny finishes or bright colors. Luckily, Jonathan comes up with the idea to use mirrored panels.
“What if we do, like, some panels? We could do it on, like, the pantry, or we could do it on the fridge,” Jonathan tells Drew as they look at design samples. “Aged glass panels [will feel] like some of these really beautiful lounge makeovers that you’re seeing in a lot of the really nice resorts in Vegas.”
Drew knows that Lisa will love this look, so they install aged mirrors with gold veining on the fridge doors.
It’s a unique choice, but the panels end up looking beautiful. It brings that fun Vegas look into the kitchen without taking attention away from the elegant white cabinets or the brass hardware.
5. Use brass to make a space shine
When the Scotts first tour this kitchen, they realize one corner of the room is underused. Lisa and Jay have placed a cabinet in the corner by the window, but Drew and Jonathan know this space could have more functionality.
“Keep in mind, too, this is going to be a statement kitchen,” Jonathan tells Drew during a design meeting. “So why don’t we do brass shelving over the top of the window here? And I do think we need to go brass ’cause then we can match it up with the hardware.”
Sure enough, they add brass hanging shelves that really pull the kitchen’s design together.
Truth: Some folks were just fine with the fact that Thanksgiving and other holidays had to be scaled back last year due to the coronavirus. Frankly, less exposure to Aunt Martha meant you could avoid her gloppy casserole and prying questions about your love life.
But we’ll admit that watching the Super Bowl at home—when you’d rather be at your favorite sports bar tossing down hot wings and yelling at the screen—is just a wee bit depressing.
Alas, we still shouldn’t gather indoors as the pandemic hangs on. But the game (and the halftime show!) must go on—and there’s no reason we shouldn’t enjoy it in style. So why not transform your den into your own mini sports arena? For some help, here’s what the pros would include for maximum fun on game day.
1. TV trays
“The Super Bowl is all about the snacks, so I’d pick these retro TV trays, especially since you can also use them as a mini desk after game day,” says Darla DeMorrow, author of “Organizing Your Home With SORT and SUCCEED.”
This wheeled pick can be slid into place easily, plus the lower shelves neatly hold remotes, books, and other den gear ($105, Wayfair).
2. TV wall mount
Among the best parts of sitting in a sports bar are the multiple screens and replays, which means you’ll never miss a single fumble. At home, you can up your game with a sturdy wall mount so your flat-screen TV is perfectly tilted.
You can mount the bracket on wood, brick, or concrete and then relax, knowing the 10-year warranty has you covered ($27, Amazon).
Watch: Rent vs. Buy: Yes, Even NFL Players Should Run the Numbers
3. Cozy seating
Comfy recliners or—better yet—smart-looking swivel chairs are the ultimate in seating in front of your big-screen TV, says Karen Gray-Plaisted of Design Solutions KGP.
This barrel shape sports a ’70s vibe as well as durable boucle upholstery that’ll help hide black bean dip drips ($1,199, Crate & Barrel).
4. Themed tumblers
Real fans feature their favorite team’s colors and logo at Super Bowl time, whether it’s a jersey hung on the wall or a set of cool containers for serving drinks.
If your money’s on Tom Brady to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the championship this year, outfit your den with these bright tumblers. Beverages stay cold for a full 24 hours thanks to double-wall insulation ($30, Macy’s).
5. Air fryer
Homemade mac and cheese balls are cheaper (and possibly even more delicious) if you prep them yourself. But the best home cooking perk comes from using an air fryer, which yields healthier results.
If you can swing it, this high-end appliance is a workhorse that air-fries, bakes, broils, and toasts all of your snacks and breakfast foods in a stylish, stainless-steel package ($250, Kohl’s).
6. Floor pillows
“Since this year is all about staying safe at home, I think football fans should get cozy with big floor pillows, and this way, everyone has a direct line-of-sight seat for the game,” says DeMorrow.
This twill fabric features a simple color palette that’ll mesh with most decor schemes ($97, Wayfair).
7. Mini fridge
What’s the one thing you can’t run out of during the Super Bowl? That’s right, cold beer. To ensure easy access to your suds, consider a mini fridge (especially in this sea-foam shade) for your den or rec room. This little guy pulls its weight as it also includes a freezer compartment ($180, Wayfair).
