For-sale listings with cool, neutral wall colors sell for more money
A fresh coat of paint in the right color may help sell a home for more money.
Homes with rooms painted in shades of light blue or pale blue/gray can sell for as much as $5,440 more than expected.
Paint Color Analysis looked at more than 32,000 photos from sold homes around the country to see how certain paint colors impacted their sale price on average, when compared to similar homes with white walls.
Curious what colors may help you sell your home for more? See below for the full results of the 2017 Paint Color Analysis.
Homes with blue kitchens, often found in soft gray-blue, sold for a $1,809 premium.
Light blue bathrooms
Homes with light pale blue to soft periwinkle blue bathrooms sold for $5,440 more than expected.
Brown living rooms
Turns out homes with light beige, pale taupe or oatmeal-colored living room walls sell for $1,926 more than expected.
Cadet blue bedrooms
Homes with light cerulean to cadet blue bedroom wall colors can come with a $1,856 premium.
Slate blue dining rooms
Homes with slate blue to pale gray blue dining rooms also sold for more money — $1,926 more on average than homes with white dining room wall colors.
“Greige” home exteriors
A home’s exterior color may also have an impact on its sale price. Homes painted in “greige,” a mix of light gray and beige, sold for $3,496 more than similar homes painted in a medium brown or with tan stucco.
Navy blue front doors
For a pop of color, homes with front doors painted in shades of dark navy blue to slate gray sold for $1,514 more.
Selecting the right paint color is one of many factors that may affect why a home sells faster or for more money. Walls painted in cool neutrals like blue or grayhave broad appeal, and may be signals that the home is well cared for or has other desirable features.
Some colors may actually deter buyers. Homes with darker, more style-specific walls like terracotta dining rooms sold for $2,031 less than expected. However, a lack of color may have the biggest negative impact as homes with white bathrooms sold for an average of $4,035 below similar homes.
It's essential to have the right marketing plan, pricing strategy and real estate agent.
When shopping for a home, it’s not uncommon to come across one that truly stands out. It’s not because the home is an old fixer-upper or that it’s a newly renovated home with a designer kitchen. It’s a home that’s architecturally significant or in some way conveys a “different” attribute. For instance, it might be a castle, a church or even a fire station that has been converted into one or more living spaces.
With an unusual home, pricing and marketing can be a challenge. Here are three things to keep in mind when either buying or selling a truly unique property.
1. Buyers should be cautious
As crazy as it sounds, a would-be buyer may want to reconsider purchasing an offbeat home. While it may be a home you love, it is also an investment. A home with a unique, unchangeable structural feature will likely alienate a large portion of the market.
If you’re faced with the opportunity to purchase a unique home, don’t get caught up in the excitement of it all. Think long term. Understand that when it comes time to sell, it may be a burden, particularly if you try to sell in a slow market.
2. When selling, don’t assume buyers will love what you love
As the owner of an interesting or different home who is considering a sale, be aware that not everyone will have the same feeling about the home as you did when you bought the place. While you’re likely to get lots of activity, showings and excitement over your property, a lot of that may simply be curious buyers, nosy neighbors or tire kickers.
Time after time, sellers with unique homes believe that since they fell head over heels, another buyer who might feel the same. But that person could be hard to find.
3. Hire the right agent and have a serious marketing/pricing discussion
A unique home requires a unique marketing plan and pricing strategy as well as a good agent. The buyer may not even live in your local market, and instead might be an opportunist buyer open to a unique property. So you should consider advertising outside the mainstream circles. Media and press can help get the special home the attention it may need.
The buyer may not want to live in your town but is fascinated by an old church or castle. The more you get this out there, the better your options for finding the specific buyer.
If you get lots of action but few offers, you may need to drop the price below the comparable sales to generate interest, particularly if you really need to sell. Just like a home with a funky floor plan, on a busy intersection or with a tiny backyard, the market for your unique home is simply smaller.
With online home listings, blogging and real estate television shows, unique homes stand out and get more exposure than ever. But selling a distinctive or offbeat property requires out-of-the-box thinking early on, and with a top agent. You only have one chance to make a first impression. Be certain to price the home right, expose it to the masses and have a strategic plan in right from the start.
