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5 Kitchen Design Trends Foodies Will Love

Categories: Blog | Posted: August 13, 2018

Okay foodies, here’s the deal. We all know the kitchen is the cornerstone of your home; it’s where you’ll spend most of your time, both alone and with friends, cooking and eating. You’re likely more excited about decorating or upgrading your kitchen than any other room.

Farmhouse sinks and Pinterest-inspired flour sack dish towels are great, but for someone who spends most of their time in the kitchen (or thinking about their kitchen), function is as important as aesthetic. With that in mind, here are some kitchen design trends guaranteed to make your cooking life easier.

 Take Your Knife Storage Seriously

Where would you be without your trusty Chef’s knife? Having a reliable and sharp blade is cooking 101, but improper storage can quickly lower the life expectancy of this likely-spendy knife. Storing knives down on their blade can actually damage them over time, so instead consider a magnetic knife strip. These handy strips attach directly to your wall, keeping knives at the ready and out of the way. Besides their usefulness, a magnetic strip turns your knife collection into a flashy kitchen showpiece.

Hang, Don’t Stack Pots and Pans

Is there anything worse than getting down on your hands and knees to pull out every pot and pan you’ve ever owned to get to that one specific saucepan? Instead of resigning yourself to sorting stacks of cooking gear, hang those pots and pans from hooks. If you’re keeping a minimal vibe to your kitchen, apply sturdy hooks to the back of your cabinets. Bonus: this organization tip will clear up space in your cabinets too.

Boldly Cook Anything You Want (Without Lingering Smells)

Some foods are more pungent than others, lingering hours and even days later. No matter how great a meal tasted, it’s never pleasant to smell it the next morning. Invest in a proper ventilation system above your oven to rid yourself of these unwanted odors. A few things to know when making this purchase: If you have a gas range, you will need a more powerful vent than if you have an electric one, and there’s no need to buy a vent that’s larger than your oven.

Shine a Light On It

A kitchen is no place for mood lighting. You need to see what you’re doing, especially when cooking on your range. There are so many beautiful lighting options available that there’s no excuse for under-lighting here. Make sure your hood vent has a light, add a light over the sink, and maybe even additional runner lights under cabinets or above counters. You’ll never regret having strong lighting in the kitchen, especially when chopping and slicing.

Spend Extra on the Best Dishwasher Possible

Whether you’re constantly entertaining on the weekends or just cook elaborate meals for your family, a dishwasher is a must in every kitchen. But not all dishwashers are created equal. Consider purchasing one that includes a utensil rack above so you can wash spatulas, serving spoons, and whisks without taking up too much space elsewhere. Nowadays, dishwashers are nearly silent, which is a must if you have an open floor plan and don’t want to hear it running while watching TV on the couch nearby.

If you love food and love cooking, then now’s the time to invest in your dream kitchen. Consider designs that are both functional and beautiful to create a room you’ll never want to leave.

Master Suite Design Trends You’ve Got to Check Out

Categories: Blog | Posted: July 26, 2018

Master bedrooms are a calming space in your home. It’s where you spend most of your time, especially when you want to relax. You can let your style run free here, independent from the aesthetics of the rest of your home. Or you can think of your master suite as your personal spa, a place for relaxation and comfort. No matter what you want to do, here are some new design trends you’ll definitely want to try out.

Enhancing Your Bedroom Aesthetics from Above

Just a few years ago, accent walls were the hottest trend. You may even have one in your home right now. Accent walls let you add a pop of color or texture to an otherwise uniform room. But as with all trends, it’s started to fade in popularity, even prompting some designers to ask if the accent wall is dead!

There’s a new trend in town – and all you need to do is look up. Decorative ceilings are all the rage this year. You’ve got a lot of options with this: colorful paint, decorative ceiling tiles, architectural elements, faux beams or tray ceiling give the illusion of depth. Think of it as your master bedroom getting a fifth wall.

Organizing Your Master Closet Like A Pro

You finally got that walk-in closet of your dreams. It has space for everything you need. The only problem? These spaces can quickly descend into chaos. That’s why today, closet organization has almost become an art form. It’s inspired countless trends in minimalism shelving design, seasonal outfit sorting, and more. What are the latest organization trends?

  • Adding closet drawers to tame the clutter and keep things out of sight
  • Double-up closet rods for twice the hanging space
  • Optimizing closet nooks and corners with shelves
  • Building shoe racks at the bottom of your closet (you’re not using that space anyway!)

