DIY Projects: 6 Ways to Create the Perfect Homework Space


Does your child struggle to get motivated when it’s time to tackle their homework? Try creating a place for them to call their own when it’s time to hunker down and do their assignments. This will help them work more efficiently by cutting out distractions and give them pride in their workspace. Plus, when it comes to DIY projects, this one is a total breeze!

Follow these six steps to help you create the perfect homework space for your kids.

1. Find a dedicated area.

Doing homework in the dining or living room is common, but your child will feel more focused and relaxed in a space that’s all their own. Find a dedicated space that’s away from the hustle and bustle that often happens in the dining room and living room. This will limit the distractions of TV, electronic devices and other various household activities.

Not to mention, children often prefer smaller, cozier spaces, so don’t stress about setting aside an entire room. If you have a quiet nook or an unused closet (minus the door, of course), that may be all they need! Just make sure it’s accessible, well-lit and cheery – unless their idea of a special space is a young wizard’s cupboard-under-the-stairs. Hey, it all worked out for Harry!

2. Make comfort a priority.

Your child will work better – and feel better – if their desk and chair are comfortable and encourage proper posture. An adjustable chair and desk will ensure they’re at ease while they work on their assignments and help keep them focused.

Keep in mind, a chair is the right height if your child’s knees are bent at 90 degrees. In most cases, the surface of the table should be about 8” above their seat level, but feel free to adjust it for their comfort. If their chair is too high, have them put their feet on a footstool or stack of books. They’ll grow into it (and thank you for it!)

3. Include your kids in your planning.

Keep your kids involved in the planning and organizing of their workspace. If they help create their space, they’ll feel a sense of pride and want to keep it organized. Let them pick their favorite colors for their supplies and hang their favorite art projects to spruce up their area.

If their workspace feels special to them, they’ll use it more often and be more efficient when they do.

4. Sort their supplies.

To save space, make sure there’s a hook where your child can store their backpack. This will keep their area neat and help them avoid spending half their time looking for their misplaced bag. Place shelves, decorative boxes and colorful jars around the area to store their school supplies and liven up their space.

You can also try hanging a calendar above their desk to keep them motivated to meet their goals and deadlines. This will help your child learn to take ownership over their work and keep their desk free of clutter. Who knows, they may just carry these skills into other parts of the house. Anything’s possible!

5. Avoid distractions.

It’s great if your kids want to use their workspace to draw or be creative, but try to cut down on other distractions like video games and electronic devices. While their workspace should be inviting and fun, interruptions should be limited.

However, this can be the perfect spot for them to play educational games and activities. It doesn’t have to be completely dedicated to homework. They are kids, after all!

6. Make it a shared space.

If you have more than one child, consider making the area a shared homework space. Some children work better in groups. Just make sure everyone has enough room to work and is respectful of each other’s space. Another option is to set up a schedule so only one child is using the space at a time. This is better for kids who prefer silence when focusing on their schoolwork.

Following these steps will help you create an awesome space for your kids to do their homework, and help them stay on track throughout the entire year!

3 Steps to Create the Ultimate Man Cave

By Isabella Caprario

Whether you call it a sportsman cave, a garage man cave, an outdoorsman cave, or any other variation on the man cave idea, space where guys can hang out, watch sports, maybe play some pool, have a few drinks, and just kick back and relax is a great addition to any home.

Step 1: Plan Your Man Cave

The first step to get started building out your best man cave is to think about what inspires you. If you’re not sure, go online to look for inspiration and clever man cave ideas.

