Home office décor can have just as much as effect on your work as getting the right technology set up. Here are a few tips and tricks that experienced entrepreneurs and telecommuters swear by to create a more pleasant, productive and business-boosting home office experience.
The best lighting for your home office
If you can’t see, you can’t work. OK, it’s a little more complicated than that, but let’s start with the idea that more natural light is better. For work in the office by day, open curtains or blinds and let light in. Be sure to arrange your desk and computer in a way to take advantage of natural light without affecting your ability to read your monitor.
If you tend to work when it’s dark outside, lighting in your home office should be adequate and layered. Just the light from your monitor is not enough and you’re bound to get headaches if you try to read by it. Place a few lamps in different positions and elevations around the office and be sure to have light that is behind you if you’re working on a computer during night hours.
Stylish surroundings that energize
Just because you work from home, doesn’t mean your office doesn’t deserve corporate-level comfort. Invest in ergonomic seating for your desk, but also splurge in a comfortable reading type chair for times when you want to read a book, go over a presentation, or just take a break with a cup of tea. Choose paint colors that make you feel energized. Add wall art and decorative items that fit your style and inspire creativity. If you can’t work without coffee or tea, splurge on a fancy setup so you can indulge without breaking your routine.
If you spend a lot of time in your home office, making sure the air you breathe is clean should be a top priority. Indoor air pollutants such as formaldehyde, VOCs, and carbon monoxide can cause headaches, fatigue, and brain fog – all productivity killers. Studies have shown however, that common houseplants work like nature’s air filters to absorb harmful gases and remove toxins from the air we breathe. Houseplants are inexpensive and easy to care for, so next time you are at a garden center, pick up a few of these proven air-cleaners for your home office: Rubber Plant, Boston Fern, Philodendron, Sansevieria (’Mother-in-Law’s Tongue’), Dracaena, Ficus or Spider Plants.
Work can be stressful, but the beauty of working from home is that you can take a quick break whenever you need it without feeling guilty. Create a relaxing space in your home office you can retreat to when you need to disconnect and recharge. Remember the comfy chair we talked about earlier? Settle in with a non-business-related book for 10 minutes. Studies have shown that just 10 minutes of sustained reading can reduce stress by 68 percent. Or have a yoga mat rolled up in a corner you can pull out and use the next time you need to relax, refocus and refresh for whatever challenge comes next.
Set the Stage
If you have the space, try to dedicate a corner of your office as a studio for YouTube videos, Facebook Live, Instagram Stories, tele-summits, conference calls and anything video so you don’t have to keep setting up and breaking down backdrops and lighting.
If you don’t have enough space to do this, think about setting up your main working area to be video friendly. Even though people in videos often look like their desks are floating in the middle of the room with sophisticated art and lots of room behind them, don’t be tempted to try this. Putting your desk that far out from a wall means you’ll have power-source dilemmas for your computer, lighting, etc. Instead, set your desk just far enough away from the wall to give it that floating look, hang some great art, but still be able to run cords and plug everything in. Be careful with your cords, of course, and incorporate safety covers, strips, or any solution that keeps them from being tripping hazards. Office supply stores have lots of great ideas for this.
You might also be surprised at one other thing that will benefit from having a desk that looks into a room – your eyes. Staring at a computer all day is stressful for hardworking eyes. By facing into a room, or even toward a window with a view, you can look up from the screen regularly and focus on objects at varying distances to help your eyes refocus and relax.
While Virginia may have its own unique style, interior design trends are fun to watch, and some might even inspire you for your own home. I’ve rounded up a list of the top trends experts say will be hot this year so you can see if anything catches your eye.
People here in Arlington, Virginia like to be on the cutting edge, so the smart home trend definitely will fit in. In 2019, smart homes will keep getting smarter with the addition of even more technology that allows you to control your environment and perform tasks just by using your voice. You’ll see smart faucets, fans, window coverings, mirrors and even smart toilets (yes, toilets!) that can all be voice-controlled. And technology like Google Home, Amazon Alexa and Apple HomePod will keep them all connected to increase the functionality of the modern home.
The “Etsy” Effect
Custom, handmade, crafted products will still be stylish in 2019 and used throughout homes to add a softer, more homey tone that offsets all the modern smart technology. Chunky hand-woven blankets, pillows, art and furniture made with natural material in soft neutral colors will be popular for bedrooms, living rooms, home offices and children’s rooms.
According to House Beautiful, bold accent walls in the bedroom are out, but softly textured wallpaper all around is in for 2019. Sticking to subtle textures and colors, using wallpapers in interesting patterns or inspired by nature will add a visual pop without overdoing it.
