Quick Ways To Become More Colorful


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If you’re looking to give your home a quick pick-me-up, try one of these options to brighten and freshen your look…

1.  Add a variety of fabrics.  Change the draperies and add some throw pillows in differing patterns, shapes, and colors.  Just be sure that there is a common color typing everything together.

2.  Rearrange out of the box.  Instead of just rearranging all the things in a room, move things from room to room for a completely new and fresh look.

3.  Decorate.  Don’t just hang a few photos on your wall and be done – combine groups of objects to create interesting wall art.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-856-6434.

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Quick & Easy Halloween Decorations


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With Halloween just days away, here are a few quick, easy decoration ideas to get you in the spirit:

Ghost Garland.  You can make a ghost garland by covering each light in a string of lights with white fabric tied off to look like a ghost head.  So cute!

Dancing Lawn Ghosts.  Poke a styrofoam ball through the top of a stake or dowel and poke the other side into the ground.  Cover with a lightweight, white fabric that will pick up the wind to make the ghosts dance!

Hanging Bats.  Cut a bat pattern out of black craft foam, glue on some googley eyes, punch a hole through the tail with a hole punch and hang it from a tree with fishing line.  Viola!

Ghost Lanterns.  Decorate the outside of an empty gallon jug with a black sharpie marker to have ghostly eyes and a mouth then put a string of lights or a candle inside to light up a porch or other outdoor space.

Halloween Ornaments.  Cover Christmas ornaments with Halloween inspired paper mache and fill a basket, or just string or place them in strategic places.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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Make A Great First Impression


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Whether you’d like it to or not, the front door of your home gives people their first impression.  Not only is it where people enter your home for the first time, but it’s often the first thing that catches the eye of anyone who is driving by.  It also helps set the tone for your home, so whether you’re looking to sell your home or just to make it more inviting consider giving your front door a face lift so that it conveys the message and first impression you want it to give.

One very simple thing that you can do is to decorate it and update it regularly.  Decoration could be a wreath, dramatic home numbers, shutters, door knocker and knobs, etc.  This option is great for everybody because no matter what your personality, likes, or budget there is an option for you!  Another quick decoration idea is to add planters to either side of the door.  This is a quick solution for adding color, texture and beauty to your entryway.  If you live in an area where flowers or plants can’t survive year round you can use the planters to display seasonal décor during colder seasons.

Another easy thing to do to improve your home’s first impression is to install lights at your front door if you don’t already have them.  Lighting is another thing that has many options.  You can opt for sconces on either side of the door, spotlights installed at the ground and aimed at the door, or overhead lighting if your front door is under a porch are all great options.  And while we’re on the subject, please make sure your house number is well lighted too.

Finally, if you’re trying to sell your home, studies show that replacing your home’s front door can increase the perceived value of your home, so you might want to think about a full replacement if it’s needed.  In the study, the home’s perceived value when the entryway was updated was as much as five times the cost of the door itself.  If you’re going to update your entryway with something new, consider enlarging it to include a windows to the side or above the door as well to add natural light to the home as well as increase the value of the entryway.

No matter what you decide to do, remember that your entryway is the first and last impression that your guests and potential buyers see, so make the lasting impression a good one!

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-856-6434.

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Tips for Keeping Countertops Looking Brand New


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Whether your countertops have seen better days or you’ve got new countertops that you want to keep in good shape, here are some tips for caring for different types of counter surfaces to keep them looking great!

