Home Is Where The Heart Is: Five Ways to Make Your Home More Inviting

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“The greatest investment and greatest fair deal and enterprise is family, cozy homes. A cozy home is based on cozy people. Cozy people are not brought and imported; they are made from the time of birth to the time of infinity.” -Harbhajan Singh Yogi

 

Home is where the heart is.

This is a familiar adage that sagely proclaims that our homes should be a form of sanctuary—a haven if you might, where we are called not only to rest our bones and weary bodies but somewhere we can feel safe and comfortable. Our homes should not only be structures made of bricks and stones but that place where every single one of us can look forward to going after a long and tiring day. As it is, the best memories are forged in a home that cultivates a cozy and inviting atmosphere—one that beckons visitors to come in, have guests linger for a little while longer and make family members never want to leave. Indeed, a place such as this would give you the fondest memories and a relaxed lifestyle.

However, how does one create an inviting home? How do you ensure you can cloak it with an inviting aura that entices people to stay? Whether you have a condo in Manila or a flat elsewhere, here are some of the creative ways you can create that inviting atmosphere:

1.) Let your front door and entryway set the inviting tone

An excellent way to establish an atmosphere that beguiles is to set the tone first. In doing so, you will not only be making a good first impression, but you would create enough interest for your guests to discover more about your home. Elevate your curb appeal and never underestimate the inviting power of a front door and entryway. Install a welcome mat and a few potted plants by your front door. Furthermore, you should make sure that this area is clean and devoid of any clutter.

2.) Use color and other design tricks to pull eyes through your space

In designing an inviting space, consider your guests’ perspectives. With this in mind, you should pay close attention to utilizing a creative design at the farthest point of view. An excellent example of this is to install a painting on the far wall just across from your front door. Emphasize this design piece by adding more fun art and lighting beside it. This design aspect alone will intrigue your guests and would pull them through your home all the while inviting them to explore your space.

3.) Have as many leafy, long, trailing and green plants

Incorporate natural elements into your home and make it seem eco-friendlier by strategically placing green, long and trailing plants all over the place. Potted plants not only make your home seem au-naturale, but they also enliven the space by bringing life to it. Additionally, the abundance of plants promotes a relaxing and calming ambiance that would be ideal for individuals looking to have a little relaxing space after a long and busy day.

4.) Personalize at least one furniture piece

One way to make your home more inviting and a lot more unique is to have at least one personalized furniture piece. This furniture piece can be anything—from a reupholstered furniture designed in a fun fabric or artwork you made yourself—let this be the distinctive feature of your home that sets it apart from the others (and keep it from looking like the inside of a catalog). Furthermore, personalized furniture pieces or design pieces make for excellent conversation starters as well.

5.) Have good smell linger in your home

One great way to make a significant impact on your guests is not only to stimulate their visual senses but their olfactory sense as well. Rid your house of any bad smell and have a signature scent you can have lingering in your home. If you want to take the natural route, place a vase full of fragrant flowers and it will do the trick. Alternatively, you can use potpourri as well. If you have a sensitive nose and are adverse to fragrances, then at the very least make sure your home does not have any bad smells lingering about.

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Hassle-free Move: Four Tips and Tricks to Make Moving Day Stress-Free

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It is no doubt that moving day can be one of the stressful days you will ever experience in your life. Of course, collecting, stashing away and moving your entire household is no easy feat, so you are inevitably going to encounter a lot of stressors along the way. After all, in the years that you have lived through your old home, stripping it down of your possessions and packing them away can seem like a herculean task—especially if you have spent a significant number of years accumulating your belongings. However, there are ways of ensuring that your moving day goes on without a snag and without ruffling any of your family members’ feathers. Your moving venture might be a huge endeavor, but with a solid strategy and good planning, you can be assured that it would go smoothly for the most part.

So, whether your change of address is to a condo in Manila or elsewhere, here are some tips that will help you make your moving day easy and stress-free:

1.) Start weeks or even months in advance

If you live in a relatively small home with a meager number of possessions, you can start packing weeks before your moving day. However, if you live in a sprawling home with too many valuables to count, you might as well start as early as you can—even months prior to your moving date. Although your moving date may seem rather far, it is best to make some progress in your packing than be overwhelmed with the sheer number of things you have to do come moving day. True, it might be tempting to leave packing at the last minute—especially if you dislike living among boxes or have to use some things inside them. But you will be glad to have packed earlier than you should have. Just remember to pack the things you are not regularly using first and leave your daily essentials for last.

