Should You Rent Out Your Basement?

Rent out your basement and you could offset at least half of your monthly mortgage. The extra money could put your dream home within reach. It could also help to keep you in your home if you signed an adjustable rate mortgage and rising interest rates have increased your monthly mortgage. But, are you ready to be a landlord?

Factors to consider before you rent out your basement
Are you ready to share your home with strangers? This may be the most important question to ask yourself before you advertise for renters. Sure. You’ll come to know tenants over time, but you’re taking a chance at the start.

If you’re ready to rent out your basement, familiarize yourself with area renter laws. Local licensing agencies should be able to tell you whether or not your basement is up to code and meets city requirements. Things that you may need to consider include whether or not your basement is finished, has an emergency exit, a bathroom, bedroom, sufficient lighting, windows and proper insulation.

A separate heating and cooling source are generally required should you rent out your basement. Again, consult local licensing agencies. Once your basement is up to code, start to think about what you’d want in an apartment that you were renting and living in.

Offer an attractive living space
You want your basement rental to be desirable to renters. You also want the space to successfully compete with area apartments. Decide if you’ll allow tenants to park in your driveway or ask that they park on the street.

If you build windows, partitions and separate rooms with doors in the basement, pay attention to the types of windows and doors that you install. Are you going to go with double hung or casement windows? Door types to consider include wood, steel and fiberglass doors. Features range from trim, sidelights and finishing to colors and transoms.

Get to know potential renters
Perhaps even more important than ensuring that your finished basement is up to local code, is renting to the right tenants. Definitely get a thorough background check on potential renters. Check criminal, financial and other court records. If you have children, ask yourself if you prefer to wait until they are older before you rent out your basement.

Also, interview people who want to rent with you. Make sure that you communicate well and that your personalities gel. Decide if you want to rent to tenants who have pets, and, if so, what types and size of pets would you allow inside the basement? This information goes both ways. Let renters know if you have pets, as some people do not want to live near dogs, cats or other animals.

Set legal boundaries. Let tenants know if you they can or cannot blast their music or television and if tenants are allowed to have visitors stay with them for days at a time. Be clear about whether you will allow tenants to have pets, and, if so, which types of pets.

Determine what the monthly rent will be. Consider consulting with an attorney to draft a rental agreement. Items to include in a rental agreement are the legal names of occupants, whether trash, sewage and utilities are included in the rent and when you will walk through and check the basement. Some cities require you to give tenants no less than a 24 hour notice before you enter a rental space.

Be prepared to make repairs, as needed. You don’t have to make repairs yourself. However, it is advisable that you a reputable repair professional’s contact information.

A Guide to Modular Furniture Shopping

When people hear the term “modular” a few things come to mind. Standardized, easy to assemble, minimalist, and modern. When you hear the words “modular furniture” there’s probably only one thing that comes to mind: Ikea.

There are, however, a wide selection of stores (online and brick & mortar) that offer furniture to fit your minimalist lifestyle.

Reasons to go modular

Form follows function. This statement should be as true in the world of decorating as it is throughout the sciences. However, many times we buy items that are large and bulky; mistaking quantity for quality. In the world of modular furniture, form is everything. Here are some reasons you may want to start buying minimal furniture:

  • If you move often. Do you relocate for work every few years? Are you a student or young professional who does a lot of jumping around apartments? In a workforce that is increasingly freelance and online in nature, there are fewer bindings holding us back from moving.
  • If you like low-maintenance. Modular furniture is perfect the the person who likes to set something up easily out of the box. You won’t have to worry about complicated maintenance or difficulty finding parts because modular furniture tends to be highly standardized.
  • If you’re a space-saver. Are you the type to try to take advantage of every inch of free space in your home? Alternatively, do you like to give your home a spacious atmosphere through smart decorating? Modular furniture is intelligently designed to take advantage of space. Modular furniture pieces like sofas are often able to be reconfigured or rearranged in different pieces so you can place them in corners or sparsely around the room to open up space. Similarly, they often contain interior storage space for things like blankets and pillows.
  • If you have a refined taste for space. Modular furniture is at the cutting edge of home technology. Therefore it often boasts visually-appealing, minimalist form and modern color schemes. Like any industry, style varies between makers. But generally modular furniture companies tend to stay current with trends.

The biggest names, the best prices

Since modular furniture is an up-and-coming industry, there are a number of stores to choose from, some even with brick & mortal locations. Here are some of our favorites.

ikea

Not much needs to be said about IKEA. They started with one man in Sweden and now have locations in over 40 countries. IKEA is the standard by which all other modern furniture stores are weighed against.

vitsoe

Vitsoe keeps it simple with three basic modular “systems.” Chairs, tables, and shelves. One of each system could easily fill a room. Their designs are minimalist and space-saving, which is evident by the “nesting” tables which fit into one another.

way basics

If you’re looking for simple, lightweight and affordable storage and shelving, Way Basics is where you should start your search. They specialize in storage cubes and they take the humanitarian and environmentalist approach to doing business.

urban outfitters

They may seem like a strange addition to this list, but Urban Outfitters–the paragon of urban hipsterdom–has a surprisingly great selection of modular furniture items in their online shop. They do an excellent job of fusing vintage style with modern function.

 

Arranging Your Living Room To Perfection

When it comes to arranging furniture, the living room may perhaps be the most challenging. This is especially true when the room houses both a fireplace and a television. It’s difficult to decide where to place the items in your living room when you want those seated in the room to have access to all the room has to offer including a good view of the TV and the fireplace. Here, we’ll give you some tips on where to place what for the perfect living room arrangement. We promise that if you follow these tips, everyone will have the perfect view of both the TV and the fireplace and be able to enjoy the living room fully.