8. Panini press
Wonder why those subs taste so good at the bar? They’re crisped on the outside and melty between the layers—and you can achieve this same hoagie nirvana in a panini press.
“I love to lay out cold cuts, bread, and condiments, and then each person can make their own hot sandwich at halftime,” says Gray-Plaisted.
Thick paninis are no challenge for this nonstick press, which is also aces at griddling quesadillas ($50, Amazon).
9. Cheese tray
Aww, did you think we wouldn’t give the Kansas City Chiefs equal time? They’re in it to win it, too, this year. Plus you can’t have too many trays and serving platters during the Super Bowl.
This well-priced choice comes with its own nifty cheese knife with a handy pick at the end for spearing the fattest piece of brie ($53, Wayfair).
If you’re anything like us, then you’ve resolved to make 2021 the year that you finally get organized (after making the same resolution last year, and the year before, and the year before that, of course).
But also, if you’re anything like us, you have no idea where to start.
That’s where having the right tools comes in. Not only can the proper supplies and products make organizing a breeze, but they’ll also make the process—dare we say—fun.
So after consulting with professional organizers from coast to coast, we’re bringing you the eight products you’ll need to finally get your home in tiptop shape in 2021. Go on with your bad organizing self—and have a blast!
1. Dividers for unruly drawers
Are your dresser drawers overflowing with underwear, socks, and other pieces of clothing you’ll never be able to find? Then you just might need a set of these fabric drawer dividers ($22) from Wayfair.
“These are amazing in drawers to create compartments and divisions so everything doesn’t get all jumbled up,” says Liz Jenkins of A Fresh Space. “They aren’t a permanent installation, but for clients who don’t have built-in dividers, they’re life-changing.”
2. Wheeled storage for cleaning products
You know that corner or cabinet of your house that’s stuffed to the brim with cleaning products and other household supplies? Well we’re here to bring those babies out into the light (where you can actually find what you need without creating a brand-new mess).
“We all know that cleaning items come in so many different shapes and sizes,” says Mary Cornetta of Sort and Sweet. “By having extra tall shelving or racks, you don’t have to worry about what can fit and what can’t.”
Stop stuffing all your cleaning products into a pile, and try this Whitmor three-tiered rolling cart ($40) from Macy’s.
3. Pots and pans lid organizer
Speaking of piles, we didn’t forget about the stacks of lids taking up all the space in your kitchen cabinets. Rather than constantly searching for the right lid for your Tupperware containers or pots and pans, you might try using a few of these steel lid organizers ($15) from The Home Depot.
“This is one of our favorite organizing products because of how versatile it is,” says Cornetta. “We not only use it to store lids—which makes them easier to grab—but also baking sheets, cutting boards, trivets, muffin tins, pie plates, and more.”
4. Can racks for your pantry
Nothing can make a kitchen feel chaotic quite like a precariously arranged tower of canned goods—especially during a pandemic, when many of us are guilty of stocking up on shelf-stable foods.
“These can racks help you to see what you have on hand, rather than blindly buying at the grocery store,” says Cornetta. “They also give you a limit to the amount of items you can store at once, thus reducing pantry clutter.”
Bring order to your kitchen with one of these six-tier, double-can racks ($60) from Kohl’s.
5. Not-so-lazy Susan
She might sound lazy, but this little organization wonder is anything but.
“Lazy Susans are a game changer in the kitchen,” says Hannah Hearin of Home Refreshment. “I love these for baking goods or oils, and the one with dividers is perfect for organizing medicine, school or art supplies, and bathroom essentials as well.”
Do yourself (and your cabinets) a favor, and pick up a two-tier Lazy Susie ($25) from Macy’s.
6. Clutter-defying paper shredder
One of the best ways to make more space in your home this year is by ditching all that extra paper clutter like old bills and bank statements.
“For security reasons, it’s a lot better to shred than simply throw out,” says Cornetta. “If you have the time, or teens who need chores, it can save money rather than bringing it to a shredding company.”
