How to Make Your Own DIY Gallery Wall

Let’s be real, we’re not all interior designers. The truth is, you don’t have to be an interior designer to make your home look chic. With a little time and craftiness, you can transform a wall into the envy of all your friends.


Photo via Laurel Bern Interiors.

Gallery walls are all over Pinterest, but they can be in your home, too! It just takes patience to curate the right pieces to fit your style.

Flea markets are your best friend. A good gallery wall doesn’t have to cost you an arm and leg.

It’s important to have one large piece that will pull everything together. It should be what you build upon for the rest of the wall. Surround it with smaller pieces. Remember, variety is key. Don’t just use prints, especially if they’re all similar and the same size. Mix it up with other art forms of all shapes and sizes. Everything should complement one another, not be twins.

Another good rule of thumb is to keep each piece 3 inches apart. Spacing is everything.

Contrary to what you might think, picking frames shouldn’t take up your time. The artwork is the centerpiece, not the frame around it. You can get away with cheap frames, just keep them all within your color palette. If your frames contrast too drastically, it will make your gallery wall feel overwhelming.

Also, don’t hang your pieces haphazardly. It’s good to plan ahead and lay them out on the floor beforehand. Tape can be a great tool as well. If you tape the outline of your pieces on the wall, you can avoid making accidental holes. Who likes patching holes?

And most importantly, be patient. A good gallery wall doesn’t come together overnight. It takes time. If a particular piece isn’t working, don’t force it, find another piece that fits better.

How to Choose Your New Couch


Buying a new sofa is a big deal. Finding the right couch can be a lot like Goldilocks and three bears  not too hard, not too soft, just right.

Keep these tips in mind before making the big purchase.

Establish your style

First and foremost, you should figure out what kind of vibe you’re going for. What’s your esthetic? What existing furniture do you already have? The new addition should complement your existing pieces and style.


Do you spend a lot of time in your living area? Do you have kids? These are all questions to consider when selecting a new couch. If your style is more fancy, a more tailored couch may be the route for you, especially if it isn’t a room that you use constantly. If you have kids, you may want to opt for something a little more comfortable. Another important thing to keep in mind is height. If you’re taller, make sure you purchase a deeper sofa.



This one is important, especially if you’re going to look at it every day. Pick a sofa color that you can live with. If your living room is a high traffic area, pick a neutral color. It will show less wear and tear and if you decide to redo your living room in the future, it has a better chance of matching the new design. You can add pops of color with accent pillows.


How big is your space? Take measurements numerous times before buying that couch at West Elm. It’s better to double check your measurements than end up with a new couch sitting in your front lawn because it couldn’t fit through the doorway. You also don’t want the couch to overwhelm your living space. Pick something that is proportionate to the space.


Figure out how you will orient your couch. Certain shapes may fit better in certain angles. Spend time figuring out how you want your living space to flow before the new couch arrives.

Guest Bathroom Preparation

You don’t have to make your guests feel like they’re at the Ritz, but these little touches will make them feel comfortable during their stay.

You can read about our guest bedroom essentials here.

preview-full-Web_Upper Level-Water Closet_1

  • Extra towels — Make sure to have extra towels readily available. You can use your everyday towels for you, but get higher thread count ones for your guests to use during their stay with you.
  • Bath stuff — Include some bath bombs, bath salts and oils for your guests to enjoy with baths.
  • Robes — Your guests will feel appreciated and relaxed with robes on hand.
  • Reading materials — Include some recent magazines and other short reads.
  • Extra toiletries — Include extra cotton balls, Q-Tips, toothbrush, toothpaste, razors, face wash, etc. This will save your guests an extra trip to Target in case they forgot stuff during packing.
  • Shower supplies — Chances are your guests didn’t bring all of their shower supplies, so include good shampoo, conditioner, soap, etc.
  • Candles — Candles are great for relaxation. Include some subtle candle options for your guests to choose from.
  • Flowers — Flowers can brighten anyone’s day. Get some fresh local flowers to greet your guests.
  • Hamper — Don’t make them guess where to put their used towels. Place a hamper in the bathroom to make it easy.
  • Snacks — Sometimes guests get hungry outside of normal eating hours— we’re all human. Include a few granola bars or other snacks in the guest bathroom.

Now you’re all set to have a great visit with your guests!

3 Easy Recipes for Your First Few Weeks in Your New Home

467 English Oak Ln

Moving can make your already busy life even more hectic. Instead of worrying about what you’re going to cook for dinner, you should have some easy meal ideas for those first few weeks in your new home.