Turning Your Master Bathroom into a Relaxing Spa

Every master bathroom needs a place to shower or bathe. Whether you’re a quick-shower-after-a-morning-run type of person or an after-work-bath-with-red-wine relaxer, you need something that fits both your lifestyle and your bedroom’s aesthetic. Do you want a walk-in shower? A stand-alone bathtub? Some people would rather have a larger shower, while others want a tub-shower combo.

But have you ever considered both? More and more people are adding both a walk-in shower and a soaking tub to complete their master suite. If you have the space for it, this option gives you the best of both worlds. As a bonus, a standing shower and soaking tub give your master bathroom a wonderful spa-like quality.

Doubling Sink Space for Half the Stress

We’re back to your master bathroom with this trend. This time we’re focusing on the vanity – or in this case, a double vanity. If you’ve ever had to share a single sink, drawer, and mirror with a significant other, you know the situation is not…ideal. This new design trend seeks to prevent any squabbling over space: double or side-by-side vanities. Each offers your own quiet space – a separate sink, drawer, and counter room.

Whichever you choose may depend on the size of your master bathroom. If you’ve got the space, why not use it? Double or side-by-side vanities can add a dramatic or elegant element to the room. It’s a perfect way to optimize extra bathroom space.

Take the time to perfect your master oasis. After all, it’s a place just for you to enjoy!

To Shiplap or Not to Shiplap? Three unexpected ways you can use shiplap to personalize your home

Categories: Blog | Posted: July 15, 2018

If you don’t already know about shiplap, let’s get you acquainted. Shiplap is a type of wooden board traditionally used as siding on barns, sheds, and other buildings. Since it’s often used on the outside of buildings, shiplap has grooves for pieces to fit tightly together. Recently, shiplap has become an extremely popular building material, thanks to HGTV’s Fixer Upper and the hosts’ love of it.

There are many benefits to using shiplap both inside and outside your house – it’s inexpensive and easy to install. But there are aesthetic reasons as well: it doesn’t require much (if any) finishing, it adds a design element on its own, and it’s easy to fix or paint. Here are three unexpected ways you can incorporate shiplap into your new home.

For the Kick Wall of the Kitchen Island

As you move into a new space, adding personalized touches really brings rooms together and helps you feel at home. The kitchen is no different; you want to find the perfect backsplash, cabinet hardware, and dish towels. Updating your kitchen island’s kick wall is another way to add character to your kitchen. Consider using shiplap to add style here with minimal effort. As a bonus, shiplap is easy and affordable to replace, just in case someone gets crazy and kicks it a little too hard.

As an Accent Wall in Your Living Room

Adding an accent wall in your home is a fun way to add a splash of color to a room. But have you ever considered replacing the color with a new texture? Shiplap’s horizontal lines and effortless look adds a subtle style to your living room. You may even find it easier to match (and change up) your décor with an accent shiplap wall than you would with a vibrant color.

Surround Your Fireplace

Nothing makes a living room feel warm and cozy like a fireplace. But it can be hard to match a traditional brick or dark wood fireplace with the rest of the room. Why let the fireplace dictate the room’s aesthetic? Shiplap offers an affordable alternative that can easily be painted or decorated to fit your room. With the addition of shiplap, you can add incredible farmhouse style to your entire home.

It’s incredible how quickly shiplap can transform a room. Whether you’re adding a new texture or style, or using it as an affordable building material alternative, the versatility of shiplap is undeniable. You may be a longtime fan of Fixer Upper (and already a shiplap convert) or may be entirely new to the material. There are so many ways to use shiplap in your new home, it’s clear why those hosts love it so much. Look into it – maybe you’ll find an entirely new way of incorporating shiplap into your new home.

Tame the Chaos in Your New Home -Tips for Turning Your Entryway into an Organized Drop Zone

Categories: Blog | Posted: June 29, 2018

You’re in the process of moving into your new home. Boxes of furniture and clothes and plates sit stacked all over the place, hopefully in the right rooms. Each time you walk in or out, running errands or bringing in bags from a Target run, you (or your kids) tend to leave things behind. Shoes, backpacks, jackets, stacks of mail. Pretty soon, you’ve got piles of random stuff cluttering the front room in your home. It’s not a pretty sight that greets you when you’re coming in from the garage. If this is sounding familiar, don’t worry! You can tame this chaos by turning that entryway into an organized drop zone. 