Dwell shares insider tips after consulting architects, DIY home builders and shipping container experts from around the world.
You’ve decided to join the shipping container revolution. Your plans are drawn up, your site is prepared and your welding torch is ready to transform a discarded steel box into the durable, stylish and sustainable home of your dreams. Now what?
To help you get started, we asked architects, DIY home builders and shipping container experts from around the world for their insider tips on bringing home the best possible container for your building needs.
The first step, they agree, is to find a reputable distributor. “Shipping companies don’t want people calling them for one or 10 containers. They prefer to sell to dealers,” says Barry Naef, director of the ISBU Association (ISBU stands for intermodal steel building units, the term for containers used specifically for construction).
He recommends checking the extensive international list of dealers on the Eco Green Sources website. And don’t despair if you live far from the ocean. Thanks to a network of inland distribution hubs, says Naef, “there are as many [containers] in the mid-U.S. and Canada as there are at the ports, at nearly the same prices.” A dealer can help arrange for overland transport of your container via 18-wheeler truck.
Other sourcing options exist, too. In Zambia, a local NGO supplied Tokyo-based architect Mikiko Endo with old containers it had used to transport donations (she transformed them into maternity clinic housing). In Israel, architect Galit Golany purchased a refurbished container from a prefab construction company, then fixed up the turnkey unit with timber cladding, roofing, a deck and stone base.
Stephen Shoup, founder of Oakland’s building Lab, agrees that looking for a distributor that will do some basic modifications prior to sale is a good idea.
“It’s tons of fun to be standing there with a plasma cutter and a welder and be hacking into these things and pasting them back together, but if you’re encountering engineering issues, then you’re going to need licensed welders. That cost is much more controllable when done at the fabrication shop or shipyard,” says Shoup.
Another option is to purchase a container manufactured specifically for building, like the ones from Toronto-based MEKA or Silhouette Spice in Tokyo. These can be cheaply transported using existing global shipping networks, but are tailor-made to meet building codes (Japan’s are especially strict).
If you do decide to purchase a genuine seafaring container, you’ll need to keep a number of factors in mind. First is size. Although dimensions are generally standardized, your safest bet for projects that join multiple units is to purchase a single brand (perhaps one whose logo you fancy). Houston-based architect Christopher Robertson, who has designed both upscale residential and disaster-relief housing using containers, recommends choosing “high cubes” (HQ), which are about a foot taller than standard, because the smaller size can feel claustrophobic after installing insulation. Lengths vary from 8 to 53 feet, with 20 feet and 40 feet being the most common.
Whichever you choose, Robertson cautions that the costs of transportation and modification quickly add up. “There’s a real misconception that building with containers is absurdly inexpensive. Unfortunately, that’s not true at all,” he says.
Assuming you’re still hooked on the many other benefits of container construction, you’ll need to think about age and condition. Options range from virtually unscathed “one-trippers” to eight-to-10-year-old retired containers, with varying degrees of rust, dents and warping. Your choice depends on your design goals.
For Brook van der Linde, an artist who built a DIY container home with her husband in Asheville, cost and sustainability were more important than perfect condition. “Our goal was to use materials that were headed for the landfill. Our containers were constructed in 2005 so they had a good long life going to China and back,” she says.
Robertson, on the other hand, sought out one-trippers for his residential project. “They’re a little more expensive but they look a lot better,” he explains. “If they start having a lot of dings and rusts, you lose the aesthetic pleasure.”
Although a container’s history is trackable via its serial number, the best way to assess its condition is through a visual once-over prior to purchase. Arrive at the lot armed with a level to check for excessive warping and a checklist of potential problems, such as holes, dents, damaged door seals, and corrosion (a little rust is par for the course). Don’t forget to use your nose, as well. The wood flooring of most containers is treated with toxic pesticides, which you’ll need to seal or remove, and others may have been used to transport unpleasantly odiferous contents.
Finally, once you’ve made your choice, take a deep breath. The toughest — and most enjoyable — phase of building your container home is still to come.