You’ll also want to figure out where it can go: garage man caves are popular, as are basement man caves. But you can also create a man cave office or make use of a room for a little man cave. The space you have will determine the best layout but most of the main dos and don’ts of and common mistakes when creating a man cave will apply to whatever kind of space you have to work with:

  • DO think about how you’ll use the space. That may help determine your layout, furniture choices, and even your theme.
  • DO consider hiring a pro to help with a bigger man cave conversion in garages and basements.
  • DO try to keep your man cave away from bedrooms to prevent noise and sleep disturbances.
  • DO think about how your man cave can be used by the rest of the family for movie nights, board games, etc.
  • DON’T try to make a man cave out of a corner of a room used for another purpose, if possible. For example, a man cave garage that’s also still used for car, tool, and gardening equipment storage won’t be a very fun place to hang out in.
  • DON’T think you need to spend a lot of money on your man cave if you’re on a tight budget. As long as you have space, you can repurpose furniture and accessories already in your house to create the basics of a great man cave, and build on it slowly as your time and budget allow.

One of the funniest parts about planning a man cave is choosing a theme. Popular man cave themes are rustic, garage-style, bar or tavern-style, old-time, and modern. You’re limited only by your imagination when it comes to choosing a theme for your man cave, so have fun with it!

Even if your space has challenges, there are some helpful tips and ideas to help make the most out of your man cave space:

  • Small man cave ideas: just because your man cave is small doesn’t mean it can’t be a relaxing place to hang out. Take a less-is-more approach and choose only the focal points that matter most and will actually fit in the room. Select furniture that’s comfortable while still staying on the small side (think chairs instead of sofas, for example). Use light paint colors to make the room appear bigger, mount your TV on the wall, and use overhead lighting rather than floor and table lamps to save space. 
  • Garage man cave ideas and garage bar ideas: Garages are popular spaces to convert into man caves. There are some specific questions with a garage conversion you’ll need to answer, however. Is the garage weatherproof? Does it need insulation, heating, or air conditioning? Does the garage already have power? What about flooring? Do you want to install a bar or bathroom, and if so, is plumbing and water available? Do you need to get a permit for anything related to your garage conversion?
  • Man cave ideas for basements and rustic basement ideas: Basements can also make an ideal place to create a place to escape. Like garages, however, basement man cave ideas will depend largely on the space. Is the basement waterproofed? Do you need to add insulation, heating, cooling, or flooring? Is there enough headroom to stand comfortably? What about emergency exits, windows, and other legally-required features? When in doubt, be sure to consult with a pro if you’re not sure about what you need to turn your basement into a killer man cave.

Step 2: Choose Your Man Cave Features

Once you’ve decided on the placement, layout, and theme of your man cave, you can start thinking about what to include, the best furniture, best accessories, best features, and best materials to use. No matter your budget, you can still create the man cave of your dreams:

Focal points

Next, figure out what you want to include in your man cave. Are you a gamer? A big-screen TV, comfy seating, gaming systems, and the right lighting and sound system is a must. You could even go all out with some standalone man cave arcade games. Love to entertain the guys? If you have space and the budget, why not include a bar? (Do a web search for man cave bar ideas to get inspired.) If there’s no space for a bar, you could instead get a small man cave refrigerator. Or if you love to work out, why not include a weight bench and other workout equipment in the space?

Just try not to cram everything in, even if you have space and the budget for it. There’s no point in having a pool table or a ping pong table if you’ll never use them. Think about what’s important to you, how you want to use your space and choose the focal points that matter most to you.

The best man cave furniture

It’s important to select furniture that suits your space and is comfortable and welcoming. It should also be plentiful enough to allow for guests and parties. Different types of seating such as sofas, overstuffed man cave chairs and recliners, bar stools, and table seating will offer versatility to the space that you can use for parties, watching the big game, playing video games, family board game night, or just kicking back with a beer.

The best man cave accessories

Man cave art: Art is a great opportunity to show off your personality and include a little humor and playfulness with the room decor. For example, some man caves feature literal caveman drawings as a fun play on words.

Man cave lighting: the right lighting can go a long way in creating the right ambience in a room. Make sure you have proper lighting for your cave, such as a hanging light over a pool table, ambient lighting for gaming, dimmable lights for watching TV and movies, and spotlights for art.

Man cave signs: a man cave sign, such as something outlining your man cave rules is a fun touch to add a little personal touch to your space.

Man cave wall decorations: decorations are an easy way to show off your theme and your personal interests and hobbies.