2.) Be organized

Being organized is key during your move as it aids you in staying on top of things. To make sure you stay organized during the move, have a list of all the tasks that you need to do and divide them in weeks. This would give you ample time to complete whatever is written on a particular week’s list. A typical organized moving day list would consist of eight weeks of their own respective tasks.

3.) Clean out the clutter

Clutter can not only induce headaches, but they are eyesores as well that would do nothing to prove visual aesthetics. If you have a lot of clutter lying around at home, it would be a good idea to start getting rid of them before you even start packing. In this way, you would feel a lot more organized. Additionally, getting rid of the clutter would prevent you from packing things you would not necessarily need in your new home—saving you from all of the frustration in getting rid of them once you unpack and get settled into your new place.

4.) Label your boxes and bags

To know where items to be packed should go and to easily identify which is which, you should label all of your boxes and bags. Apart from categorizing them and knowing what the contents inside are, this would also help you determine which boxes and bags are to be opened and unpacked first. Typically, this is best done if the box is labeled according to where its contents will be placed (labeled per room). However, it would also be ideal if you also wrote and included the contents in its label. Boxes that contain important and sensitive documents such as birth certificates, insurances, passports and the like should be placed in a secure folder and should have a different marking than the rest. Ideally, this folder should be in your person at all times.

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Four Features of a Good Neighborhood

 

 

Love thy neighbor as yourself, but choose your neighborhood. ~Louise Beal

One of the most crucial aspects to consider in purchasing a home is the neighborhood. As it is, you are not only there to buy a comfortable home to live in, but you are buying into a neighborhood where you would raise your children and foster relationships as well.

Considering this to be the case, it is a good idea to carefully scrutinize every single facet your potential neighborhood has in such a way that when you have ultimately arrived at a favorable decision, you can see yourself and your family acclimating to the new environment well.

Every single one of us may have a different set of standards for when purchasing a home, but a universal characteristic for these homes regardless of whether they may be billeted in a condo in Mandaluyong or any other lush area is that they should all be from good neighborhoods.

So what are the various characteristics that would make a good community? Read down below to find out.

1.) It should encourage greater mobility

Apart from accessibility, your neighborhood should offer its residents the convenience of getting around not only for motorists but for pedestrians as well. It should provide an equal ease of access and mobility for everyone. In the same vein, your neighborhood should be equipped with adequate parking spaces for cars or motorcycles and similarly should have sufficient pathways for pedestrians.

These pathways should be well lit and should accommodate pedestrians of any kind (cyclists and people on non-conventional vehicles such as Segways, Skateboards, wheelchairs and the like).

2.) It should have features that would add to the overall comfort and convenience of residents

A comfortable and safe home is one thing. But a good neighborhood complemented with essential establishments within its vicinities such as places of work, malls, recreational facilities and hospitals is the penultimate factor in deciding whether a home is billeted in a good neighborhood.

This provides its residents easy access to major establishments and would make city living rather easy.

3.) It should have adequate security measures

One thing you should never compromise when it comes to choosing a neighborhood is safety. It is imperative that each and every single one of your family members can truly feel at safe whether they are coming home from work or school or are making their daily commute towards their destination.

One thing that can guarantee you that a neighborhood’s safety is of paramount interest to the developer is when you see visible security personnel such as security guards doing rounds at random hours of the day. Take note, your home is a place of sanctuary, and if your neighborhood is not even safe, to begin with, any potential breach into your homes is not entirely impossible.

4.) It encourages social interaction

People are social creatures, and in choosing a neighborhood, it is important that you consider the potential neighbors you might have should you integrate yourself into their social sphere. One aspect if a good neighborhood is one that has an established sense of community and belonging among its residents. This is because should you be their neighbor, you would know that your neighbors would be more than willing to help you should there be anything you need.

Community facilities such as playgrounds, sports courts, and other recreational amenities would provide easy avenues for neighbors to interact and bond.

Last, but not the least characteristic that one should consider in choosing a neighborhood is that it should have character. Whether that may be the artsy neighborhood where most lost artists, vocalists trying to find their voice and soul or revolutionary chefs or an emerging hub for young corporate employees looking to establish a family.

Whatever it may be, make sure it has that one distinct and identifiable character that would strengthen your affinity towards it. This would set your neighborhood apart from all other communities and make it uniquely you—a home in an environment you can truly come home to.

Home Living: How to Deal with Bad Neighbors

A bad neighbor is a misfortune, as much as a good one is a great blessing. ~Hesiod

Say what you may about choosing the perfect location for your home, but it remains a fact that you can never be as discriminating and selective when it comes to your neighbors.