  • Laminate:  You can keep laminate looking good with a thick paste of baking soda and water.  Leave the paste on stains for 3-5 minutes and most stains will disappear.  For tougher stains rub household bleach into the stain with a cotton ball until clean and then rinse with soapy water and rub down with a clean, damp rag.
  • Granite:  If your granite is properly sealed all you need to do is wipe it down regularly with a wet cloth.  To find out if your granite is sealed, splash some water on it and wait for 10-15 minutes.  If  the water is still beaded, you’re good to go.  If it has soaked in head to the hardware store to purchase a do-it-yourself sealer which is pretty easy and inexpensive.
  • Marble:  Food stains can be removed with a thick paste of water, baking soda, and dish soap.  Oil stains can be removed with hydrogen peroxide or mineral spirits.  Etching and corrosion can be buffed away with marble polish.
  • Wood/Butcher Block:  The best way to care for wood counter surfaces is to apply mineral oil on a monthly basis.  Stains can be removed with lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide.
  • Quartz:  Quartz countertops are made to take a beating, however if stains do happen they can be taken care of with a paste of flour and hydrogen peroxide.  Apply the paste and allow to sit for 24 hours then wipe away and clean the surface with water.
  • Stainless Steel:  Stainless steel scratches easily, but these scratches can be buffed out with an abrasive pad.  Rust stains can be cleaned up with a paste of lemon juice and baking soda, but it is best to avoid rust altogether by not allowing pots and pans to touch counter surfaces directly.
  • Solid Surface:  Buff scratches out with a mild abrasive and take care of stains with a paste of baking soda and water or lemon juice.
  • Ceramic Tile:  The best way to keep tile countertops looking new is to care for the grout regularly with a toothbrush and mildew-fighting solution.  Stains can be cleaned up with a toothbrush and diluted household bleach and then wiped up with soap and water.

Hopefully these tips will help you keep your kitchen looking shiny and new for a long time to come!

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Real Estate Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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5 Ways To Utilize Wasted Space Under Your Stairs


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The space under stairs is often underutilized, if not wasted.  Here are five ideas for creating practical storage in this space.

1.  Shelves.  Building custom shelves into this space is a relatively simple, but practical way to create storage without much effort.

2.  Drawers.  Creating custom stairs where each step is also a drawer can add a significant amount of storage to your home.

3.  Pull out shelves.  This idea is a combination of the first two, but creating shelves that pull out give you both decorative storage and hidden storage.

4.  Closet.  You can turn the space under your stairs into closet space by adding a door in the back for a deep storage space, or doors on the side for a long storage space, depending on what is more practical for your situation.

5.  Office space.  By opening up the space under your stairs, you can build an office directly into this space and create it in such a way to flow into the rest of your room.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-856-6434.

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3 Ways To Organize Your Bedroom This Weekend


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If you’re looking for ways to organize your bedroom, check out some of these ideas:

1.  Organize Wall Hangings.  Clear clutter by hanging taking what’s important to you, framing it or mounting it, and creating a wall display.

2.  Use Your Corners.  Installing corner shelving or a corner table can add usefulness to underutilized parts of your bedroom.

3.  Float Your Shelves.  Installing floating shelves offers abundant storage without the bulkiness of large storage units.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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A Guide To Molding


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Molding is a beautiful, decorative architectural detail that is a part of many homes, but since it comes in so many different types and forms it can also be very confusing.  Here’s an alphabetical guideline to follow:

  • Baseboard.  Baseboards usually measure 3-5 inches.  It trims walls where they join with the floor.
  • Batten.  This type of molding is also called board-and-batten is used to hide the joint between pieces of paneling.
  • Bead.  Bead molding and pearl molding are similar types of trim that have a row of small spheres that are often paired with crown or chair moldings.
  • Casing.  This is the type of molding that goes around door and window frames to fill the gap.  Typically this type of molding is 2-3 inches wide.
  • Chair Rail.  This molding is installed partially up a wall and is supposed to protect walls from being damaged by furniture, but many people use it just for decoration.
  • Crown.  This molding is a beautiful architectural detail that fills the transition between wall and ceiling.  They can also be called cornice moldings and range in size from very small and simple to extremely large and ornate.
  • Dentil.  This type of molding is made up of small, evenly spaced blocks in a repeating pattern.  This type of molding is typical of historic homes and is usually just a part of more intricate crown molding.
  • Picture Rail.  Picture railings are hung anywhere from a few inches to a few feet below ceiling height and allow artwork to be hung without driving nails directly into the wall.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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3 Kitchen Trends To Avoid


