Tuesday, December 30, 2008

2009 Home Decor Trends

(ARA) – More and more Americans today are looking at their homes as a place of refuge in a stressful world of challenges and economic instability. Instead of going out to dinner or social events, they’re cocooning with their families. Now, more than ever, their homes need to be restful and soothing, yet stylish at the same time.

Interior designers and industry experts across the country have noted this trend as well, along with an increased focus on cost-consciousness as homeowners become more selective about how their money is spent.

Here are their top 10 home decor trends for 2009:

1. Color Your World
Colors will literally be across the spectrum next year. On their Web site, the Pantone Color Institute forecasts lively colors and sophisticated, grounded hues with Fuchsia Red, Salmon Rose, Palace Blue, Lavender, Rose Dust and Vibrant Green predicted to be popular.

Andrea Vollf, American Society of Interior Designers (ASID), believes strongly in “transforming an ordinary home into a living oasis” using neutrals, especially warm and cool grays, along with bold accent pieces. Deep shades of blue are in demand by customers of Jan Hubbard, ASID, and Candice Mathers, Allied Member of ASID, with Hubbard also noting a draw to spice, bisque, toast and green/gold tones to create a warm ambiance. On a brighter note, both Mathers and Susan Pantaleo, ASID, see yellow emerging as a very versatile color. Popping up in every shade from Sunlight to Dijon Mustard, Pantaleo lauds yellow’s attention-getting appeal and ability to add life to any room.

2. Light up Your Life
Because residential interiors are incorporating more intense paint colors -- not only as accent walls, but throughout an entire room -- more light is needed to properly illuminate a room. According to Jeff Dross, senior product manager of Kichler Lighting, lighting manufacturers will introduce chandeliers with more arms or multiple lights per arm, as well as pendants and wall-mounted fixtures that accept higher-wattage bulbs.

3. We've Got You Covered
Wall murals will continue to be in high demand in 2009, according to Todd Imholte, president of www.MuralsYourWay.com a leader in the production of decorative wall murals for more than 35 years. “Wall murals are a very cost-effective way to completely transform the look of a room,” says Imholte. “We recently introduced 90 new mural designs including bold graphic patterns, contemporary designs and murals inspired by nature such as birch trees and bamboo.” Murals Your Way offers a gallery of more than 5,000 images, as well as the ability to personalize an existing gallery image or create a custom mural from a personal photo or artwork.

4. Establishing a Pattern
In a press release distributed earlier this year, Michelle Lamb -- co-founder and chairman of Marketing Directions, Inc. and senior editor of "The Trend Curve" -- stated that patterns are being constantly updated and reinvented. Some ways to keep them fresh include combining classic and contemporary styles in one piece; utilizing tiny, country patterns that include calico or patchwork; and trying distinctive materials, like foil, or embellishments that cluster and layer upon each other.

5. Comfort is Key
Vollf sees 2009 as being the year of comfort, with furniture that is comfortable and functional, yet still elegant. More and more people are interested in creating a personal refuge that is chic, peaceful, inviting and easy to maintain so that they can relax and unwind at the end of a busy day in an aesthetically pleasing environment.

6. Wood is Good
According to Kathy Peterson -- celebrity design expert and co-host of Lifetime TV’s "The Balancing Act" -- wood flooring is blending into an eclectic mix of wood tones. She also forecasts hardwood wall coverings (wood, resin, metals) with seamless panels of custom designs becoming focal points of a room. Dross echoes the popularity of wood throughout the home, seeing floors, walls, ceilings (bead board) and furniture incorporating wood at their center.

7. Shining Stars
Metals will continue to shine next year, according to Lamb. She envisions them being translated into modern metallic finishes and textures that create a sense of visual excitement and high energy. Particularly noteworthy are platinum, dark silver, rose golds and copper, and colorful metallics.

