How to Throw a Great Housewarming Party

Buying a home is one of life’s most exciting moments. Whether this is your first purchase or you’re simply moving into a new place, signing those papers and being handed your keys is a feeling like no other. Moments like these are cause for celebration!

Like a honeymoon after a wedding, new homeownership calls for a housewarming party. A time where you can invite your friends over, have a great time, and create lasting memories as you “break in” the house for the first time. To help you plan the perfect party, we’ve rounded up a few ideas and key things you’ll need to keep the good time rolling.

Invitations

A housewarming party isn’t one of those times where you send out a big group text. This occasion calls for sending legitimate invitations, whether you want to customize them by hand or create them online. Dedicated invitations are easier for your guests to remember, and they’ll also help you keep better track of your RSVPs. Be sure to send your invites out at least two to three weeks in advance, and remember the following information:

  • Specific date and time
  • Address
  • Specific instructions (if you want your guests to bring anything, park somewhere specific, etc.)
  • Reminder to RSVP

House prep

It should go without saying that a housewarming party means your house should be presentable! With that said, house prep doesn’t simply mean cleaning the floors and emptying the trash (although you should do that too!). This is a chance to get creative and set up some additional decoration and props. As you spiff up the house, consider the following tasks, tips, and ideas:

  • Prep the bathroom (stock up on supplies and continually check things throughout the night)
  • Create plenty of seating (people are always looking for places to sit, so give them options)
  • Set out candles (great for both ambience and air freshening)
  • Put away fragile items (stop accidents before they have a chance to happen!)
  • Set up a guest book (fun for your guests and great for creating memories to look back on)

Food & Drinks

People love (and need) to eat. Unless you have options laid out on the table, your guests are going to get hungry, which will inevitably lead them to A) ask you for food, B) order food, or C) leave to get food. Now, you don’t have to have a full course meal setup, but a selection of appetizers and finger foods are usually perfect for keeping people happy and full. You can’t go wrong with a basic supply of chips and dips, but if you don’t mind cooking, check out these quick and easy recipes.

Speaking of edible happiness, to go along with your appetizers, you’ll want a selection of drinks! Housewarming parties are the perfect occasion to break out the margarita maker and whip up batch after batch of your favorite ‘rita recipe. Or, if you’d rather keep things a little more casual, pick up a few bottles of wine and make sure everyone has a tasteful glass. Whichever you decide, always make sure you have some non-alcoholic options available, too (water and/or iced tea usually go over well).

Entertainment

The house is clean, food and drinks are out on the table with color-coordinated plates and cups, and people are ready to walk in the front door. Once you get them inside, what’s the plan? In addition to house tours and the usual hangout, the best housewarming parties always have some sort of entertainment.

You’ll definitely want music playing and a solid party playlist, but keep a few good group games up your sleeve for when everyone’s ready to take the fun to the next level. Try to make sure the games aren’t too long or technical (for example, Monopoly would be a bad idea). The key is to keep them quick, easy, and funny. Here are a couple ideas:

  • Scavenger hunt (this is especially good because the house is new to everyone!)
  • Memory games (for example, put your guests in a room, give them 30-60 seconds to look around, then come out of the room and ask them trivia questions to see who has the best memory)

Conclusion

Throwing a party is the perfect way to get your friends and family together to celebrate a great achievement – homeownership. After all, a home is the biggest and most important investment you’ll make in life, so if you’re going to have any type of party, this is the one to have. By following the steps above, your celebration is guaranteed to be a hit.

 

**Cory Yeakel is a full-time writer and home improvement lover. When he’s not writing or working on his latest DIY project, you can find him in the kitchen working on new recipes for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

 

Our Top Three Design Center Picks

Thinking about purchasing a new home in the near future?  Starting to remodel your existing home?  There are obviously a lot of questions, ideas, and thoughts that go through your mind when deciding to update or purchase a home.  One of those questions might be “what are the top trends for interior design for my home?”

With this question in mind we spoke with Jenny Entler, the M/I Homes of Columbus Design Center Manager, to learn what are the top three design center products our customers are choosing when designing their perfect space.  Check out her answers below.

 

Laminate Flooring

Laminate flooring has come a long way since it was first introduced in the ‘80’s.  Back then, it was notorious for looking “fake” and being thin and hollow-sounding.  Today’s Laminates are made of stronger, better materials; covered by a 3D photographic layer that reproduces the look of the wood; and topped with a transparent protective layer that protects the floor from scratches and liquids.

