With so many dining rooms being converted into part of the living room or kitchen these days, dining room design has kind of fallen by the wayside. But if youâre one of the lucky homeowners to have hung on to a formal dining space, youâve got an opportunity to make some amazing modern updates. Here are 7 affordable ways to breathe new life into an old dining room:
#1 Perk things up with paint.
Are your dining room walls still the same color they were when you moved into your house 10 years ago? If so, thereâs a good chance the colorâs a little past its prime. In fact, it may also be doing an injustice to your furniture and the updates youâve made in adjoining rooms as well. Refresh the walls with a paint shade that makes you feel comfortable and cozy. The room will reflect that feeling.
#2 Modernize the lighting.
Are outdated chandeliers and lamps gathering dust in your dining room? Consider sending them packing and installing some recessed lighting and pendants in their place. Pendant lights, in particular, come in a wide variety of styles and colors sure to add some new pizzazz to your space.
#3 Repurpose another room.
If your dining room is located in an undesirable space — a cramped corner of the house away from the kitchen, for example — pick a new place for your table and chairs. Put them in the kitchen, if you have the the space. Or, place the dining table somewhere right in your living room, where thereâs easy access to the TV and stereo. You should always feel comfortable during a meal, and being confined to an area you donât enjoy doesnât contribute to that feeling.
#4 Add some visual appeal.
Visual appeal doesnât stop at paint and lighting. Itâs also important to consider how wall decor may increase the interest and comfort of the room. Blank walls may make it easy to zone out and focus on your meals, but your guests will surely enjoy looking at something a little more interesting. Depending on your budget and the size of your dining room, consider hanging potted plants and colorful pieces of art. Just be sure to balance wall decor with other elements in the room so your space doesnât feel like itâs cluttered with stuff.
#5 Throw in a rug.
One of the worst sounds to hear is a chair scratching against the floor as you go to get up from the dining table. So fix the issue. Add a rug underneath the table and chairs to make things soft and cozy. Choose a rug that isnât too thick with fibers. Otherwise, your chairs can get stuck and twisted. Of course, youâll also want to make sure that the style and color of your rug complement the rest of the room.
#6 Use dividers.
Many newer homes combine kitchen and dining spaces. If you want to create a dedicated dining space, think about incorporating a room divider. Itâs much cheaper than installing a wall â and you can add shelves, plants or a sliding door to further divide the two spaces. Plus, the flexibility of the divider allows to revert back to the bigger space any time you like.
#7 Build in.
Howâs your dining room designed? Do you have a table that sits in the middle with four chairs around it? If you want to make the room more functional â and create more storage in the process â think about ditching the clunky furniture and opting instead for built-ins like bench seating, china cabinets and buffets. A professional can create custom built-ins to suit any style.
The post 7 Creative and Quick Dining Room Updates first appeared on Century 21Â®.
Be a smart shopper and plan your purchases according to this calendar, which plots the best deals, month by month.
What to Buy in January
Kick off the new year with big savings.
Retailers know that the newest TVs and other electronics are revealed at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in January. This makes January the best time to buy a TV, thanks to major discounts â as long as you donât covet the new, fancy models too much.
No need to rush to the bookstore in December to get a new wall or desk calendar. Buy one in January to get a discount.
Gym Memberships and Home Fitness Equipment
The pandemic may have kept you out of the gym, and you might still be hesitant to return. But gyms are known to offer big incentives to sign up and get fit in the New Year. Home gym equipment also goes on sale in January, as do scales, according to Consumer Reports. Hereâs some guidance on what equipment you need for a good, affordable home gym.
The yearly tradition of hosting a white sale dates back to the 1870s, when linens were only available in white. But modern white sales include linens and home goods in every color of the rainbow.
Donât be swayed by sheets with super-high thread counts â you probably donât know what different thread counts feel like.
I know, you have an entire 11 months until you get invited to your next ugly sweater party. But my Goodwill intel reports that January is the best time to find a truly hideous sweater for way cheap. Other Christmas supplies are also on sale in January, including holiday cards and decorations.
What to Buy in February
Fall in love with these deals during February.
Presidents Day is a good time to buy a mattress because it gives you a long weekend to shop with your partner for an item you should both agree on before buying.
