Entries in Homes (45)


How to Choose the Right Color for a Statement Front Door

Easy ways to freshen up your home with a colorful, statement front door.

home with bright blue front door

The sun will knock the intensity of any color down a notch, so don’t be afraid to experiment with a shade that’s a little bit outside your comfort zone.

What do you call it when your front door is so inviting, your welcome mat starts to feel a little left out?

Knob envy.

(We’ll see ourselves out.)

Really, though: When it comes to making a you-belong-here statement, few elements deliver the message quite like a home’s front door. After all, it single-handedly serves as your abode’s unofficial welcome committee, greeting guests well before your open arms have a chance to usher them across the threshold.

And it does it all with just a simple coat or two of paint — provided you choose the right color.

Whether you’re making payments on an 18th-century farmhouse or a contemporary ranch, the tips below will help you choose the just-right hue to declare your house your happy place with a statement front door.

Scope the overall exterior

Before you even peek at a paint swatch, you need to take a good, hard look at your home’s exterior. Head outside and make note of the existing paint scheme and roof color, as well as any architectural details such as shutters, siding, trim, flashing — even your landscaping.

Because let’s face it: That magenta hue would probably look out of place on your red brick Colonial, no matter how many times you favorite the color on Pinterest. Be sure to snap a few pics for reference later.

Evaluate similar styles

Overwhelmed by choices? Narrow down your selection by researching color schemes that are historically accurate — or just well-suited — to your home’s architectural style. Victorians can accommodate candy colors, for instance, while craftsman-style homes are traditionally painted in earthy, complementary hues.

And what are your neighbors doing? Decide if you’d rather blend in or stand out — or just ignore all of the above and go with whatever makes you happy.

Pick your palette

If the warm fuzzies are your endgame, then you can’t go wrong with yellow. Greens and blues are said to be calming, whereas oranges and reds are known to be energetic and vibrant. Of course, this all depends on the tint (amount of white) or shade (amount of black) of your chosen color. Jewel tones will emit more drama than muted pastels; a deep red sends a different message than cotton candy pink.

Learn how to use the color wheel

Remember learning about the color wheel in grade school? It’s time to take a refresher course, especially if you’ll be coordinating your door with your home’s existing paint colors.

Here’s a quick rundown of the color schemes most commonly applied in home decor:

Complementary colors are those directly across from each other on the color wheel (e.g., red and green); their contrast promises the most impact when paired together.

Analogous color schemes rely on sets of three or more colors that sit directly next to each other on the color wheel; think yellow, yellow-green, and green.

Triadic color schemes involve three colors that are evenly spaced on the wheel; picture an equilateral triangle pointing to three different colors, like purple, green, and orange.

Monochromatic color schemes make use of a single color and gain visual interest by using variations in its tint, shade, and tone.

Make a swatch board

What you see isn’t always what you get, so bring plenty of swatches home from the paint store.

Here’s a handy trick: Tape the swatches to a piece of white foam core, then place the board somewhere near your door. That way, you can get a true sense of how the color will appear as the light changes throughout the day.

Keep the weather and the changing seasons in mind too. Try to envision how the paint color would appear on a cloudy, snowy day, as well as those filled with sunshine and ample foliage.

Break out of your comfort zone

The sun will knock the intensity of any color down a notch, so don’t be afraid to experiment with a shade that’s a little bit outside your comfort zone. It is just paint, after all!

Still not convinced? Go with a front door in red or black, the two colors said to jibe with the broadest range of architectural styles. Reds with blue undertones, such as cranberry, are a tried-and-true favorite.


Commanding attention from the curb should be a team effort. Consider accessorizing your freshly painted door with shiny new hardware. Copper or brass handlesets and kickplates, for example, would pop against a door painted a deep shade of violet or indigo. Complete the look by flanking your door with planters, rolling out a cheeky welcome mat, installing new house numbers, or any combo of the above.

Bring the outside in

Fall in love with your front door’s new hue? Invite it inside by painting the other side of your door the same color. Just remember: Each side may require a different paint finish, particularly if they show differentiating signs of wear. For instance, while a high-gloss finish makes a color appear more vivid, it’s also known to highlight imperfections.

What are your favorite colors for a statement front door? Share your suggestions in the comments below.

- See more at: http://www.trulia.com/blog/how-to-choose-the-right-color-for-a-statement-front-door/#sthash.WgAuFb3l.dpuf

By  | July 22, 2015


How to Handle Your 'Open Concept' House

When your kitchen opens to your living room, you can't really use opposing décor in each space. Your entire home needs to flow. Here are some tricks to creating a space that is both cozy and functional.