Man cave bar ideas and accessories: many man caves will feature some kind of bar or beverage station. You can go rustic or modern; simple or more elaborate: try to find barstools, glasses, and other bar accessories to match your theme to tie the bar area in with the rest of the room.

Step 3: Build It Out

Once everything is planned out and you’ve done your research, the next step is to build out your man cave. It doesn’t have to be expensive or complicated: there are a lot of DIY man cave ideas on the web that offer tips, tricks, and advice for building out a great space. But if your plans require permits, moving walls, or other bigger construction or remodeling, consider hiring a pro to do the work for you.

One Last Step: Enjoy Your New Space!

This is the most important part of the entire process. If you followed the process, you’re more likely to end up with space you’ll enjoy for years to come. A great man cave will be a place where you can relax with friends, enjoy the game, and have a whole lot of fun.

To Fence or Not to Fence

By Megan Glenn

The question of whether to add a fence to your home is not an easy one to answer.  Certainly there are situations in which a fence is not only desirable, but necessary.  If you own, for example, a large dog, it is almost a necessity to have an enclosure in which it can roam without posing a threat to passersby.  Families with small children often opt for a fence as well, as a means of keeping little ones safe from busy streets or other hazards. 

Whether or not a fence adds value to a property is debatable, and reliable information on actual increase in value is hard to find.  It is, however, arguable that a well-built fence adds resale value if for no other reason than that families and dog-owners do buy homes.  A tasteful fence that matches the aesthetic of a home also creates a sense of privacy and charm that may not boost actual value, but certainly inspires buyers to take a second look at your home.

Even if you’re not considering selling, there’s something about a fence that makes you feel like you have a little piece of the world that is yours alone.  A fence can create a private space where outsiders can’t intrude and where you can enjoy the outdoors playing games, cooking out, or just reading in a hammock.  But if you’re considering adding a fence to your property, there are a few things to keep in mind.

Whether Tis Nobler to Build a Fence

High-end homes with ample property often don’t require fencing, and real estate agents recommend not adding one unless there is a clear reason, such as blocking out traffic noise or obstructing an unsightly view.  For expensive homes, fences don’t necessarily add value in relation to the costs of construction and materials.

There are, however, fencing materials that do speak elegance, should you need one for a high-end property.  Wrought iron fencing lends beauty to any home and works well both with traditional home designs and with a more modern aesthetic.  And technology has come a long way in creating iron fencing that isn’t prone to rust and that doesn’t scratch, dent, or pit easily.  Most manufacturers use a powder-based coating that seals and protects metal, so that fencing lasts a long time with very little maintenance.

Another option is to create a “live fence” made of trees, shrubs, and other landscaping.  This style of fence requires very little upkeep and adds landscaping value to your home.  Furthermore, with the right choice of tree, such as the Leland Cypress or White pine that grows fast, you can quickly create a private space to enjoy.

A Huge Expense?

For the mid-range home, fences often do add resale value as homes are closer together and families are often buying in this range.  But you don’t have to spend a fortune to create a beautiful fence.

The “good neighbor” style, which is a wooden picket fence just over waist height, allows that sense of enclosure for animals, children, and a little privacy, while not having a big impact on your wallet.  And even a 6-foot privacy fence made of wood isn’t astronomical.  Although wood fences don’t have the durability of some other styles, with the proper upkeep, they can last a long time.

If you’re looking for something more substantial and have the money to invest, certainly wrought iron and steel fences add a touch of elegance to the mid-range home.  But another option is vinyl fencing, which adds the charm of a wood appearance while lasting for a long time with virtually no maintenance.

Don’t Suffer the Slings and Arrows

There are a few things that can actually hurt property values when it comes to fencing.  Upkeep is one of the primary concerns, particularly with wood fencing.  Should you choose to go with wood, be sure to routinely reseal your fencing with a quality exterior coating.  Pay attention to joins in the fence where screws, nails, and other fixtures can rust through and leave you with sagging or leaning fence sections.  You should also pay attention to wooden posts where they meet the ground.  Prolonged exposure to moisture can cause them to sheer off at ground level.