Where you live is of no consequence as you can have a luxurious and posh townhouse or a luxury condo Philippines Ayala, but unless you live in a gated abode with walls high enough not to be breached, interacting with your neighbors is an inevitability. No matter how you put it, living with bad neighbors is still a pressing social issue until today and unless you could afford a change of address, you would need to do something about it in order to make your home living a lot more pleasant and comfortable.

Dealing with these types of neighbors can elicit a range of reactions from being passive-aggressive to receptive and accommodating with the latter being the favorable one. Settling with irksome neighbors amicably can cause you a lot of stress but, as it would negatively affect your experience at home, it would be best if you dealt with it and communicated your concern.

The worst that could happen is that they would be uncooperative, but at least you conveyed your issues. The ball would be now in their court in addressing your complaint. If you have a bad neighbor (or think you might be one), consider the steps below in dealing with them.

1.) GET TO KNOW EACH OTHER

This is more of a precautionary measure than an actual solution, but it works. Introduce yourself to the community or befriend new neighbors, say a little “hi” and “hello”, maybe borrow a cup of sugar of some garden tools to start establishing a rapport and a working friendly relationship. Chances are, whenever your neighbor starts doing something that may cause you to take issue, it would be a lot easier to convey your problem than be all awkward about it if they were strangers to you. Additionally, constant chafing neighborly issues rarely happen between two neighbors who actually are in good terms with each other.

2.) DOCUMENT THE PROBLEM

If a certain issue arises, keep notes and photos if necessary. This can assist you in evaluating the problem (or whether there really is a problem), give you some information that would back you up when you tell your neighbor your concern. Finally, when worst comes to worst and everything escalates, you have proof to show authorities instead of looking like a whiny and finicky neighbor.

3.) COMMUNICATE

Do not readily assume that your neighbors are well and aware what your issues are—chances are, they do not know they may have less than neighborly practices. Discuss your concerns with them. Be open and direct about it and be respectful as well. Ask for their side and propose a solution that might be favorable to the both of you and compromise. Whatever you do, do not lose your temper as this will only aggravate the tension between you two.

4.) CHECK WITH YOUR OTHER NEIGHBORS

This does not necessarily mean you are snitching on your infuriating neighbors. This means you are trying to find out if you have a solid claim and whether your other neighbors are experiencing it as well. If some of your neighbors are experiencing the same predicament as you are, they may be more than willing to assist you in resolving it. So, when the time comes that you would confront your errant neighbor regarding your issue, you may have someone to come with you to talk it out.

5.) GET A MEDIATOR

A neutral party that is rather experienced in the area of settling disputes amicably may succeed in resolving your issue better than you can—especially if your bad neighbor is willing to talk. This will save you a lot of money instead of taking up your claim to court and in most cases, it is free and much less hassle. Try looking for a neutral third party or a friendly neighbor who is not involved in the issue in any way and have them assist you in dealing with your concern.

Furniture 101: When to Splurge or Save on Furniture

 

 

Furniture must have a personality as well to be beautiful. – Rose Tarlow

It is said that a house is merely a shell without its furniture. In fact, nothing can be more drab and dull that a house devoid of its customary fittings and furnishings. This is why people would actually dedicate time and effort to finding the best types of fixtures their home should have. And because of this, furnishing styles have become incredibly diverse.

Styles emerged such as modern, minimalist, traditional, art deco and the like–all to cater every type of homeowner there is. However, as enthusiastic as we may be in committing ourselves to shopping for house furniture, we should never let that very same enthusiasm cloud our judgment when it comes to choosing the best bargain and deals.

Of course, this is not to say that you should always negotiate with the pricing as there is some furniture that you could actually splurge on. The key is to know which of this furniture you should splurge money on or strike a bargain with or perhaps get at a lower price. So that regardless of whether you are finishing up your condo Philippines interior design or your residential homes, you would be conducting your furniture shopping wisely.

WHEN TO SAVE

If a particular furniture is seasonal

Some of us, Filipinos, are known for being festive when it comes to house decorations–Easter, Halloween, and Christmas, you name it. But think about it, these seasonal items only see the light of day about once a year when the holiday occurs. Seeing as this is the case, the wisest course would be to skimp on splurging on those lavish yet pricey decorations. Go for the thriftier options when it comes to these decorations.

If the item is not a necessity

This needs no further elaboration, but to illustrate what need means in this context think of your budget and see how far it would stretch. Suppose it is kind of tight, and yet you saw that beautiful antique vase that would make the perfect decoration for your living room. The thing is, as pretty as it may be, this item is not a necessity, and it is certainly not worth compromising your budget over.

