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How To Decorate A Dorm Room; Send Your College Student Off In Style

in Decorating by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

My freshman dorm room was hardly something I bragged about. I slept on a shabby mattress, did my homework on a shabby desk and my idea of decorating included throwing up a couple of posters and having a decent bed set. As I recall, one of those posters had to be rather large to cover the huge stain on the wall above my bed.

3820949508_6e553d7776_bI could have been embarrassed by this dorm room, but I wasn’t, simply because they were almost all as bad as mine. Just don’t ask me about my really strange first roommate.

I have no idea what that dorm room looks like today, but I’m sure it’s safe to say the stain on the wall is gone (at least I hope it is) and I’m sure they changed out the mattress. One thing I do know for sure is that the pressure to have a nice dorm room is greater than ever.

With rapidly rising tuition costs, there isn’t always much room in the budget for fancy decor. Fortunately, you don’t need to spend a lot to make your student’s room both comfy and inviting.

Decorate to your student’s personality

Let your child’s personality flourish in their first place away from home, but to avoid conflict, take the roommate shopping so they can both agree on decisions. Use removable picture hangers to hang artwork. Buy some plants and knick-knacks, and of course, buy bedding that matches your child’s personality. A rug will make getting ready for those brutal 8:00 am classes in the winter just a little less brutal.

Some schools will let you loft beds. This can create a lot of room for a desk and even a futon.

Create entertainment space

Even if your child was a wallflower in high school, don’t assume they’ll be the same in college. It’s amazing how living in close proximity with people your own age can sometimes turn even the shyest people into near extroverts.

To create entertainment space, turn the bed into a day bed with lots of comfy pillows. The bed has to be up against the wall for this to work. If the dorm allows, purchase a small refrigerator and a small microwave for snacks. If your child drinks coffee, rather than having them blow their spending money at Starbucks, buy them a coffee maker or even an inexpensive espresso/cappuccino maker. Buy some decent external speakers for their computer, and viola, entertaining space.

You can also add seating with some multifunctional pieces like storage ottomans.

Create a comfortable study space

This is probably even more important than creating the entertainment space. Most dorm rooms come with desks, which is great. Rather than adding personality with clutter, let your student pick out a desk set that matches their personality. Don’t forget to add a plant, and if there’s room, perhaps a gold fish in a bowl. That’s one way to combat dreariness. Another is to move the desk near the window.

Avoid the roommate

If your child’s first roommate is anything like mine, you’ll want to create some private space. This can be done with a bookcase or even an old fashioned room divider.

Bring reminders from home

Being thrown into the lions’ den of college can be a bit of a culture shock for someone who’s never been on their own. Send your child with a couple of things from their bedroom at home and perhaps with some family pictures. Arrange the pictures as a collage on one wall. It will be both chic and comforting.

How To Decorate Your New Home On A Shoestring Budget

in Decorating, Posts, Your New Home by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

Once you’ve shelled out for the down payment or security deposit on your new home and once you’ve paid for the movers, you might find you wallet feeling very light. A new home is no fun though, unless you can put your own personal touch on it. So how does one go about decorating a new home when they’re broke?

If you’re feeling particularly strapped after your move, it’s probably not the best time to tackle a major renovation, but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your surroundings comfortable and completely you.

1. Paint — You probably already know that a fresh coat of paint can give a whole new feel to a room, for not a lot of money if you paint recruit your family. Neutrals, like light grays and creamy whites are appropriate for almost any room. For a pop of color, add an accent wall to complement your furniture and art work.

2. Throw Pillows — You might not have the budget to buy a new sofa, but new throw pillows can give a whole new look to an old sofa. Play with patterns and colors you’ve never thought of. If possible, bring one of the sofa cushions with you, just to be sure the new pillows don’t clash. Throw pillows are also a very low commitment option for people who are resistant to change or have color phobia.

pexels-photo-133919

3. Plants — Nothing brightens and freshens a house like a little greenery. A few plants can make your home seem warmer in the winter, cooler in the summer and even cleaner. In fact, plants do a wonderful job of cleaning the air. Stores like Trader Joe’s and Home Depot have budget friendly plants, but you might find that friends and neighbors might have cuttings. All you would have to buy is soil and containers.

nature-flowers-white-plants

4. Area Rugs — Area rugs can be very expensive, but through sites like eSaleRugs (no, they are not paying me), you can buy new and gently used rugs for a fraction of the price. Area rugs can be a great way to add color, add warmth to wood or tile or cover flaws on your floor.

