First impressions count: How to improve your home’s curb appeal

I’m sure you already know the importance of a good first impression – after all, there’s a reason why we show up to job interviews in suits instead of sweat pants. It’s the same reason why we clean the house before guests come to stay. The interior of your home, however, is not what people will notice first. Curb appeal describes the visual attractiveness of your house when it is seen from the street. Before guests get a peak at the entryway, the living room or the guest room of your home, they will notice your home’s front yard and exterior. Boost your home’s curb appeal and make a great first impression with some of the ideas listed below.

1. Give your home a facelift with a fresh coat of paint.
Photo credit: Piece of Cake/ Piece of Mind

Photo credit: Piece of Cake/ Piece of Mind

If you’re not in love with your home’s current exterior color, choose a new one to dramatically change the appearance of your home. A new coat of paint of the same color can improve the look of your exterior and also helps protect your home from the elements.

2. Consider adding shutters.

Photo credit: PinterestI think shutters are charming and add character to one’s home. If you love shutters as much as I do, consider adding them to enhance your windows and exterior.

3. Light up your home for evening curb appeal.

landscape lightingAt night, it’s hard to make your home look inviting. Adding landscape lighting can give your home a welcoming appearance in the dark, and it also increases safety for you, your family and guests who are moving about the exterior of your home.

4. Dress up your mailbox.

mailboxI rarely see stylish mailboxes, and I think it’s a missed opportunity for homeowners to have some fun with their outdoor decor. You can either buy a new decorative mailbox or keep the one you have and give it some color. Small details like this can have a huge impact on curb appeal.

5. Add decorative touches where you can.

planterUse things such as planters next to the door or a welcome mat on your front porch. Just like the inside of your home, decorative pieces can add style and visual interest to your home’s outward appearance.

Does your home have curb appeal? If not, it may be time to dress up your home’s exterior and make a better impression to those walking by.

By Wendy Weinert

Need a plan for the holiday? Consider these three 4th of July entertaining ideas

I love the Fourth of July. Unlike other holidays like Christmas or New Year’s, Independence Day can be celebrated outdoors where the temperature is warm and the sun is shining. I know many of you already have plans in place, but if you don’t, there is still time! These three July Fourth entertaining ideas are fun and easy to put together.

4th of July Strawberries

Photo credit: Pinterest

Enjoy a small picnic

You don’t have to throw a large party to enjoy the holiday. Gather your closest friends or have a picnic with just your family. To make the picnic festive, set up blankets, pillows and napkins designed with red, white and blue graphics. For food, consider making something that is both delicious and patriotic, such as strawberry and blueberry cupcakes.

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POLYWOOD® La Casa Cafe Five-Piece Dining Set w/ Cushions

Host a potluck

If you know a lot of people looking for something fun to do over the Fourth, why not have them over for a potluck? With a potluck, guests will help by contributing food and supplies, so you won’t have to spend all week preparing. Ask guests to get creative and host a competition to see who brings the most patriotic dish or wears the most red, white and blue!

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POLYWOOD® South Beach Adirondack Chair

Invite guests over to watch fireworks

I love watching fireworks with friends and family. If your home offers a good view of the town’s annual fireworks display, invite friends, family and neighbors to watch them with you. Be sure to offer blankets, chairs and pillows to keep guests comfortable throughout the show. You might also want to have insect repellent handy in case the bugs are out and ready to attack.

Celebrating the Fourth doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive. With the right people, beautiful weather and a few patriotic touches, you can make this year’s Fourth of July a special occasion.

By Wendy Weinert

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

Kara Paslay Designs

It’s your turn to host movie night this month. Are you ready to put a new spin on your monthly tradition? Taking your movie night outdoors is an easy way to change things up and offer a new experience to guests. To make the evening enjoyable for everyone, keep these helpful tips in mind while planning the event.

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

1. Let guests help pick the movie

You might like horror films or romantic comedies, but that doesn’t mean your guests like the same ones. Let your friends have some input regarding what movie you watch by compiling a list of suggestions and asking them to pick their top three. Then you can pick the movie (or movies) with the most votes.

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

2. Prepare snacks and refreshments

Go with the classic movie-theater snack by making popcorn, but flavor it with fun toppings like paprika or chili powder for a unique twist. When handing out refreshments, offer them in closed bottles to prevent spills and to keep bugs from contaminating the water or soda.

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

3. Provide comfortable seating

It’s hard to enjoy a movie when you’re constantly shifting to get comfortable. If you have outdoor chairs, add a cushion or pillow to make the seat comfier for guests. If your seating area is in the grass, you can use plush blankets instead.

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

4. Keep everyone warm

As the sun drops, so will the temperature. Help your friends stay warm by sitting around a fire pit and providing spare blankets for everyone. You can then use the fire pit to make s’mores for dessert!

5 Ideas for Hosting an Outdoor Movie Night

5. Add light

A fire pit may be all the light you need, but if the fire dies out you’ll need to rely on a different light source. Your outdoor lighting should be soft so everyone can still see the movie. Consider an outdoor lamp or use landscape lighting to illuminate your outdoor space.

Hosting a movie night outdoors isn’t hard, but it can be an uncomfortable experience without the right setup. Use these ideas to start a new tradition and host an unforgettable movie night outdoors.

