7 Tools for Protecting Your Walls

Protect Your Walls from Cracks

Before driving a nail into a plaster wall, place a small piece of tape over the spot you’re working on. This simple prep step will prevent cracking in the plaster.

Patch It Up

To make a putty for quick patches, combine a tablespoon of salt with a tablespoon of cornstarch.

Mix them together with just enough water to make a paste. Apply while still wet.

Crafty Use for Old Gift Cards

 

In need of a thin yet sturdy household tool for scraping grout, repairing holes in walls, or filling scratches in wood? Use a used-up gift card (or expired credit card) for the job—any unusable hard plastic card will do. And if you’re anything like us, you have plenty of those!

Wall Hole Solution

You’re moving out of an apartment and need to fill in the holes in the wall caused by nails. Just grab a bar of white soap and rub across the hole until the soap fills it. It’s not a permanent fix, but it will make the walls look clean until they can be repainted.

Another Wall Hole Solution

Before spackling small holes in your wall caused by nails, first cut a Q-tip in half and insert in the hole, stick end first. Then spackle as you normally would. The Q-tip will completely fill the hole and ensure you won’t have to go back for a second pass.

Finding Imperfections

Filling and sanding every hole in the wall before you paint can be enough of a pain, but sometimes it’s hard to find every crack, hole, and imperfection. Make your job easier by turning off the lights in a room, then slowly running a flashlight over the entire surface of the wall. The light will cast different shadows in these areas, making them easier to see than they would have been in the daylight.

Got a Screw Loose?

You’ve just struggled to remove a stripped screw from the wall. Now how do you fix the hole? Use a wooden golf tee! First, squirt some wood glue into the hole, then insert the tee as far as it will go, tapping it in place with a hammer. Next, use a utility knife to cut the tee flush with the wall. You’ve now made a stable base for the new screw. Drill a pilot hole into the golf tee, and insert your new screw. Problem solved!

 
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Source: quickanddirtytips.com

Finally, ‘Fixer Upper’ Is Back! Watch Chip and Jo Tackle One Hot Mess of a House

fixer upperDiscovery+

At long last, Chip and Joanna Gaines and their smash hit show “Fixer Upper” have returned, although with some changes. For one, the show is now called “Fixer Upper: Welcome Home”—and the season premiere has them faced with renovating the messiest house we’ve ever seen them tackle.

In the episode “A Neglected Home for Newlyweds,” Chip and Jo meet Laney and Lucas, an engaged couple in Waco, TX, who have bought a house filled, quite literally, with trash. The Gaineses will need to work hard to give the couple the honeymoon home they deserve, and have a $150,000 renovation budget to do it.

Here’s how they whip this wreck of a house into shape, which suggests that this season of “Fixer Upper” will be filled with surprises and inspiration galore.

Use indoor windows for a creative way to open up sightlines

office
This window cleverly connects the office to the kitchen.

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The house includes a large front room, which Lucas plans to use as an office.

While workspaces are normally private, Jo and Chip want to open up this space and improve the home’s sightlines. So they install industrial windows into the office that look into the kitchen and living room.

While some designers might have busted down the office walls to give the whole house an open layout, these windows are a creative alternative to demolition.They make the office feel less isolated while still giving Lucas the quiet and privacy he’ll need when working.

When the room is finished, Joanna is happy with not only the function, but also the clean, industrial design.

“The industrial window looks amazing, and I think the idea of trying to bring in a little bit of that industrial feel to this, really kind of modern, minimal space, feels really unique,” Joanna says.

A dark stone fireplace lends an industrial look

fireplace
Joanna Gaines needed to bring some style into this living room.

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When Chip and Jo first see Lucas and Laney’s new house, they’re not only shocked by the mess, they’re also disappointed by the old-fashioned design.

The living room is especially dated, with a fireplace that desperately needs a refresh. Jo plans to update the feature with a sleek, dark stone that’s perfect for Laney’s industrial tastes.

fireplace
Laney wanted wood storage in her new fireplace, even if it wasn’t in the original design plans.