Laminate flooring, made of synthetic fiberboard and designed to simulate hardwood, is currently wildly popular—and here’s why:

  • Less expensive than hardwood. Current trends in flooring call for 5”-7” wide planks, hand-scraped details and a weathered “beachy” appearance.  You’ll pay about a third of the price of real wood to get that same look in a high quality Laminate.
  • Easy to install. Laminate “floats” above the sub-floor, so it can be installed over nearly any surface, including concrete, which makes it perfect for basements and lower levels.  It comes in tongue and groove planks, which are “clicked” into one another vs. hardwood which must be nailed down.
  • Hardwood may look beautiful, but it’s not always a practical choice, especially for an active family.  Hardwood will scratch, fade and show wear over time. Since Laminate is not real wood, it is very hard to scratch, and most brands are treated with a UV protectant to help resist fading and wear.

 

White Kitchen Cabinets

White has always been a popular choice of color for a kitchen—but lately the demand for white cabinets has grown.  Why?

  • Everything Farmhouse. This trend in design and décor has skyrocketed over the last few years.  White cabinets are the cornerstone of this trend, followed by subway tile and apron sinks in the kitchen.  Think of your favorite DIY shows – Fixer Upper, Property Brothers, Love it or List it – they all have something in common.  They are constantly putting in beautiful white cabinets with this farmhouse look.
  • White cabinets provide the perfect neutral foundation for any decorating style, which makes them perfect for redecorating projects too.  In addition, white is timeless and classic and your kitchen will never look “dated” like it might with wood stained cabinets.
  • Clean and Crisp. The kitchen is the room where you gather with friends and family, and you want that room to be the nicest place in your home. White cabinets have a clean, fresh look that is very appealing and comforting. They can help a small spacer look larger or a dark space look brighter.

 

Subway Tiles

Subway tile has been around for over a hundred years.  The term literally originated from the subways of New York, where small white oblong tile was chosen for the walls of the tunnels simply because it looked clean, was easy to clean and made the underground tunnels seem brighter. Thus the term for this style of tile became “subway.”

The classic Subway Tile—3” x 6” glossy white—is still the most common choice; however the term “Subway Tile” is now used to refer to tiles of many different sizes, colors and materials.  Creative installation patterns have also modernized this simple and inexpensive tile.

  • The shape is still oblong, but sizes can range from 2” x 4” to 6” x 18” and larger and still be termed “Subway” Tile.
  • Use White, Ivory or Light Gray for a clean, neutral backdrop in your shower and allow your rugs, towels and bath accents to take center stage. Or choose a bold color for a backsplash to create a focal point in an all-white kitchen.
  • Most Subway Tile is either ceramic or porcelain with a glossy finish; however current trends include glass, marble, metal and travertine. A matte finish gives a modern look, and also helps hide fingerprints.
  • The traditional installation style is called “running bond” or “brick joint” meaning a horizontal, ½ offset pattern. Subway tile can also be installed vertically in the traditional style; stacked on a “grid” either horizontally or vertically; or in a herringbone or chevron pattern.

The simplicity and versatility of Subway Tile is the key to their popularity. With so many options to choose from, you can always find something to suit your personal style.

These top three interior design selections can all be found when you schedule your tour of our Design Centers throughout the nation.  We too love these trends and you will often find them throughout our model homes.

*Jenny Entler is the Design Center Manager for our Central Ohio Division.  She has been with M/I Homes for nine years and has helped over 4,000 customers design their new homes.  When she’s not working, she spends her time working in her yard, watching her son play baseball and planning her family’s next beach vacation.

Irresistible Decoration Tips for Summer

Picture1Summer is officially here. It symbolizes a new season, a slower pace to enjoy with friends and family, and nature in her full-bloomed glory. All around us the trees are in bloom with lavish shades of green, flowers in vibrant shades of the rainbow, and gardens offer their bounty from the rich, earthy soil. Why should Mother Nature have all the fun? Hot decorating trends for this year incorporate many natural elements, and Summer is the perfect time to bring that earthy influence into your home to give it a fresh new look. With paint colors such as Hazelnut, Dogwood, and Greenery entering the style scene, it’s bound to be as breathtaking as a sunset and cozy as a warm breeze.