Featured image via Julian Fong/Flickr.

Featured image via Julian Fong/Flickr.

5. Thrift stores — Thrift stores can be full of treasures for your new home. You can find art (sometimes original), furniture, kitchen items, knick-knacks, area rugs, lighting and sometimes even brand new, never opened bed and bath linens. No one will ever know you cheaped out.

What’s With All The One Bathroom Houses In The Bay Area?

in Bay Area Real Estate, Decorating by Ninja Movers Leave a comment

While in the rest of the country, you might be able to buy a 3,000 square foot house for less than $500,000, here in the Bay Area, we’re lucky to get more than one bathroom in a 1,000 square foot house in am up and coming neighborhood. So, how does a family live in one of these one bathroom houses?

Bathroom_for_suite_-_Paris_Opera_Cadet_Hotel

It’s not impossible. With these tips, one bathroom can become manageable, although I’m not going to promise that two wouldn’t be better.

1. If it fits, add a second sink.

Many older homes (and let’s face it, most Bay Area homes are), have more counter space than sink space. If you have the room, add a second sink. The plumbing is already there, so it’s an easy fix for any plumber. It will, at the very least, enable one person to put on makeup and another to brush their teeth.

2. Build a wall around the toilet

Privacy on the toilet is often a priority among the closest of spouces, let alone entire families. A wall hiding the toilet can offer the privacy someone needs. If there’s room, consider a door along with a couple of walls. That would ensure total privacy and unless two people need to use the toilet at the same time, it solves all problems of privacy.

3. Think high

Most single bathrooms are small and lack storage space. Shelves can be a lifesaver. Build them high, which gives you the added bonus of fooling the eye to making the room seem more expansive.

4. Change your sink

Even if you don’t have room for a second sink, make the best of one by making sure it has storage. Pedestal sinks are a no-no when there is just one bathroom. The under sink storage is imperative. If you can’t afford a new sink, there are shelving units that are designed to o around pedestal sinks.

h2>5. Outsource

The only things that have to be done in the bathroom are, well, going to the bathroom and bathing. The rest can be done outside the bathroom if necessary. In a pinch, teeth can be brushed over the kitchen sink. Purchase bedroom vanities for putting on makeup and for drying and styling hair.

Believe it or not, large families in years past typically made do with one bathroom. Human needs haven’t changed, but the amount of stuff we have has. Minimize and be strategic. There will be challenges, but it can be done.

Which Home Improvements Are Worth It?

in Bay Area Real Estate, Decorating by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment
Image from Wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia

 

Buying real estate in the Bay Area means one thing – compromise. Even with large budgets, buyers encounter tiny rooms, small yards, limited bathrooms and outdated fixtures. Truly move-in-ready properties are rare, and even when you do find one, they are pricey and most buyers want to add their own touches.

On average, home owners sell about every five to seven years, so the odds are, that the personal touches you put on your home will need to appeal to a new buyer in a few years. So, how does a homebuyer strike a balance between what pleases them and what will please future buyers?

The age-old question is, would you rather own the nicest home on the block or the worst home on a nice block? Ideally, you’d probably be somewhere in the middle, but for resale value, it’s better (within reason) to own the worst home on a nice block. In other words, being the only home in the neighborhood with expensive finishes may not win you buyers. Or, as the adage goes, location, location, location.

For both livability and for curb appeal, a good roof is a good place to start. In California, tile roofs are popular, but solar can add thousands of dollars in value to your home. If you aren’t a fan of solar panels, solar shingles and solar tiles are also an option, but they have their downsides.

Of course, a good coat of paint goes a long way toward salability, but within reason. You might want to hold off on painting your home 49ers red, Raiders black or Giants orange. If your home’s siding is sun worn, replacement will give you about even money. You’ll get about what you put into it. Replacement windows return about 80% of the money and they’ll save you a lot of money while you’re living there.