Thatâs why retailers use the holiday to post sales on pricy items many people have put off buying or replacing for a while. Take advantage.
One of the best times to buy jewelry is in February â but only after Valentineâs Day.
Look for deep discounts after retailers remove their rose-colored glasses. Itâs not worth paying the âlove taxâ to celebrate with your sweetheart, anyway.
Also look for discounts on other Valentineâs Day goods, such as cards and chocolate after the holiday itself.
Winter coats take up a ton of room in your closet and just as much room in stores. Help retailers clear âem out this month, and youâll get a big discount.
What to Buy in March
Spring forward by making these smart purchases in March.
Donât wait until a week before your big family vacation to get a new suitcase. March is the best time to buy luggage, as itâs on sale to entice shoppers who are desperate to be done with their snowy, dreary winters and who crave a little spring break.
Just donât forget where you put it when itâs time to pack.
What to Buy in April
The smart shopper always plans ahead.
You donât have to wait until Fatherâs Day to find excellent prices on tools and home improvement gear.
If youâre eager to start your home DIY projects in the spring, go ahead and shop now.
Everyoneâs finally going outside again. Let sporting goods stores make it easier for you to keep up with your New Yearâs resolution (remember that?) by discounting those new kicks.
What to Buy in May
Is your refrigerator running? If not, May is a great time to get a new one.
I understand youâre not going to time your babyâs birth to get the best deal on all their accoutrements.
But if your kiddo needs a new stroller or high chair, May is a good time to shop, according to Consumer Reports â especially if you can grab the Memorial Day deals.
New refrigerator models debut in the summer. Shop in May to get last yearâs model at a better price.
You canât tell the difference between last yearâs refrigerator models and this yearâs, right? Didnât think so.
Also look for deals on other necessities like freezers, oven ranges and air conditioners, according to Consumer Reports.
What to Buy in June
Here come theâ¦ deals?
Hopefully 2021 proves to be a better year for travel. Planning a summer vacation? Travel early or late in the summer instead of during peak times. And youâll pay less for airfare if you can travel midweek.
Now that summer is in full swing, outdoor gear â like tents, backpacks, lanterns and even fitness gear â is marked down.
Cookware and China
June is typically peak wedding season, and stores hope youâve planned ahead to buy wedding registry gifts.
Now is when those items are discounted, and itâs the perfect time to replace or upgrade whatâs in your own cabinets.
What to Buy in July
Donât sweat these savings.
New styles hit stores in February and August, so retailers spend much of July clearing out old stock, especially over Fourth of July weekend â making this the best time to buy furniture.
July means humidity. Pick up an older version of a much-needed dehumidifier in July or August, according to Consumer Reports.
What to Buy in August
The dog days of summer offer some amazing bargains.
Computers (Except Apple Products)
Computer manufacturers typically release their new models in the summer, so back-to-school sales are a great time to buy last seasonâs model. The specs probably wonât be different enough for you to notice, unless youâre a hardcore gamer or designer.
Apple products, however, typically get announced in the fall, so hold off to get that new MacBook.
Grilling season doesnât stop at the stroke of Labor Day. Buy at the tail end of summer to enjoy your grill until almost Thanksgiving (OK, depending on where you live).
What to Buy in September
Back to school? More like back to the checkout lane.
Generally, September is the best month to buy Thanksgiving flights.
Hitting the prime booking window â plus our other top tips for saving on air travel.
Even though your local pool might be closed for the season, you should think about stocking up on swimsuits for next year.
This might not be a frequent purchase, but if youâre in the market for a new home, it can help to hold off past the busy spring and summer buying seasons.
Your costs typically drop a few percentage points at the end of September (after the kids have gone back to school), making this the best time to buy a house.
What to Buy in October
Thereâs a joke about spooky deals in here, but I wonât make it.
Jeans typically get discounted in October, after back-to-school sales have ended and families are stocked up on fall attire.
Goodbye summer, hello savings.
Itâs worth checking out the patio furniture if you donât mind storing it over the winter. When that first warm spring day hits, youâll be ready to bask in the sunshine.
October means fall leaves â and they are likely covering your yard. Pick up a leaf blower, and while youâre at it, get ready for the snowy days ahead with a snow blower, according to Consumer Reports.
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What to Buy in November
The days get shorter, but the deals get bigger.
