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Posted by Coldwell Banker Murray Real Estate on 11/27/2018

When we decorate and organize our homes, few of us give more than a passing thought to the way our choices will affect our mood and behavior in our home. Most of us simply organize and decorate based on what we like on a whim.

There are, however, entire fields of study devoted to the way our environment affects us (environmental psychology), and ways we can engineer and design our environments to change our moods and behaviors.

If you’ve ever visited a big city like New York you will likely have noticed an example of this firsthand in city parks.

When you sit down on a park bench, you’ll likely find that it isn’t the most comfortable place to sit. There’s more than just a tight budget at play here. Many engineers who plan parks use the idea of “unpleasant design.” They create benches with the intention of dissuading people from lying down  the benches by making them curved or putting arm rests in the middle of them.

In the same way that a city park can be designed to affect your behavior, your home can as well. In this article, we’ll give you some tips on how you can better arrange and decorate your home to have a positive impact on both your mood and behavior.

Organize to your advantage

Many of us think of our homes as the opposite of work--it’s a place we relax after a long day. However, there are a number of chores and tasks you’ll complete at home that can be optimally engineered to save you time.

One simple example is to think about the placement of the items you use in the kitchen. Is your trash can far from the countertop, requiring you to constantly walk away to toss out scraps?

A good way to find out the needless extra work you’re doing around the house is to take note of how you go about your daily routine. This will give you insight into areas where you might better use your time.

Declutter for productivity

Whether you work from home frequently or you just need a quiet place to do taxes or pay bills, a home office can be a good way to avoid distraction. That is, until you fill your home office with distractions.

When organizing your office, think about the content of it. For most people, a decluttered minimalist environment is most conducive to work. Leave out the television, keep your cell phone at bay, and don’t cover your desk in papers that you’ll constantly be rearranging.

Similarly, your computer needs to be tailored to productivity as well. We all know how tempting it is to head over to Facebook or Reddit when we should be focusing on work. A good way to help break this habit is to utilize a time tracking app that lets you know when it’s time for a break. Alternatively, you can use an extension or add-on for your browser that blocks sites like Facebook during the time you specify.

Colors matter more than you think

Each room in your home serves a different purpose. The kitchen is a place of activity and conversation, the bedroom is one of relaxation, and the home office one of focus.

Studies have shown that there is a correlation between the colors and brightness of the room we are in and our moods.

So, when you’re decorating a room in your home, think about the type of colors that fit how you would like to feel in that room.




Tags: home decor   home design  
Categories: Uncategorized  


Posted by Coldwell Banker Murray Real Estate on 2/6/2018

There are many benefits to living in a simple and minimal environment. Lack of clutter helps us focus and boosts our mood. Have you ever sat down at your desk at work or in your home office and felt like you just couldn't get any work done and started tidying up instead? It might be a good idea to listen to that impulse and make your work environment a more productive place. In this article we're going to give you some tips for making your home office a distraction-free, minimal sanctuary. At the same time, these tips will be low cost--minimalism and frugality go hand in hand after all.

Why minimalism?

If you're the type of person who lives in a "well-organized mess" and is able to function highly in this environment, maybe you don't need to strip things down. Or, if you feel the most comfortable in a busy room and are able to get more work done this way, maybe the busy and cozy office environment works for you. However, the majority of people don't fit that description. We tend to do our best work when we have only the necessities at had. Having a minimal home office has numerous benefits. Aside from helping you focus and adding a spacious, pleasant atmosphere to the room, minimalism can help your room look more updated and modern (increasing the value of your home), and can help you save money once you start making only the most useful purchases for your home office.

Your office as a workshop

If you work on cars in your garage and nothing else, you'll probably only want to fill your garage with the right tools for the job. This is also true for your home office. We have a tendency of putting old and extra furniture and decorations from our house into the less frequented rooms, like a home office. Look around your office. Has it become a storage room for old pillows, lamps, or furniture? If so, this is your chance to get rid of some items to clear up the room. Unlike your garage, the tools for the job needed in your home office have been extremely cut down thanks to technology. Among the items that laptops and smartphones have made obsolete:
  • filing cabinets--Google Drive and Dropbox can securely store all your documents
  • calculators--your phone and laptop have these
  • staplers
  • hole punches
  • landline telephones
  • bulletin boards
  • desktop calendars and planners
This list goes on and on. If you have the equivalent or a replacement on your laptop, there's no need to clutter your room with it.

Minimal decorating

Since simple living and minimalism are current trends there are a range of resources available to you when looking to revamp your home office. Some decorating tips to help you along the way:
  • Shop modular. Modular furniture from stores like IKEA and VITSOE are great space savers.
  • Keep your surfaces clear. Avoid the urge to cover your desk with items. That goes for tables, floors, walls, and ceilings as well.
  • Think about color. Using bright colors for your walls and ceiling will make your room feel more spacious and minimal.
  • Nature is your friend. Natural light and one or two plants will compliment any minimal space.