Another trend for 2019 that antiquing fans, pickers, and junkers will love is the design world embracing anything-goes for furniture throughout the home. No more buying all the furniture for your living room or bedroom at the same store so they all match. Designers are saying this is the year to choose furniture that you love and not worry about being all matchy-matchy. Mix up styles, use antiques next to contemporary pieces, and don’t be afraid to show off your personal style.
As winter moves along for us here in Virginia, it’s a great time to think about ways to freshen up your interior either using what you have – or getting out of the house and checking out what’s new in the showrooms. And no matter what, it’s always a good idea to stay true to your own personal style.
If there’s one thing we learned from shag rugs and chevrons, some trends become classics, while others (thankfully) fade away. Here’s a quick list of disappearing real estate trends to be aware of if you’re planning a move or changes to your current home in the near future:
#1 Oversize is out. Secretly stylish is in
In this era of frugal mindsets and eco-conscious living, opulent statement homes and massive square footage aren’t appealing to as many homeowners. That’s where low-key luxury comes into play. Ostentatious and overdone homes aren’t what buyers are looking for when they think luxury these days. So take a second thought about adding swirled marble floors, 6-figure custom wall treatments or overly-themed décor. Instead, home buyers are looking for all the extras without all the drama such as game rooms, climate-controlled outdoor sport and living areas, expansive back yards with year-round kitchens, panic rooms outfitted with bathrooms and communications systems, wine cellars with full bars, and spa-like retreats – all hidden behind subtle facades that blend in with the neighborhood.
#2 Remote locations aren’t so great anymore
Today’s home buyers want to simplify their lives. That means they want their homes located near shopping, schools, work, dining and other services. An extra 10 or 20 minutes added on to a commute because of locked gates, remote roadways, extended entrances, etc. are not considered a luxury anymore, but rather an inconvenience.
#3 No more white-on-white kitchens
While white kitchens dominated the last few years of home design, in 2019 we’ll see a move toward natural materials and colors such as stone, copper, concrete, and granite. Bolder colors, painted cabinets, geometric patterns, and appliance finishes in more than just stainless will be seen more and more. In fact, According to a recent Zillow Paint Color Analysis, which examined more than 32,000 photos from sold homes around the country, homes that used blue or blue-grey paint colors in kitchens and bathrooms sold for thousands more than similar homes that used white paint.
#4 Accommodating all generations
Families are looking for homes that will accommodate the entire family and everyone’s special needs. By 2040, there are expected to be almost 80 million seniors accounting for 21 percent of the population. Many homes on the market aren’t equipped to accommodate the aging, so in 2019 expect to see more homes with walk-in showers, and master suites on the main floor, ADA compliant entrances or walkways, and features such as comfort-height toilets that will boost the value and comfort of the home for all.
Take a peek inside that discreet rambler just a few doors down and you just might find some jaw-dropping amenities you never expected. In a real estate trend I’ve been watching, homeowners with big budgets are choosing to have it all by adding low-key luxury features to the homes they already love.
Here in the Arlington, Virginia area we’ve got our fair share of older homes, homes that have been handed down through generations and neighborhoods that people never want to leave. So when homes start to feel like they need an upgrade, moving isn’t an option. Instead, homeowners are focusing on adding luxury to their living spaces while leaving the exterior curb appeal just as it is.
In this era of frugal mindsets and eco-conscious living, opulent statement homes and massive square footage aren’t appealing to as many homeowners. That’s where low-key luxury comes into play.
Pull up to a single-story rambler with a subtle exterior and you may not expect to be wowed. But go inside and some of the features you might find include game rooms, climate-controlled outdoor sport and living areas, expansive back yards with year-round kitchens, panic rooms outfitted with bathrooms and communications systems, wine cellars with full bars, and spa-like retreats.
No matter the location, it’s always possible to reinvent the interior of a home to fit each homeowners’ personal design style without altering how the home fits into the neighborhood. For instance, if you’re a modern-design loving person who lives in a neighborhood that favors craftsman-style homes, the front of your home can feature a traditional, modest facade as seen from the curb. Inside, however, you can indulge your love of all things modern with Carrera marble, geometric patterned floors, and walls of windows that make a statement.
Backyards are a great place to indulge as well by dressing up decks and creating patio paradises. Designing outdoor living spaces are a great way to increase the feel of your home’s square footage as you let what you love to do inside spill over into adjacent spaces outside. Start from the ground up with flagstones, brick or tiles laid in intricate patterns to define your space. Water features such as extravagant inground pools, spas, waterfalls and even picturesque ponds are great ways to up the wow factor of your backyard. Intricate landscaping with twisting hidden paths and fairy gardens, she-sheds or getaways, art studios and outdoor kitchen and entertaining areas are even more ideas for adding some low-key luxury to the home you love.
