Apartment Living

How to Find an Apartment During the Coronavirus Pandemic

How to Find an Apartment During the Coronavirus Pandemic

I had to find an apartment during the coronavirus pandemic. Here’s how I did it.

A coronavirus apartment hunt may sound like the last thing anyone would do right now, as the virus continues to spread and shelter in place rules have been extended.

The majority of states in the U.S. have told its residents to stay home and practice social distancing. As of this writing, there are about 750,000 cases of coronavirus in the U.S., with roughly 70,000 recoveries.

Undoubtedly, coronavirus is hitting us hard, so the thought of moving in the near future felt impossible and overwhelming. I emailed my landlord, who said it would be OK to extend the lease. But because I had plenty of time to be inside, I decided to slowly start looking.

So, I started emailing apartments in prime areas in Oakland and realized that almost everyone got back to me. Competition for popular areas has gone down, and newer developments began slashing rent prices or even offering a month or two for free.

After searching for a few weeks, this is what I learned about my coronavirus apartment hunt and how to navigate this tricky landscape.

Note: With shelter-in-place in most states, it’s best to stay inside. This post is not encouraging you to move. Extend your lease or go month-to-month if you can. If you’ve lost your job and can’t pay rent, there are eviction moratoriums, depending on your state.

1. Virtual tours are a thing now

Many apartment leasing offices and landlords are adjusting to social distancing and offering virtual tours. On our partner site Apartment Guide, you can go on a virtual tour with a leasing agent or take advantage of extensive video and 3D tours.

virtual tours on apartment guide

You can then contact the property via email or phone. (Soon you’ll also be able to submit your application through the site as well.) The property will request you fill out a lease application, send the application fee and submit pay stubs. They may also ask you for your credit score and run a background check, which may be included in the application fee.

Pro tip: This is a great time to negotiate, so if you notice anything in the video that concerns you, bring it up in the follow-up conversation. For example, in the apartment I am moving into, the door to the bathroom was sticky, so I asked them to either replace the door or have it fixed.

2. Potential tenants may get to enter the unit without meeting an agent

Perhaps signing a lease on an apartment “sight-unseen” makes you uncomfortable. That’s perfectly understandable. If you’re interested in an apartment, ask if the building can leave the door unlocked.

Many places I looked at left a phone number for me to call, so I could be buzzed into the building without someone having to meet me.

3. Ask for discounts

Normally, I would never even consider asking for a discount on rent, especially for units that are in a prime location with tons of competition. However, uncertain times may mean people are willing to be more flexible, so I started asking if there were any deals they could offer me. I asked for a $150 discount on rent, and I got it.

I was also able to negotiate a temporarily reduced price on rent for the first two months.

In addition to asking for discounts on rent, you could ask if the landlord has any wiggle room for the following:

  • Discount or deferment of the security deposit
  • Waive or defer the application fee or pet fees

4. Reiterate the fact that you’re a stable tenant

It’s a good time to be braggy. Landlords are probably feeling the strain of filling empty apartments and want to know they’re renting to the right person, not the only person.

Give them peace of mind by showing them your strong credit score, your steady income and zero prior evictions.

man moving during coronavirus

5. Stagger your schedule with movers

This part might be tricky, because many moving businesses may be temporarily shut down due to coronavirus. Start by asking the landlord or management office if they know of any movers who are still operating.

At the time of writing, TaskRabbit, an online service with individual helpers and movers, is still open, however, they’re adhering to the social-distancing mandate.

Pack your valuable items ahead of time and leave the big stuff for the movers.

It may be challenging, but on moving day, you could pack your car ahead of time and head over to your new place before the movers, so you’re staggering the schedule and potentially lessening physical interaction.

Making the decision to move or stay put

Moving to a new place is stressful enough — throw a worldwide pandemic into the mix and it just got that much more stressful.

If you’re not finding a lot of places offering virtual tours or keyless entries (without having to meet someone at the building), consider going month-to-month or asking your building or landlord if they can extend your lease.

Of course, the best-case scenario would be to stay put until the virus is better contained and shelter in place orders are lifted.

Remember to always stay six feet apart from others in public, wear a mask and wash your hands with soap and hot water for at least 20 seconds when you return home.

