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Tips and Tricks February 10, 2022

How to Choose the Best Floor Plan for Your Family

One of the best perks of purchasing a new home is watching it be constructed from the ground up. Before the foundation can be laid and the walls framed, builders hire architects to design floor plans or drawings that layout the space and measurements for every room in your new home.

A floor plan is a bird’s eye view of the home, floor by floor and room by room. On each plan, you will see bedrooms, bathrooms, and the kitchen labeled, as well as doors, windows, and special features such as fireplaces, standalone tubs, and balconies. In many cases, when you work with a new home builder, there are opportunities to make certain changes to the floor plans to suit your family’s lifestyle.

So, how do you choose the best floor plan for your family?

Measure for Measure

When you see a floor plan and the total square footage of the home, you may be dazzled. This is when you have to ask yourself: how much space is right for your family? It’s important that you consider what’s important to your family so that you can see if the floor plan measures up.

Do you need play areas for children? Do you like to entertain family and friends? Will you need two or three bedrooms? How about a home office? Floor plans are smartly designed and can maximize the use of the space, so the best way to prepare to choose one is to spend some time thinking about how you want to live in the home once it’s built.

Follow the Flow 

Imagine yourself walking through the home when you’re looking at a floor plan. Start at the front door and see where the home takes you. Go from the laundry room to put the clothes away. Is it convenient? Many floor plans have responded to this desire by placing the laundry room on the second floor of the home.

Does the flow of the kitchen to the dining area feel right? Can you imagine having friends and family over for dinner? Are there enough bedrooms and bathrooms for your family? When you’re coming in with an armload of groceries, will you have an easy path to the kitchen? Will you park your car in the garage and come in through a mudroom?

All of these lifestyle questions are also floor plan questions. Envisioning yourself and your family is the fun part, and it starts the moment you see a floor plan.

On Your Level

What type of home best suits your lifestyle? Bungalows offer main-level living without any stairs. Two-story homes offer two above-ground levels and a finished or unfinished basement, and townhomes can be two, three, or four levels, depending on the design.

Choosing the right floor plan begins by knowing which home type is best for your family.

Traditional or Open Concept 

Today, many floor plans are drawn with an open concept design. This layout is appealing because there are fewer walls to separate the kitchen, living room, and dining room area. It’s ideal for entertaining and can also make the space feel bigger, with more room to socialize and spread out.

When you look at an open concept floor plan, think about how you will move from room to room. Do you like that there aren’t walls in between? Or would you prefer more separation?

Traditional floor plans will show walls separating the kitchen from the dining and living rooms with symbols representing swing doors, sliding doors, or leave a blank space for a framed pass-through without a door.

Choosing one style over another will help you find the one that’s best for you.

Must-Have Features

Make a list of must-have features so that when you look at floor plans, you can begin to narrow down your choices. Is a spiral staircase what you’ve always dreamed of? In your gourmet kitchen, is there an island with a breakfast bar? Do you want a gas fireplace flanked by built-in bookshelves in your living room? Will you need a home office or do the kids need a study room?

All of these features and more will be outlined on a floor plan and the choice will be easier if you know your must-haves going in.

Find Extra Room

When looking at a floor plan and envisioning yourself living in this home, think of alternative uses for rooms that might seem like extra rooms right now. A formal dining room or living room could seem unnecessary right now, but you consider repurposing those spaces for a playroom, a hobby studio, a games room or a library. A bonus or flex room like a den on the main floor or an extra bedroom upstairs can also be transformed into a guest room, an exercise room, or a home office.

Look for Storage Solutions

No one likes clutter! Sometimes it can be hard to determine from a floor plan where you will find storage. Growing families always need more storage space and some solutions include built-in shelving on the main floor and in closets, a mudroom, and a garage. Consider adding additional storage space, if possible during the design phase.

Ask Away

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about what you see – or don’t see on a floor plan. Most people don’t know how to navigate architectural drawings or floor plans and it is completely acceptable for you to lean on the experts and ask any questions you may have.

Choosing the best floor plan for you and your family involves a lot of decision-making, and it all begins with prioritizing what your needs are as a family. Once you know what you need, you can begin to envision yourself living in the home just by looking at the drawings.

