Lighten Up!

I had a big weekend last week- I finally washed my exterior windows.. since I built the house… in 2007.. Yuck- I know. I have really tall windows and decided to close the curtains instead of risking my life on a ladder. Luckily, my boyfriend agreed to risk his life instead! 🙂

One of the first things I tell sellers to do is wash windows. I cannot begin to tell you how much ‘light’ makes a difference with the atmosphere of a space! If you read the previous post on Feng Shui, light is an important part of creating positive energy and flow.

According to HomeGain’s 2012 Home Improvement Study, upgrading lighting fixtures and cleaning windows can offer nearly three times the return on investment! Boom!

Here’s some tips to brighten up your home and make it feel warmer, more open, and more inviting:

1. Use clear lightbulbs. Yes, there are clear or opaque- and make sure they all match if they’re together!

2. Reconsider energy-efficient bulbs. I know I know, that’s not what we’ve been told, but save the energy savers for after you move- they give off a harsh glare and take away from that ‘warm’ factor we’re shooting for. Halogen flood bulbs work best for overhead lighting, but keep in mind they get hot. If you have the choice of soft white or white, go for the soft white for a more natural light.

(From left) Incandescent, LED, and CFL

3. Watch the wattage. Use the highest watt possible to brighten all the spaces. One exception is the bathroom, go with 30 watt to create a softer light. It’s a small space so no reason to light it up and show every detail.

The warmer wall colors and warmer lights make this bathroom so much more inviting!

4. Clean light fixtures. Not only is it a bug’s favorite place to live, it’s typically where they die. So clean up those spiderwebs, dead bugs and dust. Tip: While you’re cleaning, dab some vanilla extract on the light (while it’s off), it will create a warm, inviting scent!

5. Brighten the exterior windows. Clean your windows! It may not look dirty but there’s a film there. For showings, take out your screens. This makes it look cleaner and brighter from inside and outside.

6. Replace dated light fixtures. This updates the whole house. Tip: While there are many cheap options, I suggest you splurge for one statement piece. For example, a chandelier in the entry or dining room or pendants over an island. And extra $100 spent could set the tone for the quality and value of your home.

BEFORE

8. Add a mirror. Mirrors bounce light, so place strategically if possible. Tip: Say you put up that chandelier you splurged on, now (maybe on a buffet or the floor) lean a large mirror against the wall. The angle will not only double your light, but it brings your attention up and makes your ceiling look higher!

9. Open the windows. Keep draperies simple. And sorry, but vertical blinds need to go! I will almost always choose curtains over blinds. If you must have blinds, wood is the richest looking. Tip: When you hang curtains, hang them a few inches higher and up to a foot to the outsides of the window. This gives the illusion of taller ceilings and larger windows!

10. (If listed), brighten photos. I really urge that if you’re listing, list with someone with a good camera and some skills. Over 90% of people decide  if they will buy your house from the pictures alone. Proper use of flashes, time of day, type of day and a wide angle could make or break your sale.

(Below are  local listings that have been aquired with new photos taken,I copied and pasted, so a little grainy! ).

BEFORE AND AFTER

* Some information here is from REALTOR Magazine July/August 2012.

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