10 Easy Ways to Get Out of a Decorating Rut

home decor

It’s happening again: you wake up, reluctantly dragging yourself out of bed as the sunlight streams through your curtains. You casually look around your bedroom, bathroom, kitchen, dining room, and living room as you prepare yourself for the day ahead, and you just feel so uninspired. It’s like a scene out of Groundhog Day – you feel like you’re living the same day over and over and over again. You’re Bill Murray, but instead of repeating the same day constantly, you’re trapped inside a dull space that no longer brings you any joy. Will this cycle of misery ever end?

The answer is yes! All you need to do is shake things up a little bit. After all, doing or seeing the same things too often can get old in time. In celebration of Groundhog Day and for everyone out there who feels like they’re living in a decorative funk, here are some handy tips to help you feel inspired once more:

Rearrange the Furniture – One of the easiest ways you can get your creative juices flowing is simply by rearranging the furniture. Swap out works of art around your space. Make one of your chic living room chairs your new desk chair. Heck, even moving your sofa off your wall can make a world of difference (by the way, February is Pull Your Sofa Off the Wall Month!).

Clear Your Kitchen Countertops – Does your kitchen feel a bit overcrowded? Try taking everything off the countertops and temporarily placing them in a different room. Look at everything that used to grace your countertops – the coffee machine, the spice rack, the toaster, your trusty cookbooks, and even the plethora of dishtowels you had hanging around – and reevaluate what you really want in your kitchen. This should help clear up some space, reassess what you really want and need, and give your kitchen a cleaner, sleeker look.

Give Something a Paint Job – Whether you’d like to freshen up your walls, a piece of furniture, or the frame of an old mirror, a new coat of paint can really help give a room a whole new look! Don’t be afraid to take a risk. After all, it’s only paint, and if you don’t like it or grow bored with it, you can always use a different color later!

Make a Gallery Wall – Do you have a few favorite works of art or photos that you haven’t really put on the wall yet? Try putting them in frames and creating your own gallery wall! Experiment with color and placement until you’ve got it just the way you like it.

Try a New Shower Curtain – Sometimes your bathroom can feel like new with something as simple as a new shower curtain. Choose to go big with a bold and beautiful design or opt for a clear or white curtain to make your bathroom appear larger, more open, and more luxurious.

Swap Out Accessories – Small changes can make a big difference. Take the time to go through each room, take stock of your accessories, and see how you can change things up a bit. Look at your blankets, rugs, pillows, figurines, and even the window treatments to see what you can do to transform your space. You’d be surprised by how versatile some pieces can really be!

Change Out Your Bedding – Tired of the same old bedding greeting you every night and morning? Consider reversing your quilt or comforter or switching it out with a duvet from another room! Don’t forget to switch out the pillows as well. To experience the whole effect, give yourself an extra minute or two to make your bed every morning!

Try Something Completely Different – Sure, you have your own sense of style, but sometimes seeing the same ol’ same ol’ can be dreadfully boring. Get out of your comfort zone a little bit and buy or do something totally unorthodox for you. Paint your front door a bright, happy color. Splurge on that patterned chair you fell in love with. Adding a few different touches here and there can really help you break out of your decorating rut and make you fall in love with your space all over again!

Revitalize Your Coffee Table Space – Still have the same books collecting dust on your coffee table? Here’s an easy solution – try setting out a handful of small books or one large, sleek picture book. Feel free to leave the large book open on one of your favorite pages to see if inspiration will strike.

Visit New Stores – If you’ve passed by a store, were curious about it, but never went in, you officially have our permission to go check it out! Take your time and look at how items are arranged by color, shape, and texture. Unleash the artist inside you and explore some uncharted territory. You never know what might move you!

Did you know that social media is also a great place for you to find some inspiration? Check out our Instagram page to help you get creative and say good-bye to those Groundhog Day vibes stat!

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10 Cozy Ways to Stay Warm All Winter Long

cozy winter indoors

Just when you think that winter has loosened its grip (remember that glorious January thaw we had last week?), it’s snatched us up once more in its clutches. With below-freezing temperatures and gloomy gray days, you may feel like you’ll never be warm again.

