Real Estate

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 ...

Three pros discuss creating an outdoor room

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press Designers often talk about the perfect “outdoor living room” — a deck or patio that combines the comfort and style of indoor decorating with the pleasure of relaxing outside. But what separates these outdoor entertaining spaces from more typically ...

Ask a Designer: Rethinking the basement

By Melissa Rayworth Associated Press Basements can be cold and dark, and often get much less decorating attention than the rest of the house. But you can gain new, useful and stylish living space by upgrading that subterranean space. Step one is addressing any risk of flooding or water ...

Pending home sales fall 1.3 pct

WASHINGTON (AP) — Fewer Americans signed contracts to buy homes in April, reflecting the dearth of properties being listed for sale in the U.S. right now. The National Association of Realtors said its pending home sales index fell 1.3 percent in April to 106.4, after rising for two ...

Don’t let a down a payment scare you off

By Brianna McGurran NerdWallet “Ask Brianna” is a column from NerdWallet for 20-somethings or anyone else starting out. I’m here to help you manage your money, find a job and pay off student loans — all the real-world stuff no one taught us how to do in college. Send your questions ...

New technology is making gardening easier

By Dean Fosdick Associated Press New technology is easing the way we garden, store equipment, monitor watering and re-shape landscapes. And some of those tasks can be done remotely, using phones or tablets. The innovations extend well beyond downloading a few apps. New to the horticultural ...

For-sale signs vanish and March home prices jump 6.8 pct

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. home prices climbed in March with buyers paying a premium for ownership as the number of properties up for sale declines, and mortgage rates increase. The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller 20-city home price index increased 6.8 percent in March from a year earlier. The ...

Right at Home: Bold, black kitchens serve up style

By Kim Cook Associated Press The kitchen’s often a room to experiment — with decor, as well as food and drink. Over the years we’ve seen yellow, turquoise, avocado green, greige and white take their turn as favored hues. But right now, black is back. “It makes perfect sense, ...

Remember the ceiling when decorating a room

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 ...

Swimming-pool landscaping: pretty with a minimum of debris

By Dean Fosdick Associated Press Landscaping around an outdoor swimming pool requires no-muss, no-fuss plant selections. The pool can be a flowery focal point, but don’t open it to litter from leaves and limbs. “Both in- and above-ground pools offer unique design challenges and ...

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 ...

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 ...