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Yet instead of keeping the slab looking plain and minimalist, Laney makes a change to Jo’s design, requesting a cubby for wood storage. This doesn’t necessarily go with the industrial look Jo planned for, but this designer is willing to make a change. In the end, the wood ends up making the fireplace look even cozier than before.

Centered windows give a room balance

window
Chip and Jo realized, at the last minute, this window wasn’t centered.

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Chip and Jo want to give this young couple a cozy dining space, so they design a built-in banquette with midcentury modern charm. However, in the middle of renovation, they realize that the window isn’t centered on the wall, making the space feel awkward.

They know that the wonky window will make the new table look strange, so they put in the extra effort to move the window. They finish the room with the banquette, a midcentury-inspired light fixture, and a beautiful wood table. The furnishings look great and they’re all perfectly centered—giving the room a balanced look.

table
This centered window makes the space look larger.

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When the dining space is finished, Joanna explains that the new window placement makes the space feel so much bigger.

“This window is really close to this door here, and everything was, like, shoved this way, so we had to center your window,” she says. “Now, I feel like the space was really tiny, but now you’ve got space.”

Use wood paneling as an accent wall

bedroom
This bedroom was a catastrophe when Jo and Chip found it!

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Laney loves simple, Scandinavian looks, but also digs midcentury modern style. So for the bedroom, Joanna installs a feature wall that works for both styles.

“I like the idea of this really cool focal wall, really minimal but highly textural,” Joanna says.

bedroom
The wood paneling gives this bedroom that midcentury modern look Laney and Lucas love.

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She uses vertical wood paneling, which are reminiscent of paneling from midcentury homes, while choosing a light color and a simple black handle for the hidden bathroom door, which is in line with Scandinavian design.

The feature wall ends up looking gorgeous. It brings so much style to the room while seeming versatile enough to work with almost any style.

Dark colors in the bathroom add a moody vibe

bathroom
This bathroom was covered in wallpaper.

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Laney says she likes dark tones, so Joanna wants to give Lucas and Laney’s master bathroom a moody makeover in dark green. She chooses a deep green paint color, then pairs it with green tile and wood vanities, and lightens it all up with light floors and counters.

When the room is painted and nearly finished, it looks great, but Joanna isn’t satisfied with the ceiling.

“When I walked into the bathroom, I really love what’s going on with all the textures and the pattern and the colors. Then when I look up, when I see the white ceiling, it’s almost like we stopped,” Joanna says. “The ceilings are kind of cut in a weird angle, and I don’t want to highlight that.”

So she has the ceiling painted dark green to match the walls.

While Chip is concerned this will make the space feel too dark, once the room is finished, it’s clear that painting was the right choice. The darker ceiling gives the space a cozy but glamorous feel that highlights the beautiful tiles and clean, white bathtub.

bathroom
This dark green color makes the white finishes stand out.

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The post Finally, ‘Fixer Upper’ Is Back! Watch Chip and Jo Tackle One Hot Mess of a House appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

How to Find Apartments with Move-In Specials

Home is where the heart and all your stuff is, so you probably want it to be pretty nice. Just not break-the-bank nice. There are a few easy ways to save before signing on the dotted lease line, fortunately. Do your wallet a big favor and check out these tips for finding the biggest and baddest apartments with move-in specials.

How to find apartments with move-in specials with Apartment Guide

Apartment Guide is making it easier than ever to know which properties offer the biggest bang for your buck by tagging them with a hard to miss, but easy to use hot deals badge.

Follow these easy steps and you’ll be on your way to saving money on your next apartment lease.

1. Search for apartments in your city or neighborhood

Visit Apartment Guide and search as you normally would using filters to narrow in on your desired city, neighborhood, price and features. You can easily select a Hot Deals filter option, which will only show apartments in your search that have an active deal for you.

hot deals filter

In addition, as you’re scrolling through your full list of properties, you’ll notice a friendly red badge that says “Hot Deals” or “Deals” with your special offer.

apartments with move-in deals

 

2. Claim your move-in special

When you click on a property, you’ll know if it has an active deal when you see the red word “Deals” in an icon under the photos. Click on that badge or scroll down the page to see what special is currently being offered. It could be anything from a months’ free rent to a gift card when you sign a lease.

apartments with move-in deals

 

Then click on “Check Availability” to fill out your name and contact information and it will be sent to the property along with your move-in special. Someone from the community will contact you shortly.