This time of year is ripe with rock-bottom prices on giftable small appliances.
If youâre looking for a blender, food processor, coffee maker or anything else thatâll proudly take up space on your kitchen counter, itâs worth waiting until Black Friday sales begin in stores and online.
Bridal shops are slow before the proposal rush during the holiday season, so the few weeks before Thanksgiving is a good time to start trying on gowns.
Ask about sample sales and last yearâs styles that may be priced to move.
What to Buy in December
Celebrate the seasonâ¦ by shopping smart, obviously.
If your familyâs been begging for a backyard pool, December is the best time to have one installed. It might be chilly, but pool pros would rather avoid working on 90-degree days!
Plus, when their workload slows in the winter, many contractors are willing to lower their prices.
Toy deals stick around after those Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales in November.
Even if youâre done with holiday shopping for your little ones, consider picking up their favorite character and activity toys while theyâre still discounted to stash away for birthdays.
Lisa Rowan is a former staff writer and producer at The Penny Hoarder.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.
Reality TV star Ty Pennington, known for changing peopleâs lives with his energetic personality onÂ the original version of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, is now looking to cash in on his own home makeover. Pennington has just listed his house — a beautiful and bright 1927 Craftsman in Venice, Calif. — for $2,795,000.
Pennington put his home design expertise to good use and carefully restored the property earlier this year with the help of his trusted interior designer, Patrick Delanty. Delanty, also known to be Halle Berry’s designer, has long been working alongside Ty Pennington, serving as his design director for Extreme Makeover and running his on-air design segments, most notably his presence on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Rachel Ray Show, NBCâs Nightline and Good Morning America.
Just like its reality TV star owner, the home is bright, cheerful and quirky, with colorful interiors exuding creativity and style. The property is listed by Patrice Meepos of Compass.
Tucked away on a one-way street near the beach, Venice Boardwalk, canals and Abbot Kinney’s hot spots, the original 1927 dwelling has 3 beds, 3 baths, and a sizable living room with decorative fireplace, along with a sunken family room with large windows overlooking a newly landscaped, private back yard with koi pond.
The ground level hosts the kitchen, laundry room, and bedroom with direct backyard access, as well as a full bath. On the upper level, there’s a master retreat and a second bedroom.
Ty Pennington added quite a few special touches to the 2,102-square-foot home, including bamboo flooring, baths adorned in vintage-inspired ceramic tile, a master bath sporting a standalone shower and an antique cast-iron freestanding tub, kitchen with concrete countertops and a wraparound, porcelain-tiled porch. There’s also a beautiful backyard that looks like a great place to entertain guests.
While Ty Pennington did not return to host HGTV’s 2020 version of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (which is hosted by Modern Family‘s Jesse Tyler Ferguson), you can catch the two time Emmy award winner in his other home improvement series, Trading Spaces — which recently restarted airing after a 10-year hiatus.
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The post Extreme Makeover’s Ty Pennington Lists Bright and Beautiful Venice Beach Home appeared first on Fancy Pants Homes.
Chase has announced the 5% cash back categories on the Chase Freedom Flex℠ and the retired Freedom card for the first quarter of 2021.
From Jan. 1 through March. 31, 2021, Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can earn 5% cash back on select streaming services, internet, cable and phone services and wholesale club purchases (up to $1,500 in combined purchases) after activation.
Besides that, the new Flex card offers 5% cash back on travel booked through the Chase Ultimate Rewards portal, 3% on dining and drugstore purchases and 1% on everything else. All other purchases earn 1% cash back.
See related: Chase to launch new Freedom Flex card, add new categories to Freedom Unlimited
Activation for first-quarter categories on both the Freedom and Freedom Flex launched on Dec. 15, 2020, and will be open until March 14, 2021.
Hereâs what you need to know at a glance:
Activation of first-quarter bonus categories begins on Dec. 15 for both the Chase Freedom and Chase Freedom Flex.
Cardholders must activate by March 14 to earn the bonus rate.
From Jan. 1 to March 31, Freedom and Freedom Flex cardholders can earn 5% cash back on eligible streaming services, internet, cable and phone services and wholesale club purchases.
The 5% cash back bonus is capped at $1,500 in combined purchases per quarter.