Tips and Tricks January 27, 2022

3 Reasons Home Prices Could Spike in 2022

When you look at what determines the price of a home, it is often set by the neighbourhood it’s in, the size and style of the home and the quality of the finishes inside. Those key factors point to the value of a home in the real estate market where it resides, and the price is what people are willing to pay for the home of their dreams.

As 2021 winds down, many experts and analysts have forecast a continuation of rising prices in Canadian real estate, especially in desirable city centres such as Vancouver and Toronto. In November 2021, the average price of a resale home in the Toronto region was $1.16 million, which is up 22 per cent from the previous year. Pricing in the new construction sector usually tracks close to resales, reporting a little less than the average resale numbers.

During the pandemic, the GTA’s robust real estate market continued to hold strong. Ultra-low mortgage rates and demand for larger homes with backyards, balconies and room to create a home office offered people the chance to take a second look at their living space.

With demand outpacing supply in the GTA, prices continue to rise. If interest rates rise next year, buyers have an incentive to get into the market and that creates competition, which nudges up pricing. Lastly, the sourcing of materials and supply chain challenges of this past year will continue into the next year, impacting pricing and the ability to get more homes into the market to quell the demand.

To expand more on three reasons home prices could increase in 2022, we’ve rounded up some expert opinions in the real estate and financial industry.

Demand Outpacing Supply

Canadian home prices are expected to rise by 10.5 per cent in 2022, with Toronto, Vancouver and Halifax projected to see the largest increases.

What’s more is that the forecast follows a record-breaking year in 2021, according to a survey from real estate firm Royal LePage.

Royal LePage also anticipates the median price of a single-family detached home in Canada to climb by 11 per cent to $918,000 in 2022, while condominium prices are projected to grow by eight per cent to $594,000.

In Canada, price predictions show homes will be the most expensive in Greater Vancouver ($1,375,700), Greater Toronto ($1,256,500) and Ottawa ($806,600), while the lowest prices are expected to be found in Winnipeg ($372,100), Regina ($376,300) and Edmonton ($429,000).

The biggest increases are expected in the Toronto and Vancouver areas, with the price of homes rising by 11 and 10.5 per cent. They’re followed closely by Halifax at 10 per cent, which Royal LePage says is driven by out-of-province demand, largely from Ontario.

In a market characterized by low supply, Royal LePage president and CEO Phil Soper says the increases will be driven by eager buyers who were unable to secure homes in 2021, rising immigration, as well as low interest rates and a continued emphasis on remote work as COVID-19 variants stifle Canada’s reopening plans, causing people to save more money as travel and entertainment options diminish.

“Many of those looking to purchase a home, whether their first, an upgrade, or a recreational property, stand able to take advantage of increased savings and record-low interest rates.”

On the new construction side, inventory for single-family homes is low and the tight inventory contributed to another record in the benchmark price for new single-family homes, of $1,656,043 in October 2021, which was up 36.7 per cent over the last 12 months.

“Several factors are contributing to the shortage of new single-family home supply in the GTA, including a lack of serviced land, supply chain issues and labour shortages,” says Justin Sherwood, from the Building Industry and Land Development Association.

“As municipal and regional governments go through their municipal comprehensive reviews and Official Plan processes, they need to ensure they are planning for appropriate housing supply and choice for future residents.”

ROYAL LEPAGE REPORT: https://www.royallepage.ca/en/realestate/news/royal-lepage-canadian-home-prices-soar-as-persistent-supply-shortage-results-in-continued-sellers-market/

Changing Interest Rates

Major banks have already started to raise their fixed mortgage rates, and the Bank of Canada has suggested it will increase the benchmark interest rate earlier than it had previously forecast.

When people see interest rates changing, and in current times, increasing, it becomes a major motivator tracked throughout the resale and new home buying markets. This surge creates competition, which impacts pricing.

A rush to purchase homes ahead of expected increases in Canadian interest rates next year is boosting the housing market in the final quarter, with prices skyrocketing compared to the year-earlier period.

“Affordability is unlikely to improve next year as prices should march higher, even as interest rates creep upwards as well,” says Rishi Sondhi, economist at TD Economics, who expects house price inflation to slow next year.

For many first-time home buyers, prices have climbed beyond their reach and a supply shortage of housing units has only aggravated their woes. Additionally, the price appreciation gap between condominiums and detached properties is narrowing.