While spring is slowly but surely making its way back, we have some tips to help you stay warm and snug for the rest of the brutal winter season. Check them out below!

Light a Fire – If you have a fireplace, then it’s time to put it to good use! Keep your fire tools and supplies close by to make starting a blaze a breeze. Bedeck your mantel with your favorite decorations, snuggle up in a comfortable chair, put your feet up, and bask in the warmth that a fireplace gives!

Bake Something Delicious – Want to stay warm and enjoy something delicious? It’s time to break out the cookbook, turn on the oven, and bake your favorite food! Whether you’re making the perfect chocolate chip cookie or a cozy comfort food like mac ‘n’ cheese, you can’t go wrong with baking in the wintertime!

Sip and Savor Your Favorite Hot Drink – What better way to warm up than enjoying your freshly-baked treats with your favorite hot beverage? Sip your favorite tea, wake up to a hot cup of coffee, or a mug of hot chocolate with the works as you lounge in your favorite chair.

Dress Up Your Windows Properly – You’re probably not running around in a tank top and shorts. Just like you, your windows should be properly outfitted for the weather, too! Stay warm by replacing thin curtains with heavier drapery made of wool or fleece. Don’t forget to open them up on sunny days to soak up some free heat!

Throw Some Throws Around the House – Don’t get us wrong – throws and blankets are perfect for snuggling in as the snow tumbles to the ground, but they can come in handy in other ways! Try laying a throw over your headboard or over a railing to create more texture. Remember, additional texture means upping the coziness factor!

Add a Rug or Two – Bare floors during the winter can be a bit of a shock to the system underfoot. Keep your feet feeling fine by adding a rug on your bare floors. Rugs, especially those with greater texture, will feel warm and cozy underfoot, so opt for a shaggy rug to pad across on cold mornings!

Enjoy a Warm Bath – Instead of turning up the thermostat, draw a warm, relaxing bath! Wash away the stresses of the day by adding some Epsom Salt or lavender oil. Don’t want a bath? A nice hot shower can do the trick, too!

Stash Extra Blankets Wherever You Lounge – Here’s an easy life-hack for you: make sure to keep a few extra blankets in the rooms you to tend to hang out in the most. Fill up a basket, an ottoman, or a trunk with your favorite throws and blankets. This is especially handy if you want to keep your thermostat lower to save on energy.

Block Drafts Like a Pro – Drafty homes can make you feel cold and uncomfortable. Block the winter air with weather-stripping, caulk, and door sweeps. To see if you have any air leaks, walk by the windows and doors with your hand and a small candle. If the flame moves at all while you’re standing still, then you probably have an air leak!

Make a Comfy Reading Nook – Who doesn’t love curling up in a cozy space to read a good book during the winter? Wherever you choose to create your perfect reading corner, keep plenty of pillows and a quilt or blanket nearby. Complete your space with some great lighting to read by and a spot to place your favorite beverage in between page turning!

Warming up to the idea of finding your dream home? Don’t be left out in the cold! Just call the experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 to get started today! Don’t forget to check out our listings online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com!

10 Clever Ways to Incorporate Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2018 in Your Home

ultraviolet decorNew year, new you, new look for your home! Pantone has announced that their Color of the Year for 2018 is the regal, cosmic, and mysterious ultraviolet. A bold and beautiful hue, ultraviolet evokes fantasy, mindfulness, creativity, spirituality, and non-conformity, making it an irresistible addition to your home this year!

One of our favorite things about this gorgeous color is its versatility. Because it has both warm and cool elements, ultraviolet can go with just about anything, giving you an original color palette for you to enjoy all year long. Whether you want to create a dramatic or intriguing color scheme, evoke the imagery of an eternal spring or a desert sunset, or want to give your space a timeless yet edgy look, there are so many ways you can use ultraviolet to your advantage in your home.

Here are 10 easy ways you can breathe new life in your home with this vibrant color!

Liven It Up With Accents – Brighten up a drab space with a few bold ultraviolet accents! From adding a few ultraviolet pillows and throws to laying down a stunning rug, this hue will make your space feel cozy in an instant.

