3 Easy Tricks to Up your Curb Appeal Game

Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Schlage. The opinions and text are all mine. 

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While curb appeal gets a lot of attention when you are selling a house, it can sometimes be neglected when you are actually living there. It's easy to get overlooked since you spend most of your time INSIDE and other jobs can take priority. But, there are easy ways to improve a home's curb appeal without a ton of effort (so you can get back to your big to-do list elsewhere) and reap the rewards you can enjoy every time your return home.

There are plenty of traditional, time tested ways to improve your curb appeal from great landscaping to beautiful woodworking to upgraded lighting. You probably have already heard them all so I won't bore you with the basics. Instead, I'm sharing a few easy tricks that you might not have thought of before.  Added bonus is that they that take very little time or money to implement but still reap big rewards.

Trick #1 | Opt for dark colors Instead of getting a new front door, paint your existing one with a rich shade to create a modern eye catching entry. While investing in a fabulous front door is generally a great idea, paint can do wonders at a fraction of the price. Skipping the bright colors and sticking with a dark shade will help hide a multitude of sins while making even an outdated style appear modern and fresh. Black is a perpetual favorite, but you can create the same impact with rich inky blues, forest greens and charcoal greys. Don't be afraid to go dark here as a deep front door will attract the eye -particularly if your home is painted a lighter shade. The same concept is employed by a winding stone path, spot lighting and great molding but this idea is a much easier solution with the exact same result!

Trick #2 | Update your door hardware Even the most outdated door gets an instant pick me up with a new front handle set. Especially if you pick something with great clean lines like SCHLAGE'S CENTURY FRONT ENTRY HANDLESET. Not only is this an easy upgrade to install that beautifies your entryway - it also improves the security of your space in a flash. You can go two ways with finish. Opt for the matte black finish on a dark door (as in this example) to give a more modern, monochromatic feel to the entry space Or go with a matte brass or nickel to create some visual contrast and eye catching reflective surface. Either way, the new handleset will create the impression of a more updated home in a flash.

Trick #3 | Add Whimsy Whether it be a fun vinyl decal welcoming your guests, a modern wreath or a pink flamingo, adding something just a little bit fun will not only show your personality but also gives the eye something to rest on. On the example above, the white "hello" decal is a super affordable and fun addition that can be installed in one minute flat. This technique will distract from the elements of your entry that are less than ideal. Take a step back and look at your front entry way. Does it have depth and texture already with the existing structure, materials and plantings? If not, add in a few layers like big leafy green ferns or hanging plants, updated house numbers or an eye catching welcome mat. If your front entry space is located on a porch, add a cozy seating area for extra welcome. The goal is to be inviting to both guests and residents so go the extra mile to create that message visually

Disclosure: This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Schlage. The opinions and text are all mine.

Shore Bedroom Makeover

It doesn’t feel that long ago but we bought our little apartment on the Jersey Shore more than 10 years ago now.  Our lives were very different back then and this little getaway has changed as drastically as our lives.  We renovated the bathroom and kitchen and carved a kid’s room out of the living room space.  It was finally time to tackle our bedroom.  It had never been a priority before but a restful place to lay our heads has suddenly taken on new meaning.

This is how we found it the day we decided to purchase it.

Let’s just say Better Homes & Gardens wasn’t going to come calling anytime soon.  We did a few patches here and there with some ikea furniture and paint but it never felt like a truly well put together, restful space.

I’m happy to share it’s finally a totally different room thanks to some help from my friends at Hayneedle.

The anchor of the room is the Linen Tufted Wingback Bed which is a beautiful shade of navy. As you can see, I didn’t want to go too crazy with the coastal vibe but I wanted to have just the suggestion of the shore.

Since there were already a lot of rectangles in the room I wanted to add some more organic shapes and textures.  I started with the using these round end tables in place of traditional nightstands.

The walls were painted a dramatic deep grey (BM Kendall Charcoal) but needed a little artwork to break it up. The abstract artwork stopped me dead in my scroll – the perfect shade, organic shape and nod to the sea without being something too on the nose.

For lots of extra storage as well as a warm infusion of natural wood, we put this long 8 dresser chest of drawers along the long wall.  This thing holds sooo much and looks lovely doing it.

Finally my absolute favorite addition is this modern update on a wingback chair.  Tucked in the corner, it’s the perfect spot to flip through a magazine or put on your sandals before heading out.