“This trend will continue in 2022, as entry-level buyers are priced out of more expensive property segments, and the revival of the downtown core continues,” says Royal LePage chief operating officer Karen Yolevski.

Sourcing Materials and Supply Chain Disruptions

The supply chain shortage that has affected consumer goods over the last half of the year, has also impacted the construction of new homes.

Builders are challenged to source the materials they need to construct homes, as well as the finishes that go inside like appliances, faucets and more.

First-time buyers and those who purchased a fixer-upper or those who are renovating their current home are struggling to get the same lumber, plumbing parts, and finishes too.

“These supply chain issues will absolutely continue into 2022, but may begin to ease as we head into 2023,” says Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders in the U.S.

A housing market research firm in the U.S., Zonda, surveyed builders and about 91 per cent of the homebuilding companies reported struggling with the supply chain problems.

It is having the same impact north of the border as well. The lack of material availability is making it take longer to build a home, and the delays and higher input costs are contributing to rising home prices.

“The housing shortage and accompanying high prices are not likely to go away as long as the products that construction companies depend on don’t arrive on time,” says George Ratiu, manager of economic research at Realtor.com®.

Tips and Tricks January 17, 2022

The Real Estate Market and COVID-19

A tiny virus you can only see under a microscope has had such a huge, unprecedented impact on every single industry in our economy. For the real estate industry, COVID-19 has changed the way people buy and sell homes, and it has also changed the way people look at their homes.

For many, the pandemic forced people to re-evaluate their homes. Some made changes inside their home, by renovating it to make more room or create a home office. Others moved to a new home in an entirely new place.

Throughout the last two years, the housing market in Canada and more specifically, in the GTA, has remained strong – and perhaps what’s more interesting about the effects of COVID-19 on the real estate market is the study of human behaviour.

Deemed an Essential Service

From the start of the pandemic, construction and real estate were deemed essential services and operational with strict guidelines. This meant that the homes promised to people who had purchased them prior to the pandemic, would still see their homes being built.

It also meant construction and tradespeople remained employed. In the GTA alone, the building and renovation industry provides more than 230,000 jobs across the region and $26.9 billion in investment value, according to the Building Industry and Land Development Association (BILD).

Unpredictable Effects

Since the spring of 2020, sales have not slowed. In the new construction homes sector, it is a story of demand outweighing supply.

“While available inventory is relatively low for both new single-family homes and new condominium apartments, the current supply dynamics are different for each sector,” said Edward Jegg, Analytics Team Leader at Altus Analytics. Jegg was commenting in November 2021 after a report entitled, New Homes Monthly Market Report, was released by Altus Group, BILD and the Toronto Real Estate Board.

“There is very little new single-family product making it to the market, which is driving prices to new records. In contrast, there are significant levels of new condominium apartment product being launched, but strong demand means it is being bought up relatively quickly,” he added.

Rising Price of Real Estate

The benchmark price for new single-family homes reached another record high of $1,573,764 in September, which was up 33.5 per cent over the last 12 months, according to the Altus Group, BILD and the Toronto Real Estate Board report.

The benchmark price for new condominium apartments eased in September compared to the previous month, to $1,036,831, which was up 2 per cent over the last 12 months.

“At a time when new housing supply is being rapidly absorbed by the market, it is more important than ever for municipalities across the GTA to remove every roadblock to bringing more housing online,” said Dave Wilkes, BILD President and CEO said in a release about the report.

REPORT LINK: https://bildgta.ca/Assets/misc/Altus%20Data%20Solutions%20media%20backgrounder%20October%202021_pp.pdf

New Buying and Selling Tactics

A few years ago, if you had asked a home builder if people purchased their new home online, the answer would have been a definitive ‘no.’

Researching homes and communities online? Yes.

Watching videos of properties and taking virtual tours? Yes, video ads and virtual tours were starting to gain popularity in the resale market and on the new construction side as well – but not as much as they are today.

Now, many real estate developers who launched new communities in 2020 and 2021 will tell you that they sold home almost exclusively online.

Instead of traditional print, signage and sales office advertising, digital and email marketing campaigns were deployed to reach people where they were already spending time – online.

Instead of holding grand opening events at sales centres where purchasers would line up for hours to get in, virtual sales events were held and digital site plans that updated availability in real-time created the familiar exhilaration of buying a new home in a new community.

