It’s Great To Be Home . . .

a homebody’s guide to home renovation and more

The Color Sense Game March 6, 2009

While picking paint colors is one of the most fun parts of decorating or redecorating a room, it can also be one of the most frustrating.  I mean, how are you supposed to know which colors will look best together just by looking at those tiny paint samples on the color wheel?

Now Pittsburgh Paints has taken all of the guess work out of putting together paint colors.  The Color Sense Game is a really cool online quiz that uses your answers to the quiz to develop a color palette for your home that is perfectly suited to your own personal tastes.

 The Voice of Color

The questions on the quiz are fun and original, asking things like “If a genie granted you two wishes, what would you wish for” and “What is your dream vacation?”  From your answers, The Color Sense Game places you into a primary “harmony family” such as “Morning Rose” and a secondary harmony family like “Al Fresco.”  These harmony families are intended to present you with color palettes that will inspire the paint colors in your own home.

So far I’ve played The Color Sense Game twice, fitting into different harmony families each time.  The first time I was “Pop Art” and “Tapestry and Mosaic.”  The Pop Art color palettes are vibrant and energetic:


Pop Art - The Color Sense Game - 1   Pop Art - The Color Sense Game - 2  Pop Art - The Color Sense Game - 3  Pop Art - The Color Sense Game - 4  Pop Art - The Color Sense Game - 5   Pop Art - The Color Sense Game - 6    Pop Art - The Color Sense Game - 7

The second time I played the game my primary harmony family was “Al Fresco” and the secondary harmony family was “Water Beads.”  Al Fresco color combinations are inspired by nature, and focus primarily upon shades of green:


Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 10  Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 9  Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 8  Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 7  Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 6  Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 5  Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 4  Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 3  Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 1  Al Fresco - The Color Sense Game - 2



As you can see, you may wind up with a different harmony family each time you play The Color Sense Game, depending upon your answers.  It’s fun because you can see the wide range of color palettes available – you might wind up liking several that aren’t even in your harmony family!  Click here to play The Color Sense Game yourself!


Images courtesy of Pittsburgh Paints.


Pump Up Your Home’s Value February 23, 2009

With the housing market like it is these days, lots of people are opting to spruce up their home to make it better suit their lifestyle rather than moving into a new place.  While there are an endless number of improvements you can make to a home, what are some investments you can make that will actually increase your home’s value and make it more attractive when you ultimately decide to sell it?  Real Simple magazine suggests making these changes:

  1. Spiff it up with paint.  Painting is one of those few things in life that provides instant gratification and can make a huge impact on the appearance of your home.  DIY painting is super cheap but pretty time intensive, while professionals can charge a pretty penny (about $3,600 to $6,000 for around 2,400 square feet, accordingly to Real Simple) but the job will be finished before you know it. If you paint the exterior of your home, it can cost between $8,000 to $11,000 for a professional job.  Not cheap, but painting the exterior can take your home from shabby to super in no time.
  2.  Add an outdoor deck.  Who doesn’t love outdoor living?  While exterior living space can’t technically be included in the square footage of your home, a buyer will definitely consider it to be a valuable extension of your home.  Real Simple found that in 2007 homeowners recouped about 85% of the cost of installing a wooden deck when they sold their homes.  


    Outdoor Deck

  3. Spice up your kitchen.  You’ve heard it time and again – kitchens sell homes.  So go ahead and make yours fabulous!!  But keep in mind the potential buyer pool when you’re renovating your kitchen so that you don’t price yourself out of the neighborhood.  While some neighborhoods demand high end appliances and granite countertops, in other neighborhoods a home with freshly painted kitchen cabinets and stainless appliances is all you really need.  Real Simple estimates that homeowners will see 83% of their kitchen investment back upon the sale of their home.
  4. Boost your bath.  Other than kitchens, bathrooms are the other rooms that can sell a house.  But “avoid anything too trendy,” says designer Vern Yip. “Choose classic features, like off-white subway tiles, that will appeal to people with both traditional and contemporary tastes.” There’s no need to splurge on fancy fixtures, either. “A tub is a tub. A Jacuzzi will never make or break a sale,” says designer Steven D. Bullock. If a major bathroom overhaul isn’t in your budget, consider reglazing the tile or tub for a fresh, updated look.  
  5. Switch out your old windows.  Real Simple says that homeowners received a return of 81% last year when replacing windows.  Not only are new windows attractive, but the lower energy bills will be attractive as well.  
  6. Pump up the curb appeal.  This is an improvement that I can’t wait to make in my own home!!  Right now the lawn is in great shape but the landscaping is pretty frightening – think hedges pruned into the shape of beach balls, for starters.  “Landscaping” the front of your house doesn’t have to involve hiring professionals.  If the basic bones of your yard are pretty solid, you can spruce things up with a few colorful potted plants.  However, sprinkler systems and trees are big ticket items that will really pay off in the long run.  The bottom line – make your yard both pretty and functional.  “Buyers make their decisions in exactly eight seconds,” says Barbara Corcoran, founder of the Corcoran Group, a Manhattan real estate firm. “After that, they’ve either fallen in love or are just honoring an appointment.”

    Front Lawn
    Not only will improvements to your home make buyers drool when you go to sell, but you get to enjoy all of the goodies while you’re living there!!  What improvements are you considering making to your home?