5 Ways to Get Settled in Your New Neighborhood, Faster

While it can feel intimidating and overwhelming, meeting people is the most direct route to make a new community feel like your home.

Moving to a new home is tough, but it gets even harder when the move includes relocating to a new city or neighborhood. Logistical considerations — like figuring out the best way to get to work — are stressful and time-consuming but require only a bit of trial and error.

Finding your sense of place within a community is not as straightforward. While it can feel intimidating and overwhelming, meeting people is the most direct route to make a new community feel like your home.

Here are five tips to make the transition go more smoothly, whether you’re moving across town or across the country.

1. Make the first move

Sure, it can feel daunting to approach a new next-door neighbor and introduce yourself, but they may be equally hesitant to disturb your family, particularly if you seem busy settling in. So take the initiative and look for an opportunity when they don’t look rushed or preoccupied either. A simple wave or hello can open the door without being intrusive.

2. Make yourself approachable

Likewise, create chances for others to welcome you. Sit on the front porch. Take leisurely walks. Or perhaps just focus on being approachable — avoid the usual mad dash to your car every morning and ditch the grumpy expression upon returning from work.

The same rule applies when you’re out and about in the community. Pick a bar seat over a corner table to enjoy a coffee or beer; there’s something about communal seating that encourages conversation. Take the kids to a playground or park — and don’t keep your face submerged in your iPhone. Make eye contact, smile, and say hello.

3. Become a local

Do as the locals do and frequent a local restaurant, farmers market, or shop. Got a dog? Even better. Dog parks practically beg to help you and your pet make new friends. Soon enough, a nearby destination will be one of those places where at least a few people know your name.

4. Get involved

There’s no better way to meet like-minded people than by participating in activities that are meaningful to you. Finding the right fit may just require a little digging. Check with local schools and universities, park districts, recreation commissions, sports organizations, and — perhaps the greatest reference of all — neighbors and fellow parents.

Large cities often house bars that cater to locals who cheer for out-of-town professional teams — say a “Steelers bar” in San Francisco. Just search on Google, try a handy app, or check out message boards on the team’s website.

Parents have additional outlets for making new friends, like volunteering at school activities, getting involved in car pools, or hosting play dates. Donate your time to community organizations to get to know the neighborhood and improve it by cleaning up trash, helping other residents, or clearing park trails.

5. Use your existing network

Take advantage of organized programs that can help you meet others in your new community. If you were active in a church or other place of worship in your previous location, ask for a referral to a similar establishment. Many employers offer programs that connect newly relocated workers with one another as well as longtime residents.

Most colleges and universities also have local alumni chapters. And don’t forget to mine your online networks. Ask Facebook friends if they know anyone in your new town, or search sites like Meetup.com to find others with similar interests. With a little time, you’ll find “community” is wherever you make it.

Trulia’s Blog

5 Ways to Get Settled in Your New Neighborhood, Faster was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

9 Ways to Personalize Your Bedroom

To get the right amount of sleep, you need to spend one–third of each 24 hour day, or eight hours in your bedroom. Yet, this room can often be neglected when it comes to decorating because visitors rarely see the bedrooms in your home. Forget about guests for now and transform the master bedroom into a relaxing, soothing sanctuary by putting your own creative stamp on it. Match the decor to suit your personality.

The following tips will turn your bedroom into a much-needed retreat.

1. Display Your Photos

Pictures of family, friends, pets or just scenes you like belong on your walls and dressing tables. Make a collage of framed photos to hang on a single wall or above the bed. In a kid’s bedroom, a poster of their favorite musical or comic character displayed on one wall might suggest a theme to follow.

Rustic Bedroom

2. Choose a Theme

Whether your premise involves colors, artwork or nature, let it reflect your interests. Other ideas to consider include nautical themes, a country motif, jungle décor or large cat prints. Focusing on a theme also makes decorating easier because you’ve narrowed down your choices considerably.

