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House & Home

Home Maintenace House & Home Selling

Easy Ways To Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal

Let’s talk curb appeal for a minute. You’ve probably heard the term. It’s the first impression buyers get of a home when they see it from the street.

Why is curb appeal important?

That initial reaction a buyer has to a property can have a lasting impact.

Not only is that first impression formed as they walk up to a property, but it can also be started before beginning their in-person home viewing. If you’re selling your home, think about how it will present itself in photos online.

If you’re thinking of selling your home, we’d love to talk to you about your home’s curb appeal and how you can make a great first impression on buyers.

If you’re not planning on moving anytime soon, curb appeal still applies. Think about when you invite friends and family over to your home. Create an inviting aesthetic for your guests, but also for yourself. How awesome is it to walk up to a beautiful home and know it’s yours!

If you’re looking to make some improvements to your home’s curb appeal before buyers (and photographers) hit your driveway, here are some small changes that will make a big impact.

Curb Appeal Improvements In Under 60-Minutes

  • Check that nothing in sight is visibly broken and that light fixtures are in working order
  • Close the garage door and tuck away any potential eyesores (garbage bins, yard tools, toys, etc.)
  • Clear the driveway of your cars
  • Wash the front windows (inside and out) and garage door windows if there are any
  • Sweep the driveway, walkway and front entrance of any debris, leaves, etc.
  • Tidy up the lawn and gardens
  • If anything is really worn out, such as a welcome mat, consider replacing it

Put yourself in buyers’ shoes. Stand in front of your home and try to look at it with new eyes. Scan the property for any areas that could use sprucing up.

Need more inspiration? Check out these Jaw-Dropping Curb Appeal Makeovers

Get More Advice

Need help? We’re here to offer you professional real estate advice. If you’re thinking about selling your home now or even in a year or two, we’d be happy to connect with you about your goals. We’ll take a look at your home and offer advice on any upgrades that would add value to your home.

Home Maintenace House & Home

Spring Cleaning Guide: How To Dispose Of Different Types of Waste

It’s that time of year again! After a long winter indoors, it’s time to give your home the refresh it deserves. For some spring cleaning is just that; cleaning. But others take on decluttering tasks and spend time reorganizing their homes for the year ahead.

If you’re in the latter category, you might find yourself with a number of items to get rid of. Here’s a quick guide to help you determine where and how to dispose of different types of waste (or non-waste items).

Garbage and Recycling Items

If most of your waste is smaller items that fit into your garbage and recycling bins, you should be able to rely on your regular garbage and recycling pickup. Here is a Region of Waterloo guide to help you determine how much waste you can put out for pick-up, the types of items you can include, and how to properly and safely bag your waste.

Yard Waste

If your spring cleaning extends into your yard, you’ll likely have a pile of yard waste to dispose of. Seasonal yard waste collection runs from late March until November or December. Acceptable items include: branches, leaves, pine cones and plant waste. Review this resource to learn how to prepare your yard waste, what is accepted, collection schedule and rules, and other details.

Bulky Items

If you have larger items that don’t fit in the Region’ of Waterloo’s approved garbage containers, mark your calendar for the bulky items collection days (every second week).

Bulk items may include: appliances, rugs or carpets, scrap lumber, furniture, or mattresses.

Use the Region’s Waste Whiz tool to determine how you can recycle of dispose of a specific item.

If your items are too large or you have a large load of waste, look into the drop-off waste management sites.

Clothing & Donation Items

If your spring cleaning tasks include decluttering and getting rid of excess clothing, you’ll likely end up with a pile of items that aren’t waste. Don’t throw away any items that are still in good condition. There’s always someone who would appreciate them. This is the “Reuse” element of recycling!

Consider selling or donating these items. Donated clothing can go to local drop-in centers, clothing donation bins, and second-hand stores.

More Spring Cleaning Guides

Here are some other helpful guides you may want to reference before or during your spring cleaning!

You might also be interested in these resources

House & Home

How To Declutter Your Home & Maintain Your System

Decluttering is a hot topic. It’s an important task for homeowners to do before selling their house, but it’s also something that can be beneficial for anyone. “Clutter” is the accumulation of items in your space; items you don’t use, and it’s you use but don’t have a space dedicated for them.