11 tips that will save your garden, lawn and flowers ... not to mention your green thumb reputation.
Whether you’re dealing with California droughts, Midwest heat waves or Deep South downpours, summer can be a tricky time to garden. Here’s what you need to know before leaving air-conditioned comforts for a steamy backyard jungle.
DON’T: Plant cool-season vegetables
Generally speaking, it’s a bad idea to attempt veggies like peas, lettuce, carrots and radishes in summer. They will quickly bolt in the heat, meaning they’ll devote their energy to blooming and producing seeds, making the edible parts bitter.
DO: Plant hot-season vegetables
Take advantage of summer’s sunshine by planting these heat-loving edibles:
Drought-tolerant okra produces prolific pods all summer long, and sweet potatoes make an excellent temporary ground cover, shading out weeds until the arrival of cold weather and harvest time.
DON’T: Water unless necessary
It’s tempting to set the sprinklers on a timer, kick up your feet and consider it handled. But you don’t want to run sprinklers in a rainstorm, so water plants only when they’re newly planted or wilting and/or dropping leaves.
DO: Use drought-tolerant plants
Drought-tolerant plants are all the rage, and not just because they conserve water. Grow drought-tolerant plants because they’re low-maintenance and because you’re an average person with — you know — a life.
That said, drought-tolerant does not mean you can plant it and forget it. Keep the soil moist until the plant takes off on its own.
DON’T: Turn your back on the garden
Because in summer, things can change in a heartbeat. Plants can succumb to pests, drought, wet soil or rot in a matter of days. Pay attention to weather forecasts, and watch for struggling plants.
Use those pruners on any bullies that seem to be taking over less vigorous plants. When in doubt, rip it out.
DO: Water deeply
Water like you really mean it, with a deep soak so that the water penetrates the soil without running off or evaporating in the summer heat. Watering deeply will also encourage deeper root growth, which helps plants (especially shrubs and trees) stay healthier and more drought-tolerant in the long run.
Water in the root zone with a garden nozzle, a soaker hose, or just a hose and a full stream of water.
DON’T: Scalp your lawn
If you plan on turning your summer lawn into a putting green and you mow your lawn close, you’ll be sorely disappointed by the results. (Unless you’re willing to settle for a putting brown, that is.) Shortcuts mean less drought-tolerance, patchier growth, more weeds and shallow roots. When in doubt, cut high.
DO: Fertilize warm-season grasses
Give your lawn a pick-me-up to cope with the summer heat. Your local garden center should have a good selection of fertilizers to suit your region and/or lawn type. Fertilize according to label instructions, using a broadcast spreader, handheld spreader or drop spreader for even coverage. Generally speaking, don’t feed on a hot day with temps above 90 degrees.
DON’T: Water in the afternoon
While it’s a myth that water droplets can magnify sunlight and burn the plants, watering in the hottest part of the day is still useless. Water quickly evaporates in summer, and many plants will go semi-dormant. Water in the early morning so the plants’ roots have a chance to absorb moisture.
DON’T: Let weeds go to seed
Procrastinate all you want, but pull those weeds before they have a chance to bloom and go to seed, spreading their progeny all over your garden. Don’t settle for hand-pulling everything either. Use a hoe or cultivator for new weeds in loose soil, or a heavy-duty weeding tool, like a hori-hori knife, hook or mattock for tough, established weeds.
DO: Plant tropical bulbs
Much of your garden will slow down in the heat of summer, but tropical bulbs such as caladiums, elephant ears, cannas and gingers will only grow faster. Create a lush and jungly understory beneath shady trees by planting en masse, or use sparsely for architectural interest in container combos and flower beds.
Builders recently completed the most newly constructed homes in a decade, says a recent report. Buyers can finally exhale.
About 1,319,000 homes were finished in February—the most that were completed since 2008, according to the seasonally adjusted numbers in the latest residential sales report jointly released by the U.S. Census Bureau and U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. That's a 7.8% bump from January and a 13.6% jump from February 2017.