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If you are redoing your kitchen, or even just thinking about it, you may be tempted to update this popular room with some of the current trends.  Some trends, however, should be avoided so that your kitchen will age well and not be outdated in just a year or two.  Here are five current trends to avoid in order to add years to the life of your kitchen:

1.  Farmhouse Sinks.  These popular sinks are beautiful and all over design shows and floor rooms, but these trendy sinks may be outdated in just a few years.  For a sink that will stand the test of time go for something deep and stainless.

2.  Colorful Appliances.  White appliances are trending right now, but stainless is what will last forever.  Because stainless goes with every décor from country to contemporary to traditional, it’s really the best bet for anyone.

3.  Decorative Range Hoods.  Although still trendy, range hoods as a kitchen focal point is waning in popularity.  Avoid it to help your kitchen stand the test of time.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-856-6434.

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Light Your Room Right


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When designing rooms professionals often rely on a simple math formula to help them determine how much light is needed.  Start by finding the square footage of your room (length multiplied by width) then multiply the square footage by 1.5 to determine the recommended wattage for lighting the room.  For example, a room that is 10×10 is 100 square feet.  100 multiplied by 1.5 is 150, so to light the room properly 150 watts are necessary.  This wattage covers the entire room, so when considering lighting (especially for rooms larger than 100 square feet!) don’t forget that lighting comes in several varieties.  There’s general overhead lighting, task lighting, accent lighting and ambient lighting.  And of course, remember that this formula is just a guideline to help you.  You don’t have to stress about finding fixtures that add up to the exact wattage your calculation suggests, it just helps get you in the right ballpark so that you can adjust for personal taste while still maintaining a correct range.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-629-6693.

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Update Your Home For $500 or Less


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If you’re trying to sell your house you can do a lot to increase the value without spending a lot of money.  Here are five ways that can cost less than $500.

1.  Paint
I will never get tired of saying it.  Paint your house if you want to increase its value!  Not only do neutral colors make your home seem more desirable to the majority of people, but freshly painted rooms also look clean and updated… a strong selling point!

2.  Clean
Even if you clean your house regularly, there are most likely spots you overlook or can’t get to.  If you hire a cleaning service to come and do the dirty work then your house will be able sparkle from top to bottom and make the best possible first impression to potential home buyers.

3.  Go Green
Replacing loud, broken, or simply outdated light figures or ceiling fans with new, energy efficient fixtures will increase your bottom-line without costing too much.

4.  Scrape off the popcorn
If your home has popcorn ceilings, dedicate a weekend to bringing it into the 21st century by scraping the popcorn away.  Getting rid of this dated look will instantly update the value of your home.

5.  Update the Bathroom
Even if you can’t afford an entire remodel, spending a little bit of cash on a face lift will increase your bottom line.  Things like replacing old wallpaper, a fresh coat of paint, new light fixtures, and new faucet & hardware can make the room seem brand new!

Thinking of buying or selling your home?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you –302-644-2266!

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Make The Most Of Your Entryway


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The entryway of a home is often either abused or underutilized.  At its best an entryway should welcome people into your home and be an organized spot that makes your life easier!  Here are three tips for organizing your entryway to allow for both beauty and function.

  1. Limit clutter – Don’t drop everything you’re holding in the entryway as soon as you enter.  Mail, keys, bags, shoes, coats etc. can clutter an area faster than you can blink, so make sure everything has a designated spot and put it away as soon as you walk in!
  2. Utilize multifunctional pieces – Multifunctional pieces that offer storage and fit your space are the key to having a welcoming, organized entryway.  For example, a chest can offer both seating and storage, a coat rack/bench combo has many uses, and a basket rack gives you a place to hang your coat as well as out of site storage for keys, mail, pet leashes, or anything else you might need to stash on your way in or out of the house.
  3. Have a key rack – Be sure to have a designated spot to put your keys as soon as you walk in the door.  Having your keys on hand will save you time and energy later when you need to run a quick errand or make it to an appointment on time!

