Real Estate

Creating a perfectly cozy place to read

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press We decorate our homes in order to enjoy them. For book lovers, adding a cozy and well-lit space dedicated to reading can be the perfect finishing touch. Most homes, of course, don’t have a spare room for use as a library. But interior designers often ...

US construction spending rose 0.1 percent

WASHINGTON (AP) — Spending on U.S. construction projects ticked up 0.1 percent in July, led by an increase in homebuilding and the publicly funded building of schools and highways. The Commerce Department said the slight July increase brought total construction spending to a ...

Don’t forget sconces in your lighting plan

By Kim Cook Associated Press Lighting a room seems simple: Plug in a lamp or flip a switch. Not so fast. “Nothing enhances a space more than a thoughtful lighting plan,” says interior designer Michael Wood of New York City. Many buildings in the city don’t allow channeling into ...

Fall decor: stylish, functional, comfortable

By Kim Cook Associated Press Unfettered from dated conventions that urged us to pick a decor style and stick to it, more and more designers and retailers this fall are blending decorative elements and playing more loosely with the color wheel. In some cases, the result is a polished, ...

Low profile: kitchens that go with the flow

By Kim Cook Associated Press Kitchens tend to be designed as star players on the residential stage. Their role is often aspirational — pro chef’s lair, for example, or the country kitchen from that Italian movie you loved. But there’s a different story being played out by some ...

Right At Home: Fashion-forward tile for walls and floors

By Kim Cook Associated Press One of the oldest materials in home design is now trending like a hot newcomer. Shelter magazines, design blogs and home renovation stores are featuring tile for surfacing floors and more: Designers are opting for a high-impact effect by cladding stair risers ...

US home prices march higher in May

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S home prices rose rapidly in May, a trend that is thwarting some would-be buyers and pulling down home sales. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index rose 6.5 percent in May from a year earlier. That’s down slightly from April, but is still more ...

Home decorators embrace big, bold wall art

By Kim Cook Associated Press Not long ago, the only homes in which you’d see big, bold art hanging on the walls tended to be those of serious collectors. For everyone else, filling up a blank space meant going with something attractively innocuous that didn’t jangle with the sofa ...

Remember the ceiling when decorating

By Sarah Wolfe For The Associated Press Ceilings are the Rodney Dangerfield of homes. They get no respect. But there are plenty of easy ways to make over this oft-overlooked area, from the quirky charm of Victorian-era, pressed-tin tiles and beadboard to a simple splash of ...

Squeezing the most out of small outdoor spaces

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press As herb and vegetable gardens, composting and other aspects of green living become more popular, many people with limited outdoor space are looking for ways to squeeze the most out of it. “A client in a modern high-rise in downtown Chicago did not ...

So you want a new kitchen? Tips for starting the process

By Katherine Roth Associated Press So you want a new kitchen? Whether you’re considering designing a kitchen using your own architect, a kitchen planner hired through a store like IKEA or Home Depot, or an online planning service, professionals suggest keeping a few things in mind. PLAN ...

A little less drama: Kitchen backsplashes get sleeker

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press The kitchen backsplash — that surface behind the stovetop or sink that protects the wall from damage during cooking and dishwashing — has long been used to add color and beauty to an otherwise utilitarian space. But dramatic, ornately patterned ...

How much house you can afford depends on where you live

By Holden Lewis NerdWallet Your ability to own a home is affected by where you live. Even people with modest incomes can afford homes in Decatur, Illinois, the metropolitan area with the nation’s most affordable houses. At the other end of the affordability spectrum is the San Jose, ...

Ask a Designer: coming up with a furniture plan that works

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press Sometimes the way to improve a room isn’t to buy new furniture: It’s to rearrange pieces you already own. Interior designers can spend hours creating the best furniture plan for a room, balancing practical considerations and creative ...

Sellers, give every room a role

By Kim Cook Associated Press Many of us have one room in the house that doesn’t really have a job. Maybe we set it up with an air bed once in a while for guests, or shove out-of-season clothing boxes in there, or use it as a holding zone for stuff we’re not sure what to do with. But ...

Gray: A ‘sneaky color’ is red-hot for painting interiors

By Katherine Roth Associated Press When it comes to painting rooms, gray is red-hot. Benjamin Moore carries over 150 shades of gray, and Sherwin-Williams says that of their top 50 colors for interiors, 30 are grays. “The trend toward gray started in Scandinavia, became big in the U.S. ...

Right At Home: Pro-style kitchens for the home cook

By Kim Cook Associated Press Avid home cooks often want to outfit their kitchens with the kind of high-end appliances and gear used by professional chefs. There’s that aspirational notion that somehow having the right equipment will lead to better food. So what’s in a pro kitchen that ...

Artistry on the floor

By Kim Cook Associated Press There was a time when designers and decorators considered floor coverings to be background elements in a room. Rugs and tile were meant to be practical, not attention-getting. That’s changed. Now, the floor is often one of the strongest elements in a space. ...

A little less drama: Kitchen backsplashes get sleeker

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press The kitchen backsplash — that surface behind the stovetop or sink that protects the wall from damage during cooking and dishwashing — has long been used to add color and beauty to an otherwise utilitarian space. But dramatic, ornately patterned ...

Home equity boosts US household wealth

WASHINGTON (AP) — Increased home prices boosted U.S. household net worth 1 percent in the January-March quarter to crack $100 trillion for the first time. The Federal Reserve said home values rose $500 billion, offsetting a decline in stock portfolios of $400 billion. Overall household ...