If the item is not an accent piece

Accent pieces are items that are of pivotal use for your everyday living. Non-accent pieces are their designated complementary furniture that serves a secondary purpose which is to enhance how the accent pieces look. These pieces would include side tables, storage bins and the like and more often than not, they rarely become a room’s main feature, so it is best to save on these and splurge on the primary ones such as sofas, dining tables, etc.

WHEN TO SPLURGE

If it affects your productivity

Furniture items that would make you more productive is a sound investment. It is definitely better to have a good night’s sleep on a good mattress after a day’s long work, so you could definitely splurge on a premium mattress. In the same vein, if it is how you earn your living (such as writing freelancer), it would be best if you splurged on furniture that would enhance your capability in doing your work such as a computer with a good processor and air conditioning to help you stay focused.

If the item has more than one purpose

This one is relatively straightforward. When you splurge on items that have a dual purpose, it is essentially getting two or three for the price of one which is necessarily practical as living spaces have no become rather smaller and yet pricier. So, the more functionality the furniture piece has, the better as you may be splurging a lot more when it comes to cash, but you are definitely saving up on space.

When it comes to furniture shopping, come up with a realistic budget before heading out to the home depot. Think of the things that you will truly need and take note how much time you would be spending at home to enjoy these items (a TV set wired to cable is hardly practical when you are never home to enjoy it). From there, use this as a guide to tick some items off the list on which ones you should save on and splurge on.

Home-based: How Not To Give In To Distractions

Yes! I am going to work at home! That is one of the common thoughts we have in our minds when we hear the word, home-based. Who wouldn’t want to work in the comforts of your own condo while basking at the sight of cityscapes and skylines, right? Well, that’s one of the perks of owning a condo Philippines.

For some, working at home is definitely good news. They can do whatever they want and/or wear whatever outfit they feel like wearing while they work. However, for some others, working at home is the least they want to do. Well, there are hundreds to thousands of reasons why some employees don’t want to work at home. And you can be one of them too!

Well, if you are one of those people who is struggling when it comes to working at home, then there are straightforward and easy steps for you to apply to attain the desired working environment for you.

Find your groove

Each of us has a different way and/or routines before we can start working. Some of us like to work on a table where there are no things that can be seen, or maybe you need to sit on your favorite chair for you to think properly or a blanket on your lap, lights on and blinds shut. Or even you need to see the sun for you to start working.

All of us are different when it comes to working routines. That is why we need to find our groove on which is the most comfortable way of working. With that, you can now ready for work.

Dress up

Dressing up doesn’t mean that you are going to wear your corporate attire even if you are working at home. A casual get up will do, for as long as you are not wearing your worn out clothes and/or pajamas. The tendency if you wear these outfits that are intended only for home wear is that you won’t feel like working at all. These comfortable clothes may lead you to an intense desire to feel relaxed rather than working. However, if you are dressed up, you are more likely to work, like working in an office environment.

Remove distractions

There are just times that we can’t avoid distractions. Cell phones, kids, roommates, pets, foods, television, and/or even parents – all of these distractions can interrupt our work anytime. However, we can control them. As much as possible, you have to get them out of your way. You can tell your parents, roommates and/or the kids that you are working and they should make their voice lower – no shouting and all.

However, if you really can’t avoid them, you can go somewhere where you won’t be distracted by your surroundings. And if you have your cell phones, you can turn it off, or turn it in a silent mode. Well, you have to make sure that you can set aside a separate time to check your phone and email so that you are not going to be distracted during your most productive time.

Set specific work hours

Scheduling your time is one of the many ways you can quickly finish your job since you have a goal in mind to finish it on time. If you have a lot of tasks to do, then you have to make sure that you divide your time efficiently for you to know what kind of work should you do in that particular time.

Log out of social media

If Facebook, Twitter, Instagram are not a part of your work, then you better log it all out. It will only make you work slower than the usual pace, and you will definitely not finish the tasks that you need to be done.

Although sometimes, we feel the urge to open up our social media accounts, however, you have to fight that urge until you’re done with the work that you have. Do you know that when you have that kind of urgency, that means you are not focusing on your job? Your mind is set on opening your account and not with the work that you should do.

There will always be pros and cons when we work at home – and we all definitely know that! Distractions are there willing to attack us anytime of the day while we are working. And admit it! We hate it! Of course, who would enjoy it when you are interrupted with the things that you are doing, and it is annoying to think that we cannot finish the particular task that we are working on.

Moreover, it will always depend on how you handle the situation. If you are tempted to do things that can stop you from working, whether you like it or not, then it is still on your call.