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Bohemian style is still big. Keep it light, airy, and comfy with a mix of organic elements like wood, greenery, and plants. Blend it with different textures, fabrics, and pops of color to keep anything from being too predictably matched, and throw in some leather or faux fur to keep them intrigued with your unique, eclectic style.

Metallics made a design comeback last year, and while they are still in fashion, copper is the latest and greatest in the metal trend. Use it for accents wherever you want to add an eye-catching statement piece. Think lamps, light fixtures, vases, or unique trinkets for an interesting accent.

Clear acrylic is on point this decorating season, as well. This clear, durable material is popping up in trays, decorative table tops, floating frames, and even chairs. It’s a great way to add detail without adding too much color or chaos to your room.

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While subway tile and shiplap are still very in vogue, some interesting new alternatives are emerging this summer. Marble has become fashionable again for everything from tabletops to backdrops to accent walls. The sleek look comes with a hefty price tag to do an entire wall, though, so a reasonable compromise between cost and style is a high end marble wallpaper. You get the chic look for a fraction of the price.

Cork walls and wood tiles are also giving more traditional materials a run for their money. Durable, reasonably priced, and with a rustic-but-oh-so-chic appearance, both provide interesting natural elements that offer a comfy, stylish feel that invites you to come in and relax.

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Climbing plants and vines are great complements to these more natural looks. Actually, greenery of any kind has made a comeback this summer, which shouldn’t be surprising considering “Greenery” is one of the hottest paint shades of the season. Going back to the acrylic trend, small succulent plants in hanging acrylic holders make great accent pieces, as do creative fresh flower arrangements in interesting vases or bowls.

You can use a combination of several of the elements above in small quantities in another summerdesign trend known as hygge (pronounced /hoogah/). This is a Danish term that translates into  “living simple.” Think clean lines with a minimalist approach. You can still have pops of color or provocative accents, but keep a light hand with them for a cozy but clean feel.

Whether you choose to incorporate one or two of these new trends or all of them, Summer is the perfect time to update the inside of your home.  Making a few simple changes can create a whole new look, leaving your home feeling fresh, fashionable, and ready for the new season.

Make Your Patio Into a Living Space

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Spring is in the air, and we’re counting down the days until we can dust off the outdoor patio furniture and start entertaining outside. The beauty of outdoor spaces is not only their ability to bring the gathering out into some fresh air but also the increased amount of living space at your disposal. After all, what’s more fun than having a bonus space for some fun in the sun?

Turn your patio into the outdoor living area you’ve always wanted by creating an inviting scene with patio chairs, furniture, lighting and accessories. By sprucing up your furniture and maximizing livable square footage, you’ll be on your way to the outdoor living space of your dreams.

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 Patio furniture falling apart? Still using your plastic chairs from college? It might be time to invest in some high-quality outdoor furniture. Not only will this bring a fresh breath of air to your space, but it will also be a great jumping-off point for choosing the style and accents you incorporate into your outdoor living area.

Think about how you use your outdoor space, and use it to determine which pieces are necessary for your patio. Is your house a hub for gatherings? Consider an expandable outdoor dining table for when the party grows. Find yourself avoiding your unbearably uncomfortable chairs? Time to snag those beautiful lounge chairs with plush cushions you’ve been eying for ages. Aim to buy pieces you absolutely love, so that you use your patio often and with enjoyment.

 

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If you love to cook, you can turn your outdoor space into an entertainer’s oasis with just a few new introductions. A state-of-the-art grill is an easy way to live the al fresco life, and with compact, portable units becoming more popular than ever, you can bring the party out even in the smallest of urban settings.

Find yourself running inside a lot to serve food and beverages during gatherings? Go for a cute buffet near a dining set just like you would inside. A bar cart is also a perfect addition for spring gatherings in the garden or late-night soirees under the lights.

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One of our favorite things about outdoor living is how much fun you can have with accessories. There are no rules, so have fun with colors and patterns! Bold pillows made of durable outdoor fabric add just the right touch to a lounge area, while an indoor/outdoor rug is the cherry-on-top that will tie together any sitting or dining area. Mirrors or wall art are an unexpected focal point perfect for an exterior wall or a small, intimate garden fence. Decorative planters with a sleek neutral finish or a polished pattern add pop to a yard or patio corner in need of some love.