Changing with the Times

At different points over the last two years, sales offices could open and events could take place, but it was almost always by appointment and outdoors whenever possible to keep staff and clients safe and comfortable.

In many ways, the pandemic changed the way the real estate industry does business. From personalizing the home buying experience to offering various communication options, to conducting marketing and sales online – right through to accepting electronic signatures on digital sales documents.

The demands of interacting over a screen during these unprecedented times has made futuristic aspects of the industry speed up and actually come into play today.

Robust Real Estate Market

Overall, the real estate market in Canada, Ontario and the GTA have remained robust throughout this public health crisis and the early economic fallout.

Early on, the government offered financial relief to Canadians impacted by the pandemic, the Bank of Canada reduced its key interest rate to stimulate the economy and residential sales and prices posted record growth in 2020 and into 2021.

In Ontario, the GTA remains one of the most desirable places for people to invest in real estate, live, work and raise a family.

In the 12 months between July 2019 and July 2020, a net 60,000 people, left the City of Toronto and Peel Region for other parts of the province. This represents primarily children under the age of 5 and their parents, who moved in search of family-friendly housing and lower costs, since working remotely replaced a long commute.

A research paper published by Ottawa-based Smart Prosperity Institute and the Ontario Home Builder’s Association states that Ontario’s population is forecast to grow by more than 2.2 million people over the next decade, and it is estimated thatthe nation’s most populous province will need approximately one million new homes by 2030 to meet that demand.

The last few years have proven that the demand for housing remains robust in Toronto, the GTA and across southern Ontario, and that the real estate industry is dedicated to innovating, adapting and building homes for people and families across the province.

Smart Prosperity Insitute/OHBA release link:

https://www.ohba.ca/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/ontario-needs-one-million-new-homes-in-the-next-ten-years.pdf

Tips and Tricks January 10, 2022

Owning a Home Versus Renting

There are many benefits of owning a home over renting and some of the biggest ones include building equity and investing in your future, as well as making your house a home, putting down roots and enjoying a sense of community. We’ve rounded up some of the key benefits to owning your own place, whether it’s a townhome, a suite in a condominium or a single family home, investing in a home is a smart move that will provide ever-lasting value to you and your family.

Here are Six key benefits to owning a home over renting:

1) Building Equity

In Canada, and more specifically in the GTA, buying a home and investing in real estate is one of the safest investments you can make. The real estate market in Toronto and the surrounding area is extremely robust and choosing the right location, price point and home will help you build equity quickly.

By paying down your own mortgage, instead of renting and paying someone else, you are investing in your own security. As you make payments, you build equity and that offers you financial freedom in that you can borrow against it to renovate, pay for a child’s education or even start your own business.

2) Personalizing Your Space

When you rent a space, you are usually allowed to make cosmetic improvements. A fresh coat of paint, window coverings and furniture, but you don’t normally invest in large renovations or structural changes to improve the functionality and liveability of the home unless you own it. When you own your home, you invest to make it better for your day-to-day and you also keep it in good repair should you want to sell it one day.

One of the biggest benefits to buying a new construction home is your ability to personalize and customize your space from floor to ceiling. After you sign a purchase and sale agreement with a home builder, you meet with their design team to select finishes. These can range from flooring to cabinetry, to paint colours, countertops and bathroom accessories. You put the finishing touches on every room in the house before it is completed and you move in.

3) Return on Your Investment

A recent study, conducted by Royal LePage, found that for those who are able to secure a sufficient down payment, it is more financially beneficial to buy a home in Canada than to rent over the long term. The scenarios assume the owner is able to provide a 20 per cent down payment, which can be aspirational for some but also acquired through a strict savings plan. Home ownership has been profitable for Canadians and many people factor the value of their home into their retirement planning.

In 91 per cent of cases studied, the net cost of ownership (the total ownership cost minus the saving that occurs through principal repayment) is lower than the cost of renting. In the report, this factor is referred to as the ‘ownership advantage.’ As of the second quarter of this year, on average the net home ownership cost was $769 per month less than the cost of renting an equivalent dwelling.

Perhaps more interesting, the calculations found that even with a 10 per cent decline in home prices, approximately half of the homeowners studied would still see a positive rate of return on investment, while the other half would break even or see a modest loss as an investment.