Clutter can impact us in a number of ways. First, it can be a timewaster. Have you ever had to dig through a pile of papers to find something important? Second, and possibly most importantly, clutter can have an impact on a person’s mental health; it can be distracting to look at and cause some people to feel overwhelmed.

Whatever your reason, spending some time decluttering your home can leave you feeling refreshed and organized. Here are a few tips to start you on your decluttering journey and some ideas around maintaining your organized home (a crucial step if you don’t want to undo all your hard work).

The Initial Decluttering

Start Small
Don’t bite off more than you can chew. It can be overwhelming to think you have to declutter your entire home in one day. Take it room by room (or even smaller), and give each area of your own some dedicated time.

Areas in your home you can declutter today

  • Your office or desk – This is a common clutter area. Take the time to look at all the items on your desk before you tuck them away. Do you have a pile of old sticky notes and lists? Try consolidating them in a digital to do list app.
  • Your closet – If you can’t tackle your closet all in one day, do one category at a time (pants, shirts, shoes, bags, etc.)
  • Your bathroom and medicine cabinet – We’re pretty confident you’ll have an expired item or two in your bathroom.
  • Linen closet – When was the last time you took inventory of your towels, sheets, pillow cases and blankets?
  • Kitchen – This is a huge space, but you can take it drawer by drawer. For example, how many one-use kitchen gadgets do you have? And when was the last time you used them?

Give everything a home
Decluttering can become a vicious cycle if you’re simply moving items from one counter to another spot. You’ll have the most success if every single item has a home. If it doesn’t have a home, think: Do I need this item? Where does it make sense for this item to live? When everything lives in a specific spot in your home, you’ll have a much easier (and quicker) time putting things away in the future.

Get the clutter out of the house
After all your hard work, the nicest thing you can do for yourself is to get the clutter out! Don’t pile it in the garage or in your trunk. Take the time to drive your donations to a donation center right away. You don’t want to make more work for yourself once to get to your garage, and you’d be surprised how some items can make their way back into your home.

Maintaining the System

Make it a routine
If you’re worried the clutter is going to creep back into your life. Try incorporating some decluttering into your daily or weekly routine. For example, do you have a favourite weekly podcast? When it’s time to listen, spend that hour or so tidying up a main area of your home (and put the items back where they belong, rather than simply tucking them away for a quick fix).

Find time for quick clean-ups
It’s amazing when you realize that daily tasks don’t actually take as long as you think they do. In fact, a lot of us probably spend more time dreading certain chores. Find small patches of time in your day to keep the clutter away from busy areas of your home. For example, do your microwave your coffee? Spend 45 seconds tidying your kitchen counter while your coffee reheats.

Communicate with your family
There’s nothing more frustrating than when you spend a day organizing an area of your home and someone makes a mess. But here’s the thing: when you organized, say, your refrigerator. You categorized and created a system for all the items. Your family members may not see your system. One of the ways you can maintain your home is by communicating with your family members. Next time you’re all the kitchen, call them over and say “I put all of the condiments in the refrigerator door shelves. Can we try to put condiment bottles back there?”

Label where necessary
One way you can maintain organization and communicate with your family at the same time is by labeling specific shelves, boxes, bins, etc. You don’t need to go overboard and label your refrigerator shelves, but certain areas can really benefit. For example, bins can be used to contain specific types of toys and labelled so everyone knows what belongs in each bin.

Happy decluttering!

House & Home Moving Selling

What To Do Before You Make A Move | Getting Ready To Sell Your Home

If you’re planning on selling your home, it’s never too early to start thinking about what needs to be done. When you step back and look at your home, there might be some obvious changes that need to be made, but there could also be some things that you won’t think of or notice.

When we talk to people who are early in the thinking-of-selling position, there’s always one key piece of advice we offer: before you put any effort into getting your house ready, talk to a seasoned real estate professional. Why? A real estate professional with years of experience can have a keen eye for detail and come up with a customized list of the things you can do to get your home ready.

Advice based on your specific home, your neighbourhood, the current market, industry trends and so much more can set you in the right direction so you’re able to get your home ready in an efficient and effective manner.

5 Things To Do Before You Sell Your Home

It’s never too early to start preparing your home for the market. Here are some tips to help you get it ready!

1. Get Custom Advice

Have an experienced real estate professional view your home and come up with a strategic plan to get the house ready.