Make It Dreamy With Pinks and Blues – For a celestial feel that evokes a never-ending sunset, pair ultraviolet with shades in the same color family, specifically blues and pinks. Throw in a bit of soft silver or cool copper to add a metallic dimension to your color scheme for a dazzling color palette!

Add a Stunning Work of Art (or Two) – Bring in the Color of the Year with a beautiful painting that inspires you. Hang a large piece that features ultraviolet over your couch, display a series of smaller paintings on an accent wall, or create your own gallery of wall hangings in the same family color to create a heavenly effect!

Treat Your Windows Like Royalty – Want to update a room in a snap? Curtains are an easy way you can revitalize a room quickly. Try some curtains in a deep purple to keep you warm and cozy while giving your space a more regal feeling!

Make It Picture-Perfect With Purple Frames – Create an elegant gallery wall with ultraviolet frames! Don’t have any? Simply paint old mirror or picture frames ultraviolet for an instant and inexpensive pop!

Jazz It Up With Jewel Tones – Make a bold statement in your home by pairing up ultraviolet with a few jewel tones! While ultraviolet plays well with just about any color, the rich hues of ruby red add a sense of drama and elegance to any space. Balance it just right with a few golden accessories or a gold mirror frame.

Add Some Ultraviolet Furniture – Nothing is quite as inviting as a purple couch or ultraviolet chairs! Bedeck your living areas with these beautiful pieces of furniture, or refinish a few older chairs and paint them in ultraviolet to give your space a cozy yet polished look.

Pair It With Black – Ultraviolet and black work well together and can look absolutely stunning in any space! Add black furniture with ultraviolet accessories or paint the wall surrounding a black fireplace deep purple to give the room a bit of dramatic flair.

Spice Up Your Bedroom – Purple is often a good color choice for bedrooms. Imagine how beautiful ultraviolet would look in your bedroom against white linens and bedding, especially when you dim the lights to rest. Not ready to paint the walls purple? Try something smaller like an ultraviolet headboard or lamps to add a bit of character to your bedroom!

Paint the Front Door – Painting your front door instantly adds curb appeal. Create some intrigue with a pop of purple pizzazz! Ultraviolet will look especially stunning on homes in white, gray, and charcoal, along with brick homes. Just don’t be surprised if you notice a few of your neighbors copying your home’s look after a month or two!

Longing for a home that makes you feel like royalty? We can help! Call the experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298! Get started by checking out our listings at www.dianamasseyhomes.com!

8 Bright Ideas to Help You Bring More Sunshine Into a Dark Room

a bright room with white brick walls, shades of white, and pops of color

It’s that time of the year again when we turn back the clocks one extra hour and begin seeing less and less daylight in our days. If you’re dreading the lack of light and want to have more sunshine in your life (and home), don’t fret! We won’t leave you in the dark. Just follow these 8 tips to help you brighten up a dark space:

Choose a Light or Neutral Color Scheme – It almost goes without saying that rooms painted in dark hues will reflect less light. Create the illusion of light by painting your rooms a white or light neutral color. The lighter the color is on your walls, the more light they’ll reflect. Think shades of white, cream, light neutrals, and pastels for a happy and bright room!

Keep the Contrast – While a light color scheme can definitely brighten up a space, a room bedecked in nothing but one bright color can feel pretty dull and uninspired. To make the room pop, add accessories, decorations, and other objects in your favorite color. Items in navy, crimson, hunter, or royal purple can really tie a light room together without overpowering it. Darker furniture or picture frames can also do the trick!

Hang Mirrors Strategically – Want to double the amount of sunlight you get in a room? Hang a large mirror or an assortment of smaller mirrors directly across from the largest window in your room! While mirrors won’t do much to brighten up dim hallways and small bathrooms, they can work true wonders in larger rooms.

Cut the Glare – While you’ll want plenty of light in your room, the quality of lighting you use can create a negative effect. Eliminate harsh glare by avoiding glossy paint and choosing a matte paint, which will reflect light in every direction. Additionally, we suggest situating lights near your walls and placing LED strips underneath cabinets to create a soft glow.