"Hitting a record level of new, finished houses should lead to an increase of more homes on the markets for buyers," says Chief Economist Danielle Hale. "It’s not going to turn from a seller's market to a buyer's market overnight, but this is a step in the right direction.”
The most new, finished homes were in the South, at 659,000 in February. That region was followed by the West, at 336,000; the Midwest, at 164,000; and the Northeast, at 160,000.
But buyers shouldn't rejoice just yet. Fewer newly constructed homes could be coming online this spring—despite the frantic demand. Builders received only 1,298,000 permits in February to put up new homes, a 5.7% drop from January, according to the report. However, it was a 6.5% rise from February 2017.
Permits are considered a good indication of how many completed new homes will hit the market in the coming months.
“There’s plenty more room to grow," says Hale. She'd like to see permits to erect single-family homes rise from 872 in February to 1 million. "It's going to be better than last year, but we're still not back" to precrisis levels.
Housing starts, which means construction that has begun but hasn't been completed, fell 7% from January to February, according to the report. It was down 4% from February of the previous year as well.
"The fall in housing starts in February is a movement in the wrong direction," Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors®, said in a statement. "The key to economic prosperity at this juncture of economic expansion is to produce more new homes. That will help with job creation and reduce the swift price appreciation in several markets."
Kitchens are the main selling point of any house and therefore should be given proper consideration with regards to layout, design, functionality, finishing materials and adding “sizzle” features. This room is a vital component of any home and is usually the most frequently used space by a homeowner. The kitchen is also the most challenging part of the house to design and rehab, as it is made up of many components and requires coordination between all members of the rehabbing team. Though it is one of the most expensive parts of the house to upgrade, it is also the room that returns the most for every dollar invested.
Some features that should be considered in most kitchens:
This design concept connects the kitchen with the living room where the families gather to have meals and enjoy entertainment. This concept can be applied through completely knocking out the wall between the kitchen and the living room; removing the top portion of the wall and creating a counter-top/bar feel or creating a picture window opening to connect two spaces together. In this step, it is important to answer the following questions:
Cabinets are the most visible part of a kitchen and generally its most expensive component. Therefore proper consideration must be given to this decision, as kitchen cabinets constitute one of the main selling points of a kitchen and therefore of a house. A good rule of thumb is to use comparable properties on the market as a measuring stick for quality of cabinets used. It is also a good idea to visit any new construction sites in the neighborhood to see what is “in style” for your target market. New cabinets typically come in one of three forms: stock cabinets, semi-custom cabinets, and custom cabinets. On average, cabinets represent roughly half the cost of a complete kitchen remodeling. Due to the high cost, it is worth careful consideration with regards to kitchen design.
Some important design features to consider are:
Properly selecting the material type of the counter-top greatly enhances the functionality and appeal of a kitchen. Single family kitchens ideally should have a few different work areas. That means you need to plan for this in your initial kitchen design layout. Work areas are defined as 36 inches of continuous counter-top. Today there are so many choices of material to use, here are a few of the most common:
These are kitchen design features that are added that help sell the house. They make the kitchen “pop” and stand out among the other houses on the market. As we teach in our rehabbing course you should always try to include at least 4 “sizzle features”:
Kitchens sell homes
You hear that all the time because it is true. Choosing the correct layout, design and finishing materials will help you sell your home quickly and maximize your profit. You will get the most dollar return for dollar spent in the kitchen design. We always teach to stay within a budget, but if you want to add a little something extra in your rehab, the kitchen is one of the best places to do this. A well thought out design, quality materials and dramatic lighting will make the kitchen the best room in the house. So get out there and start planning that perfect space.
First let’s define the term; a surface forming the outside of or bounding a thing. In this case the “thing” is a house. Now that is a fairly simple definition and does not emphasize the importance of what house siding actually does. Siding is meant to protect a building from the adverse effects of weather. It is essential to keeping out moisture and extreme temperatures and to maintaining the longevity of the house. Not only is siding vital to the integrity of the house but it is so important in the overall “curb appeal” as well. We all know how valuable curb appeal is when selling a house. The first thing potential buyers will see is the exterior siding. I can tell you from experience, if buyers pull up and see an ugly exterior, it won’t matter how nice the inside is.