LINK TO REPORT: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/buying-vs-renting-study-homeowners-come-out-in-front-financially-in-more-than-90-of-scenarios-analyzed-839673908.html

4) A Community to Call Home

When you move into a home, you are also moving into a new neighbourhood. You get to know your neighbours, the schools, the shopkeepers and coffee baristas, and you start to put down roots as your community becomes your home.

As a renter, there is a sense of community in some places, but often the transient nature of rental properties can make it difficult to feel rooted. When you own a home, especially a newly-constructed home in a brand new community, you immediately feel a sense of ownership and pride. Having a community to call home is one of the key benefits of owning a home.

5) Flexible Finances

With a fixed-rate mortgage, you can predict fairly exactly how much you’ll need to pay each month. It’s important to note that with homeownership, there are other costs to consider such as property tax, insurance and other owner-related costs. However, as you build equity, you earn the flexibility to use that money to improve the property or even purchase another one.

Additionally, depending on the type of home you buy, you also have the opportunity to rent part of your property and generate some extra income. This provides more financial flexibility and can accelerate paying down a mortgage or help you invest in more properties to further build equity.

We know this is a list of five key benefits to owning a home, but we had to add a 6th :

6) Home Maintenance

You may be wondering why that’s a benefit. When you rent, yes, the landlord is in charge of maintaining the home and fixing and repairing anything that breaks. However, it is done on their time and with their money. When it’s your home, you can schedule the contractor, the repair timeline and invest your money.

You can have a leaky roof, broken showerhead or an appliance replaced when you want it done and you can choose the replacement materials that you want. Having a financial expert in your corner will help you have contingency plans in place for home maintenance that may catch you off guard. Also, if you purchase a new construction home with a warranty, you have one, two or seven years of coverage for repairs that will make sure your home is as good as new.

Conclusion

There are pros and cons to both homeownership and renting, however, the benefits to owning your own home are greater in the long-term. From building equity and financial freedom, to customizing your home from floor to ceiling, the ability to create your dream home in a neighbourhood where you can put down roots is an investment in your future and your family.

Tips and Tricks December 28, 2021

Holiday Staycation in the GTA

In every corner of the GTA, there are magical and festive events to explore. From enchanted forest walks to train rides with Santa, there is something for everyone. Take the family to visit a new town in the GTA, enjoy a hot lunch and stroll the main street shops. We have compiled a short list of some interesting sites to see if you’re planning a holiday staycation here in the GTA through December and over the winter break.

Magical Christmas Forest at the Kortright Centre

Take the entire family to a Magical Christmas Forest at the Kortright Centre in Vaughan until December 23. The Magical Christmas Forest at the Kortright Centre is a self-guided experience in a winter wonderland filled with lights, Santa in his cabin, festive music, bonfires, children’s activities and hot chocolate for the whole family! There are select dates and times and advance tickets are required. The cost is $29 for adults, $24 for children over 1 year old. It is an outdoor event so dress for the weather. Food is also available for purchase, proof of vaccination required for dine-in option, take out also available.

More information is here: https://trca.ca/events-calendar/#event=magical-christmas-forest-2021;instance=20211209164500

Polar Winter Festival

Experience the joy of the holiday season at Toronto’s biggest walkthrough winter festival. The Polar Winter Festival isn’t your average holiday market. From selfies with the real live Santa Claus to larger-than-life holiday decor, this is a Christmas festival designed to transport guests to an enchanting winter wonderland. On until December 26, rain, snow or shine, you can buy tickets for specific start times, and head to Bandshell Park at Exhibition Place in Toronto for the full experience. Guests can experience the entire park at their own pace with no set exit time.

More information is here: https://www.polarwinterfestival.com/experience 

Outdoor Christmas Market on the Farm

Until December 22 at the Niemi Family Farm in Mount Albert, you will find lovely handmade crafts, traditional Finnish baking, premium Ontario-grown Christmas Trees and more! Meet the Santa himself at the middle of the Christmasland. You can purchase stocking stuffers, crafts, decor, candles, bakery goods and so much more. Take home a freshly-cut local Christmas trees, a handmade wreath, outdoor arrangements, garland and branch bundles. Enjoy hot chocolate, coffees, and a magical and safe outdoor space. Tickets are $14.99 for everyone two years old and up.

