Category Archives: Design

20 Tips to Prepare Your House for Sale

Thinking about selling your home this summer? We’ve got 10 tips to help you improve your home’s curb appeal to draw in potential buyers, and 10 tips to make your house feel like home to lucky homebuyers. Have questions about selling? Let us know. Team Marti is here to help!


9 Ways to Freshen Your Home’s Curb Appeal This Spring

Kent Realtor Marti Reeder: 9 Ways to Freshen Your Home’s Curb Appeal This SpringWhen you’re selling your home, you want to make a good first impression, so curb appeal is important. This is particularly true when you’re marketing your home online. According to HGTV, 88% of home searches begin online, so make sure your home is inviting.

Here are 9 ways to freshen your home’s curb appeal this spring:

  1. Take photos of your home and then look at them as if you were a prospective homebuyer. Do you see anything out of place (maybe kids’ toys in the garden or Fido’s bone on the front lawn) or that wouldn’t appeal to you as a potential buyer? Remove any unwanted items.
  2. Make obvious repairs or replacements. Are the house numbers faded or missing? Could your front door or mailbox use a fresh coat a paint? Is a shingle missing? Is one of your shutters crooked?
  3. Spruce up a paint job, siding, deck, driveway and sidewalk with a good pressure washing. It is an easy, affordable way to freshen your home’s exterior for springtime.
  4. Add some color with seasonal flowers in the garden, or add a colorful container garden to your front porch or patio. Clusters of three pots of different sizes and styles can also add a welcome pop of color.
  5. Evaluate your window treatments from the outside, including curtains, blinds and shutters. Do any of them need replacing? For example, if you have pets, the ends of blinds can sometimes get bent or broken, and those will be obvious from the outside. Changing out the blinds is an easy and affordable fix.
  6. Groom your lawn. This is true before and after your Realtor® takes photos. Groom your lawn. Keep your lawn freshly mowed, the edges trimmed, beauty bark freshened annually, and your trees and bushes pruned.
  7. Upgrade your lighting. Whether you are switching out a light fixture on your porch, adding landscape lights to a garden pathway or installing outdoor spotlights to your backyard, new lighting is a cost-friendly way to add ambience to your home’s exterior.
  8. Create an inviting entrance with a cozy front porch. In addition to the tips above, consider adding a seasonal wreath to your front door, attractive seating (maybe even a porch swing!), a new rug and a fresh coat of paint.
  9. Maximize outdoor living space, whether it is a side deck or a backyard patio. This might include lighting, landscaping, outdoor furniture, outdoor cooking spaces, play areas for the kids, butterfly garden, or even a backyard sanctuary.

If you’re considering listing your home this spring, and want suggestions for how to improve your home’s curb appeal, Team Marti can help. Contact us today.

Sources: HGTV and Forbes

5 Tips for Staging Your Home Like a Pro

According to, staged homes sell 88% faster, and for 20% more, compared to homes where sellers left their belongings in place. Thinking about selling your home this spring? Follow these tips to stage your home professionally. It’s easier – and less expensive – than you think!

  1. 5 Tips for Staging Your Home Like a ProClear out the clutter! No one likes a messy or disorganized home, especially someone trying to envision themselves in your space. Put away knickknacks, personal photos, stacks of mail and magazines.Have more furniture than you need? Move it to another room or store it out of the way in an attic, garage or storage facilities. In other words, if it doesn’t need to be there, toss it, donate it or store it.
  2. Rearrange furniture and home décor. Give your home a fresh, new look without spending a dime by pulling furniture away from the walls, moving rugs and wall hangings around, and reimagining your home’s look with small adjustments here and there. Hanging curtain rods higher can give the illusion of higher ceilings.
  3. Depersonalize your home. Sure, having your family photos and past awards and recognitions on display makes your family feel warm and fuzzy, but it’s hard for some buyers to picture living in a home they can’t see themselves in. Tuck the photos and acknowledgments away.
  4. Go neutral. Paint the walls a neutral color so buyers won’t have to immediately paint their new home. Using neutral when decorating can make spaces appear bigger. Save your favorite bold colors for accent pieces (e.g., lamps, pillows, wall hangings, rugs) that will go with you when you move.
  5. Revive your home’s curb appeal. If your home has dead flowers, dirty windows, chipped paint, or the landscaping needs some TLC, make time to give it a fresh appearance before showing your home. Power wash the outside of your home, add a fresh coat of paint to your mailbox and front door, and replace dead plants from last season with fresh flowers and greenery to make your home inviting from the street.

No time to stage your home? No problem. Ask your Realtor® to recommend someone. She may have staging experience or work with someone who’s a pro! Good luck and have fun.

[Thanks to HGTV and for the inspiration for this post!]


Decorating Tips and Tricks for Your New Home

interior-design-449009_640So you bought a new house, but you don’t know how to make it welcoming and inviting to new guests. Here are some handy tips and tricks to make your new house a home.