Country Bedroom

3. Add an Area Rug

A soft, fluffy rug next to your bed warms your toes when you get up in the morning and gives the room a lift, too. You can find these gems in numerous textures, sizes and shapes. Changing the rug to suit your mood or the season instead of installing new carpet makes good economical sense. Treat your feet with high pile, a faux polar bear pelt or sheepskin.

Faux Fur Area Rugs

4. Hang Artwork

Paintings, artistic photos, inspirational quotes or a special quilt all have their place in your sleeping room and these items don’t need to always be relegated to the living room. If you have something you love, don’t be afraid to hang it. You can even use the art as your theme and decorate around it.

Bedroom Painting

5. Include Scents

Do you have a favorite smell, one that calms you and instantly reminds you of pleasurable activities? It could be coffee, lavender, vanilla or something else. Place your favorite scented candle or a dish of potpourri with that aroma on your bureau, but only one fragrance at a time, please. You don’t want them clashing.

Bedroom Candles

6. Stick With Soothing Colors

Either choose from a palette of neutral shades and assign the brighter colors to your accessories, or you can have the more bold colors on the walls. Greens and cool shades of blue create a restful haven, while too much red or orange can be stimulating, and not soothing.

Blue and White Bedroom

7. Put Your Signature on Wall Treatments

Match the drapes, curtains or blinds to your theme and add ambiance to your bedroom. Here again the choices run the gamut from sheer to heavy, most any color or pattern, and from tailored to shimmery.

Floral Wallpaper

8. Keep Furniture to a Minimum

Strive for the minimalist, uncluttered look and you’ll sleep better. A bed, stool, a dresser for each person, a nightstand and chair are really all you need so you can splurge on quality. You might choose solid or reclaimed wood or even wicker furniture.

Minimal Bedroom

9. Accessorize

Houseplants, throw pillows, a lamp that represents your theme, the bedspread or duvet, all reveal your personality and put your stamp on where you relax at the end of the day.

Contemporary Bedroom


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9 Ways to Personalize Your Bedroom was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

5 Ways Home Buyers Make Their Agent’s Job Harder

Buying a home can be a long and challenging process. It’s a big, expensive and infrequent transaction that can cause lots of stress and anxiety.

Some buyers take years to complete a purchase, and they require a lot of hand-holding and make lots of requests. Others are more self-sufficient, and only bring in the agent from time to time.

Good real estate agents can accommodate any buyer at any time – as they should. We’re in the service business, and I always say the customer is always right.

But let’s face it: All buyers (and all agents) are not created equal, and since buyers don’t pay for the agent’s time, there can sometimes be a disconnect.

Here are five buyer behaviors that can make life tough for agents.

Planning a (secret) price swap

It’s one thing for a buyer to ask a seller for a credit if the final home inspection uncovers a problem. But after you have a deal, planning to negotiate the price down without telling your agent is a big no-no. It adds stress and ill will among all parties involved, during what could already be a difficult transaction.

It’s better to be upfront about your intentions. If the deal is not meant to be, it’s better to not go down the path at all.

Making unjustified lowball offers

The seller’s property is on the market for $ 400,000, and it’s worth close to that, based on recent comparable sales. And yet, a potential buyer offers $ 300,000 and won’t budge on the price.

It’s not because the home is grossly overpriced or there’s something seriously wrong with it, but simply because the buyer wants a bargain.

Unjustified lowball offers can be a waste of time for everyone involved. The seller isn’t going to swallow $ 100,000 for no reason, even if the property has been on the market a while.

In fact, a lowball offer will likely just help the listing agent get a small price reduction, thus opening the window of opportunity to another buyer.

It’s certainly okay to offer less than the asking price, but be realistic.

Requiring too much during the showing

It’s typical for a potential buyer to view a property during an open house, then ask for a private showing – even two or three times. That’s par for the course.

However, it’s frustrating when a buyer arrives to a showing with a designer, architect, contractor or just some friends, then spends an hour or two at the home checking out and measuring each room. This is counterproductive, particularly if you do it at one home after another and never make an offer.

Some buyers have even been known to bring their psychic, who, after making a big splash with tarot cards and numerology charts, declares that the property has “negative energy” and isn’t a good fit, mainly based on the numbers in the property address. Did the psychic really need to see the property in person to figure that out?

