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.

Eight Ways to Troubleshoot Your Garage Door Opener

Machines don’t always cooperate. Having a garage door stick in its place can prevent you from driving out of your garage or present huge security problems. If you’re home alone when this happens, you may need to fix it quickly and by yourself. If you’re not the type of person that normally tinkers with hardware, check out our list of easy checks that may fix your garage door!

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  1. Power and Batteries

Before tinkering with the tools in the garage, check your power source first.

Make sure the operator is plugged in properly and that the socket has electricity. You may want to try unplugging the operator and plugging it back again.

Also check the batteries of your remote control and wireless keypad. A simple change of batteries may be the only thing you need.

  1. Reset Your Remote Control

Another reason for the malfunction may simply be that the remote control is not working. Sometimes when you change batteries or reprogram the operator, you may need to reset the remote control again.

Resetting the remote control is not as difficult as it may sound; read your user manual and follow its short step by step guide.

  1. Garage Door Sensors

If the remote control is not the problem, check the garage’s sensors located at the bottom of the door.

Make sure the sensors on both sides are level with each other. Tighten the screw of the sensors or use a cable tie to permanently fix them on the door frame. Easily missable items like garbage bags, a mop, or your leg may interrupt the laser signal and cause a malfunction. So, before doing anything else, check the area near your garage door. Make sure to clean the lens of the sensors as well, since dust and snow may cause problems.

  1. Operator

The operator is the machine that moves the door of the garage. The machine may stop working due to motherboard malfunctions, busted wires, defective buttons, or overheating.

If the operator is frequently used and you suspect overheating, allow it to cool down for 30 minutes before using it again.

Tip: if the door only opens 6-8 inches, it’s probably an RPM sensor problem. If the operator lights blink 6 times, it may indicate circuit failure. Fixing these problems may be a little complicated but you’ll certainly impress your significant other or the mechanic if you can pinpoint which part of the operator is faulty.

  1. Repair Your Devices

Programming may be an intimidating word for some people but, setting up the operator and synchronizing it with your remote, wall button, keypad, and even your car’s HomeLink system is usually easier than you would expect. Read your owner’s manual for a step by step guide, watch video tutorials, or search the internet for easy-to-read troubleshooting instructions.

  1. Locked Wall Button

Another often overlooked part in the whole system is the wall button. Sometimes you check every little thing but nothing seems to work until you realize that the wall button is actually set to lock feature. If you don’t see an easy way to unlock the door right there on the keypad, consult your owner’s manual!

  1. Door Track and Inner Trolley

Sometimes garage doors get stuck because the door track or inner trolley is loose, bent, or broken. You may be able to tighten the railings and other parts by yourself. Just make sure to read the manual and turn the whole system off before touching anything. If you need a new track or trolley, call for a professional to install it properly.

  1. Grease the Door

If your garage door is stuck because it needs lubrication, then get your hands dirty! Grease the parts of the garage door that move, like hinges and bearings. Choose a dry lubricant so it will not attract dirt that may cause problems in the future.

Now that you know some of these tips and tricks, you can solve some of the most common garage door problems out there!

**Written by Kristy Jones of A Click Away Remotes – Garage Door Opener Store in California, USA.

Convert Your Garage Into a Bedroom – 12 Creative Ways

In the hope of making every space in your home valuable, garage conversions have become pretty common. Many homeowners convert unused garages to usable spaces like offices or bedrooms.

If you want more living spaces in your home, you might want to toy around with the idea of converting your garage into a bedroom. This bedroom can be a good spare room for guests or a new room for a new member of the family.

Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Install large windows. The usual mistake made by homeowners converting their garages is keeping the garage look in their new bedroom. To remedy this, install big windows. This gives a roomy and livable kind of feel to your newly converted garage.

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  1. Transform it to a tropical paradise. Your original garage might look dry and sad, but your new bedroom does not have to suffer that same fate! Make your new space sunnier by adding tropical details. Go for pillows with palm trees and furniture that mimics tropical resorts. Wooden and rattan chairs make your space look classy and vacation-esque.

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  1. Turn it into a comfortable guest room. An extra bedroom in your house can be a comfortable guest room if you frequently have family or friends over at home. You can even put two beds to accommodate more people.

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  1. Insulation. This is an absolute necessary if you are converting a garage to a living space. Normally, garages don’t have adequate insulation. Installing insulation during conversion is an absolute necessity to keep guests or your family comfortable during the cold winters or hot summers.

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  1. Add a homey vintage feel. If you are already starting to decorate your new space, you might want to stay away from the old feel of your garage. Create a homey feel to your new living space by utilizing vintage pieces.

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  1. Go for colors. Ditch the dreary colors of your old garage by adding pops of colors all throughout your space. The easiest way to incorporate color in the bedroom is choosing bright sheets and pillowcases. If you are feeling adventurous and want to be bold, a brightly colored wall can add flair as well!

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  1. Change up the door opening. Nothing shouts “I’m an old garage” more than having the usual garage door still in place. When converting your garage, make it a point to replace the doors. You can experiment and go for interesting ones. Large sliding doors can make your bedroom look classy and more spacious. Depending on the look of your home, you can change up your door to match its architecture and design.

