Decorating Your Home to Improve Your Mood and Behavior

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.

How Home Appraisals Work

When you find a home that you love, you probably already have been pre-approved by a bank for a certain amount that will enable you to buy a home. Once you put in an offer on the home and it’s accepted, however, you may need to take a step back. The appraisal can help you to know what the value of the home actually is. The bank may decline your loan based on the appraisal This is one of the most important steps to obtaining the financing that you need to purchase a home. 

What Is An Appraisal? 

In a nutshell, an appraisal protects the bank from investing in a property that’s worth less than what they’re paying for it. This process also protects you as a buyer from buying a property that’s worth less than what you’re expecting it to be worth. 

Although the appraisal makes sense financially, it doesn’t mean that the process won’t be emotional for you as a buyer and for the sellers as well. The appraisal can in fact make or break the purchase of what you consider as your dream home. There’s a lot of data that’s collected for the appraisal, which can cause nerves to be shot on both sides while the value of the home is being calculated.     

What’s The Difference Between The Inspection And The Appraisal?

A home appraisal is much different than an inspection. The home inspection is important in its own right. As a buyer, you hire a home inspector to find any potential problems or hazards that could be big issues for you in the future as a homeowner. While property appraisers will make note of glaring issues, they won’t check out the nuts and bolts of the home like a home inspector will. The home inspector checks out everything from the air quality to the chimney to the toilet and sinks. There’s many things that will affect your home appraisal. In other words, if you’re a seller, you want to get major issues fixed before you put your home on the market. Home inspections will be very important for different reasons to you as a buyer since it will be valuable to you in the future. Appraisers may request an inspection if they notice something serious within the home, but they are more interested in the value of the property than the direct problems that are within the home. 

Who Will Pay For The Appraisal?

Generally, the seller will pay for the home appraisal along with the closing costs. This can be a few hundred dollars. In certain circumstances the buyer may agree to pay for the appraisal, however.   

What Goes Into Calculating The Worth Of A House?

Appraisers look at many different factors including: 

  • The square footage of the property
  • The number of bedrooms
  • How many bathrooms the home has
  • The condition of the home
  • How much have comparable properties have sold for in the area
  • Safety issues
  • Other factors pertaining to health and safety            

The appraisal process can seem complicated, but once you’re educated on the matter, you’ll be prepared when it gets to that point in the home buying process.

How to Prevent Termites from Damaging Your Home

There are several different types of termites but one thing they all have in common is that they eat wood. By the time you’ve discovered that termites have infested part of your home it’s often too late. That’s because the damage that termites cause isn’t easily noticeable. Termites travel randomly through the soil in search of food and can cause devastating damage to the wood of a home once they find it. Whether you’re worried that your home may be vulnerable to termites or if you’re looking for a way to get rid of them, this article will teach you everything you need to know about the wood-eating pests known as “silent destroyers.”

Preventing termite infestations

There are several good practices to maintain that will keep your home termite-free. Some require work, and others are just good habits to build. Keep these tips in mind to make your home a less desirable treat to termites.

  • Don’t stack firewood or lumber on the ground for long periods of time. If you do have to stack wood on the ground, keep it far away from your home foundation so termites won’t eat their way up the wood pile and into the wood of your home.
  • Keep your foundation dry. Termites love moist soil. They’ll use it as a vehicle to get to the wooden parts of your home. To keep them away, make sure the areas around your foundation are well-drained and stay relatively dry.
  • Don’t let wooden parts of your home touch the ground. Whether it’s a porch, deck, lattice-work, or even wood panel siding, make sure all of these surfaces are on a foundation and not just on the ground. Not only will this deter the termites but it will also help maintain the structural integrity of these items by keeping them dry and rot-free.
  • Go easy on the mulch. Using excessive mulch is like giving termites a roadmap to your home. When you do use mulch, make sure it’s in a well-drained area. It may seem counter-intuitive, but termites are attracted to mulch mainly due to it’s ability to maintain moisture and heat, rather than as a food source.

You found termites. Now what?

If you’ve noticed that termites are eating the wood on or around your home you have several options for getting rid of them.  Your method will depend on the location and severity of the infestation.

Do-it-yourself methods

If the infestation isn’t in a dangerous place (somewhere that affects the structural integrity of your home) or if it isn’t too severe you could try:

  • Applying a barrier treatment which stops the termites from entering and poisoning them at the same time
  • Setting a bait station that will attract all of the termites so you can remove them
  • Drilling into the infested wood and pouring orange oil into the holes

Call the professionals

  • If the infestation is bad enough to cause worry the safest bet is to call a pest control company in your area so you can rest easy knowing your home is safe.

How To Get Money For Home Improvement Projects

If you’re trying to decide whether it’s best to move from your current home or to make the necessary improvements on the home, it’s not an easy decision. One thing you may have to consider is how to get the capital in order to have those home improvements done. 

There’s a variety of options available to you in order to secure a loan to renovate your home. Whether you need to renovate the kitchen, build out from your current property, or replace the heating system, there’s ways that you can get the money to complete these necessary updates. 

One thing to consider about any of the options discussed is that you don’t want to be paying for home improvement loans until you need to update everything once again. If you’re preparing to sell your home, making improvements is a wise choice, as it can increase the return that you’ll get on your home. 

Don’t Run Out Of Cash

 If you cannot complete the improvements that you started, you may not be able to get another loan to complete them. You can typically borrow between 80 and 90% of your home equity. The downside to refinancing your home or taking out home equity lines of credit is that you’ll need to pay closing costs once the loan is approved. In other words, you’ll need to put out some cash in order to get some cash. 

Use Your Own Cash

If you have some cash saved up, it’s wise to just do one project at a time. This can take some time, but can be more economical in the long run. If you don’t need to complete your repairs in a hurry, then using your own savings is a good idea.

Refinance Your Home

If you would benefit from a lower interest rate, refinancing your home can be a great option. As long as the cost of repairs doesn’t exceed the number of years that the updates will last, refinancing makes sense. 

Home Equity Credit Line

If your mortgage is locked in and working for you, home equity lines of credit are always a good option. You can draw money out as you need it and pay it back as you go. You won’t need to pay interest until you use the money and the loan is good for 10 years. The downside is that if you don’t make the payments, you could lose your home.   

Home Equity Loans

This type of loan allows you to borrow a fixed amount and then pay back the loan with a fixed monthly installment. A 15 year term is typical of this type of loan.

Construction Loans

A construction loan can be used to build a house or to make large-scale renovations. These loans are short-term and not always easy to find access to. Not to mention that they are heavily managed and perhaps the least popular option presented here. 

FHA 203K Loans

This type of loan is generally used to purchase a home that is in need of much repair. The downside is that you’ll need mortgage insurance for the entire life of the loan. Less complicated repairs often offer a more streamlined FHA loan of up to $35,000. 

FHA Title 1 Loans

These loans provide up to $25,000 for home improvements. The money is insured by the federal government and can be obtained from approved lenders. Homeowners don’t need access to equity in order to get one of these loans and they are available in 20 year terms. 

These are just some of the options that are available to you as a homeowner seeking ways to get cash to make improvements to your home. You can tap into other types of personal loans including credit cards. Really, you need to do what’s best for your finances. It’s good to know that there’s options available to you to improve your home.