Consumer Real Estate News

    • Top Home Decor Trends for 2021

      19 January 2021

      With most people spending more time at home than ever, it is not surprising that home design trends in 2021 will focus on comfort and functionality. From clean lines to homey touches that remind you of Grandma’s house,  some of these popular styles may surprise you.

      Grandmillenial Style 
      Inspired by the comforts of Grandma's home (cue the velvet sofa, needlepoint and floral curtains), millennials are decorating with a nostalgic sense of style. Expect to see vintage touches and old-school patterns mixed with bold, modern colors.

      Japandi Design 
      In a tumultuous year, the trend moves to a soothing neutral color palette. Enter Japandi style: a combination of Japanese design and Scandinavian minimalism that’s all about sleek lines and neutral color palettes. Check it out on Pinterest, which has seen the search for Japandi increase 100 percent in the past year. 

      Earth Tones 
      They’re back, replacing recent trends toward gray and bright white. Warm taupes, beiges, sands—basically any earth tone is surging in popularity, both for walls and furnishings.

      Oversized Tiles 
      Out with teeny-tiny bathroom tiles with impossible-to-clean grout lines, and in with larger scale tiles that provide less visual clutter while helping to visually expand a small space.

      Clever Room Dividers 
      Because homes are now serving multiple functions—home office, gym, schools and creative space—the need for privacy and separate zones has increased, and dividers are back. Etsy reports a 134-percent increase in searches for room dividers, while Pinterest saw the search for ‘cloffice’ ideas (as in closet converted into an office) more than double.

      Outdoor Living 
      Taken from the Danish concept of "friluftsliv," or "free air life," the age of coronavirus ushers in more options for making small outdoor gatherings comfortable. Fire pits, weatherproof upholstery, comfy patio furniture and even drink ledges for balcony railings are being sought after for backyards, patios and balconies.

      Neon Lights 
      Brighten up 2021 with fluorescent light fixtures—neon lighting is back with a modern look. Customized neon word art and neon-hued LED lights are trending. On Pinterest, searches for "neon room" and "LED light signs" have already more than tripled.    

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Budget-Friendly Furnishings to Refresh Your Space

      19 January 2021

      New home furnishings can be pricey, but adding even just one item to your space can transform the look of a room all while keeping to your budget. Whether you’re looking for a pop of color or a hint of texture, you don’t need to take on a huge, expensive project to reach your design dreams. Here are a few furnishings to inspire your next budget-friendly home refresh.

      Whether you use it to put your feet up and relax, or simply as a surface to lay out magazines, plants and other decorative items, an ottoman is a great way to add color and texture to a space. It can even be utilized for extra seating if you are planning to host friends or family. Ottomans come in many different colors, shapes and sizes to compliment any theme, color scheme or style. 

      Add comfort and style to your living room, bedroom and even your dining room by adding one or two upholstered armchairs. Buy new or upcycle an outdated piece to add a bit of DIY style. Highlight characteristics, such as patterned fabric, grommets and even the legs, as they can add a hint of personality to any space.

      Accent Table
      Adding a small table into any room of your home can not only offer style and design, but also storage space. Place an accent table in an empty corner and add decor, such as a lamp, to brighten up the room. Or, put an accent table by the window and add some houseplants to liven up the space. Like the armchair, you can upcycle a table with stain or paint to fit your taste.

      Area Rug
      If you’re looking to add contrast, patterns and texture, start from the bottom: an area rug. Because you can find rugs in nearly any color, pattern, shape, size or texture, your options are endless. A rug may also bring an entire room together, tying in color schemes or offsetting neutral colors. Get creative with smaller rugs by layering them for added texture and a bit of unique, custom styling. 

      Don’t take on a large, expensive home project just to refresh your space. Even just one simple piece can help change or update your space, saving you money and stress. Stay on budget and in style when planning your next interior design project.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • 5 Steps Schools Are Taking to Help Feed Children During the Pandemic

      19 January 2021

      (Family Features) Nearly 30 million children in the United States rely on school meals for a significant portion of their daily nutrition. Since the start of the pandemic, the number of food-insecure children has increased 20% to 1 in 4. Although many schools are operating remote or hybrid models, most are still open full-time for feeding students.