Posted by Coldwell Banker Murray Real Estate on 8/9/2016

We all want our flowers to last forever. We want it so much that there are entire aisles in Michael's devoted to plastic flowers that will bloom for eternity. But when it comes to creating a warm atmosphere with pleasant fragrances, nothing compares to the real thing. Here's how to get the most of your potted plants and flowers.

Choose your plants wisely

All plants are different. Some flower for different lengths of time or even at completely opposite times of the year. When it comes to cut flowers, they too last varying lengths depending on the species. The time a cut flower lasts before wilting is called its vase life. The vase life is a hard life. But certain flowers withstand it better than others.
  • Chrysanthemums (25-30 days) - They're not a flashy flower, and they don't need much to survive in a vase other than fresh water each day
  • Orchids (10-30 days) - There are countless varieties of orchids available. Aside from their unique form and appearance, orchids can also be surprisingly hardy
  • Anthurium or "flamingo flower" (15-45 days) - Flamingo flowers are a rare sight, and last quite a long time if maintained properly. But pet owners beware: they're considered toxic to dogs and cats

Preparing the vase

The first thing to remember is to clean a vase thoroughly before you put flowers in it. Once clean, start to prepare your water. Plants need food too. If your flowers came with plant food this is the best option for preserving your flower. Otherwise, there are homemade recipes for plant solution that usually involve something acidic and something sugary. Lemon juice and sugar work well mixed with water. Or you can mix one part lemon-lime soda (not diet soda) with three parts water. Next, cut the flowers slightly longer than the length of the vase and pop them in.

Caring for your flower

The job's not over once you put the flowers in the vase. The real trick to making flowers last longer is caring for them once in the vase.
  • Trim a centimeter or less off of the stems every other day
  • Add water as needed and refresh the water after a few days. Be sure to add your plant food solution as well
  • The flowers themselves can be maintained as well. Most flowers benefit from being misted with water once every day or two. Others recommend spraying things like hair spray which acts as a preservative directly onto the petals. Though it seems do defeat the purpose of taking such care to keep the flowers healthy.
  • Be sure to keep the flowers in a temperate place. If the flowers or water heat up or cool down too much the flowers could wilt

The flowers are dead. Now what?

Once the flowers have wilted (hopefully after a long amount of time due to reading the aforementioned tips!) it may seem like you have no further use for them. But there are plenty of creative ways to repurpose wilted flowers on the internet such as making a wreath or even adding them to your bath. Let us know which flowers you've had the best luck with!    





Posted by Coldwell Banker Murray Real Estate on 7/5/2016

We all have our own version of the ideal work environment. Some of us require a distraction-free bubble to be productive, whereas others prefer to work in a bustling cafe. There are many factors that contribute to workplace productivity and there have been numerous studies on that very topic, focusing on things like the best time of day to work, how often to take breaks, and even the benefits of looking at cute pictures of cats to boost your performance. For our purposes, we're going to focus on environment. Specifically, your home. We live in a time when more and more of us are unable to "punch out" at the end of the day and leave our work at the office. Whether it's checking emails, staying up late grading papers, or studying for a work-related exam, odds are you'll find yourself having to work in your home at some point. Step 1: Choose which room you will dedicate to work Whether it's a bedroom or home office, you'll want to be consistent with which room serves as your productivity zone. Just as you've trained your body to sleep when your head hits the pillow, you'll need to train your brain to work when you sit down at your desk at home. Step 2: Setting up your desk You won't get much work done if your back aches or if your chair is so comfortable that you're likely to fall asleep in it. Pick a chair that is sturdy and ergonomic, and make sure your screen and keyboard are at a good height so you aren't slouched. Step 3: Setting the mood If you need noise to work, determine what kind of noise will help you stay focused. There are sites like Noisli that let you combine different natural sounds. Pandora radio is free and will play a diverse mix of songs based on what you want to hear, and you can pay a small monthly fee to get rid of the ads. Maybe nature sounds and music are too distracting for you but the sound of silence is even worse. If that's the case you might want to invest in a white noise fan. Step 4: Do some decorating As important as the sound in your environment is what you put in it and how you arrange it. Depending on personal preference, you might want to keep your workplace either minimalistic or homey. You should also consider the lighting of the room. Dimming the lights a bit might save your eyes some strain if you're looking at a computer screen for hours at a time. Generally speaking, people work best in natural lighting (so avoid blue LEDs or harsh fluorescent bulbs). The options are endless and the best way to find out what keeps you productive is to experiment with different set ups. What's most important is that you find what works for you. And remember, this isn't the office; you have the opportunity to design a productivity sanctuary of your design. Why settle for anything other than perfect?







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