Another concern in choosing fencing comes with chain-link fencing.  While chain-link may be the less expensive choice, be aware that it comes with certain ingrained attitudes towards it.  Because of its associations with industrial properties and protected public spaces, such as athletic fields and schools, chain-link tends to decrease property values.  According to some real estate agents, potential buyers often see chain-link, particularly when it encloses a front yard, as saying “dangerous dog on the property” or “this home needs protecting because of the neighborhood.”  Not that this is the reality of the property, but, unfortunately, some attitudes are hard to change.  Should you choose to go with chain-link consider fencing only your backyard.

Small Spaces Sell with the Right Touches

by Megan Glenn

Are you thinking of selling your house or condo, but you’re worried space seems too tight?  Stop fretting!  The rise of the tiny house movement means even the smallest of dwellings have become not only marketable, but fashionable.  And armed with the knowledge of some basic techniques for creating the illusion of space, there’s no reason you can’t provide open, airy designs that will have potential buyers wowed.

Furniture that Fits

You may think that the best thing to do to make a small space look big is to empty it, but designer Kristie Barnett says an empty room gives buyers no sense of scale, and that she’s seen sales fall through simply because the client assumed furniture would not fit.

The trick, instead, is to get rid of overstuffed furniture and to choose one large piece that will be the central focus of the room. Judge every other item against this piece and ask if it serves a functional or design purpose.  If the answer doesn’t come easy, get rid of it.

Opt for smaller, streamlined pieces, such as switching out that sectional sofa for a loveseat.  Furniture that sits lower to the floor creates an illusion of space — think midcentury modern — and it is often more effective to group furniture on one side of a room or to create space between wall and furniture.  When items are pushed against walls around the room it creates a cramped feel. 

Experts also suggest placing taller items away from doorways so as not to visually close off the space upon entering.  We tend to track a room from left to right just as we read, and incorporating horizontal elements that encourage us to track that way smoothly makes the room feel larger.  Items that make our eyes bounce around the room tend to make the space feel smaller.

Keep It Light and Open

The first rule to increasing a sense of space is to de-clutter rooms.  Clear surface tops and take down family pictures, store away extra pillows, and get rid of freestanding pieces that clutter the floor.  You may need to consider gathering possessions and unnecessary furniture to keep in storage until your house is sold.

A second vital aspect of space is accenting natural light.  Windows should be as open as possible to allow maximum light in.  Instead of curtains, you might use blinds.  If you must use curtains, hang the rod high and wide so that they can be opened to reveal the entire window. 

A third trick to maximizing light is to incorporate mirrors into your design.  A mirror placed across from a window not only reflects light back into the room, but enhances the illusion of larger, airier space.  The effect can be increased by choosing furnishings that have chrome, polished metal, or mirrored trim.  And when it comes to furnishings, show some leg.  Air and light beneath your pieces only increases the sense of openness.

Finally, when it comes to actual lighting, get rid of the single overhead fixture which tends to dim the perimeter of the room and make it feel even smaller.  Opt instead for strategically placed lamps that cast light into all areas of the room.

Decorate with Space in Mind

If you want to create an illusion of openness, paint walls in lighter, brighter colors.  Most designers suggest shades of white, but you can choose a bolder color for one wall as accent.  If you choose to do so, adding a few matching decorative touches such as pillows or artwork enhance the sense of unity and space.

Fabrics and materials can also contribute to our visual assessment of a room.  Avoid heavy fabrics and dark bulky wood pieces.  Linens, voiles, and tulles are better choices for keeping your space feeling open and light 

Another suggestion is to carefully consider artwork and other decorative pieces.  Minimize art, opting for one larger focal piece that is more neutral in theme.  Remember that you’re showcasing the space, not your belongings.  And for decorative pieces, a good rule of thumb is that anything smaller than a cantaloupe makes surfaces seem cluttered.   

One last consideration is what to do with floors.  Some designers recommend that you don’t include rugs at all.  If you do decide to incorporate them, choose smaller rugs and orient them to define functional spaces within the room.