Of course, once you put the time and energy into making sure your entryway is organized and inviting be sure to keep it that way by making new habits and maintaining them every time you walk through the door!

Are you looking to buy or sell a home in Southern Delaware?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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Three Quick Ways To Add Color To Your Home


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Color-Wheel-pencils

Looking for ways to add a quick pop of color?  Check out these ideas:

1.  Choose your favorite.  Take a look around and choose your favorite fabric of pattern already in the room.  Find the dominate color in that pattern and then add 5-10 accents in the same color around the room.  The amount depends on the size of the room and the accents you choose.  Keeping all of your accents in the same color scheme will add a pop to the room while still keeping a cohesive feel.

2.  Make seasonal changes.  Adding collections of seasonal decorations is a great way to add color.  Keep them simple and bright and don’t forget to change them out regularly!

3.  Remember the rule.  Designers recommend using the 60-30-10 formula as a guide for adding color to a room.  The rule is that 60% of your room should be the predominate (usually neutral) color, 30% of the room should be your secondary color – typically found in floor and window coverings, and the final 10% should be your accent color.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-856-6434.

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Three Ways To Dress Up A Blank Wall


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If you’ve got a blank wall in your home that you’re looking to dress up, try these solutions:

1. Antique Fabrics.  Search antique stores, second hand stores, and flea markets for old frames and fill them with pieces of classic quilts, tablecloths, or other antique or meaningful linens.

2.  Embroidery Hoops.  Frame any fabric that you love in different sized embroidery hoops and create an original piece of wall art by placing them in any method you choose.

3.  Floating Shelf.  Adding a floating shelf or series of floating shelves and layer framed prints, pictures, accessories, and anything else you like to add some personality to your space.  The best part about floating shelves is that you can easily change out the contents for seasons, holidays, special occasions, or just because!

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-856-6434.

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5 Quick Kitchen Updates


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kitchen-open-shelving

Freshen your kitchen with one of these relatively quick and easy updates:

1.  Open it up.  Add some open shelving, which can be as simple as removing the doors from a few cabinets and show off your colorful, collective, or otherwise interesting or beautiful dishes.

2.  Go glamorous.  Add a beautiful or interesting chandelier over an island or kitchen table too add some architectural interest to the room.

3.  Add some red.  The color red is known to enhance the sense of smell, sensitize the taste buds, and stimulate appetite.  If your kitchen is neutral, add a splash of this appealing color to the room’s palate.

4.  Organize.  Fit your silverware drawer with dividers, add a pot rack, and fit disorganized cabinets with wire shelving to clear the clutter and keep things neat.

5.  Add an artful touch.  Tile a backsplash for a simple, relatively inexpensive custom touch.  To keep costs down choose a simple tile and throw in just a few accents.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-644-2266.

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Ideas for More Interesting Walls


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One of the easiest ways to add interest to your décor is to utilize your walls.  Whether they are solid or windowed, white or colorful, painted or wallpapered, walls are basically the blank canvas of your home.  If you’re looking to update your home’s look, one thing you can consider is installing crown molding, or if your home already has crown molding, install picture molding just below ceiling height to extend the look.  In your dining room, installing a chair rail is a nice touch.  If you’re looking to add some color you can stencil a favorite quote or look into the awesome wall decals that are available from many reputable dealers – many have a professional look and finish, but you can apply them yourself!  Another colorful option is to paint a thick stripe of color around the room, about two-thirds of the way up the wall.  Outlined with thin strips of white paint of chair rails above and below the stripe, this gives a real pop of color that can be a great accent to an otherwise drab room.  If you like the idea of a pop of color or texture, but aren’t willing to make the commitment to your walls, consider lining the backs of bookshelves, the entertainment center, or other open storage with wall paper that suits your taste and accents your room.  Another great way to add interest without a long-term commitment is to mat and frame artwork or black and white photo prints and group them in arrangements at eye level.  If you want your home to reflect your tastes, start with the walls – they are the easiest and fastest place to add personality, and can be (relatively) easily changed when you’re ready for something new!