 

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Entertaining after sunset isn’t possible without sufficient lighting, so gather lanterns, outdoor candles or hire a professional landscape lighting expert to get your patio space ready for the night. A cluster of candles creates an intimate tablescape, while a fun chandelier or string of lights hung from an overhang or gazebo adds a splash of unexpected glamour and ambiance.

What ways are you adding life to your outdoor space this spring?

 

**Kerrie Kelly of Kerrie Kelly Design Lab is an interior designer who writes for The Home Depot. She provides advice on creating beautiful patio spaces. Visit The Home Depot to see a selection of outdoor furniture like those that Kerrie talks about in this article.

 

Ingenious Designer Decorating Secrets that Won’t Break the Bank

If we would try to define interior design, we would say that is the profession that deals with coordination and design of decorative elements in interior space. In reality, interior design is much more than that. It is the art of putting together millions of puzzle pieces to make everything look just perfect. People who are familiar with this profession only via magazines and home improvement TV shows tend to think that decorating some space requires a lot of money, when in fact, the creativity is what’s more important. Here are a few decorating secrets that will convince you in the veracity of this claim.

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Three Is the Magic Number

Here is a simple trick you don’t have to spend a dime on. All you need to do is to rearrange furniture or accessory items so in groups of three items in different heights. Take, for example, one pouf and two side tables or chairs. Group them together and you will create enough dynamic to draw the eye and provide a sense of movement.

Play with the Light

Understanding the principles of layering lighting can help you design a perfect room. The three main types of light you should introduce are ambient, accent and task. Ambient (usually wall-mount or chandelier) is the canvas on which you will draw the entire picture. Task serves a practical purpose (desk lamps, countertop lamps, etc.). Accent can enhance an architectural feature, artwork or some similar parts of the room.

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Extra tip: If you want to make the room seem bigger, introduce mirrors opposite to light sources.

Look Up!

White is the most conventional choice for ceiling paint, but who says that you have to do everything like everyone else? The ceiling can be just as visually appealing as any other part of the room if you dare to experiment with other shades. Make sure you don’t go overboard and stick to gentler shades like lavender, gray-blue, and buttery yellow. Another interesting way to draw the eye up is by adding ceiling molding.

Spruce Up Your Kitchen

Kitchen remodeling is one of the top home improvement projects you can tackle, but if you are not careful, it can be one of the most expensive too. Focus on minor tasks, such as refacing the cabinets, changing the cabinet hardware, painting the walls and replacing the fixtures.

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Create a Focal Wall

Creating an accent wall is simple, and what’s more important, affordable. Choose one empty wall where you can create an uninterrupted theme. You can accentuate it by painting it a different shade, displaying artwork, showing off family photos, arranging travel souvenirs, wallpapering, etc. If you are going with souvenirs or framed photos/paintings, make sure to have a unifying element (e.g. same size, frame colors, theme).

Follow the Right Trends

There are dozens of interior trends. Some come and go like a comet, other stick around for a couple of years and become a classic. Some require huge investments, while others can be done on a shoestring budget. Be careful, though, implementing a certain style you’re not familiar with (e.g. Scandinavian, Japandi, etc.) asking for pro help can actually save you more money, in the long run.

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Salvage and Reclaim

We are witnessing a movement that includes finding old items (usually on flea markets and antique shops) and breathing in new life into them, while preserving their classic finishes. This is great news for your wallet, since you’ll spend the minimal amount of money and get a trendy and classy addition to your décor. These pieces will create that unique back-to-home feel and introduce more warmth into every space.

Give Your Artwork a Twist

Displaying art in a home has always been a way to elevate a room and make it more refined. However, not all of us can afford expensive gallery-worthy pieces that make great conversation starters, but don’t give up on art just yet. You can frame inexpensive prints of classic portraits (e.g. Girl with a Pearl Earring, Mona Lisa) and paint the portion just below the eyes with dark paint to produce an avant-garde feel.

You see, money isn’t the most important ingredient of a successful interior design project. On the contrary, when seasoned with creativity, every decorating endeavor is bound to succeed.

**Lana Hawkins is an architecture student from Sydney. She enjoys writing about interior decoration and renovation, which she does regularly for Smooth Decorator. Lana is interested in sustainability and green building, as well as landscaping.

 

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