Make It Multifunctional

One way to make your rooms feel larger is to suggest their multi-functionality as you decorate.  Stage a small den as a space that can double both as home office and as dining area.  Choosing stackable furnishings and foldaway leaves can keep the space open while still suggesting multiple uses.  A small bedroom with a murphy bed can act both as sleeping space and as an office, reading space, or work area.

Outdoor Space as Another Room

Don’t forget to take advantage of any outdoor areas on your property.  A balcony or patio can be decorated to suggest a reading area, an eating space, or even a relaxing place to get work done.  Even if the space is small, you can choose streamlined, folding furniture to suggest a dual space for grilling and entertaining or for settling down to serious business.

Spring Cleaning in San Diego: Boost Your Curb Appeal

Did you know that you only have seven seconds to make a good first impression when meeting someone new? This is not only true for people, but also for a variety of things in life – like our homes. If you want your house to impress new visitors, it’s essential that you pay close attention to its curb appeal.

‘Curb appeal’ is the attractiveness of the exterior of a home, and it is especially important when trying to lure in prospective buyers. If you’re looking to boost your home’s curb appeal, there are many simple and inexpensive changes you can make. From fresh paint to colorful gardens, all it takes is a little TLC to make your home stand out above the crowd.

Southern California is the perfect climate for low-maintenance exterior home improvements. Keep reading for tips on how to increase the curb appeal of your home in San Diego.

5 Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal

1. Power Wash

Nothing drags down the outside of a house more than layers of dirt and dust. Even if your home appears clean from a distance, you will be surprised at how much brighter it will be after a good power washing.

When power washing, make sure to thoroughly clean all of your home’s siding, windows, gutters, and roof. Make sure you don’t skip over any patios, porches, or walkways. Keeping these areas free of debris will show that the house has been properly maintained.

Power washers are available for rent at major home improvement stores like Home Depot and Lowes. However, if you plan to power wash your house a couple of times a year, you may be better off buying one rather than renting.

2. Add Paint

A little paint goes a long way when it comes to curb appeal. If power washing revealed peeling paint on your siding, window frames, or doors, scrape away the old paint and give your home a fresh coat of the same color to give it new life.

If the color of your home is turning off buyers, you might want to consider changing up the color scheme. To choose the perfect palette, go for a drive and look for houses you admire. Use these as inspiration for your new paint color.

Another great way to use paint to liven up the exterior of your house is to introduce an accent color. Do this by using a different color on the shutters, window frames, and/or doors. A bright and cheery hue (like Pantone’s 2019 color of the year) will always welcome visitors and prospective buyers.

3. Make Repairs

If you think buyers won’t notice a shabby roof or broken porch light, think again. Before listing your house for sale, it’s essential that you make any necessary repairs to the exterior of your home.

When evaluating your home’s curb appeal, be sure to pay close attention to little details like the condition of the eaves boards, siding that needs to be replaced, the condition of the front porch columns, the state of the window screens, etc.

While many of these repairs may seem simple, they still have the potential to affect the curb appeal of your home. Remember: You want buyers to see all of your home’s positive attributes, not the work that still needs to be done.

4. Spruce Up the Gardens

With warm weather year round, homes in San Diego have the potential for beautiful gardens in all seasons. Choose from succulents, cacti, flowers, and other arid plants to create a landscape of color, even in the winter.

Check out these San Diego plants that bloom in the winter:

  • Sundrops
  • South African daisy
  • Aloe
  • Cyclamen
  • Poinsettia
  • Pansies
  • Snapdragons
  • Euphorbia ‘Diamond Frost’

In addition to introducing blooming flowers to your landscape, don’t forget to keep your garden beds and lawn tidy. Add mulch in the spring and make sure the lawn is regularly trimmed.

If you prefer to have a more low-maintenance yard, consider investing in a Waterwise Landscape Design. This type of landscaping requires very little watering and infrequent maintenance, saving you both time and money on your water bill.