8. Hooray for Hollywood
Carmen Natschke -- editor of "The Decorating Diva" -- sees a revival of “Hollywood Regency.” According to her Web site, this style is “glamorous, classy and elegant; composed of an eclectic mix of styles like Neo-Classic, Asian, Baroque and Art Deco; sumptuous and luxury fabrics, shimmering finishes, mirrored furniture, chinoiserie, bamboo and lacquered furniture; bold color; clean lines and beautiful symmetry.”

9. Embrace the Outdoors
Seamless transitions from indoor to outdoor space are envisioned by Pantaleo, who says the most successful outdoor spaces will be an extension of the home’s interior style and color scheme. Using nature as a backdrop, she suggests pulling colors from adjacent rooms to maintain a visual connection. She also recommends accessorizing gourmet cook centers and plasma televisions with weather-resistant chandeliers, rugs and artwork to create a cozy, appealing and relaxed ambiance.

10. Go Green
Eco-friendly products will continue to be in demand by today’s energy-conscious and environmentally-aware consumers. McKinley Adams, Allied member of ASID, predicts consumers will be interested in sustainable building materials that may cost a bit more up front, but will save money in the long run. He also sees a surge of interest in vintage furnishings for inside the home, while Mathers anticipates increased use of grass cloth and natural Sisal finishes.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Interest Rates-How low can it Go?

Key Interest Rate as low as it can go

The Federal Reserve on Tuesday lowered its benchmark federal funds rate to a range or zero to 0.25 percent and said it would likely keep rates low for an extended period.

"The Federal Reserve will employ all available tools to promote the resumption of sustainable economic growth and to preserve price stability," the Fed said.

The Fed also said it was prepared to purchase more debt issued or guaranteed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and other government-sponsored mortgage agencies. And it said it is considering purchases of longer-term U.S. Treasury debt.

"The focus of the committee's policy going forward will be to support the functioning of financial markets and stimulate the economy through open market operations and other measures that sustain the size of the Federal Reserve's balance sheet at a high level," it said.

Michael Woolfolk, senior currency strategist, at the Bank of New York-Mellon, applauded the Fed’s approach. "We think it's the best possible move for the U.S. consumer and for the financial market," Woolfolk said.

Source: Reuters News, Mark Felsenthal (10/16/2008)

10 Reasons to Buy/Sell before the New Years

Here are some great reasons why you should sell or purchase a home before December 31st.

1. Tax Savings-Closing on your new home buy the 31st means you can deduct mortgage interest, property taxes and points on your loan on this year’s income tax return. These deductions are significant, especially in the early years of your loan when you are paying off so much interest.

2. Sellers are more motivated. with inventory still on the market, many sellers will also be anxious to sell by the end of the year so that they can enjoy tax savings on the next home they purchase. There will be more leverage when your Realtor negotiate the best deal for you.

3. If you are buying a new house, there is a chance builders will be offering incentives. Your Realtor is able to negotiate these deals for you as well.

4. Your housing choices during December are still relatively plentiful.

5. It’s easier to move. many moving companies are booked six or so weeks in advance during the busy summer months. In the winter it is normally easier to secure the services of a moving company or rental equipment on shorter notice.

6. A new home for the holidays. The holiday season is a great time to celebrate your new home with family and friends.

7. Paying toward something you own. When renting, your rent payment goes toward something that last a month-a place to live for 30 or so days. When you buy a house, your monthly mortgage payment goes toward something you own.

8. Consistent payments. Landlords have the discretion to increase your rent,, plus it is exposed to inflation. Once you secure a mortgage, you can rely on consistent payments.

9. A place to make your own. When you own your house, you can update your kitchen, paint your home’s exterior any color, change your fixtures, and replace your carpeting-all with the knowledge that changes you make are your own.

10. Gaining equity. In the beginning, most of your payment goes toward interest. But gradually more will go toward paying off you principal, meaning you build up equity-or savings-in your home. Another factor in equity is appreciation. As home values go up in your area, so does your rate of equity.

Source: http://www.realtor.org/

Invest in your future.