Buyers typically give themselves an opportunity to gauge their own reactions to a property before bringing in friends, family or hired consultants. To go over a home inch-by-inch on the first or second visit is often a waste of everyone’s time.

Demanding loads of attention early on

Some people are just beginning to think about buying a home. That’s fine; buyers have to start somewhere.

Unfortunately, sometimes buyers are a year or two away from being ready to pull the trigger, yet they make a lot of demands on the agent’s time.

Asking an agent to research city building permits on a house just because you’re curious – and even though the property doesn’t fit your requirements – is probably not a fair request.

Agents can’t be as effective with their active clients if they’re spending lots of time researching tax records or city permits for clients who are years away from being ready to purchase.

Changing your mind repeatedly

It’s fine to shift course based on what you learn during the home shopping process. This is a common part of the buyer evolution process.

Many buyers set out for X but end up with Y after learning the market and seeing where their dollar goes. By the time you’re ready to start making offers and moving in the direction of acquiring a home, you will be laser focused.

But if you find yourself moving around and you’re uncertain about the object of your search, it’s possible you just aren’t ready to buy. That’s fine. Take your time and learn the market.

The home-buying process is a journey, and a good local agent, brought in at the right time, can add so much value. Be mindful that agents work for free until a buyer or seller closes. Agents should be leveraged as a huge resource – when the right time comes.


Originally published May 23, 2014.

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5 Ways Home Buyers Make Their Agent’s Job Harder was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

7 Ways to Reduce Stress During a Move

Block off a chunk of time to focus exclusively on packing. Request a day off from work, find a baby sitter or family member to watch your children, or clear your schedule for a weekend.

Whether you’ve decided to accept a new job offer in another city, found the perfect apartment on Trulia, or finally closed on the home of your dreams, a fresh start is always exciting. Packing all your belongings into boxes and lugging it all to a new home? Not so much.

We get it. Moving can be crazy and stressful — but there are ways to survive the process without aging yourself prematurely.

Here are seven ways to manage your stress before, during, and after you’ve boxed up your life.

1. Purge

Clutter creates stress. Minimize the junk clogging your closets and you’ll automatically breathe a sigh of relief. Clear the clutter from your home by organizing things you no longer need into three piles: Sell, Donate, and Toss.

Put big-ticket or valuable items in the “sell” pile. Then snap some photos and list them on eBay, Craigslist, or Facebook. (Or go old school if the weather’s nice and hold a massive yard sale.)

Score a tax deduction by donating items to Goodwill or a local thrift store. Throw away or recycle any items that have little or no use left in them.

Here’s the most fun part: Eat through the contents of your refrigerator and pantry. Spend the weeks prior to your move creating oddball meals based on whatever happens to be in your cupboards. And don’t forget to drink all your booze!

2. Clear your calendar

Block off a chunk of time to focus exclusively on packing. Request a day off from work, find a baby sitter or family member to watch your children, or clear your schedule for a weekend. You’ll get more done by packing continuously for several hours than you will by packing in short bursts of time.

If possible, bribe some of your friends to help. Promise to buy them dinner and drinks if they’ll donate a few hours of their time to help you pack and move.

3. Accumulate boxes

Start accumulating a stack of newspapers and boxes several weeks prior to your move. Ask friends if they have leftover boxes from previous moves or visit local grocery stores and retail outlets, walk back to where the employees unpack the inventory, and ask if you can walk off with a stack of boxes. Costco and Trader Joe’s both keep a steady supply of boxes in-store.

If you’re willing to splurge, you can buy boxes from shipping and packing stores or your local home improvement store. The benefit to buying boxes is that they’ll all be standard sizes, making them easier to stack and load.

4. Plan

Don’t start packing without a strategy. One of the most efficient ways to pack your belongings is to methodically move from room to room. Clearly label each box based on where in your home it was packed. This way, when you unload boxes in your new house, you’ll know where each box should go.

