Alan Fraser Houston
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Home Improvement
Home Improvement, Unemployment

Staying Home for the Super Bowl? 9 Items To Give Your Place a Sports Bar Vibe on Game Day

Super Bowl setupfstop123/Getty Images

Truth: Some folks were just fine with the fact that Thanksgiving and other holidays had to be scaled back last year due to the coronavirus. Frankly, less exposure to Aunt Martha meant you could avoid her gloppy casserole and prying questions about your love life.

But we’ll admit that watching the Super Bowl at home—when you’d rather be at your favorite sports bar tossing down hot wings and yelling at the screen—is just a wee bit depressing.

Alas, we still shouldn’t gather indoors as the pandemic hangs on. But the game (and the halftime show!) must go on—and there’s no reason we shouldn’t enjoy it in style. So why not transform your den into your own mini sports arena? For some help, here’s what the pros would include for maximum fun on game day.

1. TV trays

Tuck this slender piece along your couch end when the game is over.

Wayfair

“The Super Bowl is all about the snacks, so I’d pick these retro TV trays, especially since you can also use them as a mini desk after game day,” says Darla DeMorrow, author of “Organizing Your Home With SORT and SUCCEED.”

This wheeled pick can be slid into place easily, plus the lower shelves neatly hold remotes, books, and other den gear ($105, Wayfair).

2. TV wall mount

 

Swivel this device for the right angles in your TV room.

Amazon

Among the best parts of sitting in a sports bar are the multiple screens and replays, which means you’ll never miss a single fumble. At home, you can up your game with a sturdy wall mount so your flat-screen TV is perfectly tilted.

You can mount the bracket on wood, brick, or concrete and then relax, knowing the 10-year warranty has you covered ($27, Amazon).

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Watch: Rent vs. Buy: Yes, Even NFL Players Should Run the Numbers

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3. Cozy seating

Compact chairs are smart for small spaces,

Crate & Barrel

Comfy recliners or—better yet—smart-looking swivel chairs are the ultimate in seating in front of your big-screen TV, says Karen Gray-Plaisted of Design Solutions KGP.

This barrel shape sports a ’70s vibe as well as durable boucle upholstery that’ll help hide black bean dip drips ($1,199, Crate & Barrel).

4. Themed tumblers

Steel-lined, splash-proof mugs are a must during touchdowns.

Macy’s

Real fans feature their favorite team’s colors and logo at Super Bowl time, whether it’s a jersey hung on the wall or a set of cool containers for serving drinks.

If your money’s on Tom Brady to lead the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to the championship this year, outfit your den with these bright tumblers. Beverages stay cold for a full 24 hours thanks to double-wall insulation ($30, Macy’s).

5. Air fryer

A toaster oven and air fryer in one sleek device

Kohl’s

Homemade mac and cheese balls are cheaper (and possibly even more delicious) if you prep them yourself. But the best home cooking perk comes from using an air fryer, which yields healthier results.

If you can swing it, this high-end appliance is a workhorse that air-fries, bakes, broils, and toasts all of your snacks and breakfast foods in a stylish, stainless-steel package ($250, Kohl’s).

6. Floor pillows

Choose from 10 shades and striped combinations

Wayfair

“Since this year is all about staying safe at home, I think football fans should get cozy with big floor pillows, and this way, everyone has a direct line-of-sight seat for the game,” says DeMorrow.

This twill fabric features a simple color palette that’ll mesh with most decor schemes ($97, Wayfair).

7. Mini fridge

Smart door storage keeps soda cans secure.

Wayfair

What’s the one thing you can’t run out of during the Super Bowl? That’s right, cold beer. To ensure easy access to your suds, consider a mini fridge (especially in this sea-foam shade) for your den or rec room. This little guy pulls its weight as it also includes a freezer compartment ($180, Wayfair).

8. Panini press

A press that comes in chrome, red, or stainless-steel finishes

Amazon

Wonder why those subs taste so good at the bar? They’re crisped on the outside and melty between the layers—and you can achieve this same hoagie nirvana in a panini press.

“I love to lay out cold cuts, bread, and condiments, and then each person can make their own hot sandwich at halftime,” says Gray-Plaisted.

Thick paninis are no challenge for this nonstick press, which is also aces at griddling quesadillas ($50, Amazon).