  • Choose coordinated color palates: Decorating your kitchen in bold primary colors while keeping an autumn palate in your open living room will be torture for the eye. It is critical that you choose colors for each of these spaces that coordinate with one another. Choose one color to tie everything together and coordinating shades to blend the rooms together.
  • Create rooms within rooms: Not everyone loves large, open floor plans and sometimes it is important to create visual breaks. Use design tricks to create rooms within rooms. Use a rug, a love seat and two chairs to form a conversation area in one corner of the large space. Set your primary sofa with the back to the center of the room to break up the space and create a walking path.
  • Match your lighting: If you have a large crystal chandelier over your dining room table but your living room has a series of modern lamps, this can be confusing. Do what you can to create symmetry in lighting throughout the open space. Match the colors or the design aesthetics of lamps and light fixtures to tie the entire area together.
  • Add personality with accessories: Of course, you don't have to have one design concept for the entire house. You can use accessories to personalize each space. Maybe you would love to have owls in your kitchen. This doesn''t mean you have to extend that décor into the living space. Use different accessories around your house to separate the functions. 

It's 2015. Where's My Hoverboard?

The "Back to the Future" franchise offers prophetic insights about the real estate industry, predicting the scope of change over three decades.

A time span of 30 years—more substantial than mere decades, but more manageable than a century—provides useful perspective on technological innovation. Now that three decades have passed since time travelers Marty McFly and Dr. Emmett Brown traveled to 2015 in "Back to the Future Part II," let's look back at the future they saw and examine how their predictions have played out in real life, particularly at the notable implications for the real estate industry.

Set in fictional Hill Valley, Calif., in 1985, both the first and second "Back to the Future" films use the 30-year conceit to explore how life has changed since 1955 and how it might transform by 2015. The first movie was a smoother, more critically acclaimed film, perhaps because 1955 was relatively easy to recreate. In "Back to the Future Part II," director Robert Zemeckis had to dream up what life would be like in 2015. Back when the sequel was released in 1989, the late film critic Gene Siskel called it "very gadget-filled and really noisy." Sound familiar?

Indeed, real life in 2015 shares many similarities to the future envisioned by Zemeckis and cowriter Bob Gale. Hill Valley's retro "Cafe 80's" diner offers a colorful background, but it's doubtful the set builders knew the real 2015 would see leg warmers back on store shelves or record companies releasing new albums on cassette tapes. When the film poked fun at executive producer Steven Spielberg with a "holoplex" movie theater ad for "Jaws 19," was it simply looking for an easy cultural reference or did it somehow predict the 3-D sequel-mania that would grip Hollywood in the first decades of the 21st century?

Setting aside the prognostication prowess of the filmmakers, let's put on a real estate lens to see the marketing marvels and property-related technologies that jumped from Hill Valley to real life.

That tongue-in-cheek ad for "Jaws 19" contains clues about the future of advertising. In the movie, McFly fears he'll be swallowed up by a holographic shark that dives down from a billboard above him. After setting aside the creature’s eerie resemblance to Katy Perry’s "left shark" (the costumed character who grabbed the nation’s attention during the 2015 Super Bowl halftime show), we know that individually targeting one customer in the crowd is already possible in the real 2015. Real estate pros are learning how beacon technology can help them zero in on potential clients passing by For Sale signs (see "Real Estate and the Internet of Things"). So the idea that McFly could be targeted by the makers of “Jaws 19” isn’t too far off from today’s hyperfocused marketing approaches.

Using technology less menacing than a giant shark leaping from a sign, real estate pros may soon be able to develop marketing that features 3-D moving images—perhaps two satisfied clients shaking hands, a new development coming to life, or a key turning in a front-door lock—on a billboard-sized scale. Austrian startup TriLite Technologies recently partnered with the Vienna University of Technology to demonstrate how the human brain can be convinced it’s seeing mobile 3-D vignettes without the use of special eyewear. Instead of flat pixels, they’ve developed the "trixel" with lasers and a movable mirror that deflects light to both the left and right eyes, which results in an image that appears to move in three dimensions. The researchers' published paper noted that such a device far outshines current glasses-free 3-D technology in terms of both image quality and visibility in sunlit conditions. They say the trixels could deliver to a large crowd with "theoretically up to several thousand 3-D viewing zones, and maximum 3-D viewing distances of up to 70 meters." Such technology could offer forward-thinking agents and brokerages the opportunity to stand out from competitors who simply paste their head shots on a billboard.

