Recently I've talked a lot about what home means to us. Certainly in the last year, our homes have become our offices, our classrooms, our gyms – and definitely our safe havens. It's no surprise that home improvement and design have become more important than ever to us.
My last blog post was about Long Beach market trends in selling & buying a home. This time around, we'll be talking about what also keeps you happy in your home: The top five home design trends for 2021 - most stemming directly from the lifestyle changes we all had to make in 2020.
We won't go “decorator-crazy” here - as I'll talk more about later, editing is key. I also get how life can shift gears quickly. Even with our own home, Andrew & I have a design POV where, if we had to move in a month, we know our house would be marketable & attractive on day one. Over-personalized renovations and quirky fixtures can lower a property’s value. So we'll focus on looks that have wide appeal and high taste levels.
Ultimately, your layout, architecture, and practical needs are what drives the ideas you implement for your home. If you have real estate or design & home improvement questions after reading this, please reach out to me. I'll give advice to help you accomplish your vision and maximize the impact of your investment.
1. Uplifting Colors
Colors are evolving toward shades that convey coziness, relaxation, and well-being. This year’s palettes draw from earthy hues, neutrals warm or cool, and soothing blues & greens. Your specific direction really depends upon the the home's architecture, a room's purpose, and your personal taste.
While white, grays, and beige tones all continue as solid options, expect to also see “alternative neutrals” - muted hints of color – become popular choices for walls, cabinets, and furnishings. For accentuation, bold, impactful shades of indigo, teal, ruby, sapphire and plum are showing up on everything from floating shelves to fabrics & home accessories. These rich hues bring depth and luxury to your living space.
To balance your colors, designers sometimes recommend a “60-30-10” rule: The dominant color to cover 60% of your room – i.e. walls, rugs, and sofa might be varying shades of beige or gray. Then layer a secondary color for 30% of the room - draperies & accent pieces. Finally, a third color for 10%, which can be showcased through artwork & accessories.
2. Curated Collections
Countering recent minimalist trends is a shift towards more personalized interiors that incorporate added textures and character. Clearly-defined styles like mid-century modern, industrial, and farmhouse, are ceding toward a more transitional, curated look - with furnishings, fixtures, and accessories that give the appearance of being collected over time & travel.
First, look to your own personal collections already on-hand: You may find an incredible, timeless lamp that just needs a new, contemporary shade to bring it out of the past and into tomorrow. Books, photos, and other accessories on-hand may already be waiting to be displayed! And from there, when you're out & about, keep your eyes open for collectible pieces that speak to you. It could be a vase, a globe, a bowl, any interesting piece that you connect with and that inspires you. *Be careful not to overload your spaces - you want every piece to be seen - and to be seen, there has to be room.
Personalization trends have also extended to the kitchen, which we all know is the "secret center" to every home! For that reason, atmosphere has become as important as functionality, as homeowners opt for unique touches that help individualize their space. Carefully selected lighting, bowls, stylized utensils, cookbooks, and other occasional pieces all contribute to a kitchen where you & your family love to hang out.
3. Reimagined Spaces
The pandemic forced many of us to rethink our home design. From multipurpose rooms to converted closets to backyard cottages, we’ve had to find creative ways to manage virtual meetings and school. And designers expect these changes to impact the way we live and work for years to come.
Some home builders predict changes to open floor plans as we know them. Citing a stay-home need for more privacy, there's been an uptick in adding alcoves, pocket doors, and sliding partitions that enable sectioning off rooms as needed.
But don't jump head-first into this trend: The last thing you want when you occupy a space more often, is to further box yourself inside of it. Instead, focus on the existing private spaces we retreat to when we do need that serenity. Which walks us right into the next room - your own...
4. Inspiring Retreats
Some have dubbed this trend “Staycation Design.” First, let's knock that phrase out of our minds – because your home should always be your peace, inspiration, and revitalization - 365 days a year, not a "cation" of any kind. And your personal space should reflect who you are and make you feel your best.
Bedrooms can provide a soothing sanctuary for rest and relaxation. The pre-existing trends of minimalist decor and muted colors, are welcoming the addition of bolder, more personalized accents. A budget friendly, high impact change can start with a headboard that speaks your point of view. Add to that bed linens, and bolder, carefully curated accessories – from soft lines like accent pillows or a throw, to side lamps and statement pieces. Here is where design can and should be the most flexible, and most conducive to your serenity.
Carry that personalized energy into your bathroom. At the high end of the budget, frameless custom showers and freestanding tubs continue to be popular choices that offer a modern and spacious feel. Large-format shower tiles with minimal grout lines make clean up a breeze. But you don't necessarily need to go top dollar, especially if you already love what you're working with. Upgrading to a new vanity, changing up the accessories & colors, or even a simple spa shower head can all add up to an ultimate retreat experience.
5. Outdoor Updates
From exercise to gardening to safer options for entertaining, the pandemic has led homeowners to utilize their outdoor spaces more than ever. Backyard swimming pool sales skyrocketed in 2020, with many installers reporting unprecedented demand. But an expensive new pool isn’t the only way homeowners can elevate their outdoor lifestyle.