Make a Decree: What Should Stay, What Should Go

This is the entryway from your garage into your home, and everything in it should have its own place. Don’t let this room become a repository for all things you can’t fit anywhere else – decide what should stay here, and what needs to go. For example, it makes sense to store coats and boots here, especially in the cold months when you and your family need to bundle up before going outside. But unpacked boxes or library books? It doesn’t make sense to store those things here. Once you’ve decided what should stay here and what should be taken into the house, it’ll be easier to keep this place tidy. 

Hang Hooks to Hold Jackets and Scarves

If your entryway includes a closet, that’s great! But if you don’t have a dedicated place to hang coats, consider adding some hooks to the wall. You can find a wide array of attractive, stylized hooks at most hardware stores, making it easy to match them with your home’s décor. Hanging jackets on hooks is undoubtedly better than heaping them in a pile on the ground. 

Extra Tip: If you have young kids, be sure to hang some hooks at the right height for them! Encourage them to hang up their own coats and scarves when coming into the house. 

Keep Your Keys Handy

How many times have you gotten halfway out the door only to realize you can’t find your keys? Keep these important items in one place and give yourself one less thing to worry about. Find a designated spot for your keys, wallet, sunglasses, and anything else easily misplaced. You can opt for a low table, a key bowl, or smaller hooks. Keeping these items in the entryway to your garage goes a long way in taking the chaos of your home’s “drop zone.” 

Add a Bench and Take a Seat

Nobody wants to stand in the entryway while holding groceries trying to kick off a pair of shoes. Adding a bench to this room actually does double duty here. You can use this bench to set down whatever you’re holding (great if you’re trying to snag all those bags in one trip!) and it’s also handy to sit on while taking off or putting on boots in cold or rainy weather. Consider using the space below your bench for extra storage as well. This is perfect if the room off your garage isn’t very spacious. 

The most important thing in organizing your entryway, or any room in your new home, is consistency. Prevent this room from descending into chaos by planning ahead, making it easy to put designated items away, and keeping your most important belongings in one place. You can even add potted plants, artwork, or decorative pillows to brighten the room that greets you. Soon you’ll have a highly organized and tidy drop zone, setting the tone for your new home. 

5 Ways New Homes Help Conserve Energy in the Summer

Categories: Blog | Posted: June 19, 2018

Summer’s finally rolling around, and we all know what that means: crazy high energy bills from blasting the A/C. But if you’re living in a home built within the last few years, those costs may not actually be so high.

Did you know that newer homes tend to be more energy efficient? This is true for new homes even without investing in smart thermostats or high-end appliances. Homes built in the last five years tend to have better insulation, are constructed with higher-end materials, and often have state-of-the-art ventilation systems to improve air quality.

1. Energy-Efficient Window Panes
New homes are often built with double- or triple-pane windows, which can help prevent heat from coming through or going out. Since many older homes were constructed with single-panes, sunlight beaming through those windows can raise those cooling costs. With a new home, you won’t have to worry about keeping your drapes closed – let all that sunshine in!

2. Cooler Lightbulbs
No, we’re not talking about multi-colored or glow-in-the-dark bulbs. Energy-efficient light bulbs can keep your home cooler than traditional ones. Did you know that 90% of the energy coming off of regular light bulbs is wasted as heat? Many newer homes come equipped with CFLs and LEDs, offering a cooler lighting option for homeowners.

3. Improved Insulation
We mentioned this one before. Newer homes have better insulation, which helps keep your home cool longer. Keeping your home at a comfortable temperature is much easier with improved insulation, meaning you’ll run that air conditioner less with a newer home.

4. More Efficient Home Appliances
New appliances perform now better than ever with highly efficient systems that offer features like quieter operation and moisture control. These high-performing appliances quickly cool down your home and then switch off, saving you money and keeping your new home at its optimal temperature longer.

5. Solar Panels
This one may be cheating a little – not every new home comes equipped with solar panels. However, solar panel installation in the U.S. nearly doubled in 2016 with over 1.3 installations across the country. With the energy saving potential (up to $30,000 over a 20 year period!) it’s no wonder many new home builders are investing a little up front for some pretty hefty savings down the road.

There are many advantages to buying a new home, like improved ventilation and air quality, but in the summertime, those benefits really shine. You can keep your home cooler and your energy costs lower with a newer, more energy-efficient house.