We’ve cooked and eaten all of these, and boy oh boy, they are tasty.

These three recipes are sure to be winners:

Crockpot Roast Beef (via 

This is a game-changer. It’s so easy and only uses a few ingredients. All you do is put a chuck roast, one packet of ranch dressing mix, one packet of au jus mix and one stick of butter in a crockpot in the morning and cook it on low. Your tastebuds will thank you come dinner time. It’s a crowd favorite.

Baked Potato Soup (via Paula Deen)

Who doesn’t love baked potatoes? Just put a one frozen bag of shredded or cubed hash browns, two cans of chicken broth, one can of cream of chicken soup, ½ cup of chopped onions and ⅓ tsp of ground black pepper in the crockpot and cook on low for the day. Then, 30 minutes before you’re ready to eat, add in one softened 8 oz. package of cream cheese. Garnish your bowl of soup with bacon, green onions and cheese. This is a “going back for seconds” kind of meal.

Pepperoni roll-ups (via Taste of Home)

If you have kids, they will love this one. All you need is your favorite crescent rolls, pepperonis and mozzarella string cheese. Grease a baking sheet and preheat your oven to 375°. Next, open the crescent roll can and cut each triangle into three smaller triangles. After that, cut each string cheese into three or four pieces, roll the pieces up with a pepperoni inside one of the triangles and bake for 10-12 minutes. Sprinkle a little garlic salt on top when they’re done and get some marinara sauce to dip them in. Delicious!

While these are all great recipes post-move, they are also great once you’re settled in. Enjoy!

Preparing Your Home for Fall and Winter

Fall means leaves changing colors, cozy sweaters and hot chocolate. But fall also means winter is coming so it’s time to prepare your home for the cooler weather.


Here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Gutters With fall come regular gutter maintenance. Leaves can pile up, so either get a ladder to clean them out, or hire someone to do the job.
  • Seal — Be sure to caulk around your windows and doors. This is an inexpensive fix that will ensure your home keeps the heat in, rather than letting it out during the chillier months.
  • Check the fireplace — It will save you more money in the long run if you have it regularly inspected.
  • Detectors — Make sure all your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors are working properly. Change batteries where necessary.
  • Water — Drain your outdoor faucets and irrigation systems. You should be prepared for the cooler weather — pipes bursting is no fun.
  • Air Conditioners — Just because you aren’t using them anymore, doesn’t mean they don’t need a little maintenance as well. Cover up your outside units with a tarp or waterproof cover to prevent rust.
  • Roof — Check the shingles on the roof. It’s better to inspect it when it’s still reasonably warm out, rather than deal with it during a snowstorm.
  • Fans — This one is super easy. Reverse the direction of your ceiling fans so that they redistribute the warm air.
  • Equipment — Cold weather is coming, so drain fuel from your yard equipment before storage.
  • Pots — Don’t leave dirt in clay pots outside. The pots will crack upon freezing.

Housewarming Party Checklist

Web_Main Level-Kitchen_1You just bought a new house. Congrats! Now it’s time to show it off to your friends and family.

Don’t worry, it’s the 21st century. You can throw your own housewarming party. And since it’s the 21st century, don’t feel pressure to send out paper invitations. If you want to, great. If not, stick with something like a Facebook event. It’s super easy. Plus, guests can see who else is going.

Now on to the fun stuff  the party checklist!


  • Finger foods are great for house warming parties. They’re easy and don’t require a lot of utensils. Pick foods that are delicious, yet easy to eat.
  • Place your food station in an accessible area. Also, try to put it somewhere that accentuates the space. So, if you have a large window with a view, put your food station there so your guests can enjoy it.


  • Stock up on the essentials, especially if you plan on having a big crowd. Make sure there is plenty of toilet paper and hand soap for the influx of people.
  • Put fresh hand towels out and keep extra towels readily available.

Living areas

  • Depending on the size of your crowd, you may have to get creative with your seating arrangements. While standing is great, no one wants to be the only one standing if everyone else is sitting down.
  • It’s probably best not to leave family heirlooms and expensive pieces out during a housewarming party. They could get knocked over and ruined. If something is near and dear to your heart, make sure it’s in a safe place before your guests arrive.