2. Declutter Your Home

Take this time to go room-by-room, edit out unused items and start packing items you don’t use often.

3. Implement Your Custom Plan

Work your way down the list of strategic preparations provided by your real estate professional.

4. Deep Clean

Visit each area of your home and start doing a deep clean. If you start early, you can focus on a room per week.

5. Depersonalize

Pack up photos and specific items that don’t show off your home. Let the buyer picture themself in the home!

Home Decor House & Home Inspiration

Canadian Interior Designers You Should Follow

Looking for inspiration for your next home design project? A great place to start is with professional home design and decorating blogs. In Canada, we have so many talented people who are passionate about decorating and design. Use this list of Canadian interior design and home decorating blogs, websites, and Instagram accounts to inspire your next home project.

Here are the interior designers you should follow on Instagram (and beyond)

Sarah Richardson

Sarah Richardson has been a staple designer in the Canadian interior design scene for decades. Bringing her talents to the small screen, she’s appeared in and hosted several HGTV series.

Website: ๐Ÿ”—https://www.sarahrichardsondesign.com/
๐Ÿ”—Get Inspired

Instagram: ๐Ÿ”—@sarahrichardsondesign

Leclair Decor

This Canadian husband and wife own an interior design firm, a retail store, and are in the process of launching a short-term rental cabin that they designed from scratch.

Websites: ๐Ÿ”—leclairdecor.com | ๐Ÿ”—ldshoppe.com | ๐Ÿ”—ldcabin.com

Instagram: ๐Ÿ”—@leclairdecor | ๐Ÿ”—@ldshoppe | ๐Ÿ”—@ldcabin

Jillian Harris

With a background in interior design (and reality television), Jillian Harris has turned her business into a full-fledged Influencer-Lifestyle-Brand. Visit her blog for decor inspiration, styling tips, her favourite paint colours and more.

Website: ๐Ÿ”—https://jillianharris.com/
Blog: ๐Ÿ”—At Home
Instagram: ๐Ÿ”—@jillian.harris

Style At Home

Style At Home is a Canadian lifestyle and home decor magazine creating great content on interior design and home decorating projects. If you’re not a magazine subscriber, you can still get lots of great inspiration from their website and social media channels.

Website: ๐Ÿ”—https://www.styleathome.com/
๐Ÿ”—Decorating & Design section
Instagram: ๐Ÿ”—@styleathome

Nyla Free Designs Inc

Based out of Calgary, this Canadian design company has a fresh and modern approach to interior design projects.

Website: ๐Ÿ”—https://www.nylafreedesigns.com/
Instagram: ๐Ÿ”—@nylafreedesigns

Jo Alcorn

Jo Alcorn is the Founder & Prinicpal Designer of Alcon Home Design & Build, a full-service design and build firm. She first showcased her design skills on HGTV Canada when she was featured on Designer Superstar.

Website: ๐Ÿ”—https://alcornhome.com/

Instagram: ๐Ÿ”—@jo_alcorn

Samantha Pynn

This is another great Canadian designer featured on HGTV. She’s known for her approachable, fresh and colourful style, she uses patterns and layers to create beautiful spaces.

Website: ๐Ÿ”—https://www.samanthapynn.ca/
Instagram: ๐Ÿ”—@samanthapynn

More Canadian Interior Designers & Influencers To Check Out

Click on a name to see more of their design work!

Get More Inspiration From Our Blog

House & Home

Decorate Your Christmas Tree Like A Pro

As holiday content starts to hit our screens, you’ll likely be seeing lots of new holiday decorating trends popping up. Food and decorating shows are all over TV with lots of tips to get your home ready for the holiday season, and creators are posting their festive photos and videos across social media.

Don’t let their perfectly curated holiday scenes send you into a panic. Here’s a spoiler: their houses have been decorated for the holidays for months already.

But if you’re looking for some tips to decorate your Christmas tree like a professional, we’ve pulled some tips to give you a hand.