Published at Tue, 21 Apr 2020 12:05:14 +0000

Apartment Living

Finally, a Practical Rug That Actually Makes Sense in a Kitchen

Finally, a Practical Rug That Actually Makes Sense in a Kitchen

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Using a rug or a mat in a kitchen instantly adds color, texture, and comfort. The only problem is that kitchens are, by nature, prone to spills and messes, so a lot of traditional area rug materials and styles are impractical for maintenance reasons. You can certainly go the route of an indoor/outdoor rug, but if you want patterns that feel a little less, say, tropical outdoor oasis, then Tempaper’s new vinyl rugs might be exactly what you’re looking for. Best of all, they won’t add much to your workload, because getting rid of stains is as simple as just wiping them with a damp cloth.

You might know Tempaper for their peel-and-stick wallpaper—they were one of the first brands in the removable game. But this launch doesn’t require installation beyond rolling out one of the rugs. Available in six sizes, 13 patterns, and starting at just $60, these designs are great for those high trafficked areas in your home (like a dining room or breakfast nook, in addition to a kitchen). Dropping food and drink is pretty common in those areas, especially if you have young kids, but with a vinyl rug, you can still define these spaces and add a hit of color—without worrying about cleanup.

I love that there are circle shapes in this collection, since curves seem to bring a bit of visual calmness to a room. They’re also great in smaller spaces where you can’t fit a full sized rectangular rug. And if you or someone in your home has allergies, these kinds of rugs can be a great alternative for that as well, since they don’t have any fibers or crevices that tend to catch additional dust and dirt.

If you want to use one of these guys outside, that’s okay, too. They’re contract-grade and have been treated to withstand the elements. Only thing to keep in mind—heeled shoes and furniture feet can cause dents, so make sure your shoes are off when you walk on them, and you’re using felt pads on your furniture feet. But other than that, think of these rugs as having all the benefits vinyl flooring has, with an extra hit of style.

Published at Tue, 21 Apr 2020 20:00:00 +0000

Apartment Living

Going Dark on Social Media

Going Dark on Social Media

Going Dark on Social Media

Weidner Apartment Homes, the 15th largest owner of apartments in the US, announced in December of 2019 that it will suspend it’s use of Facebook to better protect the privacy and data of its residents and business operations. They will be looking at new in-house options that are safe, secure and easy to use. (Source: Multifamily Press) That’s why Central Media Solution added Call Assist 24/7 to their suite of print solutions for Multifamily.

Many companies are starting to “go dark” with their print marketing in the past few years. They believed that people would prefer using the internet versus reading a magazine. This was another example of a bold decision. Who takes the time to read any more? Lots of folks.  Print does not require another new password or leave a trail of cookies with every page that you turn. It provides a story through content and pictures.  Central Media Solution is a publisher of many targeted magazines such as Apartment Magz and  New Homes Monthly and their latest pub, The Vender Guide. People are craving for print once again. Especially our seniors who prefer print than Internet as the Boomer generation downsizes to look for an apartment home.

Fake news has been an ongoing concern and alternative facts are now accepted as commonplace. (Source: The Guardian) Facebook has suspended about 400 apps associated with developers.  Many people are returning to conventional venues for information such as newsprint, radio and TV. Weidner is looking for simple and easy to use solutions to communicate with their residents. But can we just disconnect from social media? And why are we as consumers so easily addicted to “likes” and “shares”?

Technologies improved our daily living.  It can be used to enhance our lives. Social media gives people a forum to express their opinions and connect with companies, family and friends. At first the multifamily industry was very cautious of social. Then we dipped our big toe in the Facebook ocean to see what would happen. Negative and positive reviews poured into our profile pages. These negative reviews were scary, but we learned that they are an opportunity to show how we respond to our residents and solve their issues. That’s telling a positive story. We focused on increasing our followers, post likes and linked our websites to channel our leads in-house creating SEO. Is Social media a monster to be tamed or another solution in our leasing toolbox?