9. Cheese tray

Perfect for charcuterie or a pile of brownies and whoopie pies

Wayfair

Aww, did you think we wouldn’t give the Kansas City Chiefs equal time? They’re in it to win it, too, this year. Plus you can’t have too many trays and serving platters during the Super Bowl.

This well-priced choice comes with its own nifty cheese knife with a handy pick at the end for spearing the fattest piece of brie ($53, Wayfair).

The post Staying Home for the Super Bowl? 9 Items To Give Your Place a Sports Bar Vibe on Game Day appeared first on Real Estate News & Insights | realtor.com®.

Source: realtor.com

Home Improvement, Unemployment

What to do with Your Basement

Is your basement currently the deep, dark abyss where holiday decorations and outdated furniture get lost? It doesn’t have to be! Just because it is the bottom level of the house doesn’t mean you can’t make it a top priority on your home improvement to-do list. If you’re looking for a little inspiration on what to do with it, we have a few ideas.

For the Sports Lover
Transform your cold, dark digs into a space all sports fan could only dream of. Essentials you’ll need for the ultimate basement transformation may include big screen TV’s, a pool table, comfortable recliners, sports memorabilia and your own personal mini fridge. Your space will turn into a game day oasis for friends and family.

For the Athlete
Two words: personal gym. Save yourself time and money on those pesky gym memberships and build your very own dream fitness center. No longer will you have dart for the only open treadmill during primetime hours or worry if the person before you cleaned the machines. By purchasing your favorite pieces of equipment that will last, you can save yourself almost $2,000 each year on fees.

For the Entertainer
Do you find your family constantly hosting for holidays or celebrations? Wow them with an at-home bar, built by you. Stock the shelves with your favorite beverages, snag some awesome bar stools and let the fun begin! It’s the perfect place to direct everyone for an after dinner cocktail and some conversation. Just remember the rule of thumb, if you’re opting to build your own bar the average bar height is 42 inches to ensure that adults of all sizes can sit comfortably.

For the Artist
Always dreamed of having your own space to freely create masterpieces? Now is the time! Turn up the heat of your once cold and isolated basement with the warm hues of paints, pencils, and clays. Pick up some easels, fill the walls with things that inspire you and voila! Just keep in mind that because you’ll be in the basement with little light, choose a bulb with a CRI of 80 to 100 to reveal vibrant, natural hues.

For the Bookworm
You typically only see it on TV, but some homes do have beautiful built-in libraries. Build out shelving all around your basement, fill it with your favorite stories and cozy up on your favorite vintage chair to unwind from life with a good book. Are you making your own shelves? Cherry wood has a rich and warm red color that deepens over time, making it a perfect selection for shelving meant to be seen. Fellow book lovers might envy what you’ve done with your basement, and may even want to come browse your selections!

Don’t let your basement go unnoticed. Say goodbye to those stored away boxes and bags and hello to your new favorite place in the house. Have another idea? Share it in the comments below for other readers to get inspired by!

The post What to do with Your Basement first appeared on Century 21®.

Source: century21.com

Home Improvement, Taxes

7 Creative and Quick Dining Room Updates

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 you’re one of the lucky homeowners to have hung on to a formal dining space, you’ve 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, there’s a good chance the color’s a little past its prime. In fact, it may also be doing an injustice to your furniture and the updates you’ve 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 there’s easy access to the TV and stereo. You should always feel comfortable during a meal, and being confined to an area you don’t enjoy doesn’t contribute to that feeling.

#4 Add some visual appeal.
Visual appeal doesn’t stop at paint and lighting. It’s 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 doesn’t feel like it’s 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 isn’t too thick with fibers. Otherwise, your chairs can get stuck and twisted. Of course, you’ll 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. It’s much cheaper than installing a wall — 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.
How’s 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 — and create more storage in the process — 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 21®.

Source: century21.com

DIY, Home, Home Improvement

5 Renovations That Don’t Increase Your Resale Value

Couple renovating their home

The first major home renovation my husband and I ever undertook was insulating the walls of a 1921 Craftsman bungalow we shared in Columbus, Ohio. This project made the house a great deal more comfortable in the winter and the summer, since the existing insulation was the least expensive option available in the 1920s — making it completely inadequate for maintaining heat in the winter or coolness in the summer.

Unfortunately, despite the undeniable improvement to our comfort, we found that our new insulation did nothing for our resale value. Even though we had put nearly $5,000 worth of work and materials into this renovation, we didn’t see that money and effort reflected in our sale price when we had to move several years later.