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  1. Keep it simple. After doing all the necessary steps in converting your home, the key to finishing it off is keeping things simple. You don’t need to go overboard with your bedroom (save your money for structural changes like larger windows, insulation, and changing your door). Just purchase the basic needs in a bedroom. Make sure you have a bed, mattress, dresser, and a bedside table. Once you get the basic needs covered, you can build on from there.

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  1. Go modular. If you had a small garage and you want to make every inch matter, you can go modular. Incorporate storage spaces under the bed and create multiple uses for some furniture. This ensures that you have everything that you need in one small space.

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  1. Turn it into a master bedroom. Large garages can be great for a master bedroom, especially if you need more space than what your home is already providing you. Transform it into a comfortable haven complete with a king-size bed and a nice dresser.

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  1. Incorporate modern pieces. One way to make your room look like it wasn’t even a garage is to add modern furniture. Industrial and contemporary decorations can make the room feel more current instead of drab.

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  1. Add rooftop elements. If you have money to spend, some rooftop design elements can make a huge difference in your garage conversion. You can add a roof deck or a simple dormer window to really mimic a livable space. This can be a fun addition to your home that your family will enjoy.

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** Written by Kristy Jones,the blog author of A Click Away Remotes – Garage Door Opener and Remotes Blog.

Wood Floors: Light vs. Dark

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Choosing the color and finish of the wood—whether on the floors or furniture—is one of the most important considerations in designing a new space. More so than the many species of wood available, the color of wood alone can make a huge impact. Read on to see some of the pros and cons of both light and dark wood to help you decide between these two stylish options.

Light Wood.

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A breath of fresh air in terms of flooring options, light wood offers airiness and ease with its upbeat and modern look. Some of the reasons to use light wood include:

  • It’s stylish. A simple but important point. Light wood is a chic alternative to other flooring, as it offers a modern, uptown loft feel to a space. It pairs well with several modern fixtures and furnishings.
  • Master of disguise. Contrary to popular belief, light wood flooring is very forgiving. For those with pets or small children, light flooring masks smalls scratches and scuffs. Forgot to sweep last week? That’s alright—light wood takes one for the team by hiding dust bunnies and debris in its light and bright layout.
  • The contemporary option. As mentioned above, light flooring is incredibly attractive in contemporary or modern spaces. It pairs beautifully with most modern design details and gives any room an instantly refreshed look.
  • It adds contrast as needed. One of light wood flooring’s most redeeming qualities is its ability to contrast well with nearly all finishes, especially darker ones. If you’re going for a moody tone, light flooring adds just the right amount of balance to make your space feel inviting but totally masculine.
  • Let the light in. Do you have floor-to-ceiling windows? Lots of natural light? Then light wood flooring might be your best bet. Perfectly accented by floods of light, blonde woods help create added visual interest when paired with dramatic windows.

While there are many reasons to love light wood, buyers should still be cautious of a few points:

  • Hard to choose. A good light wood can be difficult to find if you don’t know what you’re looking for. Our advice? Select a style that doesn’t have any sort of red, orange or yellow undertone for the most refreshed look.
  • Living with it. While this may seem like an obvious point, it’s especially pertinent when it comes to a light wood floor. Unlike dark wood flooring, you will see every grain and rivet clearly, so it’s important that you really love your selection.

Dark Wood.

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A favorite among designers and homeowners everywhere, dark wood is the go-to selection for nearly every home of every style. Most appreciated in a transitional or traditional space, dark wood flooring is sophisticated and timeless. Some of our favorite aspects of dark wood flooring include:

  • Lots of variety. When you think of a dark wood floor, you don’t necessarily think of all of the different options you have. Between all of the types of wood, the grain of the wood, and the coloration, you have plenty of variety to select the perfect shade for your home.
  • It adds dimension. One of our favorite features of dark wood is its ability to create dimension wherever it’s installed. Pair it with a dark wood ceiling or one with beautiful exposed beams and you’ve got yourself a winning design.
  • Easy to match. Have we mentioned how easy it is to work with dark wood flooring? If you aren’t convinced, you should know that dark wood is very easy to match to your existing furniture. Nearly any finish—natural wood, metal, acrylic, glass—looks great atop a dark wood floor.

As you can tell, we’re big fans of dark wood. Some things to keep in mind:

  • You’ll see the mess. Unlike light wood, dark wood is not so forgiving. If sweeping escapes you, you and your guests will be able to notice quickly. This is also true for tiny hand prints or puppy paw prints.
  • Casts a shadow. If light is your problem, don’t go dark. Dark wood tends to make the area around it a bit moodier, and that can be a problem if you love your emerald green walls. If you’re looking to add a touch of brightness, look for medium or light wood tones instead.

Have you installed wood flooring recently? Which team are you on: light wood or dark wood?

**Hardwood flooring is a favorite design element for Kerrie Kelly, who heads up Kerrie Kelly Design Lab in Sacramento, Ca. Kerrie writes on her interior design ideas for The Home Depot. To research both the dark and light wood flooring discussed by Kerrie, you can visit Home Depot’s website.

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