Think Right Angles

First, place all of your seating perpendicular to both the television and the fireplace. This is one surefire way to know that every seat in the living room is the best seat in the house. There’s no wrong way to arrange furniture when you’re working with right angles!

Place the TV On the Wall Opposite the Fireplace

The fireplace will be the true focal point of the room. The TV will also be a feature of the room, yet less eye-catching. Where the television is installed will completely depend upon where your fireplace is. You may want to avoid, for example, hanging your TV over the fireplace so that eyes don’t become overwhelmed when the fireplace is on.

Place Tables For Practical Use

Side tables are going to be used frequently in your living room. You should place your side tables strategically, preferably next to pieces of furniture, so they can be used for placing items and drinks on. Putting tables far away from the ends of furniture just doesn’t make sense, since you won’t actually be using the tables.

Center the Coffee Table

The coffee table should be placed as close to the center of the room as possible. A coffee table should be somewhere between one-half and two-thirds of the length of your couch. This rule of interior design ensures that no piece within the room becomes too overwhelming in the space.

Flow

One of the best words to remember when arranging living room furniture is that of “flow.” You want the room to appear as if it were effortless to design and maintain. The living room is a place that is often used for to relax in, so you want it to feel as such.

Function

Beyond the look and feel of the room, you want to make sure that your living room is functional. It’s a room that’s used for reading, chatting, watching television and connecting. You never want to room to feel stuffy or unusable.

With the right planning and use of your furniture, your living room can be everyone’s go-to room in the house. You won’t even need a bowl of popcorn on movie night to entice everyone with!

How To Make Serious Updates To Your Living Room On A Budget

When you feel that your living room could use a bit of updating, but you don’t want to break the bank, there’s steps you can take to make your living room look like new without completely renovating the room. Here, we’ll give you some ideas of how you can make big changes to the living room for a small price.

Change Up Your Coffee Table

Sometimes, simply getting a brand new coffee table is the way to make your room feel new again. Since the coffee table sits in the center of the room, a brand new table will help you to look at your living room with new eyes.

Rearrange Artwork and Add New Pieces

Keeping all of your artwork on the same spots on the wall actually may make you notice the pieces less. Your eyes become used to seeing the same color patterns day after day. This is when you fail to appreciate the artwork that you have. Simply moving the artwork around in your home can actually give the feeling that you have added a new piece. You can also consider adding one or two new pieces of artwork to help bring your living room back to life.

Replace The Rug

If the rug in your living room is time-tested and worn, you may want to consider replacing it. Adding a new color to the room by way of a rug can help it to appear brand new. Think about finding a rug that is a completely different style and color than the one that currently graces your living room floor.

Throw Some New Pillows Around

Throw pillows are seriously one of the easiest and perhaps one of the most impactful changes that you can make in your living room. From sofas to large comfy chairs, adding a couple of throw pillows can help brighten and bring character to your living room.

Brighten Up Your Lighting

Adding some new lighting or even just switching some lamps around can freshen up your living room. If you have too much or too little lighting, fix the problem by adding or subtracting lamps as needed. Maybe installing some overhead lights in a part of the room would be helpful for a reading corner or other activity area.

Mix Up Your Furniture

Simply Rearranging your furniture can give a room a whole different look. Move the sofa from one corner of the room to another. Shift tables around. Move chairs from one area of the room to another. All of these small adjustments can add flair to your living room without costing you a thing.

Change Up Window Treatments

If your living room is lacking window treatments, adding them can have a dramatic effect on the room. Change the color or style of your window treatments as an added bonus to give your living room a new look.

As you can see, there’s many cost effective ways to renovate your living room without ever touching a paintbrush or knocking down a wall. These easy solutions will have you on your way to interior design expert status.

How To Perfectly Arrange Your Bedroom

Bedrooms come in a variety of shapes and sizes. You bedroom is more than a place for sleeping. They have become multi-purpose rooms over the years. Depending on your circumstances, bedrooms may need to house a home office, a playroom, or a tv and movie hub in addition to a bed.

The most important role your bedroom plays is providing you with a good night’s rest. We have a bunch of different ideas here to help you maximize your space and style in the most comfortable way possible.

Consider What The Space Will Be Used For

Will your bedroom be used as a reading room? If so, you need to add a comfy chair to the space. If your bedroom has a multi-purpose as a home office, you’ll need to add a comfy desk and chair to the room for your working hours. Plan the room around the pieces that must be in there. Many pieces of furniture can also be double purposed like a table that can also be used as a desk.

It’s All In Where You Place Things

The biggest decision that you’ll need to make is where to put the furniture. If you place things strategically, you’ll be able to fit everything you need in the room without sacrificing charm and style. Placing the bed near the windows is a great way to save space and let light in, since a bed won’t completely block the window.

Add Your Character To The Space

If your bedroom represents the things that you love, you can’t go wrong in the space. While it’s usually not recommended that we work and sleep in the same space, sometimes it’s unavoidable. There are ways that you can separate the two worlds with a room screen, for example.

Whatever your bedroom space is being used for, be sure to provide balance to the room. As long as an object is pleasing to you, you can’t go wrong placing it in the bedroom. Think outside of the box with objects like benches, love seats and even antique radios. If you can use it and it makes you happy, there’s a way to make the object fit within the purpose of your bedroom.

Lighting

No matter what your bedroom will be used for, lighting is extremely important. Make sure that there’s lights near each side of the bed. These will be useful for many different things from early morning risers to reading in bed to night owls.

Planning Makes The Process Smoother

Remember that the most important thing that you can do for your bedroom furniture arrangement- or any room for that matter- is to plan. With careful measurements of the pieces that must go into the room and careful thought of what you’d like to go into the room, you can create the perfect bedroom.