  • Bring in lots of light. Homes full of light are more welcoming than dimly lit homes. Add decorative lamps and recessed lighting and open curtains and blinds to create a lighter, brighter, more inviting space. Replace incandescent lights with natural light bulbs.
  • Add some personalization. Your home should reflect who you are. Display collections, hang up favorite paintings and artwork, and set out the prized possessions and mementos that bring meaning to your family.
  • Be inspired by the changing seasons of the Pacific Northwest. Bring in colors from the seasons when you decorate. It will help make your home less drab and invite people to make themselves comfortable. Simple changes like replacing pillow covers, linens and rugs can make a big difference – even on a budget!
  • Pay attention to detail. Sometimes it’s the little things that matter most. If you have access to fresh flowers, use those to decorate a space. Even a small, natural scent from these will create ambiance. No flowers? Add plants for a touch of life throughout your home. Change switch plates, upgrade hardware in the kitchen and bath, paint the front door or mailbox. All of these little touches add up to a more welcome home.
  • Make your home look lived-in but not cluttered. Keep coffee table books or recent magazines handy for guests to look through. Add throw pillows and blankets for easy access and use, and put fresh towels and soaps on the vanities in your bathrooms.
  • Make old furniture new again. Refinish flea market finds with a fresh coat of paint, stencil an old trunk, or recover old dining room chairs.
  • Mix and match. Skip the matchy-matchy decor that used to be popular. Mix and match complementary colors and patterns to create a unique look that feels like home to you.

For professional decorating advice, ask your Kent Realtor for local referrals. Good luck and enjoy your new home!


DIY Home Décor: 9 Ways to Update Your Home’s Style Today

Painted FurnitureWhether you are staging your home for sale or are just ready for a fresh, new look, we’ve got nine easy, affordable decorating ideas for you to try.

  1. Give your front door a new look. Consider repainting it a bold color or update the hardware with something fresh and fun like satin brass locks, knobs and hinges.
  1. Clean up the clutter. Consider adding a dresser or other useful, but attractive piece of furniture in a hallway or entryway to store frequently used items like spare keys, dog leashes and umbrellas.
  1. Rethink interior shelving. Shelves are, of course, great for displaying books, photos and other collections, but they can add beauty to your home too. Give a boring, staid room a splash of color by repainting a bookcase.
  1. Cozy up any room with dark colors (e.g., paint, furniture, wall and floor coverings, etc.) and subtle lighting.
  2. No more matchy matchy. Once upon a time, matching furniture was all the rage, but not anymore. Pairing a wooden table with plastic chairs, or glass table tops with wooden chairs is a fun way to bring the unexpected into your home – while also reusing and recycling well-loved materials. The same is true for rugs, pillows and other fabrics throughout your home. Mix it up a bit for a fresh look.
  1. Update your lampshades. Changing out lampshades or trying different shades with different lamps is an easy and affordable way to give your home a new look. Look past the off-white pleated shades and stark white barrel shades and go for something dramatic – maybe a colored shade or a neutral tan or gray.
  1. Paint something unexpected like the inside of a wooden curio or buffet, the back panel of a bookcase, a wooden staircase, or a kitchen table.
  1. Create an intimate space by cordoning it off with curtains or another type of visual separation.
  1. Change light fixtures to give your home a new look. Focus on one bold piece like a chandelier in your entryway or dining room, or redo all of the fixtures in your kitchen or bathrooms.

Need inspiration or ideas? We love combing through design magazines, but Pinterest and Instagram are great options as well. You can also ask your Realtor® who has probably staged a home or two along the way!

Sources: Sunset: 8 Ways to Refresh Your Home’s Style & My Home Ideas: Style Updates You Can Do Today

Create a Backyard Sanctuary This Summer

Fire pitOur gorgeous, not-too-hot summers are one of the many reasons I love the Seattle area. Make this summer one of your favorites by transforming your backyard into an outdoor sanctuary. Here are some great tips from Better Homes & Gardens to inspire you:

  • Turn a boring concrete slab into a fab patio with concrete paint in a bold color. Wash down the concrete surface, remove dirt and grime with a stiff brush, create a pattern with painter’s tape or masking tape, and paint away!
  • Use salvaged objects to create inexpensive, unique planters, or use architectural remnants to dress up your backyard, giving it a lived in, shabby chic look.
  • Give old patio furniture a new look with a fresh coat of outdoor-friendly paint. Using weather resistant fabrics, recover or replace cushions.
  • Drape outdoor lighting along tree branches and trellises or across patio umbrellas or arbors to add a festive touch. Use bright lights for a party atmosphere or softer lighting for quiet evenings.
  • Add color to your garden with potted annuals for a quick, low maintenance burst of color.
  • Create a cozy nook in a shaded corner of your garden. Add a picnic table and chairs or comfy patio chairs and an umbrella with lights.
  • Use a fire pit as the centerpiece for your outdoor living space. Buy one or build one to enjoy all summer long!

For more ideas, check out these BH&G articles online:

Budget Landscaping
15 Cheap Backyard Ideas
Outdoor Entertaining Spaces


5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Sale

5 ways to prepare your home for saleIn a competitive real estate market like ours, properly preparing your home to be shown and sold is critical. By taking the extra time – and a little extra money – to freshen up or upgrade your home, you can actually reduce the amount of time your home will stay on the market. Here are five tips to help you sell your home fast this spring!