Clear your closets of all that extra paper with this PowerShred paper shredder ($180) from Kohl’s.
7. Irresistible label maker
The only reason I don’t have one of these in my house is that everything would be labeled—including the dog (yes, they’re actually that fun). If you’re someone with a little more self-control—and a number of real things to label—you can’t go wrong with adding one of these Dymo label makers ($25) to your toolbox.
“These are super helpful for families or roommates,” says Cornetta. “Especially when multiple people are using the same items and need to know where to find them and put them back.”
8. Handy closet utility rack
Somehow, cleaning supplies such as brooms, mops, and dusters seem to accumulate at rapid speed and, before you know it, they’re eating up an entire corner of every closet in the house.
No more, we say! Get yourself a few of these Whyalla closet mop and broom organizers ($14) and never compete in ultimate closet wrestling again.
The first major home renovation my husband and I ever undertook was insulating the walls of a 1921 Craftsman bungalow we shared in Columbus, Ohio. This project made the house a great deal more comfortable in the winter and the summer, since the existing insulation was the least expensive option available in the 1920s — making it completely inadequate for maintaining heat in the winter or coolness in the summer.
Unfortunately, despite the undeniable improvement to our comfort, we found that our new insulation did nothing for our resale value. Even though we had put nearly $5,000 worth of work and materials into this renovation, we didn’t see that money and effort reflected in our sale price when we had to move several years later.
Not all renovations are going to increase your resale value. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should forgo working on your home if you won’t see the value when it’s time to sell. For instance, I would definitely insulate that house again, even knowing that the money is only going to improve my comfort.
But there are some home renovation projects that you just can’t expect to recoup your investment on. Knowing that, you should consider how long you intend to live in your house and whether you’re renovating just to increase your home’s value before jumping into any of these home improvement projects.
1. Invisible improvements
Insulating our bungalow was the kind of invisible improvement that had to be done, but didn’t appear to change the house. Unlike “sexier” improvements like updating a kitchen or bath, or even putting on a new roof, invisible improvements don’t change the look of the house. These are things like re-grading the yard to keep water from getting into the basement, updating the HVAC system, tuck-pointing bricks and chimneys, and replacing gutters.
While these improvements often have to be done to protect your house, the downside is that you may not recoup the cost of these improvements when it comes time to sell. It can be helpful to think of these renovation expenses as a way of protecting your home’s current value, rather than as a way to increase your future resale value.
2. Swimming pool
While homeowners in Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, and Southern California may find that having a swimming pool is a big selling point for their homes, this isn’t going to be the case nationwide. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to install a pool is over $27,000. That doesn’t include the annual maintenance costs, ranging between $500 and $4,000. It’s these maintenance costs, plus the work that homeowners will have to either do themselves or contract out in order to keep their pool sparkling clean that will turn off many potential buyers. Add in the additional insurance requirements that homeowners with pools will need to purchase, and it should be clear why many prospective buyers would rather not invest in a home that comes with a pool.
This is why you should only commit to the cost of installing a pool if you truly want to use it yourself and expect to stay in your home for at least five years. Otherwise, it might make more sense to invest in a membership to your local pool.
3. Bathroom and kitchen upgrades
Remodeling your bathroom and/or kitchen is an excellent way to increase your home’s value, right? Yes and no. While replacing dingy tiling and updating old appliances will definitely help your home shine for potential buyers, there’s such a thing as going overboard with your bathroom or kitchen upgrades.
Specifically, if you add granite countertops, custom-made cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and ceramic tiles to your kitchen and bathroom, but the rest of the home is still an ordinary suburban home, potential buyers will see the house as a work-in-progress, rather than a home that feels move-in ready. Over-improving the bath and kitchen could make buyers think that it’s not worth the effort to try to get the rest of the house to match. (See also: 9 Home Improvements You Should Always Negotiate)
4. Built-in high-end electronics
We may all dream of living in a George Jetson house — where every possible electronic need you have is already built in — but committing to this kind of renovation may hurt your resale value.