      An issue-framing report by GENYOUth, a national nonprofit dedicated to creating healthier school communities, addresses what’s at stake for schools today, progress that has been made, challenges they face and key opportunities that exist. It concludes that although the role of the school building has changed this year, health-promoting schools supporting the “whole child,” including ensuring children receive proper nutrition, matter more than ever for students to live full, productive lives.

      Due to COVID-19, school nutrition professionals, bus drivers and volunteers are taking measures to distribute and deliver school meals through a variety of methods that enable social distancing, including grab and go, bus stop drop off and drive-thru pick up.

      Creating Extended Meal Pickup Times
      During the initial lockdown, many families were home and had greater flexibility to pick up meals during a narrow window of time. However, as people return to more typical work schedules, their availability to take advantage of provided meals is compressing. Some districts are expanding, even doubling, their pickup windows to provide greater access for families.

      Eliminating Barriers to Providing Meals
      School feeding programs are typically required to collect income eligibility applications from families to determine if children are eligible for free or reduced-price meals. Due to the pandemic, the United States Department of Agriculture is allowing schools to waive those requirements and offer free meals to every student. In addition, many school feeding sites don’t require students to be present to pick up food; parents, siblings or caregivers can collect the meals.

      Raising Awareness of Options and Locations
      In response to crisis-level food-insecurity, GENYOUth, working with multinational software corporation SAP, engineered the SAP4Kids digital school-meal locator app so families in need can find food and other resources near them amid the pandemic while also providing ways for organizations to offer additional support.

      Providing Multiple Meals at a Time
      Scheduling is also a factor, leading some schools to offer multiple meals at a time. Whether it’s meals for a full day or enough food for several days, offering multiple meals at a single pickup time streamlines scheduling for both the school and families. In addition, it reduces points of contact, helping to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

      Seeking Assistance and Support
      Federal funding continues to support school meal programs, but schools are also partnering with a wide range of organizations committed to students’ nutrition needs. One example is GENYOUth’s Emergency School Meal Delivery Fund, which has provided thousands of schools with millions of dollars in grants and in-kind support. The fund provides monetary grants to schools to supply resources for meal distribution and delivery to help ensure children continue getting nutritious meals.

      “We are at an extraordinary moment where schools are taking unprecedented, heroic measures to get meals to kids,” said Alexis Glick, CEO of GENYOUth. “Our fund provides grants to schools for the equipment, transportation and resources they need to feed kids daily. I believe the only hunger children should face is a hunger to learn.”

      To learn more about the report or donate to the  COVID-19 Emergency School Meal Delivery Fund, visit or text “SCHOOLS” to 20222 to make a one-time donation of $25.

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • The Best Things to Buy in January

      18 January 2021

      It’s a no-brainer that January is a good time to stock up on price-reduced holiday cards, gift wrap, Christmas tree decorations and all things holiday-related. But if one of your New Year’s resolutions is to save money, take advantage of sale prices traditionally available in January on a variety of other household goods and adventures.

      Bed Linens 
      Since January of 1898, when merchant John Wanamaker pioneered the first White Sale on bed sheets, this month remains the best time to find best deals on bed linens, duvets, quilts, pillows and blankets.

      Exercise Equipment 
      With many people in January vowing to lose weight and get fit, vendors offer their best prices of the year on health and fitness items like treadmills, ellipticals, weight sets and, of course, scales.

      Vacations and Cruises 
      Winter time is traditionally a good time to find good values on resorts and cruises. This year, with the vacation industry hard-hit by the health pandemic, there are especially good vacation deals available to consumers looking to travel by next summer or fall.

      Winter Clothing and Sports Gear 
      Retailers looking ahead to stocking swimsuits and summer gear are already offering sale prices on warm winter clothes and related sports gear, like skis and sleds.