The house of the future also makes a debut in the movie, as the McFlys’ fictional domicile features many smart-home gadgets with counterparts in the real 2015. For example, the house’s security system uses fingerprint technology to open doors. While many real estate pros have yet to see biometric locks on their own listings, this form of keyless home entry is offered by a number of companies (though the real 2015 hasn’t gotten rid of doorknobs as they have in Hill Valley).

The home also has programmable lights that respond to each resident’s presence, an increasingly common offering in today’s smart-home packages. We may laugh when Grandma McFly pops a tiny pizza in the "rehydrator" and removes a bubbling, full-sized dinner a few seconds later. But the real kitchens of 2015 are seeing water emerge as the star of a new, faster cooking appliance known as the combi-steam oven.

The McFlys' televisions are the flat-screened version we’re used to, and they easily accommodate videoconferencing and multiple programs on one display. Even some of the content is similar; after the termination of a videoconferencing call, one television reverts to an image of a famous Van Gogh self-portrait as a kind of high-tech screen saver. Real estate pros can use the ArtKick app to class up open houses with similar technology that displays fine art on their listings' TVs.

While many other inventions we commonly see today are featured in "Back to the Future Part II"—Marty's kids take phone calls and watch videos on goggles that could be mistaken for a 1980s version of Google Glass—there are implausible moments. The McFly house laughably has fax machines in every room that spew dot-matrix-style documents. As the chattering classes have noted, we never got the hoverboards we were promised (when released last year, the Hendo hoverboard—which works only on copper-plated surfaces—was panned as a poor substitute for the movie gadget that allowed Marty McFly to skateboard on air), to say nothing of flying cars. Perhaps the most far-fetched claim of all: the Chicago Cubs heading to the 2015 World Series. But no one ever claimed baseball fans of the future would be immune from that especially cruel joke.


Outdoor Spaces Add Curb Appeal

3 Inventive Ways to Brighten Your Home’s Exterior with Paint

Think your exterior entryway lacks zing? Is your plain garage door a bore? Be bored no more with these budget-friendly painting projects.

A Playful Porch

A front porch with a stenciled floor and a bright green doorImage: Bella Tucker

Dana from Bella Tucker wasn’t fond of her dowdy front porch with a cold cement floor. Several coats of fresh paint later, she says she “grins like a goofball” each time she turns into her driveway. 

Her statement-making painted floor is the showstopper in this porch makeover.  How did she create the Moroccan-inspired pattern? She used a stencil to create a repeating pattern. Dana shares the process behind the eye-popping design here.

Tip: Practical features can be pretty, too. Dana also updated the porch’s lighting, added a clearly visible house number, and replaced the front door’s hardware.  

A Charming Garage Door

A garage door painted to look like it has carriage detailsImage: A Pinterest Addict

How do you add character to a builder-grade garage door? Eliesa from A Pinterest Addict created the illusion of a carriage door using paint and hardware. The faux windows and the fleur-de-lis accents cost her less than $40. How did she pull this look off? She used tape. She shares how she created the windowpanes in detail here.

Tip: What’s the secret to creating clean, crisp paint lines? Frog tape. Eliesa said it’s better at stopping color bleed than conventional painter’s tape.

Step Up Your Steps

Painted front steps add curb appeal to a homeImage: The 2 Seasons

When Jordan from the mother and daughter blog The 2 Seasons moved into her 1928 Craftsman-style house, she had to spring for a new roof and landscape.  That didn’t leave enough coin to replace a major eyesore — her front steps. So she freshened them up with paint.  

But instead of painting them one solid color, Jordan pumped up her curb appeal by creating a faux runner. She explains the entire process from start to finish here.

Tip: Jordan’s steps not only look better, they’re also safer. Before adding the final coat, she added sand to the paint mixture. The added grit makes them slip proof when it rains.

By Deirdre Sullivan


7 Ideas to Help You Use Your Outdoor Space More

These ideas will transform your outdoor space into an oasis you may never want to leave.

When your mom told you to turn off the TV and play outdoors already, she knew what she was talking about. Hanging outside is good for our mental and physical well-being.

As adults, having an outdoor retreat adds an economic component: Upwards of 80% of homebuyers said patios and front porches are “essential” or “desirable,” according to the “What Buyers Really Want” survey from the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

So how come when we move into our dream home, we hardly ever use our decks, porches, and patios?