Reflect Light with Shiny Surfaces – As we mentioned earlier, it’s wise to avoid going glossy on the walls; however, reflective surfaces can come in handy when it comes to bouncing light around the room. Choose accessories such as acrylic accents, mirrored surface, and objects in metallic finishes to amplify the sunlight in your space.

Reconsider Your Window Treatments – To maximize the amount of sunshine you receive, we suggest saying good-bye to dark, heavy curtains and switching them for translucent shades instead. Sheer and semi-sheer window treatments are great for letting light into the room while still providing plenty of privacy throughout the day. Want to block the light at night? Invest in blackout curtains that can be pulled all the way back during the day and closed completely at night!

Trim Up the Trees – Sometimes our outdoor view can block light from entering our home. If that’s the case, it’s time to break out the shears and trim back the bushes and trees before winter arrives! You may find that, once you cut back some persnickety branches, your home may be infused with more sunlight than you’ve seen in months or years!

Clean the Windows – We know this sort of goes without saying, but say it we shall! Cleaning your windows inside and out can have a huge effect on how much sunshine streams into your home! Simply wash the windows with a sponge and mild soapy water like dish soap, wipe them dry with a squeegee, and finish the job with the help of a soft chamois cleaning cloth.

Looking for a new home? Let us help shed some light on your search! Call The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 or visit us online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com for more information!

8 Super Thrifty Ways to Decorate for Fall

Fall Decoration.Pumpkins,Orange Candles,Cinnamon,Chestnuts and

It’s officially fall! That means it’s time to fill your home with warm colors, pumpkins, and the scents of the season. Even if you’re on a tight budget, there are still plenty of ways that you can welcome fall into your home and still make everything look stylish and chic!

Here are 8 super thrifty and clever ways you can decorate for the season:

Pick Up Some Fresh Produce – Now is the time to head to the grocery store and grab some great seasonal produce. We’re talking apples, pears, and, of course, pumpkins and gourds! Place some of your produce in a clear vase or a large wooden bowl for an inexpensive yet elegant centerpiece. Bonus points for adding in a few cinnamon sticks!

Bring in a Few Beautiful Branches – Pick a few pretty branches from the trees in your yard and have some fun decorating them inside! Whether these little branches have leaves on them still or not, you can arrange them in a tall vase, nest mini gourds and pumpkins among them, or strategically display them around the mantle. Just remember to spray them off with water, and allow them to dry in your garage before decorating with them!

Pumpkins, Pumpkins, Pumpkins! What better way to show that fall has arrived than by displaying these cute gourds inside and outside your home?! Whether you use them as they are, paint them, stripe them with tasteful Japanese washi tape, or mix and match colors, you’re sure to get that fall vibe you want with pumpkins, big and small alike!

Get Creative with Mother Nature – Remember all those pumpkins, gourds, and squash we mentioned earlier? Wouldn’t they look really neat on a tiered cake serving plate? You can also gather pinecones, nuts, acorns, leaves, and more and combine them in an enclosed vase to give a natural look to your home!

Light a Candle or Two – You know fall has arrived when you smell salty caramel, apple crumble, or S’mores in the air! Find a few fall-inspired candles, light one, snuggle up with a good book, hot tea, and a blanket, and enjoy!

(Potted) Mum’s the Word – Mums are everywhere right now, so bring one, two, or a few more into your home to evoke that fall feeling! Place potted mums in your flowerbeds, on your porch, near your fireplace, or on a mini straw bale. Whatever you do, you just can’t go wrong with mums!

Break Out the Blankets – It’s time to pull out your favorite, coziest blankets and throws and drape them over the backs of your chairs and sofas! Not only do they look stylish, but they’re also awfully nice to cuddle up in after a long day at work!

Check Out the Dollar Stores – Visit your local dollar store for some really great deals! You can find all sorts of fall goodies like wicker baskets, candles, fake flowers, and more. Use these gems to your advantage and start decorating!

How do you like to decorate for fall? Tell us on our Facebook page or leave us a comment below!

Unfinished Basement? Transform It Into One of These 8 Fun Spaces!

pool table

If your house is like most in the Midwest, it probably has an unfinished basement. This underground space is great for storing seasonal decorations, tools, extra buckets of paint, and more, but it can often be used in more efficient and fun ways!