  • You want your home to smell nice and inviting. Put some candles or wall plugins around your house. Both are good options to make your new home smell great.
  • Directions, directions, directions. Make them succinct and easy. Landmarks are always good to include as well. Yes, a lot of people use GPS or the phones, but it’s always nice to have written directions as well.
  • Background music can make your party really come together. Choose a playlist that you think your guests will enjoy.
  • Pictures are always a fun way to remember events. Switch it up and have a polaroid camera float around throughout the party.
  • If you plan on giving tours, give them in waves. If you try to do a grand tour with all of your guests in tow, it can feel cramped. They won’t be able to appreciate your new space if they’re shoulder to shoulder with everyone else.

After the party

  • Thank you notes don’t go unnoticed. Write sincere thank you notes to all your guests for coming and for their gifts.
  • Relax. You threw a great housewarming party.

Guest Bedroom Essentials

Having guests visit your home is exciting. You want your guests to feel at home, or even better than “at home.” That all starts with the guest bedroom setup.


Here’s how your guest bedroom can get rave reviews:

  • Simplicity — Guests don’t want to walk into their respective bedroom and see clutter. It’s best to find another hiding place for all your yard sale items.
  • Bedding — Buy high thread count sheets and a substantial duvet/comforter. Also, make sure the mattress is comfortable. It doesn’t have to be top of the line, but it shouldn’t be a 20-year-old mattress from your college apartment either. Don’t forget the pillows. These are personal preference — whether you like down, memory foam, etc. — pick a certain kind and stick with it. Speaking of pillows, decorative pillows make a big difference. You don’t need a lot. Too many are annoying, but a few can make a bed seem more homey.PIC_2432_small
  • Reading material — Put some recent magazines and books on a shelf or in a basket under the bedside table. Don’t put a 1,000 page presidential biography, stick to short reads that your guests can enjoy at bed time.
  • Lamps — Lamps can add a lot of ambience to a room. Plus, a bedside lamp is important for your guests reading at night. The overhead light can be too bright.
  • Mirrors — Mirrors are great for a lot of things, like making a room feel bigger than it is. If your guest bedroom as small, utilize mirrors and natural light.
  • Extras — We all like different things. Be sure to include a basket of extra pillows, blankets, robes, etc. That way your guests can use what makes them comfortable.

5 Things to Keep in Mind When You Buy a House

E1.3 2nd Floor Elec Plans

If you’re buying your first home, don’t get lost in a long checklist. Here are five things to consider before you sign on the dotted line.

  1. Budget — Obviously budget is important. You shouldn’t be looking at houses out of your price range. So sit down and figure out how buying a new home will fit into your budget. You shouldn’t spend more than 30 percent of your income on buying a house.
  2. Mortgage planning — You will be at a better place, bargaining wise, if you find a lender and get pre-approved for a mortgage.
  3. Credit — This is a big one. Take a close look at your credit report to see if there are any mistakes. You don’t want your credit to be unjustly penalized and, in turn, hurt your home buying experience. A bad credit score or a below-average down payment can make the process harder than it has to be.
  4. Organize — You shouldn’t just be organizing all your belongings for a move. Before that you should be organizing all your important documents. So find all your old pay stubs, W-2s, tax returns and bank statements for the past couple of years. This will make it much easier if you already have this stuff together. You should also gather your statements from current loans. If you’ve had a landlord within the past two years, collect their contact info, too. The more prepared you are, the better.
  5. Think ahead — Do you have young children or are you thinking about having kids in the future? It’s important to consider the area you want to live in, the school systems and what the potential for growth is. You’re buying a house to turn into a home—a place where you and your family can spend the foreseeable future. Don’t just think short-term.

Baby Proofing Your Home

Those little bundles of joy are sweet and cuddly, but they’re also very curious. They will try to get their hands, and mouths, on everything. So you should take some precautions to baby proof your home and keep them safe.

baby curtis homes

Here are some basic tips to keep in mind:

  • Don’t leave small objects on the floor. This can pose a choking hazard.
  • If you have large pieces of furniture like a bookcase, make sure to secure them to the wall.
  • Safety gates are a must. Put a gate at the bottom and top of your staircase.
  • Make sure you don’t leave any appliances and heat tools plugged in.
  • Be wary of floor plants. Yes, they’re nice decorations, but some can also be poisonous.
  • Keep your furniture away from windows and blinds. It’s also smart to install cordless blinds.
  • Don’t leave cleaning supplies in reach and install child-proof locks on your cabinets.
  • If you take a bath or are cleaning your tub, never leave standing water. This goes for sinks and buckets too. It only takes a little bit of water to be dangerous to babies.
  • When you’re cooking, try to only use the back burners and leave the handles facing backward so they can’t reach them.
  • If you have small magnets, take them off your fridge. If they fall off your child could swallow them.