Home design website Houzz recently named 2021 “the year of the pergola.” Pergolas and Gazebos are relatively quick and affordable options to add shade and ambiance to your backyard. They can be used to create defined outdoor living, dining spaces, or both. Another hot trend? Decked-out, custom playgrounds for exercising and occupying the youngest family members who may be missing out on school recess and extracurricular activities.
The improvement budget isn't limited to the backyard. Landscapers are seeing an increase in front yard enhancements, including porch additions and expanded seating options. These “social front yards” enable neighbors to stay connected while observing social-distancing guidelines.
Tell your story carefully - and share your inspiration!
Before I wrap this up, I'll leave you with this important reminder: EDITING is key. Your pieces, your home, say so much more with less of it around you.
And if you're finding you have too much, be open to parting with some by sharing it with others out there who could benefit from it. It's a difficult, changing time for far too many - and while basic needs always come first, everyone can use inspiration, and just the act of giving can mean the world to someone.
Design for Living (and Selling)
Are you contemplating a remodel? Want to find out how upgrades could impact the value of your home? Do you want to know where you can find some of the looks shown here in this post? I can answer all your questions and offer insight on how, design-wise, to maximize that longterm return on your investment.
For if or when you are in the market to sell, we can also run a Comparative Market Analysis on your home to find out how it compares to others in the area.
As always, reach out to me if you have questions or need help. I'm here for you!
2020 is a year none of us will forget, for many, many reasons. “Uncertainty” has been a common thread to all of us throughout the year. But one place that word didn’t ever apply itself is, surprisingly, to residential home sales.
Industry experts initially expected the housing market to suffer, due to both the once-in-a-hundred-years pandemic and historic inventory shortages. But rather than a slowdown, we continue to see a residential real estate surge across the country.
Here in Long Beach, the average sale price of a home was $673K last month, a 14.0% increase over December 2019. The average sale price per square foot was $509, up 12.3% since the previous year.
And now experts estimate that these conditions are likely to last well into 2021.
Fannie Mae Senior VP and Chief Economist Doug Duncan predicts that existing home sales will ultimately “be up a percent or more in 2021.” While he believes home prices will continue to rise due to limited inventory, he's also confident the Federal Reserve will keep interest rates low into the future.
Market conditions like fewer available listings, evolving tastes in new home criteria, and record-low mortgage rates are changing the way people buy and sell homes in a lasting way. But this sustained activity, even in a time of uncertainty, demonstrates that consumers still view real estate as a sound investment.
The question that remains is how you should best utilize the housing market’s “new normal.”
Fewer Listings = Seller's Market
The number of homes for sale are at record lows across the country. The National Association of Realtors reports fewer homes on the market today than seen in data going all the way back to 1982.
Despite these low inventory conditions, the number of homes sold in Long Beach is actually 27.7% higher last month over December 2019. And at least for now, the fact that there are fewer listings creates an advantageous housing market for sellers.
For one reason, buyers have to act fast to snap up available homes. As a result, most properties that come on the market stay for an average of just 21 days before they are sold. “That is the fastest ever recorded in our monthly series,” says NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.
Another benefit is that sellers are enjoying higher net returns on their listings. More than half of the homes sold in Long Beach last month received above their asking price, and less than 8% experienced any price decreases.
This seller’s market is not solely a product of the pandemic: The country’s top 100 metro markets, inventory has been dwindling since the first quarter of 2020.
What this means for homeowners:
Higher selling prices show that buyers are spending more on a home right now than they did last year. If there ever were a time to list for top dollar—and anticipate a full asking price offer quickly—that time is now. I can give you a free, no obligation assessment of your home's value anytime - just reach out & ask!
What this means for home buyers:
Due to low inventory, buyers need to be the most prepared, and have strong guidance & representation in the purchase process. You’ll need to have your financing in order and be preapproved for a loan before you begin your home search. I can help by connecting you with trusted mortgage professionals to get you started.
By the way, if this is our first time meeting....
Thank you for visiting - and please let me introduce myself to you in this short video here!
Now is the perfect time to look hard at your TV options.
With everyone spending more and more time at home this year, and having less opportunities for entertainment outside our homes, television & video entertainment has never been more important. But in the past 6 months, the frustrations, technical & service problems, dwindling program choices, and - last but not least - high costs, have never been more obvious.
You can change that now. If you have Cable TV, or even if you have Satellite, you likely have access to high speed internet. And if you have that (*and if your television was built in the last 10 to 15 years) you have way more choices than you might realize.
Let's start with what many people are resistant to hearing: Home entertainment - how we get it - is changing. Don't worry, it's still called TV. But TV can now be delivered to you through the internet, with options that allow you a lot more control over what you spend. Yes, it's through the same cable wire, but not via a "video" feed that delivers to a cable box tuner - that you're probably paying monthly rental fees for.
Five Steps to Making Your Home the Best on the Block
We all want to be good neighbors. But when it comes to selling your home, it’s time to inspire their envy!
If you’re looking to sell your home quickly and for the best price possible, you’ll need a strategy that sets it apart from other listings competing for buyers here in Long Beach. I've put together this proven, 5-step plan for serious sellers.
Use these guidelines to help your home the attention it deserves, win-over buyers, and net a better sales price than your neighbors!