Christmas Tree Decorating Tips

The Order of Events

  1. Grab your family
  2. Put on your favourite holiday soundtrack or movie
  3. Mix everyone a hot chocolate, eggnog or festive cocktail
  4. Find the perfect spot and position your tree (anchor it if necessary) Tip: If you’re using a tree collar, now is the time! Some collars are difficult to use after your tree is all done.
  5. Hang your lights first. Before you move on, step bake to make sure you haven’t missed any spots. Tip: If you squint your eyes you can see the general distribution of lights and see if there are any areas that need some more attention!
  6. Wrap the garland around the tree. Tip: If you’re going for a less busy look, consider a thinner garland, or someting beaded.
  7. Hang your ornaments. This is a great activity for the whole family. Everyone can put their favourite ornaments in prime positions. Tip: If you’ve positioned your tree in front of a window, don’t forget the back!
  8. Add your tree skirt (or tree collar)
  9. Put the topper on… well, the top!
  10. Sit back and admire your hard work.

Give Your Artificial Tree A Fresh Dusting Of Snow

If you have a beloved fake tree that you use every year, maybe you’re looking to add a dusting of “fresh” snow to your tree. Flocking, is when you add synthetic snow (or a material that creates the illusion) to create a winter wonderland on your tree.

Pick A Theme For Your Tree

Some people love to re-create the same Christmas tree year after year. The holidays are all about tradition after all! But if you want to switch things us, choose a new theme to try this year. You can work with the ornaments and decorations you already have, and even make some of your own.

Can You Ever Have Too Many Lights?

It’s all about being Merry & Bright, right? The lights are what make any Christmas tree glow (literally), so use these tips to ensure your tree is lit up in all its glory. Here’s a guide to help you choose the best lights, plus steps to help you light an artificial tree and a real tree.

Create A Balanced Look

If you’re really aiming for a designer look this year, there are a few things you can do. Once you have your theme, gather all your ornaments in advice. Choose colours and materials that will bring your vision to life. Here are a few pieces of advice from House Beautiful:

Balance the decor

Given the many Christmas tree decorations you’re likely to have, you have to ensure that everything is well-balanced and spread out to your liking. Arrange embellishments from the top of the tree and then work towards the bottom. This way, you can easily check your design as you dress up your tree.

Cluster your baubles

Balsam Hill’s design consultant, Brad Schmidt, recommends clustering three baubles of different sizes to add flair and visual appeal. You can either put the same pieces together or choose contrasting ones.

Use tree picks

Tree picks and floral sprays come in many forms, such as decorated branches, twigs, berries, or even pine cones โ€“ use them as subtle accents to complement the entire look of your tree. Grouping picks together usingย floral wireย is a creative way to elevate the visual appeal of your tree without overpowering other decorations.

Read more: 12 Secrets to Decorating your Christmas tree like a professional

Happy Decorating!

Home Decor House & Home

Home Design Styles Explained

Have you ever looked at a beautifully-designed room and thought “I love that. What is the design style called?“. There are lots of terms used in interior design so we thought we’d share a helpful guide to break down home design styles.

Understanding the names of the home design styles you love will help you in your search for home decor elements. Knowing the name of the style will help you describe what you’re looking for to others, search for furniture within that style, and to find inspiration online.

Interior Designer, Natalie Myers, breaks down lots of popular interior design styles and provides a quick description of each style and where it originated.

Design Styles Defined

Source: hgtv.com

art deco living room
Photo source: hgtv.com

Art Deco: The Style

Le Corbusier gave Art Deco its name after the International Exhibition of Modern Decorative and Industrial Arts in 1925, when more than 16 million visitors thronged to Paris to feast their eyes on delicate, streamlined and geometric designs that celebrated all things urban and modern. The oh-so-sleek styleโ€™s characteristic look-at-me finishes and city-chic takes on classical and exotic themes were a worldwide phenomenon in the Jazz Age.  

arts and crafts design style kitchen
Photo source: hgtv.com

Arts and Crafts: The Style

The Arts and Crafts movement (which enjoyed its first round of popularity here in America between 1910 and 1925) focused on the simplicity of form โ€” no extraneous decoration to distract from the workmanship, thank you very much. โ€œTruth in Materials” was all-important to Arts and Crafts designers, who often made use of local sources. (Architecturally speaking, โ€œArts and Craftsโ€ can refer to Craftsman style, work by Frank Lloyd Wright and the bungalow style popularized in the early 20th century by Greene and Greene.)  