While you’re on the page, you can also sign up for virtual tours, if they are available.

tour from home

 

Other tips for finding apartments with move-in specials

There’s no reason to stop there. Double (or triple) up on the savings by heeding a few of these tried-and-true tips for scoring the best apartment deals.

Timing is everything

No one wants to move during the busy holiday season, much less when it’s oh-so-chilly outside. So take advantage of everyone else’s hesitation and cash in on apartment community promotions that run rampant from October to December. Happy New Year, indeed.

Act quickly

If a deal seems too good to be true it probably isn’t going to be there long. Starting a few months before the big move, monitor rental prices in your desired area. This will give you a better idea of what’s fair to pay and what a true apartment deal looks like. That way, when a truly great promotion or rent reduction pops up you’ll be able to swoop in and grab it right away.

Rent new

Although it seems pretty backward, it can sometimes be cheaper to score a brand-new unit. This is because newbie communities have a lot of space to fill, so they run excellent specials to get people in the door. Just make sure your rent and amenity fees won’t get jacked up without your consent in a year or two.

Make the ask

Many people don’t realize that rental rates aren’t set in stone. If a community is struggling to fill units they’ll be more likely to throw you a bone or two, in the form of reduced rent or waived fees. Don’t be afraid to check out these potential caveats. The worst thing they can say is no, right?

negotiating

Brag a bit

Now’s not the time to be modest. Landlords would far prefer to have reliable renters in place, so if you have an impeccable credit history and references go ahead and drop this info like it’s hot. Be sure to include your score, if you know it. The apartment community is more likely to offer discounted rent to a sure thing, rather than someone who’s racking up debt all over.

Explore payment options

Some apartment communities have flexibility as to whether you pay month-to-month or upfront for a certain period of time, such as three, six or even 12 months. If you have the savings this could land you a discounted rent rate since they’ll already have your money in the bank. This apartment deal will cost you more upfront but will save plenty in the long-term.

Don’t be a diva

Sure, you might want a view of the bay or whatever, but if it works better with your budget to rent a middle floor unit it’s probably smart to make the concession. The same goes for ua-desirable first-floor units. It’s simply cheaper to snap up a middle unit.

You can also save major bucks by opting for a community with onsite, rather than in-unit laundry. This minor inconvenience can net big savings in the end.

The same concept goes for fixer-upper units. Although it’s lovely to move into a turnkey place with a fresh coat of paint, pristine hardwoods and gleaming stainless steel, it’s also going to be reflected in the rent price. So think about what you really need, versus what you really want, all with your budget in mind. Many communities will approve minor repairs and upgrades, so check into that option and do the work yourself for a fraction of what they would have up-charged you!

Cast a wider net

Sure, you want to be in the trendy part of town, but it’s not worth being near all the hot spots if you have no money left over after rent, utilities and amenity fees to enjoy them. Instead, move a little further out to find the unit you want at a price that won’t break you. Then use ride-shares or public transportation to get you where you need to go if you don’t have your own wheels.

Find your apartment with move-in specials today

Searching for an apartment can be overwhelming in more ways than one. A little extra diligence on the front end, however, is likely to net big savings in the end.

So whether it’s a coupon, selecting a basement abode or a combination of the two, take a beat to figure out what you really want, when you want it and what you’re willing to give up to reap the best cash savings possible.

The post How to Find Apartments with Move-In Specials appeared first on Apartment Living Tips – Apartment Tips from ApartmentGuide.com.

Source: apartmentguide.com

A September State of Mind

Hi friends. So sorry to go completely MIA on you. Between attempting online school with a five-year-old, much of California burning to the ground, and the general state total chaos in which we find ourselves, getting to the computer for any length of time has been a bit of challenge, to put it mildly. And then I blinked and summer is officially over.

But I had to finally get on here as I have big news for you!