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-629-6693.

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Three Quick Floor Updates


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If you need to freshen your floor in a relatively quick and easy way, try one of these three options:

1.  Carpet Tiles.  Carpet tiles are relatively easy to install and can define an area or add color to a room instantly.

2.  Area Rugs.  If you have an open floor plan, using different area rugs will define separate areas quickly without too much trouble.

3.  Laminate Flooring.  In hard to maintain areas like a mudroom, bathroom, or laundry room, consider light-colored laminate flooring.  It is easy to install and even easier to maintain.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-856-6434.

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Three Suggestions for Small Spaces


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If you’ve got a small living space, try some of these suggestions to make your room feel cozy and not cramped:

1.  Go neutral.  Stick to neutral walls and curtains to make a small space appear larger.  Keep patterns neutral and use accent pieces to bring in color.

2.  Utilize multi-use.  In a small room an ottoman should double as storage, built in bookshelves provide unity, and any multi-function furniture you can utilize helps create space!

3.  Scale down.  Rather than a full-size sofa, consider a large love seat or scaled down couch.  Forgo the coffee table, keep end tables narrow, and play with layout until you find the best use of your space.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County? Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-629-6693.

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Three Quick Ways To Add Color To Your Home


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Looking for ways to add a quick pop of color?  Check out these ideas:

1.  Choose your favorite.  Take a look around and choose your favorite fabric of pattern already in the room.  Find the dominate color in that pattern and then add 5-10 accents in the same color around the room.  The amount depends on the size of the room and the accents you choose.  Keeping all of your accents in the same color scheme will add a pop to the room while still keeping a cohesive feel.

2.  Make seasonal changes.  Adding collections of seasonal decorations is a great way to add color.  Keep them simple and bright and don’t forget to change them out regularly!

3.  Remember the rule.  Designers recommend using the 60-30-10 formula as a guide for adding color to a room.  The rule is that 60% of your room should be the predominate (usually neutral) color, 30% of the room should be your secondary color – typically found in floor and window coverings, and the final 10% should be your accent color.

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-629-6693.

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Three Ways to Add Romance to Your Decor


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In honor of Valentine’s Day here are three ways to add some romance to your décor:

1.  Metallic Accents.  A metallic accessory or two can be unexpected and glamorous and lend a feeling of romance to a room.  Something like a chest of drawers, side table, or chair in a warm, metallic shade are perfect!

2.  Monochromatic Colors with a Pop.  A monochromatic color scheme can be give a room a crisp, romantic feeling as long as the shade is lovely and warm.  But to keep it from becoming too boring, pop a bright color in the mix like bright pink or a warm violet in just one or two places.

3.  Black and White.  Black walls can be very sensual.  Paint a wall black and hang white accents such as wall art in white mats for a very stunning look!

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-856-6434.

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Paint Your Home Happy


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paint-cns

Last week I mentioned that painting your home using the science behind color theory can be a simple and beneficial way to improve the quality of your home quickly and relatively easily.  I was unable to find a way to explain this idea myself, but I did find an interesting article about the psychology behind paint colors that is an interesting read.  This blog post takes some of the information and breaks it down into simple tips for using each color and ideas for decorating eating and office spaces putting color theory to use.  So if you’re thinking of updating your home with a fresh coat of paint, consider the way the colors make you feel and paint for less stress and more happiness!

Thinking of buying or selling a home in Sussex County?  Give us a call at Cooper Realty Associates and put us to work for you – 302-629-6693.

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