The Top Lehigh Valley Spots to Celebrate Dad this Father’s Day

Categories: Blog | Posted: June 12, 2018

The Top Lehigh Valley Spots to Celebrate Dad this Father’s Day

For the Dad that rocks out in the car…

  • Levitt Pavilion Summer Concert Series: One of Bethlehem’s most iconic spot hosts free concerts all summer long. With genres to suit every music fan, treat dad to one of 17 shows in the month of June alone. Times vary by date.
  • Summer in the City Concert Series: Treat Dad to a midday treat with Allentown’s newest music series. The Hamilton District Main Street Program on the PPL Plaza occurs every Wednesday in the summer over the lunch hour.
  • Music Under the Stars: If taking in the scenic mountain views and lounging on a large deck with a beer in hand sounds enticing, take Dad to Bear Creek Mountain Resort. The Macungie destination features free live music every Thursday in the summer starting at 6 p.m.

 

For the Dad that takes pictures of all of his meals

  • Family Food Truck Fridays: Tolino Vineyards in Bangor hosts a rotating group of food trucks on their scenic Slate Belt property. Bring Dad for not only the food trucks, but live music, craft beer, wine slushies, and more.
  • Easton Farmers’ Market: America’s longest, continuously-running open-air market doesn’t just have traditional produce. Take Dad to historic downtown Easton for the freshest baked goods, coffee, and artisan creations. Live music and numerous other restaurants don’t hurt, either!
  • Free Bacon Happy Hour: You read that right – FREE BACON. Visit the award winning Two Rivers Brewing Company in Easton every Wednesday to receive free bacon, along with drink and appetizer happy hour specials.

 

For the Dad that can quote every classic movie

  • Southside Film Festival: This 15th annual independent film festival features thought-provoking films at various locations throughout Bethlehem. Choose from comedy, drama, documentaries, and animated movies over the festival’s five days of programming, including special screenings and parties.
  • Movies in the Park: Bring Dad to Fernwood Park in Allentown to view the Disney classic brought to life; Beauty and the Beast is showing on Friday, June 15th and is sure to bring back a hint of nostalgia for Dad’s that still have the original movie on VHS!

 

For the Dad who thinks he can still throw a ball like he used to

  • Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs: The Valley’s favorite baseball team is hosting two consecutive home series the week leading up to Father’s Day. Bring Dad to the park to enjoy some beers, a ballgame, and fireworks.
  • Exhibit: Who Shot Sports: A Photographic History from 1843 to the Present: The Allentown Art Museum is highlighting sport photographers and their place in history of photography, not merely sports history. Featuring more than two hundred photographs, the exhibition includes photos from the Olympics, solo and team sports, portraits, life off the field, and fans.
  • Lehigh Valley Soccerfest: Kick off a month-long soccer frenzy with the start of the World Cup Viewing Party at Steel Stacks on June 14th. The outdoor spot will air all of the World Cup matches on outdoor screens, in addition to a number of other free events.

Find more details about these, and plenty other of activities at Discover Lehigh Valley. And most importantly, Happy Father’s Day to all of the dads out there!

Hot Tips for Outdoor Summer Living Made Easy

Categories: Blog | Posted: May 31, 2018

Is there anything better than a summer BBQ in the sun? When summer rolls around, it’s impossible not to get excited about pool parties, sun bathing, grilling, and playing in the backyard with your family. If you’re planning on spending some serious time outside this summer, here are some helpful tips for making your backyard THE place to be.

Grow Your Own Produce

You don’t know “fresh” until you’ve eaten a tomato straight from your own garden. Spice up salsa, freshen up pasta salad, and surprise your guests with a tasty salad of veggies you grew yourself! Plenty of plants thrive in the heat and make an excellent addition to your summer meals. Try growing some sweet potatoes, hot peppers, green beans, sunflowers, and zucchini.

Cool Down with Kiddie Pools, Sprinklers, and More!

If you don’t have a pool in your backyard, consider investing in a temporary water feature. They’re fun for all ages and a great way to cool down. You can buy kiddie pools in various sizes (some even large enough for adults to sit in), goofy sprinklers, and even hot tubs or saunas.

Add Ample Lighting for Late-Night Partying

On a 90-degree day, it’s hard to do anything but lay in the shade and drink lemonade. When it gets to be that hot, why not plan a party later in the night? Set up lighting on your deck, patio, and around the yard, and invite friends over. As the sun goes down, you and your guests will be much more comfortable.

Set Up in the Shade

Summer fun comes to a screeching halt when you and your family are burnt to a crisp. Avoid staying out in the sun for too long by setting up in the shade. If you don’t have a covered porch or trees in your backyard, invest in an umbrella or two to keep everybody nice and cool while they’re enjoying the sunshine.