There are a couple of reasons for this. First, while your personal movie theater (with remote-controlled state-of-the-art projector) may be exactly what you want from your home, a potential buyer may just see a room that will need to be torn out and remodeled as soon as they move in. Plus, technology advances at a breakneck speed, so your cutting-edge electronics will soon look as dated as shag carpeting and harvest gold refrigerators.
If you need or want built-in high-end electronics in your home, make sure you’re installing them for your own pleasure and comfort, because it’s unlikely a buyer will appreciate them too.
5. Extravagant landscaping
Making improvements to your landscaping requires a gentle touch. On the one hand, landscaping is often touted as an important aspect of curb appeal, and making sure your yard and garden look attractive and welcoming is certainly a great way to draw in potential buyers.
On the other hand, an elaborate landscaping remodel can turn off buyers. Those with black thumbs might look at your vast flowering garden with sculpted shrubs and pond and decide they are not up for the challenge of keeping it up, and those who do love to garden might not like your vision and want to start over.
If recreating the gardens of Versailles is how you make your house feel like a home, then there’s nothing wrong with investing in this kind of renovation. But make sure you’re doing this kind of work for yourself, and not because you hope to make back the money you spent once you’re ready to sell. (See also: 14 Ways to Make Your Yard Look Awesome for Under $100)
Renovate for the right reasons
While many experts focus on resale value as the deciding factor on whether to take on a home improvement project, the important thing to remember is that you live in your house now. Deciding which home renovations to work on based on what someone else might like is the way madness lies.
When you make improvements to your home, make sure you take your own comfort, your plans for living in the home, and the potential resale value into consideration. They all matter.
Homes.com had the opportunity to partner up with Stephen and David St. Russell of the Renovation Husbands to hear what they had to say about getting into a fixer-upper home and the hoops and hurdles that come with such an investment.
How the Renovation Husbands Got Their Start Working on Fixer-Uppers
The Russells were living in a small apartment in Boston where rent kept rising month after month. With student loans weighing heavy and only one stable income, they needed to get out of that renting nightmare. On the way to lunch with some friends, they happened to pass a home that looked like it was already in the process of being renovated, and a quick search showed that the house was for sale. This information led to an impulse decision that changed their lives. They had an offer that was accepted on the house within 2 weeks, thus beginning their journey to home ownership and a passion for renovation.
How To Begin Financing a House That Needs Serious Work
The condition of the house you are trying to buy will determine what type of financing options are available to you. For Stephen and David’s first home, they used a traditional first time home buyers loan which had a low down payment. For their second home, they used a 203k which has financing for construction costs built in and a low down payment as well, perfect for a fixer upper! The 203k loan has 2 tracks so that you can choose one that best fits the situation you are in.
203K Loan Tracks
The first track for a 203k is for homes with much larger projects in which the amounts you can finance are regulated by your area. The second track, which is the option Stephen and David chose, is for homes that need repairs of $30,000 or less. This option has a lot fewer hurdles to allow work to get done more quickly and allow you to get into the home more quickly. In their personal experience, their house was completely gutted and they knew that it would take a huge upfront cost to get it up to liveable standards. The bank will not typically give out loans for a shell of a house like the one they were buying, so the great thing about a 203k loan is that it allows you to afford those homes that need a complete flip with the understanding that the renovations done will bring it up to code come inspection time.
Homebuying can be a scary experience with a lot of unexpected bumps along the way and it’s an experience that people are rarely 100% prepared for. For those homes that do need some extra TLC, it can be even more of a challenge. The Renovation Husbands stress the importance of taking that leap of faith because you never know what could happen.
“Just go for it,” David says, “you can figure it out.”
Save as much money as possible in the beginning of the buying process. David advises, if you don’t have a huge down payment, or if you have some cash, save as much of that as possible so that you can plan for the unexpected. “As soon as you get those keys, you really don’t have very much of an idea of what’s going to happen.”
The most valuable step Stephen and David felt that they took was going to a bank. Banks are the gateway to homebuying and will let you know what kind of loans you have, what options you have, and what you would be approved for. You don’t even need to have a home in mind, but having this important conversation will let you know what you are actually able to afford.
David wraps up the interview saying, “You’re probably better off than you think you are.” There are so many resources available to you going into this process that all you need to do is get your foot in the door.