They say you shouldn’t make major life decisions during times of extreme stress, right? Well, we decided to throw all caution to the wind and instead have purchased a coastal cottage in Washington State! Apparently a global pandemic, homeschooling a kindergartner and the most consequential presidential election of our lifetime wasn’t enough to keep me busy.

coastal cottage mood board on Apartment 34

In all seriousness, if the past seven months of Covid have taught us anything, it’s the importance of friends and family and so we decided to create a gathering place that can bring together those we love most for years to come. Nestled within the myriad of inlets and islands that dot the Puget Sound north of Seattle, the cottage enjoys sweeping views of the Olympic mountains and Hood Canal. I consider it my official respite from the impending doom. Sadly it looks nothing like the inspiration images I’ve collected here.

Instead, it is going to take a LOT of work to get our little coastal cottage visitor ready – and in a very short period of time. Over the coming weeks, I plan to take you along on the entire design journey. I will be sharing everything with you – from the cottage’s current state, to all of my design inspiration and through the remodel process. If all goes according to plan, I’ll share a major before and after reveal in time to spend the holiday season with our family rather than more than 800 miles away.

coastal cottage mood board on Apartment 34

Trust me, we’re going to have plenty to discuss, as I have to pick an entire household’s worth of things – from paint colors and kitchen cabinets down to dishware, bedding and everything in between. No design decision will be left unturned. It’s both exhilarating and incredibly daunting. These mood boards are just part my first ideation session for my dream vibe.

I’m hopeful sharing this process with you will offer you some fresh design ideas and positive inspiration as we all hunker down to weather what will undoubtedly be a stormy fall – be it literally or just politically. It’s been a rather dark year and I feel like this might be a way to share a little bit of light. I know I am very happy for the creative distraction. I hope you are too.

I can’t wait to share more very soon!

The post A September State of Mind appeared first on Apartment34.

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Source: apartment34.com

7 Inexpensive Home Décor Ideas

Fruit Bowls

Fill a large, glass bowl with citrus fruit for a bright centerpiece that’s especially good for the dining room table. Use whatever is on sale—lemons, limes, oranges, or a mixture.

Placemats

We love these unique placements for your kids: Buy an inexpensive or secondhand picture book, then pull out the pages and laminate them using laminating paper you can find at office supply stores. They’re waterproof, original, and cheaper than store-bought placemats.

Framed Napkins

For an easy, inexpensive decoration that looks great in any room, frame cloth napkins. Use family heirlooms, or find some beautiful designs suitable for framing at stores like World Market, Pier 1, or Target. Place them in some square frames and hang them in a row.

Homemade Message Board

Need a place to write notes for your family? Make a cabinet door scribble-friendly by painting it in either blackboard or magnetic paint. That way, you and your kids can use chalk to write on the “blackboard” or attach notes with magnets. Alternatively, hang cork tiles for a handy tack-on message board.

Plastic Cup String Lanterns

Here’s a creative decorating project for kids and adults like: You’ll need string lights, plastic cups, and various art supplies. First, decorate the plastic cups with colored markers, paints, glitter, googly eyes, or any other fun embellishments you can find at a craft store. Then, poke one light bulb into the bottom of each cup, so the light illuminates the cup from the inside. You’ll have a beautiful string of lanterns to hang in the playroom, a kid’s bedroom, the living room, hallway, or along a staircase.

Olde Time Idea

Make apothecary-style jars by gluing dollar-store glasses on top of candlestick holders. Use them in the bathroom to hold supplies like cotton balls, or decorate an end table with a few different styles. They’ll look just as good as the expensive kind without costing you a lot.

Clock

An easy way to add custom knick-knacks to your home is to buy clock mechanisms from your hardware store. These do-it-yourself clocks are just the hands and the motor, and allow you to add them to household items, turning them into clocks. Add them to tins, plates, photos with a cardboard backing, or just about anything else in your home. All it takes is a little creativity!

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Photo by Who Knew?