5. Add Special Touches

When improving your home’s curb appeal, don’t overlook the little details. Here are a few simple, special things you can do that will transform the appearance of your home:

  • Hang a wreath on the front door
  • Introduce a rocking chair or swing to the porch
  • Update your mailbox
  • Swap out your house numbers for something new and modern
  • Place planters with flowers or desert grass on either side of the front door
  • Update the exterior light figures
  • Hang string lights over the patio

When it comes to boosting curb appeal, it’s possible to get a lot of bang for your buck. By investing a little time and money into your home’s exterior, you will be able to command higher offers and sell your home in record time. We know that moving in California can be stressful, so contact our experts for all of your California real estate needs!

Design Trends: Pantone’s Color of the Year – Living Coral

Welcome to 2019! We are starting this year off bright and we wouldn’t want it any other way. Pantone released its color of the year and its a welcoming living coral! There are a variety of ways to incorporate this hue throughout your home and we’ve picked out a few that definitely stand out to us! Check out these spaces for more inspiration!

All images pulled via our Pinterest

Cream and Coral Living Room #CoastalcottagePantone living coral interior decor, coral living room decor ideas #livingcoral #pantoneDefinitely this coral paneled office that will turn you into a workaholic: | 12…Coral room: Zoning homes with an open plan layout is one of the best ways of making the most of your space. Oranges, particularly corals, inspire creativity so are ideal for a living and study area.  Featuring Coral Flair and Malt Chocolate by the coral especially the chair w/ fringe.coral living room. We need more plants.Love it - Pantone's color of the year 2012- Tangerine Tango.

Pinteresting 5 : Spooky Doorways

October is just around the corner so that means all the houses on the block will begin to “Haunt” their lawns! Join the Halloween theme this month by making your front entrance festive with Jack’o Lanterns, bats, cats, and even witches. Check out some of these terrifying front door decor for inspiration!

All images via our Pinterest







Design Trends: Bold Front Doors

One of our favorite design trends of 2017 is the bold front door! If you feel you need to freshen up your home’s look, painting your door is an easy and affordable way to give it the upgrade you’ve always desired. Paint your door to accent the colors already featured in your home or use a contrasting color for an especially daring look. Our favorite hues to try? Red, blue, turquoise, yellow, and orange!

All images via our Pinterest

Like HGTV’s Fixer Upper? You’ll Love the Design Home App!


Can’t get enough of decorating tv shows? Dream about quitting your day job to become an interior designer? You’ll love Design Home, the new app that lets you design beautiful interiors!

The premise is simple: enter challenges to create beautiful room designs and win prizes and cash to spend in the app! Use your cash to buy more furniture, rugs, and decor elements to use in your designs. Vote for the best designs to earn keys which unlock more challenges. Keep playing to level up and unlock new items.


Pro Tip #1: Make sure you sign in every day to claim your daily sign in bonus of diamonds and keys. You need keys to enter the challenges. Diamonds can be exchanged for more cash or keys.

Pro Tip #2: Each day, the top challenge on your home screen will pay you $2,500 in cash for entering a design. Make sure you do that challenge every day to stack your cash to help you win more of the challenges with smaller cash payouts.

Design Home is available for iPhone and Android and is free to play, but does have in-app purchases.


Design Trends: 2017 Color of the Year

Sherwin Williams has recently announced their color of the year for 2017! The color is called “Poised Taupe” and it has a serene balance between warm and cool, while also being not too dark or too light. Sue Wadden, the director of color marketing for Sherwin-Williams, commented on the Today Show: “It’s like gray and brown had a baby.”

The company explains that their chosen color reflects a timeliness classic which resonates with the color preferences of the modern era.  Reflecting on the recent demand for neutral colors,  the company mentions that “it signals a new direction in society’s ever-growing thirst for beautiful neutrals that bring warm and cool tones together to create one irresistibly versatile color.”

Poised Taupe can work perfectly with wooden floors and structures with white trimmings to give off traditional and inviting vibrations. Below are some examples of how Poised Taupe would look in various rooms inside your home!