Create an Outdoor Kitchen

Outdoor kitchens have been all the rage lately – from traditional charcoal grills to tricked-out gas ranges and ovens. Whether your budget allows for an extravagant outdoor kitchen or just a few appliances, setting up an outdoor kitchen is a smart idea for hosts. Cooking outside is much cooler than crowding around a hot stove, and preparing food for guests is easy. Just make sure you’re keeping kids away from any open flames or heat sources.

Maximizing your backyard for the summer doesn’t have to cost a fortune. With a few additions, you can set your family and friends up for a summer filled with BBQs, pool parties, and outdoor fun.

The Cost to Hire Movers

Categories: Blog | Posted: May 11, 2018

Moving to a new place is exciting, whether you’re moving into your first home across town or a bigger home across the country. But moving can also be stressful, and it can seem like there are a million things to do before you pack. One of the most important things to plan is the cost of moving. More importantly, how much will it cost to hire movers? We put together a short guide to help you understand what goes into the high cost of moving, how much to budget for professional movers, and other considerations.

Overview of All Moving Costs

Deciding whether you’re going to DIY it or hire a professional mover is only one of the considerations that go into the high cost of moving. There are many other factors to moving costs, including:

  • Cost of living changes, if moving to another state or city (Use this handy tool to compare costs of utilities, groceries, transportation, and more)
  • Paying double rent or mortgage if move-in dates don’t line up
  • Renting a moving truck (fees generally run $20 a day, not including gas and mileage costs)
  • Storage units if you need to store furniture or belongings before moving

You can reduce some of these costs by moving into your new place quickly. Taking too long to move from one place to another can rack up costs surprisingly fast.

Cost of Hiring Professional Movers

According to Home Advisor, hiring a local professional mover costs between $80 and $100 an hour. You may be charged additional fees if movers need to take items down stairs or a considerable distance.

For long-distance moves, companies charge by weight and distance rather than time. With this type of move, you may be charged a flat rate as high as $10,000, not including gas and mileage costs. These costs do not factor in additional movers or truck fees.

Booking Professional Movers in Advance

For local moves (under 100 miles), book movers between 2 and 4 weeks ahead of time. When you book early, you’re more likely to get a time and date that best fits your moving schedule. For local moves during the busy season – between May and September – consider booking at least 4 weeks early.

For cross-country moves (over 100 miles), book as soon as possible! Try to book at least six to eight weeks ahead of time. Moving can be stressful, so book ahead of time and save yourself the worry.

How Many Movers Do You Need?

Depending on the size of your home, you may need to hire up to four movers. Moving Labor’s chart below shows roughly the amount of movers and time it will take to move for each home type:

Studio Apartment: 2 Movers / 3-4 Hours

1-2 Bedroom Apartment: 2 Movers / 4-5 hours

2-3 Bedroom Home: 3 Movers / 5-7 hours

3-4 Bedroom Home: 3 Movers / 7-9 hours

4+ Bedroom Home: 4 Movers / 7-10 hours

You will need to factor in the additional cost of movers ($25 to $25 per mover) and moving time into your schedule.

Make Preparations in Advance and Move ASAP

Moving doesn’t have to be stressful, and with a little preparation, you can put your mind at ease. To limit moving costs, book movers as soon as possible. Check the company’s rates and reviews online before hiring and try to move quickly. Storing items, paying double rent or mortgage, and renting supplies is expensive. The sooner you get to your new house or apartment, the less outgoing costs you will have!

Decorating for Spring – On a Budget!

Categories: Blog | Posted: April 27, 2018

After the cold, dark months of winter, is there anything more exciting than Spring? These warmer months bring vibrant colors, cool breezes, and sunshine. What better way to usher out the snow and welcome the season with an indoor makeover? Celebrate Spring with these budget-friendly indoor decorating tips.

De-clutter your home. During the winter, homes tend to accumulate a lot of extra stuff. Holiday decorations, cold-weather gear like boots and hats, and extra blankets can make your home feel small and cluttered. Now that Spring has arrived, it’s time to de-clutter these spaces and simplify things. You can also try for a monochromatic feel with soft whites and light colors. Your home will feel bigger and brighter with that extra space.

Fresh flowers. Flowers add a pop of color and life to any room. But not everyone has a green thumb or the garden space to plant a variety of flowers. Visit your local supermarket for fresh and pre-arranged bouquets to liven up any room in your home. To keep flowers looking fresh longer, use room temperature water and cut the stems (about 1 to 2 inches) before putting them in a vase. Look for flowers at your local grocery store, co-op, or farmer’s market.