Exterior House Siding Material Selection
House siding comes in a variety of styles and shapes. Here is a list of the most common:
As you can see there are many different types of exterior siding material. The final selection, more times than not, will be determined by region and price.
Exterior House Siding Terms and Definitions
These are the key terms that you will use most often when talking about exterior siding:
Even if you think they’ve already started to freeze.
New homeowners may have heard that winterization is important, but in the hubbub of your first year living in a home you own (finally!), it can be easy to overlook the need to prepare for the cold weather ahead. After all, it’s just not something renters deal with; prepping pipes for winter is often the landlord’s job.
Ideally, you should winterize your pipes in the fall, before winter seriously sets in. But if you’ve forgotten and all of a sudden you’re in the middle of a deep freeze, there’s still time to prevent disaster.
#1 Turn On Your Faucets
If the temperatures have dropped into freezing and intend to stay there, turning on your faucets — both indoors and out — can keep water moving through your system and slow down the freezing process. There’s no need to waste gallons of water: Aim for about five drips per minute.
#2 Open Cabinet Doors
During cold weather, open any cabinet doors covering plumbing in the kitchen and bathroom. This allows the home’s warm air to better circulate, which can help prevent the exposed piping from freezing. While this won’t help much with pipes hidden in walls, ceilings, or under the home, it can keep water moving and limit the dangerous effects of freezing weather.
#3 Wrap Your Pipes
If your pipes are already on their merry way towards freezing, wrapping them with warm towels might do the trick. You can cover them with the towels first and then pour boiling water on top, or use already-wet towels — if your hands can stand the heat (use gloves for this). This should help loosen the ice inside and get your system running again.
#4 Pull Out Your Hair dryer
A hairdryer (or heat gun) can be a godsend when your pipes are freezing. If hot rags aren’t doing the trick, try blowing hot air directly on the pipes. Important note: You don’t want to use a blow torch or anything that produces direct flames, which can damage your pipes and turn a frozen pipe into an even worse disaster. You’re trying to melt the ice — not your pipes.
#5 Shut Off The Water if Pipes Are Frozen
Have your pipes already frozen? Turn off the water immediately. (Hopefully you know where the master shut-off is, but if not, now’s the time to find it!)
Make sure to close off any external water sources, like garden hose hookups. This will prevent more water from filling the system, adding more ice to the pile, and eventually bursting your pipes — the worst-case scenario. This also will help when the water thaws; the last thing you want after finally fixing your frozen pipes is for water to flood the system — and thus, your home.
Sweat the big stuff.
Buying your first home is scary. We get it. All those concerns you have about money are quite legitimate, and the mortgage process can be confusing. On top of that, you want to make sure the house fits you.
But some of the things that first-time home buyers worry about really don’t matter. Here are five issues that shouldn’t factor into choosing a home:
Your dining room table or couch doesn’t fit.
More than once, we’ve seen an HGTV house hunter reject an otherwise perfect home because a piece of their existing furniture wouldn’t fit. And we involuntarily scream “SERIOUSLY???” at our TVs in frustration.
Time for a little reality check: If your dining room table has some special significance ― say, it came over on the Mayflower with your ancestors ― OK, fine, keep it. But if it’s something you bought at Ikea and spent a weekend of hard labor assembling, don’t let it be a factor in whether to buy a house.
Furniture that doesn’t work in your new home can be sold. It can be given to the charity thrift store and, at least for now, will produce a nice tax deduction.
Or if you really like your dining room table, you could store it. While this is your first house, it likely won’t be your last. A 2013 National Association of Home Builders study found that buyers of single-family homes typically stay in the home about 13 years. That means if the table doesn’t fit in this house, maybe it will in the next one.
The walls are painted hideous hues.
There is no accounting for taste. But the good news is that paint is cheap and will totally erase the offending wall colors ― although it might take three coats.
First-time prospective buyers are often guilty of seeing things only as they are, instead of seeing what they could be. Force your eye to view the potential, not the purple walls.