Source: quickanddirtytips.com

These Aren’t Your Granny’s Stencils! Modern Stenciling Ideas You’ll Adore

stencilSteve Gorton / Getty Images

When you think of wall stencils, do you picture curlicue flowers in delicate, dusty shades, decorating the walls of a quaint bed-and-breakfast, or maybe your great aunt’s hallway?

Despite their old-fashioned rap, stencils are making a comeback, thanks to more modern designs and the fact that stenciling is a budget-friendly room refresh that anyone can do.

“Stencils appeal to many people now because folks are eager to make their home their own, but sometimes they’re limited by budgets or even fear—hanging wallpaper is a commitment, financially and aesthetically, and some people are scared to go there,” explains Emma Carole Paradis of Impeccable Nest Interior Design.

Stenciling is also becoming popular due to the rising trend of people putting their own personal stamp on their possessions.

“People are used to personalizing so many aspects of their lives, like their phones and electronics, and they’re looking for new ways to customize their living spaces, too,” points out Dee Schlotter, senior color marketing manager at PPG paint brand.

And stencils are an inexpensive way to try a trend on your walls or furniture.

“It’s low-cost, high-impact, supereasy to do and completely satisfying,” says Paradis.

Choose from any style and color under the sun, and apply them anywhere you need a lift. For some help, check out these nifty new stencil ideas below.

Stencil an accent wall


Photo by Janna Makaeva/Cutting Edge Stencils

Depending on the size of your wall, adding a stenciled design is a relatively easy DIY project to tackle, and you can personalize a private space (like the bedroom) with a small investment.

“The farmhouse style in particular lends itself well to stenciled quotes, stripes, or other patterns,” says Schlotter.

Stencil a kid’s room

Photo by designPOST interiors 

Paradis and her business partner Kimberly Carole love the idea of stencils as wallpaper, especially very large ones that are 36 inches in size.

“A leopard-print stencil in a kid’s room would be so great, and if you’re unsure about it, it’s only paint—you can redo it,” she says.

Stencil your floor

Photo by Royal Design Studio Stencils

Think outside the box, and apply your stencils to floors.

“We’ve taken a stencil and used it to cover up a tile floor, and it totally changed the look of the room,” explains Paradis.

Stencils can also stand in for carpet in rooms where you need some pattern but don’t want to vacuum, such as a screened porch or sunroom.

Stencil a door

Photo by Allison Cosmos 

Your front door is another unusual spot for a stencil design. (Just use exterior-grade paint and finishes so your look adheres well and stands up to the elements.) Pick a fun pattern or stencil your house number.

“Doors look particularly good with a statement color, and stenciling is another way to customize your home’s exterior,” says Schlotter.

Stencil furniture

Photo by Royal Design Studio Stencils

If you’re a thrifter who loves to upcycle, stencils might just be your best friend.

Rehab an old table or dresser with a stencil pattern, say the pros. Focus on the front of the piece or stencil the inner sides of the drawers for a mini surprise each time they’re pulled out.

Throw pillows, headboards, roller shades, and plain white lampshades can also be vastly improved with a stenciled pattern (or try your monogram).

Stencil in stripes

Photo by Fabulous Finishes Inc

Worried your stencils will come across as old-fashioned? Add some classic stripes to your wall design.

“Stripes create a bold graphic that helps the space feel less dated—gone are the days of a stenciled border with a small flower,” says Paradis.

Stencil letters

Photo by Bloom Your Space Organizing

Not every stencil has to be a flower or feather. Instead, consider a saying or phrase in a spot that needs a little oomph. The laundry room is the perfect place to practice stenciling, say the pros.

“This room is often overlooked, and you can go a little crazy here too,” says Paradis.

What stencil shades work best?

Photo by SISSY+MARLEY

There are no serious color rules when it comes to stenciling, but mixing too many hues into one pattern may be hard to achieve. (Each section of the stencil will need its own application.) Instead, choose a bold or dark color for the wall and then add a pattern in a lighter tone.

“Off-white and gray make a lovely combination, and pastel walls with a white stencil overlay would also be beautiful, says Schlotter.

Here’s more on how to stencil.

The post These Aren’t Your Granny’s Stencils! Modern Stenciling Ideas You’ll Adore appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com