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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

A Stunning Entryway

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First impressions matter. You consider them in your personal life, shouldn’t you consider them for your home? Make a grand first impression by meticulously grooming the entryway of your home. Entryways are sometimes neglected because they aren’t always entire rooms. Beyond that, they are easy prey to “catch-all” madness because you use them so much. Change all that and make a fabulous first impression for your home.

Pay attention to curb appeal. Take a look at the outside of your home first. Is is visually appealing? Do you have things sitting around that could go elsewhere? Arrange a small seating area on your front porch if space allows. Place a small garden statue in your flower bed. Hang a seasonal wreath or swag on your front door.

Create a focal point directly inside the entryway. What do your eyes first go to? Choose a large beautiful painting or several small framed pictures of friends and family. Fresh flowers are a nice touch and a large mirror adds both appeal and a way to check yourself as you are leaving for the day.

Proper lighting is essential for guests to feel welcome any time of the day. An overhead dome light, wall sconces or a table lamp are all great choices depending on space and existing furniture.

Add some texture. Place a rug in the entryway, or woven baskets for storage if there is enough space. Another great way to add texture and seating is to include a bench with a few pillows for a place to sit while removing shoes.

Don’t forget functionality. While you want the entryway to be ascetically appealing, consider usage and space. Include a table with storage, hooks for coats and a low shelf for shoes, bags and umbrellas.

Divide the space. If your entryway opens into a larger room and there is enough space to separate it from the rest of the room, use a screen, divider or bookshelf to create two distinct spaces.

You are well on your way to making a grand first impression of your home. Stop by either of the two Connell’s locations in Mt. Vernon or Newark today for more ideas to turn your house into the home of your dreams.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Ready, Set, School!

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It’s that time of year again . . . BACK to SCHOOL time for the kids and back to a regular schedule for you. Back-to-school shopping is likely on your to do list, or the kids are already begging to play in their new school shoes. Everyone in the house has been dreaming of either trapper keepers, protractors or peace and quiet. The kids are ready and you can’t wait! But what about your home? As always, Connell’s has you covered! Keep reading for tips to control clutter, create functional space and manage your home during the hectic and exciting back-to-school time.

Start with the entryway. Count the number of times you’ve been in a hurry and couldn’t find the keys, or one of the kids couldn’t find his homework! If this sounds familiar, say it with me: start with the entryway. The foyer or room where you enter and leave your home can and should be the most organized space in your abode. First and foremost, it’s the initial impression of your home altogether. Second, if this space is organized and holds all the essentials ready to go, everyone is golden! Depending on space, install hooks for coats, bags and umbrellas. Set up cubbies for shoes and other small items. Hang shelves for books. Place a cabinet, desk or end table with a drawer or two for keys, pens, pencils, and other items within easy reach.

Organize a specific “homework zone.” Habits normally take three weeks to form and most kids are into school at the beginning of the school year. Setting up a designated homework space will help the kiddos get off to great habits right from the start. Place a desk, comfortable chair, computer (if age appropriate), paper, pens, pencils, shelves and anything else useful in the area and ask that the kids work from this space specifically when reading and completing school work. The space can be in your child’s room or another place in the home as long as it is quiet and relatively free of distractions – NO television!

All work and no play makes for both boring adults and kids! Have you ever thought about a “relaxation station” in your home? Maybe it’s your living room, family room, or some other neutral area. Wherever you decide, the rule is relaxation! Some “must haves” for this room  include a comfy sofa, loveseat or sectional, lots of pillows, low lighting, access to music, and storage for games and other forms of entertainment. Relax with the kids in the evening so they can wind down and get a good night’s sleep!

Make the kitchen accessible and inviting. For the kids to do well in school, a balanced diet is essential. Make snacks healthy and within easy reach after school. Lunchboxes and thermoses should be stored in a place the kids can easily grab them. Teach the kids how to pack their own lunch, including all of the major food groups.

Your home is ready now! These are just a few ideas to get you started. Come up with more ideas of your own and share them with us on Facebook, then stop in to one of the two Connell’s locations in Mt. Vernon or Newark today for beautiful home furnishings and great values every day!