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Decorating Your First Home

When you get it together and finally are able to buy your first home, most of us are so excited to create the home of our dreams. I would like to share some tips on how to design on a dime, and plan for resale. This is your first home, not your forever home. A good mantra, write it down. The decisions you make need to take into account the people who will purchase your home within the next 5 to 10 years. Now let's start with appliances. If you need to buy appliances, buy middle range. They look great, will last during the duration you own the home and will be energy efficient. Also you may want to think of brushed steel. It shows no fingerprints and goes in most any decor.

Another important subject is paint, here are a few of my color tips. Bright or deep colored might be a sweet song in your heart but a high percentage of future buyers do not have the ability to see past a Tangerine kitchen or a Cranberry Great room. So here are your painting tips. First, always prep and prime your walls. Second buy a high quality paint with a bit of a luster finish. Your paint job will still look great after five years and because you chose a luster finish, you can easily wipe of scuffs and marks without damaging the paint. House Beautiful Magazine is very big on color. They have partnered with Benjamin Moore and have a vast collection with an easy application that takes the guess work out of how a room would look when painted in your chosen color. I think for easy living and for resale the compromise is simple, lean towards the lighter versions of the colors that speak to you. Instead of a deep Tangerine for a kitchen, how about a light Cantaloupe? It is the same warm family, just not as intense. Save your deep or bright splashes of color for your Art, Mixmaster, Toaster, Towels and Dishes. Are you thinking a deep Blue for a library. Wow, yes that would look dramatic, however your room would feel smaller and absorb the light, not reflect it. Also for resale, a neutral Taupe or Griege (Grayish Beige) is not only very popular but quite lovely. I am a fan of subtle reflective colors that change with the weather and the light. Sherwin Williams Paint company has a palette that I use consistently. My top favorites are Frostwork, Copen Blue, Opera Glass, Relaxed Khaki, and Sea Salt. These colors work well with different trim colors and all react to the light, making the room color, different at all times of the day. I have used these colors in Homes and Offices on both coasts. I am asked often about these colors and others who use them seem to be as happy with this simple palette as I am.

The fun part is choosing the art and accessories that can make a room POP.

Furnishings. A great sofa is an investment. An okay sofa can be $1200 and will last about 10 years. A great sofa will last 20+ years and cost $1800-3000. Find a sofa that is comfortable, neutral, well made and if you can swing it has down wrapped cushions.

Choose a fabric that will work with many colors. Preferably a textured fabric that will be comfy and hold up well as your family grows. Your taste will change over the years, a classic sofa will change with you. Another beautiful aspect of a high end sofa is that you can have a new slip cover made to reflect your next homes style. Remember it is better to have one fabulous piece of furniture than a room of furniture that is poorly made and not attractive. Less is fine, you can always save and buy the matching chair next year and for the time being make do with a few of your other pieces, or none at all.

Curb appeal. It is important to drive up to your home and have it feel as beautiful as you had dreamed it would. Some easy fixes can be a paint job, shutters, a colorful door and fresh plantings. Planting beds that are in good condition and have some nice mulch with no dirt showing will looked well cared for and save you big money on your water bill! Perennials and foundation plantings are less expensive than bright colored annuals in the long run. If you choose your plant material wisely they will also require less care, water and maintenance. Consider a garden, front and back, that features tall perennial grasses and the various varieties of sedum mixed with some low maintenance Carpet Roses. If you live in a warm climate plant a few trees such as fruitless Olives or Pepper Trees. They will provide shade, will not require much water, care or trimming. They also have smaller root systems that do not get into the sewer and water pipes. This is really important advice. My own Maine garden has an Apple Orchard, Wild grasses, some perennials, and Rosa Rugosas. We were also blessed with a wide variety of trees including for 200 year old Maple trees and Woodland areas with fantastic varieties of Moss and Fern. Lets talk garden color. Keep it neutral, with a bit of a flair and lots of texture and contrasting leaf colors.

If you would like to learn more, google Garden Design Magazine, they feature many lovely examples of gardens for your area of the country that will thrive. You can also click and go to my "Garden Portfolio" Design site. There are alot of great ideas to borrow. From Hardscape to Garden Structures and Pools. You may also want to take some time and walk the neighborhood or the local Botanic gardens and see what plants and trees are growing with little effort and much ease. Take the time to google Drought tolerant and Eco-Friendly or Green and Sustainable Gardens. Click on images and then go to the sites that interest you the most. A great tip is to hire a designer to walk your property with you and give you tips, tricks and ideas about what you can do. Expect to pay around $300.00 for a consult. You will save much more by not making mistakes and doing it right the first time. One last tip. Use great compost, lots of Bone & Blood Meal, ground Sea Kelp & Rock Phosphate.

These simple items used consistently will make for a high PH balance, healthy plants and bugs in balance. We live in the natural world and the full spectrum of insects and birds is very important. Strive to keep the circle unbroken, everything depends on each other, really.

Enjoy your home. Have fun feathering your nest. Make sure you include your partner, they really do like to be part of the process. Welcome to home ownership and may your next home be your forever home.

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