As of Jan. 12, 2020, Chase Freedom cardholders earn 5% cash back on Lyft rides through March 2022.
Chase 5% cash back calendar 2021
January â March
(Activation closes on March 14)
April â June
July â September
October â December
Select streaming services
Phone, cable and internet services
Chase only releases its quarterly bonus categories one quarter at a time, so we canât yet predict what will be offered in the rest of the quarters in 2021. Hereâs a quick look at some of the categories Chase has offered in the last year.
Chase 5% cash back calendar 2020
January â March
April â June
July â September
October â December
Select streaming services
Phone, cable and internet services
Select streaming services
Whole Foods Market
What is included and excluded in the ‘Select streaming services’ category?
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In this category, you can earn 5% cash back on select streaming services, including music and video streaming.Â The eligible services include Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Netflix, Sling, Vudu, Fubo TV, Apple Music, SiriusXM, Pandora, Spotify and YouTube TV.
What is included and excluded in the ‘Phone, cable and internet services’ category?
You can earn cash back on your monthly bills, such as your cable, internet and phone services. To earn 5% cash back in the category, make sure to pay these bills with your Freedom or Freedom Flex card.
Equipment purchases don’t qualify in this category. You may also not receive the bonus cash back if you pay for your phone, cable or internet service at a merchant’s store that’s not classified in the applicable services category.
What is included and excluded in the âWholesale clubsâ category?
In this category, you can get 5% back when youâre shopping at wholesale clubs, including Samâs and BJâs. You can also use your Chase Freedom (no longer available for new applications) to earn bonus cash back at Costco. Since Costco only accepts Visa cards, the new Freedom Flex, which is a Mastercard, wonât be accepted. Mastercards are, however, accepted on Costco.com.
See related: Best credit cards for Costco purchases
earn 5% cash back on up to $1,500 in combined spending in rotating categories each quarter, upon enrollment, then 1%.
Chase vs. Discover cash back categories 2021
Chase Freedom Flex℠
Discover it® Cash Back
January â March
Select streaming services, phone, cable and internet services, wholesale clubs
Grocery stores, Walgreens and CVS
April â June
Gas stations, Uber, Lyft and wholesale clubs
July â September
Restaurants and PayPal
October â December
Amazon.com, Target.com and Walmart.com
Which card offers the best deal?
The best card for you depends on where you plan to spend your money in the first quarter of 2021.
Discover it® Cash Back offers bonus cash back at grocery stores at the beginning of the year. Since groceries are regular expenses that can get rather high, especially if youâre grocery shopping for a family, this category can be pretty lucrative.
At the same time, if you have a wholesale club membership, it can be very easy for you to meet the spending cap in this category with your Chase card. This can make up for the other two underwhelming categories.
For the rest of 2021, we canât predict which card will be best for you, as while Discover has announced its categories for the next year, Chase only releases bonus categories one quarter at a time.
After almost a year of quarantine, it seems like everyone’s itching for a house partyâwhich may explain the “Property Brothers” stars’ latest renovation on their show “Celebrity IOU.”
In the episode âAllison Janneyâs Showstopper,â Drew and Jonathan Scott help the actressÂ renovate the house of her assistant of 20 years, Ilana. The “West Wing” star says that Ilana loves throwing partiesâespecially in Janneyâs honor! So itâs important that Ilana have a great space to entertain.
These upgrades for a party house will get you looking forward to a more social 2021. Read on to find out what youâll need to get ready to host friends and family in the not-too-distant future.
Double up on your sinks in the kitchen
The brothers start off by switching the kitchen and dining room spaces, creating a new, beautiful kitchen with a large island that will be a perfect place for guests to gather. But to make it even better, Drew and Jonathan decide to give the kitchen two sinksâone on the island and one by the window.
âWe know Ilana likes to entertain, so this could be her sink for entertaining on this side, and then that sink over there is dirty dishes,â Drew says.
The extra sink makes for an elegant addition. It gives the house the feel of a cool wet bar area but keeps the entertaining space compact.
Choose durable materials that will stand up to kids and company
Jonathan and Drew want to make sure Janney is involved with the design for Ilanaâs house because, after 20 years of working together, she knows her assistant’s tastes well.