In general, look past the things that can be easily changed and focus on what can’t be so easily undone. A north-facing house will always be dark. A house on a busy intersection will always be noisy. The next-door neighbor who uses his front yard as a car repair shop isn’t likely to stop earning a living because you asked him to nicely.
The top three things you may wish you could change but can’t are noise, view and natural light ― although skylights help.
The decor reminds you of Grandma’s place and not in a good way.
Without question, some homes are dated. But remember, when the seller leaves, he will take his stuff with him. Don’t worry about the well-worn recliners and dusty drapes, and instead get some quotes on how much it will cost to remodel the kitchen and the bathrooms circa 1974. Those are the rooms where updating will cost you.
Also, keep in mind that one person’s “dated” is another’s “vintage.” At some point, that kitchen linoleum that is causing your eyes to bleed may just be back in style. But yes, let us all pray that orange shag carpet will never make a comeback.
You’ve met the kitchen of your dreams.
Cool your jets! Even Remodeling Magazine thinks you’re behaving impulsively.
Want to know the only home improvement project that more than pays for itself, according to Remodeling’s annual study? Putting loose-fill insulation in the attic. It brought a 107.7 percent return on investment ― despite sounding about as exciting as watching grass grow. Siding replacement recouped 92.8 percent of its cost, according to the study. Replacing roofs and windows was also high on the list, returning 80 percent or more at resale.
So what does that tell you about what’s important in evaluating a house?
Infrastructure matters. New roofs, new plumbing and new electrical systems ―whether the former owner put them or they’re your first project ― will likely serve you better than a recently remodeled kitchen.
Don’t fall for eye candy, in either relationships or houses.
You don’t have children.
You don’t have and/or don’t want children. Fair enough, but that doesn’t mean the quality of the local schools shouldn’t matter to you at all.
A house is more than just a place to live. It’s also an investment, probably the largest one you’ve made to date. It’s smart to think not only of your current situation, but also about what prospective buyers will be looking for when you go to sell this house down the road ― and that means schools. In a 2013 Realtor.com survey of nearly 1,000 prospective home buyers, 91 percent said that the quality of the schools was important in their search.
One out of 5 buyers said they would give up that extra bedroom or a garage to buy in a district with better schools, and 1 out of 3 would purchase a smaller home to wind up in the right district.
Buyers also put their money where their mouths are. One out of 5 said they would pay up to 10 percent above their budget for the right school. One out of 10 would double that to 20 percent.
So even if you won’t be sending kids there, a good local school system could be money in your budget ― for that next home.
Winter has yet to officially arrive, but if you're anything like us, you're probably already feeling twinges of cabin fever. If the thought of spending the next several months inside is too much to bear, know that you can still reclaim your outdoor space—as long as you're willing to shell out some cash or get a cold-weather workout.
A few surprisingly simple design tweaks and heating elements are all you need to use your outdoor space well into the winter months. And you'll be part of a growing trend, architects say; homeowners are already treating their outdoor spaces as extensions of their homes. With winter-proof patios, homeowners are getting more bang for their buck.
“We are designing a greater number of outdoor living spaces that can be used at least nine months out of the year and, on occasion, the full year,” says Thomas Wall, owner and architect of Mitchell Wall Architecture & Design in St. Louis.
Ready to transform your patio into an all-season wonderland? We've got your instructional manual right here. We'll admit: Some of these projects could take some heavy lifting, and might have to wait until spring. But there are a few tips that can get you warm and toasty al fresco in no time.
1. Raise the roof
Winter snow sure is pretty to gaze upon. But if you don't want to be sitting in it, you should consider covering your patio.
"Adding an overhead shelter to an existing deck is one of the most common requests I see in outdoor living," Wall says. "This can be anything from a simple, detached pergola to a full roof with fans, heaters, and speakers coming off of the main residence."
The cost and timeline for this can vary greatly, Wall cautions, depending on your current structure and wish list.
However, he adds, "in the world of architecture, adding a covered deck is a relatively simple process. If there are no circumstances to complicate things, it can be done quickly and on a budget."