If you want to live in Arlington Virginia and like the idea of buying a home with character on the outside and all you ever wanted on the inside I can help. Give me a call at 703-593-6320 or email email@example.com.
Throughout the United States, 2018 has been a year that defies expectations when it comes to the luxury real estate market. Even though frugal living and tiny homes are hot topics, buyers are still making the choice to pursue their dreams of multi-million-dollar homes.
Arlington and surrounding areas in Virginia are no stranger to the luxury home market. Beautiful properties with stunning homes can be found throughout Washington DC, Alexandria, Fairfax, Falls Church and McLean. Even though these properties can be very unique, a few common trends are emerging that can be applied universally for anyone who wants the very best in their own home, no matter how big or small.
Tech-savvy smart homes
In today’s high-tech world, homes wired to adapt to the apps we use to control our daily life are highly desirable. Luxury homeowners demand the latest in wiring and accessibility for every corner of their homes. Every homeowner can benefit from adding some technology, however, to the point of elevating them in buyer’s eyes if they list for sale. Check out this Home Technology article for ideas to upgrade your home.
Strategic use of space
Luxury homes mean exceptional quality, but don’t require thousands of square feet to get there. Even in this market, homeowners want just the right amount of space with everything they need – and nothing they don’t. Instead of a dining room you never use, knock out a wall to create a stunning kitchen, or create a space you’ve always dreamed of like a yoga room or cozy library.
The heart of the home is the same no matter what size your home is. No matter if you’re a professional cook or just love to putter around with grandma’s recipe book, a luxury kitchen is appreciated in all areas of the real estate market. Trends we’ve seen include spacious islands with second sets of appliances built in, His and Hers Kitchens, and setups equipped to handle everything from grand galas to extended family reunions.
High-end homeowners want custom finishes and features that reflect their personality and taste and add a certain wow-factor to their homes. Hand-crafted, specialty items can be incorporated everywhere in a home. Hand-carved doors make dramatic first impressions. Custom outdoor cooking areas, firepits and sculptured landscaping create unique and memorable living spaces. Love to travel? Specially-sourced items from exotic locations displayed in your home are a great way to highlight your unique personality.
Homeowners are taking the idea of creating a special place within the home to new levels by creating luxury retreats that cater to their particular interests and give them a place that feels like they are removed from the cares of the world, without the time and travel it takes to jet around the globe. From backyards to basements and everywhere in between, this is a home trend worthy of taking a look at for creating unique and creative getaway zones in the comfort of your home. For ideas, check out this article: Luxury Retreats Just Steps From Your Front Door.
With Fall around the corner, it’s the perfect time to get your home ready for winter – and for potential buyers. Performing a simple round of seasonal maintenance chores now can save you time, money, and stress when the cold weather comes. And it will ensure your home looks good and shows great when potential home buyers come around.
Fall home maintenance checklist
Clean your gutters: Fall foliage is beautiful, but not so much when it starts building up in your gutters. Depending on how many trees surround your home, you may need to clean out your gutters a few times before the first snow falls. Packed leaves, twigs and dirt will clog your gutters and cause water to back up into your home or dangerous ice dams to form in winter.
Check the chimneys: An easy annual task is to have chimneys checked by a professional and cleaned if needed. Creosote, soot and ash buildup in chimneys that are used often and can block ventilation and cause smoke and dangerous fumes to come back into the home.
Check your roof: Damage from storms, wind and rain, along with natural wear-and-tear, can loosen and damage roof materials making your home at risk for leaks during winter or invading vermin looking for a warm place to nest. A visual inspection with binoculars walking around your home is a good first step, but having a professional check is even better.
Disconnect garden hoses and drain faucets: When temperatures start dropping dramatically, it’s time to head off damage from freezing water in your pipes. Disconnect hoses from outdoor faucets, drain, and put them away for the winter. Turn off shutoff valves on water supply lines and open exterior faucets all the way to drain the lines and prevent them from freezing and breaking.
Pack up your patio: Clean and store all cushions, pillows and outdoor rugs for the winter. Clean furniture and if you won’t be using it during the cold season store it away. Your furniture will last longer this way and keep snow and debris from building up into a big mess you’ll have to clean up come Spring.
Service fire extinguishers: Fireplaces, firepits, and candles are all a part of the season, and a good reason to make sure you’ve got fire extinguishers in good working order placed carefully where they might be needed. It’s also a good idea to review how to use a fire extinguisher with every member of the household that might have to use it.