Nikki Carter's Blog
If you’ve paid any attention to home and living catalogues over the years you’ve probably noticed how quickly home decor trends come and go. Just like in the world of fashion, the people who manufacture homegoods do it with one idea in mind: to keep you coming back for more.
There’s an important distinction to be made between a trend and a style. You’ve probably seen several homes that adhere to the styles of farmhouse, mid-century modern, industrial, and so on. However, within these styles there are several trends that flood magazines and houses each year. While everyone wants to keep their home up to date, it’s important to keep a watchful eye out for homegoods that are just capitalizing on the latest trends.
In this article, we’ll break down some home decor tips that will help you pick the homegoods that will look great year after year while also serving a useful function in your house. And, we’ll help you avoid the trends that put a strain on your wallet each year.
Keep the big picture in mind
When browsing through the latest Crate & Barrel catalog, it’s tempting to order items based on liking the way they look in the picture. However, it’s important to remember how it would look in your own home. This is true for many items around the home, like houseplants. If you have a farmhouse-style home, decorating it with cacti or zen gardens might appear out of place and thus will be short-lived decorations.
Aside from the inside of your home, it’s important to keep in mind the architectural style of your house. It would seem strange, for example, to enter a brownstone building in Brooklyn to find it filled with country style decorations. That isn’t to say you need to always adhere exclusively to the architectural style of the building (some juxtapositions work well together and are a fun way to give your home some originality).
Good design sticks around
Appearance isn’t everything. When it comes to things like furniture, appliances, and kitchenware you’ll find that usefulness and ease of access is a key feature. Before buying one of these items, think about whether it serves a purpose, and if it serves that purpose better than your current item. Read reviews or ask friends and family about these items before purchasing them.
Stick to the classics
One of the latest trends to hit coffee shops around the country is the tall metal stool. Sometimes they have a backrest, sometimes they don’t. They can be painted a neutral color or left metallic and unfinished.
While these stools may fit neatly into the modern, industrial look, they might not fit your particular needs. In some instances, it’s better to stick to the tried-and-true furniture items for your home. If you’re placing the stools somewhere that people are going to sit often and for long periods of time, you’ll want them to be comfortable. Don’t sacrifice comfort in your own home just because something looks good.
Two thirds of American homeowners are somewhere in the process of paying off a mortgage. It may seem like common sense that everyone should try to pay off their mortgage sooner rather than later. However, there are circumstances when it benefits a homeowner more to hold onto their mortgage longer.
In this article, we’ll offer some tips on paying off your mortgage, when you should refinance, and offer some tools that will help you along the long road to debt-free homeownership. If you’re a homeowner and find yourself asking these questions, read on.
I can afford to pay more each month on my mortgage, but should I?
In many cases, paying off your home as quickly as possible saves you money in the long run. A shorter loan term means less interest applied to your loan which could save you thousands of dollars in accrued interest.
What many people don’t think about is whether that money could be better spent elsewhere. If your mortgage interest rate isn’t too high, you might be better off allocating that extra income toward investments or retirement funds where they could earn you more in the long run.
This technique is typically most beneficial for younger homeowners. In your 20s and 30s you stand the most to gain from long-term investments, especially tax-benefitted retirement funds. Ultimately you’ll have to do the math, which is tricky because circumstances change; markets vary, our income goes up and down, etc. However, a good starting place is to determine whether you could earn more in retirement and investments than you could by paying off your mortgage sooner and therefore saving on interest.
I’ve owned my home for a few years now, should I refinance?
One way this can be accomplished is by refinancing to a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage which often darry slightly lower interest rates. This option is designed for people who have improved their credit and increased their income since signing their first mortgage.
Math isn’t my strong suit. How can I figure out my finances?
Use this mortgage calculator for determining how much you would save by making extra payments.
This refinance calculator will help you understand the potential benefits of refinancing your mortgage.
To determine how much you could earn through investments (rather than paying more toward your mortgage) use this helpful tool.
You might be able to increase your savings by creating a better budget for yourself. This website will help you make a detailed budget and hold yourself accountable each month.
Many of us will move home several times throughout our lives. Whether it’s relocating for work, needing a bigger house for children, or a quiet place to retire to, it’s likely that the home you live in now won’t be yours forever.
As a result, many homeowners wonder what they can do to ensure their home will have a high resale value when the time comes to move on.
The good news is that there are a lot of things you can do now that will give you a good return on investment when it comes to selling your home later. However, there are a few factors that affect a home’s valuation that are out of your control. We’ll talk about all of those factors below. So, read on for a list of the factors that affect your home’s resale value.
The age of your home
Your house may not complain about it, but it isn’t getting any younger. Homes tend to slowly decrease in value over time. A home built in the late 1970s, even if it’s well taken care of, most likely won’t sell for the same price as a 15-year-old home.
There is one exception to the rule, however, and that is historical houses. Homes that are a century old can sell for top dollar because of the craftsmanship and history that the house contains.
Admittedly, this is a niche market, as many people just want a safe and efficient home to live in. However, there are some homebuyers who will put in a bit of extra work around the house for the chance to live inside of a piece of history.
When you’re upgrading your house it’s important to remember how that upgrade will pay off years down the road. Some renovations will almost always give a good return on investment such as a finished basement or attic and improving efficiency via added insulation or replacing windows.
Renovations that match a very specific decorative taste or style could come back to haunt you. This includes bathroom sinks, kitchen cabinets, countertops, and other expensive projects that are subject to the next owner’s taste. While these upgrades can give a good return on your investment, they’re more likely to be successful if they fit the current trends of style and craftsmanship.
Neighborhood and town
One of the factors of home valuation that you have little control over is the town and neighborhood the house is located in. If there are closed down businesses, foreclosed and deteriorating homes then potential buyers might be turned off to the neighborhood.
Similarly, the town you live in has a lot to do with how much people are willing to spend. If you have easy access to interstate highways and large cities, highly rated schools, and good local infrastructure, then buyers are likely to take these into consideration when making an offer, as the average cost of a home in your town is likely higher than some surrounding towns.