5. Protect your valuables

The last thing you need is a nagging concern that you can’t find your wedding ring and passport. Those worries will stress you out more than almost any other aspect of moving!

Pack one suitcase as if you’re going on vacation and include the items you’ll need to immediately access, such as clean underwear, socks, and a toothbrush. Add valuables and the most important documents so that you’ll know they haven’t gone missing.

6. Give ample time and deadlines

Nothing is more stressful than knowing that you can’t start moving into your new home until 8 a.m., but you need to be out of your apartment at noon that same day.

If you can, allow for your time in each place to overlap. This may mean paying two rents or two mortgages for up to a month, but it will allow you the benefit of time — and that will work wonders on your stress levels.

Also, create minideadlines for yourself. Promise yourself that you’ll pack up one room per day, or that you’ll unpack for two hours per night after you move into your new home.

7. Delegate

Finally, the best way to reduce stress is by outsourcing and delegating. Use online resources like TaskRabbit and Craigslist to search for people who can help you pack and move. Before they leave, ask them to help assemble furniture and move big boxes and furniture where you want it.

As the saying goes, many hands make light work. And when you’re moving, you need as many hands as you can get.

Trulia’s Blog

7 Ways to Reduce Stress During a Move was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

4 Ways to Cozy Up Your Kitchen for Fall

The leaves changing color indicates the season has changed, and so follows your home decor. Decorating for the chillier fall months means incorporating warm and inviting colors and textures into your home’s interior design, specifically in the kitchen.

Try these four tips to create a cozier kitchen for fall.

Weave in dark textiles

Fall means decorating with gorgeously textured throws, pillows, and table linens. Introduce your kitchen to an autumnal palette using dark, natural window coverings and similar table linens for a cozy effect. This look juxtaposes raw texture with soft details like fresh fruit, warm placemats, and smooth surfaces.

Bank on butcher block

Found most often in farmhouse-style or rustic homes, butcher block is great for countertops and tables because it’s durable and looks better the longer you have it.

If you’re thinking about switching out your countertop, consider butcher block for a warm, inviting feel. If you don’t want to commit to a full countertop, try a large cutting board or table to add earthiness to your kitchen.


Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Add pops of color

If your kitchen has a blank space or accent wall, consider painting it for an inviting scene. For the fall season, you can choose to use warmer, darker colors like a deep red, warm orange, or olive or brown tone.

Don’t want to paint an entire wall? Select a piece of art or two featuring deep and rich colors to create a cozy ambiance. You could even paint your cabinets or counters.


Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

Nurture indoor plants

Houseplants are always good go-to decorations because they require little upkeep, and add a touch of freshness to any space. They are particularly useful in the fall because they can double as herb gardens or unique decor.

Install a small indoor garden on your window sill or on a shelf near a window to have easy access to fresh rosemary, sage, and basil, even when the weather might not call for gardening.


While these suggestions may seem small, they are great touch-ups to boost your festive theme this fall season. Add one or two, or mix all of the design tips for a home-sweet-home feel.

What are your favorite fall-themed ideas for a cozy kitchen?

See more kitchen design inspiration.


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4 Ways to Cozy Up Your Kitchen for Fall was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

Creative Ways to Add Color to Your Rental

Editor’s note: Painting is the first project many of us tackle in a new home – sometimes before we even unpack the first box. And if we can’t paint, or prefer not to, we express ourselves with color through the textiles, furniture, and accessories that fill our homes. Introducing our favorite colors to our home decor helps us make an unfamiliar place begin to feel like it’s truly ours, and a new color scheme can refresh a home we’ve lived in all our lives. Each day this week we’ll share expert tips, designers’ advice, and inspirational images to help you make the most of color in your home.

Living in a rental can put a significant damper on your design options. With unchangeable fixtures and cabinets, blasé paint colors, and the threat of losing your security deposit if you make changes, a lot of renters suppress their personal style and force themselves to live with builder-grade basic.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. By getting creative with your furniture and accessories, you can have a colorful and inviting home without sacrificing your deposit or infuriating your landlord.