2. Plant coniferous trees
Snow, unfortunately, isn't the only element to contend with. Keeping out winter winds and minimizing humidity can mean the difference between being comfortable outside and running indoors for cover.
To win the battle with Mother Nature, Wall recommends strategically planting certain kinds of trees around your space.
“Coniferous trees not only prevent wind four seasons a year, but they have the added benefit of taking away some of the moisture,” he notes. "The drier the air, the less you feel extreme temperatures."
But before heading to the plant store, take note.
“Spend time outside before you enter into the project, and know which direction the wind comes from,” Wall recommends. “Get to know your outside before you make it change. That way, you can be sure the changes you make will be money well-spent.”
3. Bring the heat
Of course, no winter-friendly outdoor space is complete without a heat source. Make a warming station the focal point of your patio and you'll not only be toasty, but you'll have a design that's ideal for entertaining as well.
“Many homeowners now are requesting outdoor fireplaces, fire pits, and Mexican-style chimeras,” notes Austin-based designer Pablo Solomon. “These are wonderful for gathering around and having a warm drink with friends.”
While a built-in or custom fire feature can set you back thousands, you can find budget-friendly fire pots or chimeras for under $200. One option is the Sun Joe Classic Stone Fire Pit ($132), which has the look of natural stone, without the hefty price tag. And if you're feeling industrious, you can build your own fire pit. It's a relatively simple process, as long as your ground isn't frozen.
Love to entertain? Take San Francisco–based designer Gina Gutierrez’s advice: “I like to use pits that have a large enough rim to lay down snacks and drinks while keeping warm by the fire,” she says. Try the CobraCo Diamond Mesh Fire Pit ($167), which has a 5-inch-wide edge that’s perfect for holding your winter ale.
If your patio isn't covered, be sure to check that your fire pit comes with a cover, which can keep it safe in inclement weather.
4. Seat smart
Buying outdoor furniture is kind of an art: You want something that looks rich, but is also built to last. There's enough to worry about with sun, rain, and heat during warmer seasons. But if you're making your patio winter-friendly, you'll want to make sure you invest in furniture that can withstand winter elements as well.
“Investing in quality outdoor furniture means having furniture that will last for years to come, versus furniture that you’ll place at the curb in a year,” says Deborah Holt, marketing and e-commerce specialist at Sunnyland Patio Furniture in Dallas.
When it comes to furniture that can take a beating from Mother Nature, Holt recommends looking for Sunbrella fabrics, weaves with UV inhibitors, powder-coated finishes, and extended warranties.
Still cold? Heated furniture takes this outdoor environment to next-level warm. Options include the sleek Galanter and Jones Helios Lounge($7,900), which you plug in, or the more budget-friendly and battery-powered Chaheati MAXX Heated Chair ($120).
Finish off your winter patio design with warm accessories so everyone can stay snug.
Blankets such as the Pendelton Motor Robe with Leather Carrier ($100) are designed for camping, but they’d also look amazing slung over an Adirondack chair. For an even more chic look, try all-white pillows like the Serena & Lily Montecito Floor Pillow ($228) and furry throws such as the West Elm Faux-Fur Ombre Throw ($49).
Finally, don't forget the simple touches. Adding cushions to your cold-prone Adirondack chairs, for example, will make them more inviting. Pro tip: Buy a waterproof deck box to store everything during extreme inclement weather.
6. Light it up
One of the best parts of spending time on your patio in the summer? Staying outdoors late, especially when the sun doesn’t set until 8 or 9 p.m. But the fun doesn't have to end even when it's dark at 5 p.m.
“Lighting is key when it comes to setting the mood, especially during dark winter nights,” Gutierrez says.
Ideally, you'll use heat lamps that keep you warm while lighting up the space. Try AZ Patio Heaters Portable Glass Tube Heater ($128), or go big with the Lava Heat Italia Triangular Commercial Flame Patio Heater($959).
For a more festive setting, string up some white twinkle lights across your yard. Then light some larger candles and keep lanterns on your patio, like the San Rafael II LED Solar Mission Lantern ($19), for the final touch.
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