Got an unfinished basement but not sure what to do with it? Here are 8 ideas to help your imagination cook up something fun to do with your home’s blank canvas!

Get Crafty – Tired of using your kitchen table or spare bedroom for all of your craft-making and artwork? Set up a space in the basement to decrease the mess upstairs and give yourself more square footage to break out the paints, scrapbooking material, and clay!

Set Up a Home Theater – While it might be nice to watch TV in the living room, there’s really nothing like having your own home theater in the basement. Whether you’re watching one of your favorite movies or the big game, your basement can be the perfect setting to watch it all on a big screen, complete with surround sound!

Give ‘Em a Playroom – If you have kids, then you know that playtime is critical (and pretty much unavoidable). Transform part of your basement into a playroom for your kids! Just lay down some soft carpet or rugs, bring in a few bins of toys, and watch them enjoy the ultimate playroom by themselves or with their friends!

Unwind with a Basement Bar – After a long day at work, it’s always nice to go somewhere cozy and unwind. A basement bar can help you do just that! You can also consider hosting fun wine and cheese parties for your friends (or apple cider and S’mores parties for the upcoming fall months!).

Get Fit With a Home Gym – Who needs a gym membership when you can get fit in your basement?! Whether you enjoy doing yoga, running on a treadmill, lifting weights, or some other fit activity, your basement can be the perfect place for getting tone and in shape. Best of all, you won’t have to worry about the weather or crowds!

Work Quietly in a Home Office – Working from home can be great, but it can also be distracting. Claim your own little space by turning your basement into a home office. Basements are surprisingly quiet and can help you zone in on your work, helping you check off your to-dos even more quickly!

Get Your Game On – Love board games or video games? Have you always wanted a space to shoot some pool when your friends come over? Turn your basement into a fun game room! With some couches, a table for game playing, or a billiards table, the basement can easily become the place where you entertain your guests and make awesome memories!

Live It Up in the Library – Are you a bookworm in need of a peaceful place to retreat? Create your very own library in the basement! Sunlight won’t damage your collection of books, and you can make the space as cozy as you want with soft carpet, good lighting, and, of course, comfortable spots to curl up with your favorite books!

Are you in search of your dream home with the perfect basement space? Call the experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298 to begin your search today! Remember to check out our listings online, too, at www.dianamasseyhomes.com!

7 Ways to Make a Cozy, Creative and Kid-Sized Hideaway Spot!

girl in a tepeeKids and hiding spots go together like nooks and crannies or peanut butter and jelly. They love exploring and finding tiny spaces to create little worlds of their own, read fun books in peace, or dabble with their artistic skills.

Give your kids their own little world with one of these 7 ideas for child-sized nooks, hideaways, and corners!

Put Tiny Nooks to Good Use – Got a small space like a closet or the space underneath the stairs that isn’t being used? Take advantage of this space and create a private little oasis for your child to enjoy!

Create a Top-Secret Tepee – Move over, blanket forts. Tepees are a way more awesome addition to any play space and give plenty of room for your child’s imagination to take wing! You can purchase one at a store or create your own version with some twine and bed sheets.

Don’t Forget Window Benches – Who doesn’t love a nice window bench with a beautiful view? Even if you don’t have the most beautiful settings outside, a window bench can easily act as a cozy place for your child to enjoy some “me time.”

Set Some Lofty Relaxation Goals – If you want to save space and give your child their own mini-paradise, loft beds are a good way to go. Your child can count sheep on the top bunk while playing, doing homework, or reading on the bottom bunk. It’s as easy as that!

Put Tiny Crawl Spaces to Good Use – Is there an awkward closet or crawl space (complete with a little door a la Coraline) in your home that you have no idea what to do with? This can be the perfect little getaway for your youngster!

Make a Cozy Corner – Corners can be the place that your child plays or reads without getting in the way of your main living space. All you need to do is angle furniture or bookshelves against a wall, add some floor cushions, pillows, or beanbags, and voila! You’ve created a fun space that can give your young one hours of fun!