Wall to wall

Many homeowners choose painting the walls as a relatively easy way to bring color to a space. But landlords and property managers often forbid changing a rental’s interior paint color.

Think beyond paint and you’ll discover a multitude of ways to dress up your walls without touching a paintbrush. The key is to think big when it comes to finding ways to cover boring walls.

Find oversized large-scale art pieces that speak to your style and feature punchy colors. Collect favorite snapshots in ombre frames of your fave hue instead of traditional black or white, and assemble a gallery wall.

Have an artistic streak? Paint a mural on a large piece of canvas and tack it over an entire wall.

For the less artistically inclined, removable wallpaper or decals in bright shades and eye-catching designs provide an instant pick-me-up.

Room with bright wall decal
Photo from Zillow listing

You can also cover entire walls or awkward spaces with a pretty patterned curtain or piece of fabric for a cozy bohemian vibe.

Punch it up

Rental apartments or homes often come equipped with boring or outdated cabinets, fixtures and flooring that can’t be altered. Beige, brown, and off-white are the norm for these spaces, but that doesn’t mean you have to let it restrict your style.

Add visual interest and draw attention by bringing in splashy pieces of furniture and decor. Look for pieces in your favorite color or choose a theme, like sunny yellow and coral, to drown out the drab.

Vibrant painted wood chairs can give your dining space some zing. Or purchase a couch or chair in a daring tone like emerald or sapphire.

Photo from Offset

Don’t have a ton of cash to spend? Go DIY. Find furniture with good bones at your local thrift shop or garage sale, and give it a makeover. Use spray paint for smaller decor pieces, and latex or chalk paint for dressers and side tables.

Add extra flair with stenciled details and paint-dipped legs. Line the backs of bookshelves with decorative paper, and temporarily replace boring kitchen and bathroom pulls and knobs with vibrant versions.

Soft goods, bold tones

Textiles in an assortment of rainbow colors will be your best friends when it comes to dressing up your outdated or dull apartment. Start with an inviting rug in a rich jewel tone or a trendy overdyed hue.

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.
Photo from Zillow listing

Stay away from traditional white and beige curtains, and instead opt for a bright color or lively pattern.

The same goes for bedding. White may be a traditional go-to for duvet covers, but in the case of a blah apartment, pick a print or hue that will make your bedroom an energizing getaway or relaxing retreat.

If you’re looking for a calm vibe, search for a bed set in cool indigo, lavender, or sage.

Want to make it upbeat instead? Try poppy colors like coral, tangerine, or sunflower.

Fun throw pillows and blankets will spice up your bed, couch, lounge chairs and more. Keep the color trend going into the bathroom and kitchen by choosing pretty hand towels and bathmats.

Make it yours

By punching up the walls with custom artwork, bringing in attention-grabbing furniture, and using pretty textiles to boost the style factor, you can have a custom colorful home without ever touching a drop of paint.

The key is moderation and intention. Stick with a few favorite shades and mix it up by using variations of those hues instead of pulling in every color in the rainbow. Choose a few important focal points to infuse with color and let the rest blend in.

Photo from Zillow listing

You’ll be happier for the design boost and your landlord will be glad you haven’t made any big changes. That’s a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Looking for more design inspiration? Check out Zillow Digs.


Originally published June 13, 2016.


Home Improvement – Zillow Porchlight

Featured East Metro Atlanta Homes

Creative Ways to Add Color to Your Rental was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

3 Ways to Research a Property Online

Nearly every home search starts online these days. Sorting through listings, photos, floor plans and descriptions is a great way to feel out the market for those who are in the earliest stages of the home search.

When you find a home you’re ready to bid on, it’s incredible how much background information you can find online. The Internet is full of data on past home sales, recorded sales prices, and the history of each sale, plus information that may not be as obvious – such as the safety of the neighborhood you’re considering buying into.

Here are three ways to use online tools and real estate mobile apps to get more details about the home you want.

Check building records

Nearly all public information and documentation is now available online, and most municipalities provide web access to building permit history. Although the law requires most sellers to disclose previous work done on the property, there may be a history of earlier work the seller didn’t know about.