Create an edible centerpiece. Spring brings with it a bounty of fresh fruits and vegetables. This produce is beautiful on its own, so why not use it as a centerpiece? Find your favorite serving bowl, or go shopping for one, and fill it with bright oranges and fresh apples. The best part about this decorating tip? You can eat it!

Swap out or put away throw blankets. In the fall and winter, there’s nothing better than curling up under a fuzzy blanket. But we’re saying goodbye to cold weather, so it’s time to put away or swap out those thick, dark-colored blankets. Look for thinner blankets in vibrant colors, like pastel blues or yellows, to give a spring-y look to your living room. For an even more budget-friendly option, repurpose leftover light-colored fabric and drape it over your couch. You’ll be surprised how much this simple action changes the entire feeling of a room.

Buy or make pillow covers. Pillows are an excellent way to decorate on a budget. You can instantly change a room by switching up a pillow cover, which is an easy cost to manage. This has to be one of the easiest ways to decorate a room – no fussy arrangement needed. Just throw a few pillows onto your couch, chair, or bed for a new look. These covers aren’t expensive to buy or make, and storing them takes almost no room at all.

Faux plants or flowers. Fresh flowers are relatively affordable, but maintaining the look can be a hassle. Faux plants or flowers have only an upfront cost and can add a nice natural look to your home. You can change the pot or vase for a fresh décor and never have to worry about cleaning up wilting or dead flowers left out too long. Craft stores often carry these plants and flowers at an affordable rate.

These easy options help your home look brighter and more vibrant without breaking the bank. Preparing your house for Spring will help you bring in the new season and transition from the darker months with ease. Brighten up your home with flowers and new fabrics, and enjoy the sunshine.

Tips for Choosing the Right Floor Plan

Categories: Blog | Posted: April 12, 2018

The process of choosing the design for building a new home is exciting but can also be overwhelming. There are lots of decisions to make that will have a lasting impact. As you browse the home designs, here are some tips for choosing the right floor plan.

Make sure it measures up. You might have a certain square footage figure in mind as you look at homes. However, some floor plans are smartly designed and can make better use of the space. You might be able to “live large” in a home that’s slightly smaller than you expected.

Follow the flow. When you’re looking at a floor plan, imagine yourself walking through the home. Go from the laundry room to putting the clothes away. Is it convenient? Does the flow of the kitchen to the dining area feel right? Will the bedrooms afford privacy for the occupants? When you’re coming in with an armload of groceries, will you have an easy path to the kitchen?

Level it out. How many levels will suit your lifestyle? Do you need a two-story home to accommodate everyone in your household, or is a single-level ranch more to your liking? A single-level home certainly fits the household that doesn’t want to deal with stairs. You can also integrate a first-floor owner’s suite if you need more space but want to do most of your living on the first floor.

Consider the wide, open spaces. Many floor plans feature the open concept. It’s a popular layout because the lack of walls between the kitchen, living room, and dining area allow for more socializing. The cook is no longer cut off from the activity outside the kitchen. As you look at the open floor plan in the home designs, think about how the rooms connect. It might be one big space—long, square, or rectangular—or an L-shape with the kitchen as the pivotal point. Do you prefer one style over the other? How will your furniture fit in the layout? With an open floor plan, you can create separate spaces, like a reading area or study space. Envision how you will use the main living area so you choose a floor plan that fits your family’s lifestyle.

Don’t underemphasize the functional places. Features like a mudroom and the design and placement of the laundry room might not seem as important in the big picture, but small details often spark a big change. The mudroom, for example, is a threshold that protects your home from the great outdoors and keeps the clutter under control, if you plan it that way. Cubbies or cabinets are a smart choice here. Establish a system for organizing shoes, backpacks, school stuff, leashes, and everything else that often gets lost when it’s allowed to meander into the main living area.

Some homeowners prefer to have the laundry room closer to the master suite, while others want it near the kitchen. Which location do you prefer?

Do you need more function for your laundry room, like storage or a utility sink? Maybe you’d like a space to bathe and groom the family pet. Or possibly you would like a laundry room with a countertop to fold laundry and cabinets to store more supplies.

Explore the undiscovered needs. As you browse the floor plans, think of alternative uses for rooms that might seem like a “bonus” right now. A formal dining room or living room could seem extraneous but you consider repurposing it for a playroom, hobby studio, game room, library, or other function. A bonus or flex room can work as a guest room or home office, too.

Ask a lot of questions—of yourself and your builder—when reviewing home designs to be sure you’re choosing the right floor plan!

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