By Wendy Weinert

Throw the Perfect BBQ With These 5 Tips

Everyone loves a good barbecue, and this summer you can be the one who brings family and friends together to enjoy delicious food, good company and sunshine. Just follow these five tips and throw a BBQ guests will remember fondly for years.

Throw the Perfect BBQ With These 5 Tips

1. Create a theme

BBQs are common in the summer, but you can make yours stand out by creating a theme. Turn your barbecue into a luau or set up a Wild Wild West theme. You can even have guests dress up for the event!

Throw the Perfect BBQ With These 5 Tips

2. Decorate your space to match the occasion

When you decide on a theme, decorate your patio or outdoor space with accessories to match. For example, if you’re hosting a luau, add bright colors with tablecloths, outdoor lights and furniture cushions. To create a western theme, use red or blue plaid napkins, hang up a “Wanted” poster on the tree and stick with wooden furniture for a rustic feel.

3. Set the mood with music

Every party needs a little music! Try this summer playlist from Spotify while the party is going on. Just be sure to keep the volume low so that guests can converse without trouble.

4. Prepare a first-aid kit

Kids love BBQs because they get to run around and be active. This, however, can sometimes lead to cuts and bruises. Be prepared for an accidental fall or a burn from the grill by keeping a first-aid kit handy. It should be filled with essentials like triple antibiotic ointment and band-aids.

Throw the Perfect BBQ With These 5 Tips

5. End with the perfect party gift

As guests leave your party, send them off the right way by handing out thoughtful gifts. A great party favor to consider would be a stylish recipe box filled with the recipes you used for the barbecue!

Are you ready to host the best barbecue to date? Incorporate some of these useful tips at your next event and guests are sure to have a great time!

By Wendy Weinert

The latest outdoor decor trends to liven up your yard

In the spring and summer months, your front and back yards are extensions of your home’s interior design. So why not spend time perfecting your outdoor space like you do your interior? Try these five outdoor décor trends to refresh your yard space and captivate all those who pass by.

The latest outdoor decor trends to liven up your yard

1. Mood lighting

With so many outdoor lighting solutions available today, there’s no reason to take the party inside when the sun goes down! Along with outdoor lamps and wall lights, you can use ambient lighting underneath chairs, benches and sofas to create a social environment that is chic and comfortable.

The latest outdoor decor trends to liven up your yard

2. A natural garden 

Gardens are all about the natural and organic. Complete your garden setup then with natural materials to create seating and landscaping. For example, you can place a concrete bench in your garden instead of a plastic chair. Then simply use accent pillows to add comfort and color.

The latest outdoor decor trends to liven up your yard

Photo credit: Houzz

3. Vertical gardens

If you don’t have a garden due to limited outdoor space, take advantage of your house’s exterior walls to create a vertical garden. Succulents are the best plants to grow in vertical walls because they do not need very much water or maintenance. They’re also nice to grow because they come in a variety of colors and textures, which adds visual interest to your wall.

The latest outdoor decor trends to liven up your yard

4. Fire pits

Enjoy a camping experience right in your own backyard with a fire pit. Like outdoor lighting, fire pits make it easier for you, your family and friends to enjoy the outdoors even at night. Plus, they come in all different sizes, so even those with small spaces can benefit from this trend.

The latest outdoor decor trends to liven up your yard

Photo credit: Freshhome

5. Recessed seating in the pool

Turn your outdoor space into a relaxing getaway by installing recessed seating in your pool. Recessed seating gives pools a look of luxury, and your pool will become your guests’ favorite place to relax when visiting your home.

Is your outdoor space ready for summer? If not, spruce it up with any of these latest décor trends!

By Wendy Weinert

 

Add a water fountain to your outdoor décor

Home owners spend a lot of time and money making sure that the inside of their home looks perfect, but then often ignore their outdoor space and leave it unadorned. Depending whether it is in the back or front yard, adding some visual appeal outside can create a welcoming environment or help to design a nice, relaxing space for you and your family.

BrassBaronOutdoorStatue

Even though you want your yard to look nice, finding ways to decorate can be tricky. Much of the lawn décor that is available today just looks tacky. There is, however, a solution to your decorating problem: outdoor water fountains.

Fountains have the ability to turn your outdoor space into a relaxing oasis and can become the focal point of your front or back yard. The fountain size that you choose largely depends on the amount of space you have. If you live out in the country, or just have a really big yard, you could probably get away with using a large, showier fountain, but for most people’s yards, a simpler, medium-sized fountain works best. If you have almost no yard at all, place a small floor or table fountain somewhere near the house and you’ll still get that soothing sound of trickling water.

50194SS_Lifestyle_Fountain

53265CT_room_FountainThe size and style you choose for your fountain might also depend on where you want it to go. Are you struggling to figure out what would be the “appropriate place?” Well, there isn’t any rule as to where you should place a water fountain – basically, wherever looks best! People who have gardens or flower beds can use a fountain to be a part of a larger display. Or, the fountain can stand alone and become the center of attention. Whatever you decide, you’ll love your new outdoor décor.

As we turn the corner towards the winter, now is the time to start planning ahead and budgeting for what you may want in the spring when you want to living in your outdoor areas. Water fountains and outdoor statues may be just the thing!

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