She helps to pick out some gorgeous styles for the kitchen, but explains that the most important thing for Ilana is durability. Ilana loves entertaining, plus she has two kids, so sheâs got to have a kitchen that will stand up to anything.
Jonathan shows Janney counter samples made of neolith, a durable material that he knows Ilana will love.
âAnytime I have somebody who entertains a lot, or who has kids in the house, you’ve got to have something thatâs going to stand up to family life,â he says.
Janney selects a white neolith style with elegant veiningâand Jonathan gets to work installing it. In the end, these counters look like marble but theyâre extra durable, perfect for both big parties and messy evenings cooking with kids at home.
Give the fireplace an easy refresh
When Janney shows the brotherâs Ilanaâs house, they agree that the old fireplace needs an update. This two-sided fireplace is covered with beige stone, making it blend into the background when it should be a standout feature. Luckily, the brothers know how to fix it. First, they take off the old stone, exposing the brick underneath. Now, they’re free to give the fireplace a new look.
Jonathan suggests matching the fireplace with the same beautiful and durable material they chose for the kitchen counter. Then, they use sintered stone for the fireplace surround, finishing the style with a clean, white look.
When the fireplace is finished, Janney and Ilana are impressed. The new, lighter color brings a fresh feel to the living room, and the matching material helps smooth the transition between the living room and kitchen.
“Itâs so awesome that you donât have to completely rip out an original feature,” Drew says of the fireplace update. “Just clean it up a little bit, make it look new.â
A wine fridge can be a real showstopper
When the brothers first see this home, they find a wall that closes off the space between what will be the dining room and the rest of the house. They decide to open up the wall and replace it with a refrigerated wine room.
While it may seem like this wine room is just taking up the space where the wall used to stand, closing the place up again, the modern glass design allows for sightlines through the wine room, making the home feel more open.
âThereâs nothing bulkyâitâs all open, itâs all glass, and itâs beautiful,â Jonathan says.
When the wine room is finished, it looks amazing.
âItâs stylish, functional, and itâs going to be the centerpiece of every party at this house,â Drew says.
Solar tubes are cheaper than skylights
When Drew and Jonathan switch the kitchen and the dining spaces, they realize that the new dining space is cramped and dark. They have to close up the one window, so they worry that the space will feel like a dungeon.
So the brothers use solar tubes, or holes in the ceiling designed to bring in sunlight.
âThey are a great way to bring natural light into any room without the hassle and expense of a traditional skylight,” Jonathan says of the tubes.
While this natural light doesnât replace electrical lighting, it does help a lot. At least during the day, this dining space looks bright and beautiful!
When the renovation is finished, Janney is impressed, and so is Ilana! Now, this house is ready for some great parties and some wonderful new memories.
The post The Property Brothers Reveal the Best Post-COVID-19 Upgrades appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.comÂ®.
You hear the term all the time. After all, itâs an essential concept for apartment investors because it not only reflects the viability of your investment but also its value.
But what really is cash flow? How do you compute it, and more importantly, how can you increase the cash flow of your multifamily property?
Cash flow is simply the money that moves in and out of your business. For apartments, the cash coming in is in the form of rent, and the cash flowing out is in the form of expenditures like property taxes and utilities.
Cash flow â or lack of it — is one of the primary reasons businesses, or real estate investments, fail. Without sufficient cash flow, youâll run out of money. Thatâs why itâs essential that you have sufficient capital to not only purchase an apartment property but also sustain it in the event that cash flow fails to be what you projected â for example, if units turn over more often than you expect or rents decline.
Here are some ways you can improve the cash flow of your apartment investment:
Increase rents. This is perhaps the fastest and easiest way to improve cash flow. Consider repositioning the property â investing some capital to improve the units and then bumping rents.
Reduce utility costs. Fix leaky shower heads and faucets, which waste water. Install energy-efficient appliances and lighting fixtures.
Decrease expenses. Renegotiate your property management contract, or put it out to bid at the end of the term. Use free rental property listing sites rather than paying a broker to rent apartments.
Encourage residents to stay. Moveouts are expensive, so when tenants renew their leases youâll save time and money on prepping the unit.
Add additional streams of revenue, such as pet deposits and rent, garage rentals, vending machines or valet trash.
The post The ABCs of Multifamily Cash Flow first appeared on Century 21Â®.