3 Ways to Get Creative With Lighting

“Modern kitchen with cozy lighting”

In today’s day and age, choosing the right lighting for your space can be an overwhelming proposition. But it doesn’t have to be. Here are three out-of-the-box ideas you can—and should—put into play.

Light unexpected spaces. There’s no need to settle for simple overhead lighting. Up ambiance and interest in a room by lighting a strip along the floor or beneath a kitchen counter. Place rope or strip lights along the edge of your staircase for easy navigation in the dark, or add indirect lighting under or above cabinets in the kitchen.

Light in layers. When planning lighting design for a room, think lighting in three main layers: overhead lighting, task lighting, and accent lighting. Think a chandelier or ceiling fixture to cover overhead, table lamps for task lighting, and a few specialty spots for accent lighting—frame lighting around the bed frame in your bedroom, for example, or light a few of your favorite pieces of art to draw attention to them.

Don’t forget to dim. Considering that dimmer switches run a scant $25, there’s no reason not to have them in your home. Control your space’s mood and ambience for a small cost, and enjoy a slightly smaller utility bill – the American Lighting Association sites that a dimmer switch saves an average of $30 a year.

Interested in real estate and housing tips? Feel free to contact me directly.

9 Home Design Trends to Watch

Here are 9 Home Design Trends to Watch

With more than 8,000 homes built last year, national homebuilder and developer Taylor Morrison has a window into the design trends that are most influencing home decor. Here are nine trends from the builder’s in-house design experts based on the selections today’s homebuyers are choosing.

1. Healthy homes. Eco-friendly and healthy lifestyle trends are working their way into home design in a variety of ways, such as by incorporating an abundance of plants, choosing natural materials over manmade, hardwood over carpet, and flat-finish paint instead of high-gloss.

2. Low vs. high maintenance. For busy families, the trend is toward low-maintenance design, opting for finishes that don’t require a lot of TLC, such as quartz instead of granite and large tiles instead of small ones…which means less grout to clean.

3. Fashion-forward. Keep an eye on the runway because there will be a stronger link this year between fashion trends and home decor and design, such as the recent explosion of browns and tartans.

4. Earth tones. In keeping with the indoor/outdoor lifestyle trend, earth tones will be prevalent in home design.

5. Monochromatic looks. High-contrast, monochromatic looks are rising in popularity, especially in the kitchen. Look for dark finishes with stark white or grey cabinets.

6. Pastels and jewel tones. Look for palettes featuring baby blues, mint greens and blushing pinks – or the “ice cream cone” colors – or conversely, bold jewel tones like emerald and sapphire.

7. Unique finishes. Fun hardware finishes like black, rose gold and brass continue to gain popularity.

8. Flower power. Also inspired from the runway, look for floral patterns, especially in wallpaper.

9. Cozy comforts. Have you heard about the Danish “hygge” look? It’s all about building a comfortable, relaxed environment with items like cozy and soft rugs, sofas and beds, as opposed to stark, tailored designs.

Five Easy Organizational Tips

Do you feel like you’re constantly battling clutter around the house? You’re not alone, and nothing can feel more frustrating than not being able to locate something when you need it, or wading through piles of items to get there.       

Below are five, easy organizational tips that can offer major upgrades:

Tension Rod for Pot Lids 
If you store your pots and pans in a drawer, install a tension rod along the inside and slip your pot lids behind it. No more rattling pots or hard-to-find tops!

Gallon Bags for Drawers 
Organize your underwear or t-shirt drawer by separating your items and storing them in gallon-sized plastic bags. You’ll never lose 10 minutes hunting for that pair of socks again.

CD Holders for Tupperware
Remember those old CD racks? Repurpose them in your Tupperware cabinet by using them to keep your lids separate, sorted and easy to grab.

Repurposed Wine Rack 
Gifted a large wine rack that rarely feels full? Use it in a hallway or closet to store shoes, scarves and other item that need to be tucked away.

Muffin Tin Magic 
Have a junk drawer that never stays organized? Slip a muffin tin inside to separate your odds and ends.