More information is here: https://www.facebook.com/niemifamilyfarm

Horse-Drawn Carriage Ride in Port Perry

Enjoy a cozy horse-drawn carriage ride around historic Downtown Port Perry this holiday season. While in Port Perry take in lunch at one of our many cafes or farm-to-table restaurants, or visit the shops and check off everyone on your list. Every weekend in December until December 24 at 226 Queen Street in Port Perry.

Ride the Festive Rails

Enjoy a visit from Santa as you and your loved ones take a ride on the Christmas Trains that take you along the snow-laden countrysides of Ontario. In Port Stanley, enjoy a ride through Elgin County in early winter from the warmth of a heated car. Santa has treats for the kids! Watch your children’s anticipation grow as we near our destination to meet Santa. From the Port Stanley Terminal Rail, Bridge Street and on until December 19, you can book tickets online with a cost of $9-14.

More information is here: https://www.todocanada.ca/city/london/event/santa-treats-train-rides/

The Nutcracker – The National Ballet of Canada

James Kudelka’s ravishing and gloriously re-imagined version of the evergreen Christmas spectacular was created for The National Ballet of Canada in 1995 and it remains an unparalleled holiday entertainment for both children and adults. Replete with Kudelka’s signature dynamic and exuberant choreography and gliding with wonderful ease from whimsical and often boisterous comedy to breathtaking spectacle and touching emotion, the ballet is a feast for both the senses and the imagination. With its non-stop dancing and magnificent sets and costumes designed by Santo Loquasto, with lighting by Jennifer Tipton, The Nutcracker is an unforgettable tribute to the imagination.

The Nutcracker will be presented with some adaptations to ensure the safety of all involved. All the children’s roles will be performed by students of Canada’s National Ballet School, with no external performers. There will be no children under the age of 12 in the production and all performers and crew will be fully vaccinated. Runs from December 10-31 at The Four Seasons Centre for the Performing Arts at 145 Queen Street West in Toronto. Cost is $30-190.

More information is here:  https://national.ballet.ca/Productions/The-Nutcracker

Light Up The Dark at Aga Khan Museum

The Aga Khan Museum’s breathtaking exterior transforms into a magical map-scape of colour and light on four evenings in late December. The Museum’s Light Up the Dark celebration returns with spectacular new light projections created by OCAD University students. Enjoy coffee or chai as you feast your eyes and ears on the entertainment. Or sample irresistible flavours from South Asia, the Middle East, and North Africa at Diwan, the Museum’s renowned restaurant.

The Museum’s galleries will be open until 9 pm for the festivities. Seize this opportunity to explore Hidden Stories: Books Along the Silk Road, the new Sound and Music rotation in the Museum Collection Gallery, gaze in awe at Ghazaleh Avarvazamani’s stained-glass installation, and spell out your idea of Canadian identity with Rust Garden.

Light Up the Dark runs December 27 to 30 from 6 pm to 9 pm. The outdoor projections and admission to the Museum’s Collection Gallery are free. Tickets to the galleries are $10 per person for regular admission all day long throughout Light Up the Dark. Walk-in tickets to the galleries are free after 4 pm on Wednesday, December 29 (subject to availability).

More information is here: https://www.agakhanmuseum.org/programs/light-up-the-dark-2021

Visit the Animals

There are quite a few options for those who want to visit zoos or a petting farm during the winter break. Toronto Zoo, Reptilia with locations in Vaughan and Whitby, Jungle Cat World Wildlife Park in Orono are all great visits any time of the year.

Toronto’s High Park Zoo and Riverdale Farm are free to visit and open daily including Christmas Day. The 150-year-old barn at Bronte Creek Provincial Park has a petting zoo and is open during holidays. During the holidays, you can explore decorated holiday trees at High Park Zoo.

Toronto Zoo’s Terra Lumina is open during the holidays where you can enjoy an immersive experience along a 1.5 km walking path that travels into the future and back.

Spending Time with Family and Friends

There are so many things to see and do around the GTA, and all will be enjoyed with the company of family and friends. Spending time together – wandering well-lit forests or skating along trails or while taking in a special performance – is the best way to spend the holidays.

Tips and Tricks December 17, 2021

5 Holiday Décor Ideas

Decorating your home for the holidays is fun for the whole family. It is something you can do together, from planning which room will get the full treatment to hanging twinkle lights, dressing up your windows and adding sparkle as you go.

