Category Archives: decorating

What to get a millennium for their first home – after college

A quality mattress: You spend practically half your life on your mattress, so it’s something you should spend real money on (and buy brand new), Langmaid said.

“If you are on the same mattress that you’ve had since you left home for college, it’s time to upgrade,” he said. “It’s time to get the piece that is made for you, that you sleep well on. . . . Everybody needs a great mattress.”

Mattress preferences vary from person to person. Langmaid said he likes a bed that will swallow him up, while others might prefer firm support. The key, he says, is to go to a store, rather than shopping online, and try them out.

He cautions buying a cheap mattress because it should last for at least 10 years, but one way to alleviate any financial burden is to opt for financing or a payment plan.

He said a high-quality mattress was the first real piece of furniture he bought after graduating college, and although he uses it for guests now, it has lasted him all this time.

Clothes organizing tools: “When you’re in your 30s and you have people over and they open your drawer and it’s a hot mess, it kind of is a reflection I think on just you in general — how you keep your home,” says Meg Biram, 35, a D.C.-based lifestyle blogger. She recommends investing in containers to organize your closets and drawers.

“If you have everything piled into one closet but it’s not well-organized with containers and hangers and dividers, then it can just be a nightmare every day trying to find stuff,” she said.

She said she’s organized her shoes with tools from the Container Store. If your budget doesn’t allow for store-bought accessories, she suggests small shoe boxes to help organize drawers. She uses these to organize garments by type — hiking socks vs. athletic, for example.

Vacuum: Everybody needs to have a good vacuum, Langmaid said. “You need to spend at least $100 on a vacuum that suits your needs,” he said. “And you need to use it regularly.”

Biram recommends the Dyson Animal Stick Vac V8, which is a pretty hefty investment at $350 , but she said it’s worth every penny. When she and her husband got married several years ago, they got a $70 vacuum from their wedding registry. It lasted about a year before they replaced it with another vacuum for less than $100.

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Calm, colorful, clean kids’ room

kids room


In many households, no room is a bigger magnet for clutter than a child’s bedroom. Designers say parents are increasingly interested in managing that clutter effectively — and attractively.

“Everybody wants their house to look like a magazine, and that includes the kids’ rooms,” Los Angeles designer Betsy Burnham says.

But her advice to parents: Be realistic about how you and your kids actually live. Be honest and really ask, “‘Are we a tidy family? Are we too busy? Do we have too much stuff?’ It’s OK if you’re not a tidy household.

Choose a neutral color palette for the major design elements in the room, like furniture and wall color, she says.

Then you can add pops of color through rugs, bedding and pillows.

Burnham also likes the neutral palette for kids’ rooms, where, she says, it’s easy “to overdo it, and think that just because they’re kids they get a brighter palette.”

Another way to create a relaxing feel for kids: Leave open play space — “to maximize their creativity and their imaginative play,” Martin says.

“It’s important to have an area where they can actually play in the center of the room,” she adds.

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What’s trending in home remodels/upgrades for 2019


Master bathroom trends

“Some of the trending features we are seeing in master bath layouts are steam shower, spa/rain-shower head, freestanding tubs, wet/dry areas (shower/tub combinations), huge showers and lots of light in bathrooms,” says Pardee’s Finstad. “At some price points, tubs in master bathrooms are becoming less of a priority. We do expect these trends to continue into 2019.” The steam showers, spa shower heads and well-lit bathrooms all signify a major trend in home building toward wellness.

Machado-Rosas is seeing similar trends in her projects at Jackson Design and Remodeling. “The home wellness features we’ve seen increasing in popularity are steam and digital showers and bidet toilet seats. Human-centric lighting is also trending for us, with a focus on thoughtfully planned layers of lighting that adapt to the body’s natural cycles. Baby boomers and millennial parents are equally interested in these features, which we see connected in part to an overall trend toward comfort and coziness at home.”

Kitchen trends

The wellness trend is showing up in kitchens, too. “The steam oven has captured the imagination of homeowners,” says Graham. “They can effortlessly transition from a conventional oven to a convection steam oven and immediately see the benefits. It is an attractive option for the health-conscious consumer.”

Connected appliances that let you see inside from the supermarket are another trend, as are dishwashers that do more with less: less water, less energy and less noise, but more capacity with third racks. “On the horizon, I think we’ll see manufacturers continue to focus on how they can create a dishwasher with maximum cleaning power using the least amount of water and energy possible.”

Living space trends

Socialization is key, with kitchens opening up to indoor and outdoor living areas. “Today’s buyers are looking for homes with open spaces, particularly downstairs, with open entryways and inviting kitchens that open to the family room. I would recommend sellers with older homes remove a wall or reconfigure their living areas in order to entice more buyers, which, in turn, will demand a higher price,” La Mattery suggests. “I also find that many buyers would rather have an additional guest room downstairs, as opposed to a living room that gets very limited use.”

“We have increased our output of health/wellness spaces, both indoor and outdoor,” Pardee’s Finstad says. “The modern homebuyer prioritizes health and wellness far more than ever before. We’ve staged yoga decks as well as more traditional indoor fitness rooms to illustrate the opportunities buyers have to create a healthy environment within their own home.”

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