For example, if there is a newer bathroom or kitchen but no history of a permit for the work, there is a chance someone did the work without a permit – and potentially not to health or safety code. And if you become the owner, this unpermitted work becomes your responsibility.

To begin your search, type “building records,” plus your city’s name into your favorite search engine. Example: “building records Seattle.”

Use Google Street View

Researching an address using Google’s Street View can be one of the most revealing options available. Street View provides a snapshot of a property at a particular moment in time, which can provide insight into the recent history of the property or neighborhood.

Be aware, however, that the image you see may not accurately reflect the home’s current state. For example, I helped a homeowner list and sell a home in San Francisco’s Lower Haight neighborhood a few years back. We planted a beautiful garden area to create a buffer between the sidewalk and the windows. But a search for the property on Google Street View revealed the windows with bars on them, and no garden. The previous owner had bars on the window, and someone had removed the bars to make the property look more inviting.

Seeing the windows with bars on them in Google Street View could raise questions for potential buyers: Is the neighborhood unsafe? Was there a history of crime in the community or on the property? Are the street-level windows safe?

Consult a neighborhood crime app

A variety of crime reporting apps for mobile devices show on a map recent crimes that have been reported, including assault, theft, robbery, homicide, vehicle theft, sex offenders, and quality of life (which often means noise complaints). It’s an easy way to get a quick overview of how safe or unsafe a neighborhood is.

So much information is available to buyers these days. You don’t need to rely solely on the seller’s or the real estate agent’s disclosures. Use online resources to find out as much background information on a property as you can, either before making an offer or during your contingency period. It is best to do as much research as possible, in order to make an informed final decision.

Looking for more home-buying advice and tools? Check out our Home Buyers Guide.


Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

Originally published March 1, 2012

Tips & Advice – Zillow Porchlight

Featured East Metro Atlanta Homes

3 Ways to Research a Property Online was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

6 Ways to Personalize Your Rental Without Painting

Trust us, we know it’s not easy to express yourself in a space that’s only décor is “renter’s beige” walls and muggy apartment-grade carpet. We’ve all been there. That’s why we’ve come up with some creative solutions to personalize your rental, all while embracing the ‘blah’ walls. From adding color elsewhere to bringing in versatility, you can easily spruce up your space, no matter the landlord.

1. Artful accents

Gallery wall

Courtesy of Zillow Digs

Just because you can’t paint a wall, doesn’t mean you can’t exactly cover it up. Now that gallery walls are all the rage, it’s easier than ever to create an accent wall strictly using sticky strips and your favorite art. If you want more color, choose bright and pattern-heavy photos and paintings. For a more sophisticated tone, select black-and-white stills and abstract art uniformly hung in black frames.

2. Rug rendezvous


Courtesy of Zillow Digs

Whether you’ve landed a spot with hardwoods, are living with lackluster linoleum or are still scrubbing away at ’70s patterned carpet, you’ll appreciate a good rug. Area rugs inject much-needed color and texture into any space and are especially effective at covering up iffy spots (from a past tenant, we’re sure). Mix and match colors, designs and weaves to really make the room yours.

3. Sky-high shelving

Courtesy of Zillow Digs

Courtesy of Zillow Digs

So you can’t paint your rental, but you can stack shelving. By adding floor-to-ceiling bookshelves, armoires or wall shelves, you’ll create an accent wall that is both functional and fashionable. You can also spray-paint the bookshelf a bold color for some added fun, pick one that has metallic details or go for a heavy wooden shelf to inspire sophistication.

4. Wonderful windows

Window covering

Courtesy of Zillow Digs

While you can’t rip out something you don’t like, you can actually cover it. Window coverings are great for spaces that need an extra oomph. Choose from different textures and materials such as fabric and woven woods to add another layer of décor to your rental. This also helps if you can’t do much about the flooring; windows draw the eye upward, creating a distraction from the interesting linoleum your landlord picked out.

5. Lots of light


Courtesy of Chango & Co.