  1. Depersonalize your home to make it more appealing to prospective buyers. They will want to be able to visualize themselves in your home. That’s easier to do when the home’s décor is neutral and your personal belongings are kept to a minimum. (See our March 8 blog post for more specific suggestions.)
  2. Declutter, declutter, declutter. Decluttering is one of the quickest, easiest, most affordable ways to boost your home’s attractiveness. Get rid of things you don’t use, and put anything you won’t need immediately in a closet, shed, storage unit or somewhere else out of the way. This can also help you figure out what needs to be packed and can be tossed out. Considering donating unwanted items to a local charity, or hold a garage sale to clean house.
  3. Improve your home’s curb appeal. Look at your home from a home buyer’s perspective. Is the yard well taken care of? Is the entryway inviting? What small changes can you make to spruce things up a bit? Perhaps add a pot of seasonal plants to your front porch, give your front door a new coat of paint, replace your mailbox, or change your outdoor light fixtures. Small changes can make a big difference.
  4. Make minor repairs and freshen up your home. This includes everything from replacing torn window screens, changing cabinet hardware and wiping finger prints off the fridge to repairing loose deck boards, sealing the driveway and planting spring flowers. Spending a little extra time and money now could make your home more attractive to home buyers who want a “move in” ready home.
  5. Stage your home. If you have any rooms that you don’t use, now is the time to reimagine them. Repurpose an unused bedroom as an office or create a playroom if you think parents with young children are the most likely to buy your home. Help prospective home buyers to envision how they might use different rooms in your home without making them too personal.

Not sure where to begin? Check out home and garden magazines like Better Homes & Gardens, HGTV Magazine, House Beautiful or Traditional Home to get ideas. An experienced Realtor® who knows the local real estate market well will also have suggestions, so be sure to ask when you meet with her. Happy Selling!


Five easy, 15-minute home makeovers

light-switch001In our last post, we talked about curb appeal and gave you 12 quick fixes to make your home’s exterior more saleable. In this post, inspired by, we are giving you more easy home improvement ideas. This time, though, we’ll focus on the inside of your home.

  1. Switch it up. Switchplates get worn and dirty with everyday use, so replacing them with something more stylish – and durable – can make a difference. Buy new ones or refinish the ones you’ve got.
  1. Replace drawer and door hardware to change the look of cabinets. Switch from metal to wood, wood to metal, ceramic, glass or whatever suits your style. An easy, affordable way to give cabinets and doors a facelift.
  1. Exchange your toilet seat. Tired of that same old, boring white toilet seat most of us have? Try a new look with a solid wood seat or a fashion color, just not a cushioned seat – please!
  1. Clean and declutter. Take 15 minutes to organize a hall closet, clean a guest bathroom or declutter your mud room. Organizing things will give that closet or room a whole new look and help you feel like you accomplished something useful in a short time.
  1. Tiny touch-ups. A dab of paint can quickly “erase” scuff marks on walls and doors without a lot of effort.

Do you have favorite ways to spruce up your home? If so, post them in the comments. We’d love to hear your ideas!


12 quick fixes to boost your home’s curb appeal

Paint or replace your worn mailboxBeat out the competition by getting your home noticed with these 12 quick, but easy fixes, compliments of American Home Shield.

1.  Replace faded or outdated house numbers, or give your current ones a fresh coat of paint.

2.  Paint your worn mailbox or replace it with a new one.

3.  Replace outdoor lighting fixture with a newer, trendier style from your local hardware store. Your new lights will not only look good, but they can help enhance home security and reduce electricity costs.

4.  Repair or replace rusty or broken hinges on doors and windows.

5.  Transform the outside of your home by adding plants, adding flowers in window boxes or adding colorful planters to your porch.

6.  Show off your front porch with cozy furniture to add a “welcome home” feel.

7.  Fix anything that is chipped, peeling or cracked, including windows, doors, garage doors, fences, sidewalks and other things. If you aren’t skilled at or have time for such repairs, hire a handyman.

8.  Washing your windows can make a big difference in how your home looks from the inside and out.

9.  Keep your lawn well groomed, including manicuring the lawn’s edges and keeping your yard free of debris.

10.  Remove weeds in the cracks of your sidewalk or driveway.

11.  Put your outdoor lights on a timer, so potential buyers can see your home in the proper light, even at night.

12.  Most importantly, make sure your home looks well cared for with careful attention to detail.


Outdoor entertaining in the Pacific Northwest

Outdoor entertaining in the Pacific NWWith the kids out of school, summer is a great time to make the most of the great outdoors. If you enjoy your yard as much as my family does, you might like some of these fun ideas from Sunset magazine to turn your backyard into a great haven for outdoor living and entertaining.

Whether you have gobs of land and a wild imagination or prefer something on the simpler side, there is no end to the outdoor fun you can have in your backyard this summer. Check out these fun ideas for outdoor lighting, furniture, dining, decorating and more.