The holiday season is here and there’s never been a better time to get into the spirit and decorate your home, both inside and out. We have curated 5 Holiday Décor Ideas for you to use as inspiration to brighten up your home and bring some joy to you throughout the season.

SILVER, GOLD OR BOTH!

Add a dash of silver or gold – or both – to your décor to instantly elevate the mood in your home. Brass and copper also work well as metallic accents that create an elegant aesthetic. They draw the eye and bounce light around the room, which can make your space feel bigger.

You can go for a monochromatic look and select different shapes and styles of ornaments for your tree. Display candleholders as centerpieces and introduce metals into your table settings with gold or silver chargers. Add oversized metallic bows to your window treatments for a magnificent touch. Metallics really shine when placed with bold and rich colours such as emerald green, deep reds and winter whites. Here’s the best part: you don’t have to choose just one metallic. Go ahead and mix and match and have fun with it – that’s what it’s all about!

WINTER WONDERLAND

Have fun with a winter theme by bringing the outdoors in. Opt for a white, gold, and silver palette. This is an easy and cohesive way to introduce the natural materials that are also everywhere this year. Use natural oak, a birch tree arrangement, white or off-white porcelain, and a small amount of gold and brass, plus a lot of greenery, to make a beautiful winter wonderland that is warm and cozy. Pull some soft material and dabble decorative snow across your fireplace mantle. Top it with a miniature village and toss a faux fur area rug on the floor below. Cut out snowflakes from textured paper and hang them on a tree or in your windows. The best way to bring the outside in, without the chilly temperatures, is to celebrate the season with winter wonderland décor.

LIGHT IT UP

Lighting is the foundation for all of your holiday décor – both inside and out. The secret to success when decorating a tree is to use two layers of lights. One layer is deep in the branches and lights up the inside and another is strung closer to the middle of the branches. This illuminates its fullness and makes the tree shine much brighter.

Outside, hanging twinkle lights along a front porch, twist them around railing pickets and line your balconies. This can make your home instantly feel festive. You can even use indoor string lights to frame your windows without having to get out the ladder! Always make sure you have the right lights: use string lights labelled for outdoor if you’re trimming an outdoor evergreen or hanging them from your roof. Inside your home, there are many ways lighting can be used to create ambiance in whichever room you choose. Whether it’s with candles, LED lights, lamps or fixtures, your home will feel much more festive with the flip of a switch.

BRING IN MORE GREENERY

Gardening and indoor plants had their moment in 2021 and the holiday season is a great time to add some extra greenery into your décor plans. In addition to winter weather flowers in vases, consider a poinsettia tree as a centrepiece, adding sprigs of holly to end tables or bookshelves and hanging wreaths on any door really, not just the front one.

Take some time to spruce up your front walkway or yard with some winter landscaping and if you’re adding lights to trees and hedges, make sure they are outdoor lights that are ready for the weather. Inside or out, birch tree arrangements and evergreen wreaths are simple projects that the whole family can help create and instead of fresh cut flowers, consider a potted plant that will continue to brighten up your home into the new year.

KEEP IT SIMPLE AND DIY

The holidays are a great time to exercise your crafty side and if you want to decorate with simple, DIY touches, this is the year to try it! Go traditional by stringing popcorn garland or modernize it by using ribbon, painted ornaments or links of colourful paper rings. Collect pinecones and sprigs of evergreen while out for a walk and use them for a festive wreath.

Raid your recycling bin and turn those cardboard boxes into a kid-sized gingerbread house that’s decked with colourful crafts. Arrange holiday cards from loved ones in the shape of a tree on a bare wall, or hang them from a string across the front of a fireplace mantle. Looking for an original centrepiece? Pick up an easy-to-find gingerbread house kit and make it your own by adding treats from your own pantry. Keeping your holiday décor simple with some DIY touches is a great way to cut back on clutter and get creative.

YOUR DÉCOR STYLE

Choosing a different décor style around the holidays can be a fun and easy way to try out new ideas and after all, the biggest holiday décor trend this season is pwersonalization. Making your home look and feel festive is all in how you define it. Go big and bold or stay simple with a side of DIY. Whether it’s introducing some metallics to amp up your home décor, bringing a winter scene inside, getting crafty, or adding greenery and lighting to brighten your day, the holiday season is the best time to get inspired and add some style to your home.