When in doubt, break the lights out. By mixing lighting fixtures, you get an eclectic mix of lighting types that end up matching because they’re, well, lights. For instance, add heavy table lamps to your side tables in the living room, playful pendants in the bedroom and a floor lamp (or two) in the dining area. Mix the metals, shade types, and width and height for volume and variety.

6. Learn to love layering


Courtesy of Zillow Digs

Because you can’t add dimension with wall coloring, you’re going to have to supplement. But it’s just as fun, if not more, because layering throws, blankets and pillows can be changed way more often than paint color. Choose from colors in the same family, but mix patterns. Try adding a plush, plain comforter to your bed, topped with a silky blanket, topped again with a chunky knit throw. Mix different sizes of pillows for more contrast, and don’t forget to keep it balanced with a good pattern-to-color ratio. You can also do this in the living room with your couches, chairs and loveseats, as well as in your dining room with layered chargers and flatware or indoor plants and linens.

There are plenty of reasons to rent rather than buy your home. Now you can add easy decoration ideas to that list!


Zillow Blog – Real Estate Market Stats, Celebrity Real Estate, and Zillow News » Home Improvement

Featured East Metro Atlanta Homes

6 Ways to Personalize Your Rental Without Painting was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

7 Ways to Self-Sabotage Your Organizing Efforts

Have you ever heard the saying, “You are your own worst enemy”? Self-sabotage exists for all of us in one way or another – and we usually notice it when our homes and lives become too disorganized to manage.

It starts innocently enough with piles of unopened mail, a full inbox of unanswered emails, or stacks of dirty dishes. But these are clutter cues, and they’re telling you something is out of whack.

If left unchecked, clutter can quickly escalate to forgetting important matters, like doctor visits, taxes, or a best friend’s wedding. Read on to see the top seven ways we self-sabotage our organizing efforts, and how to overcome them.

“I know I can’t do this.”

Ouch! We certainly live up to our expectations of ourselves, whether positive or negative. If you think you can’t do an organizing task, you won’t. If you think you are worthless, unchangeable, or chronically disorganized, you will feel depressed and unmotivated.

SOLUTION: Reframe your thinking! Start telling yourself, “I know I can do this.”

“The task is just too big.”

This is looking at the forest and not the trees. You can only do so much in one day, so break things into smaller, more manageable sub-tasks.

SOLUTION: List each sub-task, estimate how long it will take, then work on one task at a time. If you’re cleaning your garage, your list might look like this:

    • Organize tools: 2 hours
    • Eliminate unused pool equipment: 1 hour
    • Donate old clothes: 1 hour
Photo from listing on Zillow

“I can’t get started.”

Hey, 90 percent of getting started is showing up! Sometimes the hardest part of exercising is getting out the door. But once you get going, your heart starts pumping, and you make progress. The same holds true for organizing, too.

SOLUTION: Even when you don’t feel like it, just take one tiny step – just one! Maybe you received a new bed you ordered online, but it feels too difficult to put together. Take it one step at a time:

  • Day 1: Take it out of the box
  • Day 2: Read the directions
  • Day 3: Remove the old bed
  • Day 4: Build the new bed

“I’m afraid I will mess this up.”

You may be great at growing roses in your backyard, but not so great at completing an organizing project correctly. The good news is that you don’t have to do it correctly! It only needs to make sense to you.

SOLUTION: At the beginning of the project, tell yourself, “I will create a positive outcome.”

“I don’t know how to do this.”

If you don’t speak French, you won’t know that “ouvrez la fenêtre” means someone’s asking you to open the window. And if you lack the training, skill, or resources to do the organizing task, you may avoid it completely. But guess what? You can still get your organizing project done, even if you lack skills.

SOLUTION: Seek out the knowledge you need to do the task, or get a professional to help you. Visit the National Association of Professional Organizers to find an organizer near you.

“I need to do things perfectly.”

If you are the type who settles for nothing less than perfection, you may stop the project before you even start. Instead, use my favorite organizing slogan: Avoid perfection at all costs and finish the project.

SOLUTION: Done is the new perfect.