How a House Becomes a Home


Moving can be stressful, but remember, when you move you’re creating a new atmosphere with new memories. A house is just a house until you move in. Here at Curtis Homes, we’re dedicated to helping you find the perfect place to call home.

curtis homes mom and daughter

Here are some things you can do to make your new house a home:

  1. Add your own flare — Your decor doesn’t have to be perfect to the outside eye, just to you. If you like ceramic cats, display them. Quirky is good. If football Sundays are a big thing for you and your family, mount that big T.V. and display your team’s memorabilia.
  2. Fill it with light — It’s always great to have window treatments, but make sure they don’t take away from the natural light. Arrange your rooms so that you utilize as much natural light as possible. 
  3. Accessorize — Mirrors, lamps, rugs…The possibilities are endless. The little additions will make a huge difference. Without them, your house can feel empty and unfinished.
  4. Pictures — It’s your house. It should be filled with your memories. So hang pictures that make you smile.
  5. Smell — Remember growing up, you would go visit your friends’ houses and each one had a different smell? Not a bad smell—a good smell that was unique to that house. That’s what made it feel like a home. Soon your house will have its own smell too. Whether that’s from your detergent or your candles or your favorite dish you cook every week. 
  6. Place to put your keys — When you come home, designate an area for your keys, purse, etc. When everything has its “place,” you’ll be fully settled in.
  7. Live — Last, but not least, relax. Enjoy your new home and fill it with laughter.

Top 5 Things to Make Working at Home a Success

Working from home can be difficult, but it doesn’t have to be. You just need to choose the right house, and from that, the right room. Here are the top 5 things you should keep in mind:

  1. Space — First, and most importantly, you need to decide on where your workspace will be and set boundaries. If it is in the extra bedroom, fine, but make sure nothing non-work related is allowed in the space. You need a defined area free of distractions.Web_Main Level-Office_1
  2. Noise — It is important to choose a room that is somewhat secluded without noisy distractions.
  3. Simplicity — Just because you like that bright blue paint color, doesn’t mean you should paint your workspace that shade. Keep it simple. It should be relaxing and inviting.
  4. Furniture — Remember Goldilocks on her quest to find the perfect bed? Use the same concept for picking your work furniture. Not too hard, not too soft, just right. If you get too comfortable, you’re likely to doze off or spend hours surfing the internet. If you have a lot of work materials, get a large table to spread everything out on. Web_Main-Level-Office_2
  5. Lighting —Natural light is the best light. Put your desk by a large window and you’re set. Plus, it never hurts to have a good view!

The New Home Move-In Checklist


Everyone seems to have advice for new home buyers—your parents, your friends, the grocery store cashier—but what about after you arrive? What should you do once you close the front door and plop down on your couch?

Here are some ideas to help you start off on the right foot as you begin settling into your new house.

Get Registered
Once you move, you will have several matters of official business to take care of. First, if you have kids, make sure they are registered for their new school. Establishing a new school routine is critical to helping your children settle in.


Also, if you moved out of state, remember that your vehicles need to be registered for new license plates. Regardless of how far you moved, you will need to register your driver’s license for your new address and register to vote in your new location.

Don’t procrastinate on taking care of these things. It’s better to get them out of the way while you’re still in “moving” mode before you have the chance to forget about them.

Check Things Over
Check all of your furniture for nicks, scrapes and damages. If you used a moving company or service, they may have insurance that covers these things. If you find something is damaged, contact the moving company immediately to see what can be done about it.


Make Connections
Start making connections from the first day you move into the home. Don’t put this on the back burner. Yes, your to-do list is a mile long, but that shouldn’t stop you from running next door to say “Hi” to your new neighbors. Remember, you will be living next to these people for a long time and it’s up to you to take the initiative. You can also meet people by joining Facebook pages, local meet-ups and by checking out the local newspapers.


Don’t delay making professional connections either. You need to choose a doctor, dentist, optometrist, etc., so you know who to call when you have an emergency. Your family physician in your old state can’t help you if they’re five hours away.

You also need to learn where your nearest dry cleaner, post office and other services you use regularly are located. Choose a bank and get your accounts transferred over to the new financial institution. Find the local library and register for your library card. If you attend religious services, find time to choose a congregation. These types of connections will help you feel settled and “at home” in your new community.

Let People Know You Moved
The “change of address” form you file with the post office will only reach so many people. Contact all the companies you have accounts with and get those accounts switched to your new address. Credit cards, insurance companies and other companies that have ongoing bills with you need to know you’re moving.