Cover It With a Canopy – There’s something so private and cozy about a canopy. Drape one over your child’s bed, and you will create a sanctuary in an instant! Much like the tepee, you can buy a canopy at many stores or create your own by suspending fabric from curtain rods above his or her bed.

What were some of your favorite hideaways as a child? Tell us in the comments below!

10 Fun Indoor Activities to Do When It’s Too Hot Outside

aquarium

If you’ve been paying even the slightest bit of attention to the weather lately, you’ll know that it’s really hot outside. In fact, it’s so hot that the National Weather Service has issued an Excessive Heat Warning for the rest of this week in the Greater St. Louis region and the Metro East. With heat indexes reaching between 105 and 113 each afternoon and early evening, it’s wise to stay indoors, but that doesn’t mean you have to be bored!

Here are 10 fun things you can do indoors when it’s too hot to be outside. Enjoy them by yourself or with your friends and family!

Enjoy a Movie Night – Grab your friends, some popcorn, tasty snacks, and cold drinks and enjoy your favorite flicks! Jazz it up with a themed movie marathon, catch up on your favorite Netflix series together, or take turns picking out your favorite movies.

Splash Around at an Indoor Pool – Don’t want to swim outside? Try hitting up a local indoor pool instead! Try the YMCA or another gym in your area, especially if you have a membership. Don’t forget to bring a towel and a bag for your clothes!

Savor a Sweet Cold Treat – With this sweltering heat, we think it’s the perfect excuse to have an ice cream night! Grab a carton of your favorite kind or go out to a local ice cream parlor and try something totally different. It’ll keep you cool and it’s delicious! Oh, and snow cones and milkshakes count, too!

Visit an Aquarium – While it might mean braving the heat to get in and out of your car, visiting an aquarium is a great way to stay cool! Besides, you’ll get to see lots of really interesting sea creatures and maybe even learn something new. Looking for something local? Try the World Aquarium on Laclede’s Landing!

Get Creative – Host a coloring book night with your buddies and unwind together as you create something beautiful. Don’t want to color? Try making your own scrapbooks, sketching something, or coming up with a fun comic to draw out together!

Host a Marathon Gaming Session – Boot up your favorite gaming system, invite your friends over, and start playing your favorite multiplayer games! Make it even more interesting by hosting a tournament, or choose to play any type of game with your friends, whether they’re on the couch with you or playing with you virtually. There are plenty of great games out there, both old and new, to tear into and enjoy!

Put a Puzzle Together – Put your brain to work and construct one of your favorite puzzles or play a brain game with crossword puzzles or Sudoku. Make it even more fun by having your friends work on a puzzle with you. Challenge mode: get two puzzles out, split into teams, and see who can complete their puzzle faster!

Enjoy a Book – Want some quality you-time during these sweltering summer days? Grab your favorite book and a cold beverage, curl up somewhere cool and comfortable, and get lost in some wonderful literature!

Go Bowling – Head over to the closest bowling alley with your buddies and see who can get the highest score. Make it a little more interesting by having the loser buy a round of cold beverages for everyone!

Check Out Your Local Library – Libraries are so underrated and are a true hidden gem in our towns and cities. Venture over to this air conditioned-oasis to check out the collection of books, magazines, DVDs, audiobooks, and more for free!

How do you like to beat the summertime heat? Let us know in the comments below or on our Facebook page!

5 Outdoor Fire Safety Tips to Keep Your Party Fun

marshmallows over a fire pit

As you probably know from reading our previous blog, outdoor parties and summertime go hand-in-hand. Whether you’re relaxing with friends in front of a fire pit, roasting marshmallows over an open fire, or partying by the light of tiki torches in the background, it’s always smart to be prepared in case a fire breaks out.

Here are 5 helpful safety tips to help keep your outdoor activities fun for everyone this summer:

Use Caution with Open Flames – There’s nothing like using tiki torches, outdoor fireplaces, candles, and sky lanterns to create the perfect ambiance. If you choose to use these items, however, you need to be careful. The majority of home damage and fire-related injuries can happen when torches or candles are knocked over or if the flame is placed too closely to something flammable. Make sure that your candleholders are sturdy, and keep flames at least 3 feet away from anything that can burn.