“I have too many things to do.”

Being overwhelmed can feel normal in this day and age. And with computers and smartphones at your fingertips, you can always get something done, like downloading your bank statements or resizing your photos. But remember – just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to. If everything is a priority, nothing is a priority.

SOLUTION: Take a moment to eliminate the unessential items from your to-do list.

Don’t let negative self-talk sabotage your organizing efforts. Follow these tips and tackle one small task at a time. Your home – and your life – will feel much more in control when you do.

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7 Ways to Self-Sabotage Your Organizing Efforts was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

13 Ways to Decorate With Pumpkins This Fall

Beyond the enthusiasm over pumpkin spiced food and beverages, pumpkins are versatile and evoke the fall harvest, and can take you through to Thanksgiving. Check out these decorating ideas for the fall season and rejoice in the fact that some of these don’t require any kind of carving.

Ideas for an Autumnal Ambiance

1. Look Sharp

Use Sharpies to draw a free hand design like leaves, or use multiple pumpkins in a row to spell out your house number, directions, or a message like “B-O-O.”

2. Play With Color

In addition to the typical orange, you can use different colored pumpkins for different color schemes: white pumpkins look sculptural; pale yellow can be paired with grapefruits and lemons for a sunny display; or combine orange pumpkins with red pomegranates for centerpieces or displays. Use a variety of sizes for visual interest.

Pumpkin Assortment


3. Paint Pen Patterns

Grab some white pumpkins and metallic paint pens, then follow the natural grooves and curves of the gourd to make classy centerpieces. Try them in a variety of sizes!

4. Pumpkin Planting Pots

Round pumpkins or squash with flat bottoms, such as Kabocha or Italian stripe, make great vessels for plants, and can take you all the way to Thanksgiving. Cut off the top third and hollow out the bottom two-thirds, leaving about an inch of flesh all the way around. Add potting soil, then arrange succulents or other plants in the soil. Cut a thin layer off the rim for a clean edge. When the pumpkin starts to get soft, repot your plants. Or, for a great centerpiece, hollow out a pumpkin, add a block of floral foam, and insert your desired flora for a spectacular arrangement.

Pumpkin Flower Pot


5. Go a Little Batty

Grab some black poster board and cut out bats to fly across an orange or white pumpkin affixed with glue dots.

6. Place Settings

Tiny pumpkins make perfect place settings. Tie a paper tag to the pumpkin stems at each setting or write your guests name on each mini pumpkin with a marker.

Pumpkin Place Setting


7. Tape It

Attach colorful electrical tape or Washi tape either banded horizontally, or taped vertically along the ribs of a pumpkin. The design possibilities are endless.

8. Soup Servers

Carve out small pumpkins and serve a pumpkin or squash puree soup in them for festive-themed soup tureens. Or, carve out a larger pumpkin and serve the soup from it to individual bowls.


Pumpkin Soup Bowl


9. Tack It

Write out a message with a wax pencil, then trace it with thumbtacks. The end result is the message looks like it’s studded! Tip: the shorter the word, the easier it is to read.

10. Dress Them Up

Looking for a more sophisticated take on pumpkin decorating? Grab your glue gun and dress your pumpkins in ribbons and dried potpourri.

Pumpkin and Ribbons


11. Chalk It Up

Paint a pumpkin with chalkboard spray paint, then use a  white chalkmarker to draw a design, write a word or a greeting for a party

12. Votive Candle Holders

More versatile than a traditional jack-o-lantern, hollow out mini pumpkins to make enough room for a votive candle to fit inside. Group them on a mantle or strew them the length of a table for a centerpiece.

Pumpkin Votive Candle


13. Decoupage

Print out black and white copies of photos and mod podge them onto a pumpkin for a keepsake. Use pressed leaves from your yard to add a natural touch of foliage, or go for a Victorian touch and decoupage white doilies onto pumpkins for a more refined look.


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The post 13 Ways to Decorate With Pumpkins This Fall appeared first on Pro.com Blog.

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13 Ways to Decorate With Pumpkins This Fall was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home