bohemian design style living room
Photo source: hgtv.com

Bohemian: The Style

As embodied by influencer/ Jungalow blogger / boho-chic expert Justina Blakeney, bohemian style revels in bold (and plentiful) layers of color, pattern and texture. Itโ€™s a gradual, free-spirited accumulation that builds up to an exclamation point (or 12) through rattan furniture, woven wall hangings, lush plants and vintage-inspired throws and pillows. Accordingly, it boasts a collected look, with furniture and decor acquired over time from thrift stores, antique shops and world travels.  

california chic design style living room
Photo source: hgtv.com

California Chic: The Style

California chic is bohoโ€™s younger cousin who moved from Los Angeles to Joshua Tree and has gone (almost) all out on the aesthetics of the high desert. Thereโ€™s an element of more traditional southwestern style (and of eclectic So Cal beach cities) in this newest form of Golden State casual living, but its palette is primarily pale blushes, weathered leather and organic neutrals.  

coastal design style bedroom
Photo source: hgtv.com

Coastal: The Style

Inspired by the ocean (naturally), coastal style evokes a light and breezy feel by way of airy fabrics for window treatments and emphasis on nautical or beach-themed accessories like lighthouses and seashells. Think of the classic Ralph Lauren-inspired palette of navy and white with gold accents as the most buttoned-up version of this look, and rough-and-tumble, slipcovered beach cottages as the version in comfy flip-flops, if you will.  

contemporary design style living room
Photo source: hgtv.com

Contemporary: The Style

Contemporary (which is not synonymous with modern, but weโ€™ll get to that later) design frequently features clean, sleek lines and swaths of solid colors โ€” predominantly muted neutrals or bold punches of brightness. Furniture in contemporary interiors tends to keep a low profile, and its often-metal frames and straight legs emphasize basic shapes and forms. Graphic elements in artwork or as accents are its crowning glories.  

eclectic design style living room
Photo source: hgtv.com

Eclectic: The Style

This catch-all style borrows liberally from all over the place (literally and figuratively), and its imaginative appeal lies in unexpected contrasts and the element of surprise (โ€œwho knew those pieces would make each other look even better?โ€) Donโ€™t conflate eclectic style with throwing anything and everything together, mind you: the key here is to use building blocks of design (color, pattern, texture, composition) to make spaces look cohesive.  

mediterranean design style living room
Photo source: hgtv.com

Mediterranean: The Style

Mediterranean interiors draw inspiration from coastal regions of Spain, Greece and Italy; they owe their palettes and spirit to the sea itself, the rustic villages you might find on its shores and the estates and palazzos that overlook them. Traditional Mediterranean furniture features ornately turned legs and feet; its hardware, in turn, is heavy and often burnished. Rough-hewn surfaces like raw stone walls and exposed beams rub shoulders with velvets, linens and florid patterns.  

midcentury modern design style living room
Photo source: hgtv.com

Midcentury Modern: The Style

Midcentury modern style made its first splash in the โ€˜50s and โ€˜60s, when Palm Springs was the weekend-home destination of choice for Los Angeles entertainment pros and Scandinavian designers and architects were spreading the gospel of simplicity, functionality and natural shapes in popular culture. Autumnal oranges, yellows, olive greens and chocolate browns make frequent appearances, as do barely-there glass walls. In 2020, you can find the latest generation of the look from designers like Jonathan Adler.  

modern design style living room
Photo source: hgtv.com

Modern: The Style

A clean, streamlined furniture and architecture style that dates back to the โ€˜30s, modern decor is rooted in the minimal, true use of materials and absence of decoration. It’s characterized by a neutral color palette, polished surfaces, strong geometric shapes and asymmetry.  

traditional design style dining room
Photo source: hgtv.com

Traditional: The Style

Eighteenth-century English, 19th-century neoclassic, French country and British Colonial revival furnishings come together in traditional interiors, where classic styling and symmetry reign supreme. A restrained traditional palette typically features mid-tone colors; fabric patterns and wall treatments can range from simple solids, stripes and plaids to florals and chinoiserie.  

transitional design style living room
Photo source: hgtv.com

Transitional: The Style

Per its name, the transitional look โ€” which dates back to the 1950s โ€” bridges traditional and contemporary design. It strikes a balance between historic pieces and furnishings with updated silhouettes and materials (Rome to chrome, as it were.) Past meets present without conflict in color schemes that are often neutral; luxury and comfort are the orders of the day.

Read more on HGTV.com for ways to incorporate these design styles (and more) into your home.  

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