Keep a Watchful Eye – It’s always smart to leave a responsible adult in charge, especially if there are children or pets around. Make sure that at least one adult is supervising any children or pets present at the party and to keep them away from open flames.

Be Smart With Campfires – Making a campfire? We suggest that you build it in a fire pit to help prevent fire from spreading. And of course, never leave your campfire unattended. When you’re finished telling spooky stories and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows, make sure to extinguish the campfire. Keep a water source nearby as well, just in case the flames get out of hand.

Try Faux Flames – If you want to take the danger factor out of the picture but still want to keep the romantic, outdoorsy ambiance alive, flameless candles and solar-powered patio torches work just fine. Battery-operated flameless candles and patio torches are safe alternatives that can put your mind at ease so you can simply enjoy your party with your friends and family!

Be Careful with Your Grill – Want to grill up some delicious brats, hot dogs, burgers, or vegetables? Go for it! Just keep the grill at least 10 feet away from structures so they won’t catch on fire. Also, be sure not to turn on the gas while the lid is closed.

Outdoor parties, campfires, and pool parties are fun summertime activities that can leave you and your guests with wonderful memories. Just make sure that you follow our 5 fire safety tips to keep your parties fun for everyone!

Don’t have the space to throw an outdoor party? Looking for your very own oasis complete with pool? Find your dream home by calling the experts at The Massey Team at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Elite Properties at (618) 791-5024 or (618) 791-9298! Don’t forget to check out our listings online at www.dianamasseyhomes.com.

7 Essential Tips for the Best Outdoor Summer Parties Ever!

backyard grilling partyIt’s officially summer, which means it’s time to get outside, soak up the sun, and enjoy everything the season has to offer! What better way to do that than with a fun summer party with all of your friends and family?

Check out our 7 essential tips to help you host an amazing outdoor party this year!

Spread the Word – While you don’t have to send physical invitations if you don’t want to (but please feel free if you do because, well, it’s fun!), make sure your guests know what’s going on. Tell them when you’ll be eating (say, between 6 and 7 p.m.), let them know if they should bring their swimsuits, and tell them what to expect if it rains (game night inside, anyone?!).

Provide Enough Seating – Check out your outdoor furniture. Do you have enough seats to accommodate your guests? If not, it’s time to get creative! Grab picnic blankets, lawn chairs, stools, and anything else that might serve as seats. Renting can also be a surprisingly feasible (and stress-free) option if you’re planning a big-time bash!

Dazzle with Ambient Lighting – Don’t let the party stop once the sun sets! Just add a little ambient lighting to keep your guests in the light. Hang strings of lights on the deck, on tree branches, or even on your fence. Add tea lights, globe string lights, and hurricane lanterns to give your party a warm, inviting glow. This will help your guests navigate their way around outside once nighttime arrives!

Keep Mosquitoes at Bay – Mosquitoes can put a damper on any party. Don’t let them stop you! Just attack their weaknesses. Get rid of any standing water the week before the party, and offer guests any bug spray or bug wipes when they arrive. Also, mosquitoes aren’t very good flyers, so plug in some fans around seating areas and the food to keep the little bugs at bay!

Cover Food Strategically – You may have other insects to contend with than mosquitoes during the summer months. Make sure to cover up any food, including appetizers, salads, and desserts with glass domes and cake stand covers to keep the bugs away (and preserve the food’s freshness). Your guests will thank you!

Stay Cool – Don’t let the heat keep you indoors! You can beat the heat with handheld fans like classic accordion fans or battery-powered fans. You can also create homemade ice-cold compresses by purchasing inexpensive washcloths, rolling them up with a rubber band, and tossing them in a cooler of ice.

Make a Killer Playlist – Who doesn’t love music at a party? Create a fun playlist of party-friendly music that will last for 5 or 6 hours. Choose classics and toss in a few newer tunes here and there to keep your guests dancing. Remember, don’t blare the music – you’ll want your guests to be able to hear each other easily when they talk!

What tips do you have for a successful summer party? Tell us in the comments below or on our Facebook page!