5 Easy Ways to Brighten a Room

Do you have a room in your house that always seems dark no matter what? Perhaps it’s due to low ceilings or minimal windows. Maybe the walls are painted a darker color than you would like. Whatever the reason, don’t worry. Below are a few simple ways you can brighten the space.


Remove or minimize window coverings. A dark room will only seem darker with heavy window hangings. Choose something light and gauzy, or remove window coverings altogether to welcome the sunlight.
Paint it white. From the ceilings to the floors, painting surfaces a white or off-white color will brighten your space and make it appear larger.
Add mirrors. We all know the old mirror trick can make a space seem larger, but did you know it can brighten it, too? Mirrors reflect light, so the more mirrors, the more light you will have reflected. Try a mirrored wall or a mirror-topped coffee table.
Remove (some) furniture. The less crowded a room, the more space for light to bounce around. Nix any unnecessary furniture, knick knacks or clutter.
Trim the trees. Okay, so you’ve cleared the curtains, added a large mirror and painted your dark wood floors white. Does the room still seem dark? Head outside and look for any trees or shrubs that may be encroaching on your sunlight.

Tips to Keep You Hydrated

While we all know water is essential for our health, not all of us enjoy chugging those recommended eight daily glasses. Or maybe it’s your child who refuses to drink plain old water. Below are a few tips to help you up your water intake.

Add flavor. A squeeze of citrus, fresh mint or a handful of blueberries can make drinking water a bit more fun. Make sure to keep these twists simple and fresh, and avoid sweeteners (artificial or otherwise), which can have health repercussions.

Swap in tea. Unsweetened herbal tea can aid your water consumption, especially if you’re steeping the bags yourself, which helps assure there are no sneaky additives. Add a hot cup of herbal first thing in the morning and before bed to squeeze in a few more fluid ounces.

Choose fruit. While this should not replace the water you drink, focusing on a few juicy fruits a day can help keep you hydrated. Try watermelon or oranges for a fresh liquid burst.

Keep it cold. If you enjoy cold beverages, then keeping chilled water around can help you drink it down faster.

How to Stage Your Home On a Budget

How to Stage Your Home On a Budget

Getting your home into prime showing shape is essential to helping it sell in the shortest amount of time for the best possible price. But while a professional home stager can work wonders, it just might not be in your budget. Don’t despair – here are some great ways to inexpensively stage your home all on your own:
Get rid of the the excess. The first thing every home stager will do is get rid of the clutter. And that is something anyone can do on your own without spending a dime. Get some boxes and storage bins and start removing whatever you can, including: framed photos; anything hanging on the fridge or anywhere else; knick knacks; most books (save a few nice ones for staging); trophies and awards; kitchen gadgets; personal effects, such as glasses, keys, jewelry, etc. The golden rule? You can’t remove too much.
Rearrange the furniture. Go from room to room and make sure the furniture is arranged in a way that makes the room look as open and spacious as possible. If this means removing chairs or tables to open the flow, go for it.
Brighten things up. Replace heavy drapery with sheer panels, raise blinds and shades, and place higher wattage bulbs in lighting fixtures, adding a lamp or two where necessary. Maximizing natural and artificial light are essential to making your home look as bright and appealing as possible.
Paint where necessary. A small investment of paint in key areas will be worth it. Change any dark or oddly painted rooms to a light, neutral color, and prioritize walls and rooms where the paint is dirty or showing signs of aging. Paint can also be a good option for updating kitchen cabinets that are otherwise too expensive to replace.
Add new accessories. A trip to your nearest discount store can send you home with a bundle of new accent pillows, throws, bathroom and kitchen accessories and a nice vase or two for the dining room and coffee tables. These decorative accessories will add a fresh feel and pops of color where necessary throughout your home. Just remember: less is more.

The Many Faces of Home-Buying

The Many Faces of Home-Buying

3 Daily Habits to a Cleaner Home

Between work, family and fun, cleaning your home can feel like a drag—but most of us can’t afford to hire a cleaning crew, and so the task of weekly tidying and disinfecting is unavoidable. To help, here are three daily habits to a cleaner home.

Set a timer. Every night after dinner, set a timer for 15 minutes and have your family clean around the house: arm someone with disinfectant to wipe down the bathroom, set another loose on the living room picking up clutter, and hand out a trash bag to tackle any expired goods in the fridge. If you make this a daily task, cleaning your home will always feel a bit more manageable.