Not all renovations are going to increase your resale value. That doesn’t necessarily mean you should forgo working on your home if you won’t see the value when it’s time to sell. For instance, I would definitely insulate that house again, even knowing that the money is only going to improve my comfort. 

But there are some home renovation projects that you just can’t expect to recoup your investment on. Knowing that, you should consider how long you intend to live in your house and whether you’re renovating just to increase your home’s value before jumping into any of these home improvement projects.

1. Invisible improvements

Insulating our bungalow was the kind of invisible improvement that had to be done, but didn’t appear to change the house. Unlike "sexier" improvements like updating a kitchen or bath, or even putting on a new roof, invisible improvements don’t change the look of the house. These are things like re-grading the yard to keep water from getting into the basement, updating the HVAC system, tuck-pointing bricks and chimneys, and replacing gutters.

While these improvements often have to be done to protect your house, the downside is that you may not recoup the cost of these improvements when it comes time to sell. It can be helpful to think of these renovation expenses as a way of protecting your home’s current value, rather than as a way to increase your future resale value.

2. Swimming pool

While homeowners in Arizona, Florida, Hawaii, and Southern California may find that having a swimming pool is a big selling point for their homes, this isn’t going to be the case nationwide. According to HomeAdvisor, the average cost to install a pool is over $27,000. That doesn’t include the annual maintenance costs, ranging between $500 and $4,000. It’s these maintenance costs, plus the work that homeowners will have to either do themselves or contract out in order to keep their pool sparkling clean that will turn off many potential buyers. Add in the additional insurance requirements that homeowners with pools will need to purchase, and it should be clear why many prospective buyers would rather not invest in a home that comes with a pool.

This is why you should only commit to the cost of installing a pool if you truly want to use it yourself and expect to stay in your home for at least five years. Otherwise, it might make more sense to invest in a membership to your local pool. 

3. Bathroom and kitchen upgrades

Remodeling your bathroom and/or kitchen is an excellent way to increase your home’s value, right? Yes and no. While replacing dingy tiling and updating old appliances will definitely help your home shine for potential buyers, there’s such a thing as going overboard with your bathroom or kitchen upgrades.

Specifically, if you add granite countertops, custom-made cabinets, stainless steel appliances, and ceramic tiles to your kitchen and bathroom, but the rest of the home is still an ordinary suburban home, potential buyers will see the house as a work-in-progress, rather than a home that feels move-in ready. Over-improving the bath and kitchen could make buyers think that it’s not worth the effort to try to get the rest of the house to match. (See also: 9 Home Improvements You Should Always Negotiate)

4. Built-in high-end electronics

We may all dream of living in a George Jetson house — where every possible electronic need you have is already built in — but committing to this kind of renovation may hurt your resale value. 

There are a couple of reasons for this. First, while your personal movie theater (with remote-controlled state-of-the-art projector) may be exactly what you want from your home, a potential buyer may just see a room that will need to be torn out and remodeled as soon as they move in. Plus, technology advances at a breakneck speed, so your cutting-edge electronics will soon look as dated as shag carpeting and harvest gold refrigerators.

If you need or want built-in high-end electronics in your home, make sure you’re installing them for your own pleasure and comfort, because it’s unlikely a buyer will appreciate them too.

5. Extravagant landscaping

Making improvements to your landscaping requires a gentle touch. On the one hand, landscaping is often touted as an important aspect of curb appeal, and making sure your yard and garden look attractive and welcoming is certainly a great way to draw in potential buyers. 

On the other hand, an elaborate landscaping remodel can turn off buyers. Those with black thumbs might look at your vast flowering garden with sculpted shrubs and pond and decide they are not up for the challenge of keeping it up, and those who do love to garden might not like your vision and want to start over.

If recreating the gardens of Versailles is how you make your house feel like a home, then there’s nothing wrong with investing in this kind of renovation. But make sure you’re doing this kind of work for yourself, and not because you hope to make back the money you spent once you’re ready to sell. (See also: 14 Ways to Make Your Yard Look Awesome for Under $100)

Renovate for the right reasons

While many experts focus on resale value as the deciding factor on whether to take on a home improvement project, the important thing to remember is that you live in your house now. Deciding which home renovations to work on based on what someone else might like is the way madness lies.

When you make improvements to your home, make sure you take your own comfort, your plans for living in the home, and the potential resale value into consideration. They all matter.


Source: feeds.killeraces.com