When you contact the insurance company, be sure to ask them about coverage for your new home. Coverage does not automatically switch just because you’ve moved. You need to make sure that you are properly protected.

Also, send out a “We’ve moved!” email to family and friends who might need your address. When December rolls around and you aren’t getting any holiday cards, it may be because no one knew you moved! Use a change of address checklist to ensure you contacted everyone.


Moving is an exciting and overwhelming time. Having a checklist will make the job a little easier. With these guidelines, you will be well prepared for your next move.

Top 3 Reasons You Should Buy a New Home Rather Than a Resale

Curtis Homes new home

Buying new vs. buying used — what’s the best option for you? No, we’re not talking about buying a car, we’re talking about buying a house. Here are some things you should consider.

  1. Money and Energy — Many times, buying an existing home comes with a long to-do list that will cost you valuable personal time, as well as your hard-earned money. New homes are just that — new. You can start living your life as soon as you’ve unpacked, rather than delaying the process with a fixer upper. If you’re thinking about a fixer upper, determine what your budget is, then add about 20 percent for all the unexpected costs that will inevitably pop up. Another thing to remember: Today’s homes are built to today’s standards, not the 1970s or 1950s or whenever an existing home was built. New homes are built to be more efficient, even more so than just five years ago. They’re made to be more energy efficient, which in turn can lower your utility bills.467 English Oak Ln
  2. Quality and Design — This plays off of our first point, but modern construction means a more structurally sound home. That being said, new construction methods and technology will ensure that your home is up to standards. As for design, today’s homes are planned around the needs of today’s families. That means open floor plans, higher ceilings and ample storage space that you might not find in a 40-year-old home.467 English Oak Ln
  3. It’s All New — It’s nice to know that your newly-built home is covered by a 10-year warranty. Whereas, when you buy an older house you have to factor in potential costs like: What’s the remaining lifecycle on your heating and air conditioning, water heater and other essential appliances?

For more information on new home styles and our communities, click here.

What’s Trending? Smart LED Light Bulbs

Trends come and go, but what about a trend that can help you sleep better?

This trend is something you may not have considered—lightbulbs. GE launched smart LED light bulbs. Unlike normal bulbs, these bulbs can be customized to be in sync with your natural circadian rhythm. Better sleep here you come!

The C-Sleep bulbs adjust the lighting based on the time of day. Not a morning person? These bulbs will emit “crisp and vibrant” light in the morning hours to make waking up easier. Now, you still probably won’t be as happy as a rooster for the day to start, but it can help. At night, the bulbs will emit warm light to encourage drowsiness.

Don’t worry, you won’t fall asleep at 7 p.m. unless you want to. The bulbs are connected to an app so you can adjust the lighting based on your preference with the touch a fingertip.

While these lightbulbs can help you get a good night’s rest, also remember to stay away from your smartphone and TV late at night—that’s no surprise. Give your brain time to relax away from the glowing lights of electronics.

Sleep well!

Should You Buy a Home After a Divorce?

Going through a divorce isn’t an easy process, and once you’ve finalized, it’s natural to want to get your life back on track as quickly as possible. For many people that includes finding a new place to call home, but there is a lot to consider before you decide to buy.

Take a hard look at your finances—and your life—to find the best time for you to buy.

Read more

Checklist for First-time Homebuyers

Start organizing the documents you’ll need to get pre-approved.

If you are shopping for a new home, you will probably need to get a mortgage loan. And that means you will need to get some basic paperwork together. The better organized you are, the faster the pre-approval process will take.

Here are some of the documents, but not all, you will probably need:

Read more

Top 5 Reasons To Buy a New Home vs. a Used Home

With new homes offering more benefits than ever, there is no reason not to buy a new home from Curtis Homes. Here is a list of the top 5 reasons why so many home prefer new homes to used houses:

1) Design Your Dream Home Your Way: Why settle for someone else’s choices when you can select your favorite cabinets, countertops, appliances, carpets and flooring? While you’re at it, you can choose gorgeous bath and kitchen fixtures, lighting and other options that you love. Your new home will reflect your style, not someone else’s taste.

Read more

Benefits of Buying New Homes Versus Used

Today’s homebuyers have many considerations to take into account. What neighborhood will they choose? Which schools are best? What kind of downpayment should they make? One consideration that many buyers forget is whether a pre-owned home or a new home is best for their needs. Here are some factors to keep in mind when making this choice.

Read more