Do one room a day. If the timer method isn’t your thing (or if your family is a small one), pick a room or area each day to address: living room on Monday, bathroom on Tuesday, laundry on Wednesday, and so on. Depending on the size of your room, many can be handled in 20-30 minutes or less.

Multitask. Pair cleaning with something you enjoy doing, like listening to a podcast, phoning a friend, or watching your favorite show. Fold the laundry while you catch up on television, or wipe down the counters and surfaces while you gab with your sister or old roommate.

Simple Tips to Unclutter the Garage and have a Successful Home Sale!

The garage can be a key point in selling your home. Pinellas Waterfront Homes recommends Simple Tips to Unclutter the Garage & Set the Stage for a Successful Sale!

When selling a home, staging is an important piece  that can’t be overlooked. From the kitchen to the bedrooms and bathrooms, staging is a great way to make sure your home appeals to the masses. While staging spaces within your home is crucial, many sellers  neglect one important area:  the garage.

While the garage is used for many different things, storage is one of its biggest benefits. As buyers consistently point to storage, space and usefulness as the main criteria used to rate any garage, it’s still the most overlooked area when homeowners begin getting their property ready for sale.

In fact, many sellers use the garage as a dumping ground for items no longer needed within the home as it’s being prepared for the market, which could be a big mistake when it comes to getting your home sold. A cluttered or unorganized garage can ultimately send the wrong message to a potential buyer, making it impossible to visualize all that the space can offer.

If you absolutely have to use some of the space for storage purposes, be sure to keep everything neat and organized, as this can subconsciously imply that you take better than average care of your home. It may also lend a feeling of newness to the property.

Getting your garage in tip-top shape begins with removing all the junk that has collected over the years and organizing everything on clean shelves. Vacuum up any dirt and do away with any spider webs and bugs. It’s also important to make sure there is plenty of light. If there are windows in the garage, be sure to clean them.

Bigger fixes include adding industrial flooring, painting the walls and ceiling and replacing any coils or parts of the garage door that are rusty and not working properly. If you have an automatic garage opener, make sure the batteries are fresh and everything is working properly.

Keeping your garage presentable can be the difference between getting a terrific offer or seeing yet another buyer move on to another home. Taking the time to clean, paint and organize will do wonders for making the space more appealing to potential buyers.

For more staging tips, contact me today.  This information is brought to you by Lori Hopkins,  Pinellas Waterfront Homes, (727) 687-0708.

5 Ways to Smile More

This information is brought to you by
Lori Hopkins,    Pinellas Waterfront Homes

5 Ways to Smile More………Feeling down? It happens. However, if the blues seem to follow you everywhere you go, consider these simple tips for raising your mood.

Surround yourself with flowers. Flowers have been shown to subtly lift the spirit of those around them. Grow a flower garden in the spring and summer and bring those blooms inside with you. Feeling low in the winter? Create a flower budget. Just $5 – $10 a week could bring a gorgeous bouquet into your life. Place it on your desk at work or wherever you spend a lot of time.

Adopt a pet. Furry friends bring an endless amount of joy into the lives of their owners, from play time to snuggling and beyond. If you have the schedule and resources that allow you to responsibly adopt a pet, do it, and let the smiling begin.

Do a random act of kindness. Kindness has a boomerang effect, so don’t be afraid to dole it out. Volunteer, help out a pal before they even ask for it or do something smaller. Next time you’re in line at the grocery story, offer the person with only one item waiting behind you to step ahead.

Create a happiness ritual. What makes you happy? A long bath with a good book? Journaling for 15 minutes every morning? Yoga? A walk with a pal? Incorporate more of this into your day to lift your mood.

Identify downers. Some downers, like a stressful job or a sick family member, cannot be avoided. But others, like a long commute or a toxic relationship, can be identified and cut. Ask your boss if you can work from home one day a week to avoid the commute, or if possible, look for another job closer to home. Another downer that may be hiding in plain view? Social media. Monitor how you feel before and after you spend time on Instagram or Facebook and act accordingly.