I’m so happy with this room now that I catch myself peeking in there every chance I get!

Source list:

Disclosure: Some of the products featured in this post were provided by Hayneedle but all of the opinions expressed are my own.

Outdoor Movie Night at the Country Cottage

Remember the fab DIY circular patio and firepit I shared last year? Well, it got a serious upgrade in the form of an outdoor movie theater set up this season.

You will have to excuse the less than stellar image. The truth is, we were having too much fun out here and I just never got around to taking a great photograph.  But I think you can get the idea.

It's not something they keep up permanently but rather bring it out when the situation calls for it.  I think Aggie's first viewing of the Wizard of Oz was certainly occasion enough.

For those that are curious about the details, the projector is a refurbished home theater projector.  I was really shocked how clean and crisp the picture was even with the ambient light around the patio in the form of the outdoor string lights.  The only downside to this projector is that the built in speaker isn't great so my brother uses a separate speaker instead which worked perfectly.

As for the screen I had just assumed they would hang a white sheet up between the trees.  Little did I know that a sheet just won't work very well b/c the light goes right through it so they were going to need something a bit more heavy duty. They used this portable projector screen, added heavy duty grommets to the edges and built a frame out of pvc pipe that was easy to put up and break down as needed.

With the fire roaring and everyone kicking back in the adirondack chairs, it's a pretty amazing set up.

Airstream Envy

Sometimes it's a good thing I don't have a large backyard.  Otherwise I would be even more obsessed with scoring an airstream.  I have no interest in camping but using an airstream as an outdoor bar or patio anchor is pretty fabulous.

sources: byron bay / airstream classifieds / autocamp

I know, I know. I'm late to the party.  But you'll have to excuse this city girl who knows nothing of these metal boxes on wheels.  I didn't realize you could roll an entire extra room on your property! Granted, my backyard is too small to roll anything onto but I can dream right??

So without the ability to obsess about actually owning an airstream, I've added vacationing in one to my bucket list.  Notice I didn't say camping. Autocamp seems pretty amazing. As does this Airbnb.

Anyone have one?  Does it get musty/hot in there?

Update the decor of any room in 10 minutes!

There are lots of ways to update the decor of a room - fresh paint, new furniture, better lighting. But there are few better or faster ways to make a quick change in almost no time at all than to update the door hardware. It's a small and easy change but the impact is big.

If you know me, I'm a hardware junkie. I fell in love with the limestone partially because of the door hardware. Even though the rest of the house was a complete disaster, the hardware was the window into the past that lured me in and inspired me to take on the challenge. I love to visit architectural salvage shops and pour through their vintage hardware for great finds. There is something oddly sentimental about a good doorknob to me. I imagine all the hands it touched over the years - like a small bit of history saved. Even when used in less than traditional ways, I'm a sucker for a good doorknob.

schlage matte black doorknob

Practically speaking, the right door hardware has outsized visual impact. Think of a great doorknob as the great pair of earrings to pair with a classic dress. Small in size but can instantly update a space. Best of all? Replacing an old doorknob with a new one could not be easier! It requires no special tools or skills - simply unscrew the one you have, pop in the new one and screw together. Voila!

schlage matte black doorknobschlage matte black door knob

I had been wanting to change out the door hardware in our shore apartment for ages but it never made it high enough on the to-do list. A few years back we renovated the BATHROOM but left the door hardware for a future project. Then hurricane Sandy hit and we renovated the KITCHEN, but again, we never got around to tackling that door hardware. There has always been a mishmash of colors and styles that drove me a little crazy. It's a small thing but the wrong door hardware always screams "thrown together" to me in a way that is never a good thing.

So when Schlage contacted me to see if I was interested in partnering with them, I jumped at the chance. Having used Schlage locks for years already, I knew I was getting a quality product that would last and would feel sturdy to the touch.

schlage matte black doorknobs

Since I like to mix metals as my tastes change, I wanted the knobs to be versatile to work with any finish. I selected SCHLAGE'S BOWERY KNOB WITH GREYSON TRIM in matte black for the closet, bathroom and bedroom doors. Bravo to Schlage for making a great matte black finish that goes with just about any style. It works as well in a coastal style home like ours as it would in a modern or industrial space.

With so little time invested, I finally have matching hardware unifying the apartment and updating the style at the same time. What a difference an hour can make when you have the right materials. I could not be happier with the result!

Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Schlage but all opinions expressed are my own.

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