When prospective buyers are looking at the inside of a home, the rooms that really draw them are the kitchen and bathrooms, but don’t go overboard. Stainless appliances are a plus, but chef’s quality appliances only return value if they are fairly standard in the neighborhood. Most buyers these days look for granite countertops and for updated cabinetry, but keep the colors neutral.

A lot of California homes are older and are short on bathrooms. If you have a four bedroom, one bath home, you might be better off losing a bedroom and adding a master suite, with a modern bathroom and a walk-in closet. Of course, the ideal would be to add on to the house or find room elsewhere.

Today’s modern bathrooms have granite countertops, big showers (possibly with steam) and big tubs. Most couples want double sinks and plenty of counter space. The master bath is generally more important than the guest baths, although both should look updated.

The most important thing, obviously, is to please yourself first. If you really love to cook and you want to buy incredibly high-end appliances, then buy them. Unless you are flipping a home, resale value shouldn’t be the only factor, but do your research first. If your home has two bedrooms, it’s probably not a good idea to take it down to just one, even if you do gain a master suite. Check with your realtor before adding a pool. Pools can even devalue a home.

Decorating Trends For 2014

in Decorating by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment
From Lushome.com

Middle Eastern Inspired Interior with soft colors, from Lushome.com

It’s still only January, but spring is right around the corner. Soon, Mother Nature will freshen up, lighten up and brighten up. Why not do the same with your indoor surroundings? Here are a few ideas to give your home some up to date touches.

Walls are getting lighter. Look for “blushes” of color, like pink, blue or even white. Contrast them with dark, masculine tones, especially in furniture and wall coverings.

One big color, according to Brian Patrick Flynn of Flynnside Out Productions, is my perennial favorite (I use it as a neutral), red-violet. Another trendy color is navy blue.

Instyle Indulgence Interiors disagrees on the wall colors. They predict dark and glamorous. “Move over white walls, in 2014 we’ll be seeing rooms with a lot more drama and glamour. Dark, moody walls in black will be the perfect backdrop to the metallic accessories that we’re all loving right now.”

Elle Decor calls “radiant orchid” the color of 2014. It’s a light, almost mauvey purple. All of their color picks are subdued – perhaps not quite a blush, but not the strong colors seen in recent years past.

For kitchens, white is coming back, even in appliances. For many years now, stainless steel and granite was the go-to look for modern kitchens. Whirlpool has introduced its “white ice” look, which is a stainless accented white. This is good news for people who spend too much time chasing after fingerprints on stainless steel, but it might be slow to catch on. White countertops and cabinets are also big for 2014.

Metallic accessories (other than appliances) are one of the things almost everyone agrees about this year, but the difference between now and in the past, is that mixing metals, is the way to add interest. Try combining flat and shiny metals as well as different tones.

2014, like 2013, will be the year of do-it-yourselfers. Beat up vintage furniture can get a brand new and completely unique face with some work from you. I’m also seeing a lot of paint, whether it be on furniture or even on kitchen cabinets.

Another unique DIY idea is to upholster wood furniture, for a softer look and one that will cover all flaws.

Look for florals, similar to what your grandmother might have had (and that’s not a bad thing), especially in the spring. In fact, traditional, elegant looks are all the rage right now. Imagine Nob Hill or New York’s Upper East Side, circa almost any time.

If traditional isn’t your thing, go funky, even kitchy. According to the Wall Street Journal, macramé is coming back. Can hanging spider plants be too far behind? Bohemian is also hot, but with more subdued colors. Look for middle eastern inspired patterns.

Whatever your tastes, you will find trends that you can work with. Of course, if you don’t want to go all out and make major changes, a few modern accessories and throw pillows can change the entire look of a room.

How To Decorate On The Cheap (VIDEO)

in Decorating by Wendy Gittleson Leave a comment

It’s funny how moving your old stuff in a new home can make your new place feel like home, but it can also make it feel a little empty.

If time and patience are more prevalent than money, you might be surprised at the beautiful results you can find at thrift stores and dollar stores.

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