      Video Games 
      Retailers stocked up big-time on video games for holiday gift-giving, so good prices are offered now on over-stocked games.

      Flooring or Carpeting 
      This is another category of goods bought frequently before the holidays, though perhaps less so in 2020. Still, check vendors for best available prices as January is traditionally sale time.

      If you’ve been waiting for a great deal to upgrade your old TV, this is a good time to start looking. You’ll likely find good deals on TVs with all the latest tech, like Smart TV capabilities and 4K resolution.

      January can be a good time to search for car deals. Look for incentives on new 2020 models, as the new year is a new model year for dealers. 

      Published with permission from RISMedia.

    • Improve Your Mental Health With Better Sleep

      18 January 2021

      (Family Features) For some, the holidays may be the happiest season of all, but for others the hectic pace and endless to-do lists can take a real toll on their mental health. This year, the impact is heightened by a global health pandemic. 

      According to a survey from Mattress Firm, more than 60 million Americans say COVID-19 has worsened their quality of sleep, and those losing sleep are often seeing their mental well-being and healthy habits worsen. Nearly half of respondents said COVID-19 has increased their worries and prevented them from falling or staying asleep at night, with 41% reported their poor sleep has a negative impact on their daily lives.

      “It’s no surprise that when our minds are full or our hearts are heavy, our mental health tends to suffer,” said Dr. Sujay Kansagra, a sleep health expert for Mattress Firm. “What many people don’t realize is that mental health struggles also affect sleep, and adequate rest is a key component of maintaining and improving your mental health.”

      If stress and worry are preventing you from getting a good night of sleep, try these ideas from Kansagra to help improve your mental state and ease your body into rest. 

      Think positively. Every night before going to bed, list three good things from your day. They don't have to be amazing things, just three positive aspects of your day. For example, acknowledge you had a good virtual catch-up with a colleague or enjoyed a new recipe or workout class. Listing your positive experiences at night can help you maintain a positive frame of mind as you unwind for the day.

      Create a to-do list. This technique is for those who mentally work through their list of pending responsibilities before bed. In a fast-paced world, sometimes lying in bed is the first time you have to actually think about what’s on your list. By creating a list of tasks (or even writing down your worries), you can prevent yourself from thinking about them excessively before bed and throughout the night. 

      Try progressive relaxation. This involves taking slow, deep breaths and slowly tensing the muscles in your body for a few seconds then relaxing them. Start at your feet and work your way up the body. This technique can help you relax and decompress after a long day.

      Give yourself a break. Especially if you’re working from home or tackling a lot of seasonal tasks, it’s easy to keep yourself busy up until the minute you fall into bed. However, your mind may still be whirling from all that activity. Build in a few minutes before bed each night to let your mind rest, whether it’s spending a few minutes with a good book, practicing meditation or sipping on a cup of sleepy-time tea.

      Appeal to your senses. Being mindful of how your senses react to various stimuli can play a role in your ability to drift off to sleep. Some people need silence; others benefit from ambient sound. Certain scents can be soothing and make good choices for essential oil diffusers, such as lavender oil. Also be conscious of the touches that affect your sleep, like the support from your mattress, the softness of your sheets or the temperature of the room.

      Whether it’s your family, your health or general stress that’s keeping you up, find time in your day to give yourself some grace. Your mental health is extremely important and should not be overlooked, so if you’re feeling a little worn down, ensure you’re getting the quality sleep you need to tackle the day and week ahead. 
      Find more tips for better sleep at

      What’s Keeping You Awake?
      If you’re like many Americans, outside influences and worries may affect your sleep. Pinpointing what’s keeping you awake, such as these common sleep disruptors reported in a Mattress Firm survey, can help you address your concerns so you can rest more easily.

      1. Money or Paying Bills (49%)
      2. My or My Family’s Health (48%)
      3. State of Country and the Economy (39%)
      4. My Kids and Their Health or Education (32%)
      5. Missing Social Interaction (31%)

      Published with permission from RISMedia.