An anthropological UCLA study, described in the book “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century,” blames our fascination with digital devices — tablets, computers, televisions, games — for keeping us cooped up. The UCLA research participants spent less than half an hour each week in their outdoor space. And these were Californians. 

So this summer let’s make a pledge to pay more than lip service to outdoor living so we can be happier, create lasting memories, and generally take advantage of what home has to offer.

1.  Go Overboard on Comfy

Comfy outdoor seating on a home patio 
Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic

When you step into your outdoor space, your first sensation should be ‘ahhhh’. If you’re not feeling it, then your space is likely lacking the comfy factor. Comfy is easy to achieve and can be as low cost as you want. Start simple with a cushion or two or even a throw. Some other simple strategies: 

  • Make sure your outdoor seating is as cushy as your indoor furniture. Today’s outdoor cushions aren’t the plastic-y, sweat-inducing pillows of the past. Plus, they can handle a downpour and spring back once they dry.
  • Lay down outdoor rugs so you’re just as comfortable barefoot as you are inside.
  • Give yourself some privacy. Create natural screens with shrubs, bushes, or even bamboo reeds. Or install prefab screens from your local home improvement store.

2.  Create a Broadband Paradise 

Our devices and electronics have conspired to keep us on lock down. Since we’re not about to chuck our digital toys, boot up your outdoor space so you can keep texting, posting to Instagram, and watching cat videos.

  • Wireless outdoor Wi-Fi antennas provide an extra boost so you can stay connected.
  • A solar USB charging station keeps your gizmos powered.
  • Wireless speakers make it easy to bring your music outdoors, and mask a noisy neighborhood.
  • An all-weather outdoor TV lets you stay outside for the big game.

3.  Blur the Line Between Indoors and Out

Creating a seamless transition between your home’s interior and exterior isn’t as simple or low cost as adding comfort, but it’s the most dramatic and effective way to enhance your enjoyment of the space. Plus, it can increase your home’s value. 

  • The most straightforward, cost-effective solution: Replace a standard door opening with sliding or glass French doors.
  • Use the same weatherproof flooring, such as stone tile or scored concrete, outside as well as in the room leading to your backyard oasis.

4.  Light the Way

Solar pathway lights Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic

When the sun goes down, don’t be left groping for your wine glass. Outdoor lighting dresses up your home’s marketability and appeal (exterior lighting is buyers’ most wanted outdoor feature, according to the NAHB study), makes it safer, and lets you spend more time outside.

  • Use uplighting to highlight trees, architectural details, or other focal points.
  • Add sconces or pendant lights to make evening entertaining, grilling, and reading easier.
  • Illuminate walkways, rails, and steps with landscape solar lights.
  • Hang fairy or string lights to set an enchanting tone.

5.  Make Your Mark

Pavers in a home's yard Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic

Let your style dominate your backyard space.

  • Create a path made with colored glass, brick, or other interesting found materials.
  • Craft a one-of-kind outdoor chandelier.
  • Build a pizza oven, custom seating, or other feature you crave.
  • Add personal décor that makes you happy.

In fact, make your outdoor retreat an ongoing project where you can hone your DIY skills.

6.  Don’t Give Anyone an Excuse to Stay Inside 

Outdoor space with kid-friendly playhouse and DIY chalkboardImage: Tasya Demers from My House and Home

Your outdoor space will magnetically draw family and friends if it has features they find appealing.

  • fire pit is a proven winner. Food and fire have brought humans together since the dawn of time.
  • Give wee ones the gift of magical thinking with an outdoor playhouse.
  • Add whimsy with a chalkboard fence that both kids and fun-loving adults will enjoy.
  • Add a doggie window in your fence to entertain Spot. Installing a dog run may even boost your home’s value. FYI: It’s been said that pets are one of the top reasons why people buy houses.

Related: Outdoor Projects You Can Do with the Kids

7.  Rebuff the Elements

Canopy over a home deck 
Image: LizMarieBlog.com 

Hot sun, rain, wind gusts, and bugs are the archenemy of good times. Here are tips and strategies to help you throw shade on Mother Nature:

  • Install an awning, canopy, or pergola. It’ll make it easier to read your Kindle or iPad and keep you dry during a summer shower. Look for products with polycarbonate panels, which block UV rays, too.
  • Rig glass fence windscreens to the keep your BBQ fires burning.
  • Screen in your porch or deck against bugs. But screening will be for naught if you forget the slats between wood planks. Cover the floor with outdoor carpet or staple screening to the underside of floorboards.


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