Each company will have to NAVIGATE their way through the fake news and concerns of data safety. Is Weidner being a visionary by “going dark” on Facebook? Planning to look for simple, safe and easy technology is a very smart decision indeed. That’s why Central Media Solution has created Call Assist 24/7 . Its simple, easy call management platform designed with feedback from on-sites in multifamily. It has no Apps, snap photo feature and uses the native tools our cell phones to communicate in real time. And all info is easily updated and stored in the cloud. Call Assist 24/7 is a game changer for call management… just what you are looking for now!

Published at Thu, 30 Jan 2020 13:51:22 +0000

Apartment Living

Before and After: This Rental-Friendly Patio Redo is a Plant-Lover’s Dream

Before and After: This Rental-Friendly Patio Redo is a Plant-Lover’s Dream

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

Big-city rentals that also feature outdoor space are a rare find. Bev Wilson, of Room Sauce, and her fiancé knew they were fortunate to snag the top two floors of a Brooklyn brownstone that also featured a patio off the the kitchen. They loved the space, but, Bev says, it looks directly onto a busy street as well as neighboring yards. “This is expected in the city and not a big deal, but we ended up not using the space as much because of this issue,” Bev says.

After using the patio for a while as it was, they decided to look for a fast way to add privacy. They knew they wanted something easy to put up, but it also had to be easy to take down—they lived in a rental, after all. So Bev came up with a smart solution: use bamboo fences and faux greenery to create a plant wall.

Bev and her fiancé did the project over a couple of days, using zip ties to secure bamboo fencing to the already-existing metal railings. Then, Bev covered the bamboo with panels of faux greenery in a gardenia leaf style that she scored on Amazon, also using zip ties to keep that in place. Add in comfy furniture and potted plants, and you’d never believe this little outdoor oasis sits in the middle of one of the most bustling cities in the country.

“This simple project completely transformed our patio,” Bev says. “Blocking the view of the busy street made our outdoor space much more serene and it now feels very private.”

Plus, she says, “I was surprised by how real the greenery trellis looks and it has held up very well.” A solid endorsement for anyone looking to create their own little outdoor escape!

Inspired? Submit your own project here.

Published at Mon, 13 Apr 2020 22:30:00 +0000

Apartment Living

What You Need to Know to Get Coronavirus Mortgage Relief

What You Need to Know to Get Coronavirus Mortgage Relief

Mortgage lenders, and the federal agencies that regulate lenders, are putting coronavirus mortgage relief measures in place to ensure homeowners have options if they’re unable to make payments.

Your first stop in the face of financial hardship is your lender or bank.

Just keep in mind lenders are working to figure out and implement the new mortgage relief polices outlined by the regulatory agencies. So you might read one thing from the FHFA, a federal regulator, but your bank might be doing something else.

In addition, due to the number of homeowners affected by the pandemic, lenders are dealing with a crush of calls and online queries. Be patient, persistent, and prepared to spend time on hold.  

Here are the resources you need now.

Your Mortgage

Federally Backed Mortgages
If you have a mortgage backed by Federal Housing Administration (FHA), Veteran’s Administration (VA), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Fannie Mae, or Freddie Mac, your loan servicer must offer you deferred or reduced mortgage payment options – called forbearance — for up to six months. This means you don’t have to pay your mortgage and you won’t be charged late fees, penalties or interest while you can’t pay.

Loan servicers for FHA, Freddie, and Fannie must provide an additional six months of forbearance if you request it. 

Not sure who backs your own loan? Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have loan look-up sites where you can find out who owns it, and how to get in touch with them.

In addition, here are direct links to some lenders and banks’ Covid-19 resources:

Mortgages Not Federally Backed
If your mortgage is one of the 5 million in the United States not backed by a federal entity, the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which includes a coronavirus mortgage relief mandate, doesn’t apply. But regulators have encouraged those lenders to work with borrowers who can’t pay their mortgages, and most banks and other lenders are suspending mortgage payments or offering forbearance.

The level of relief you get will depend on who owns your loan. Contact your lender to find out what’s available.

Regardless of the type of loan you have, you must apply for coronavirus mortgage relief through their mortgage servicer. That’s the entity that collects your monthly payments and decides how long the assistance will last. When you reach your mortgage servicer, you’ll need to explain your situation and provide information about your income, expenses and assets. 

Foreclosure and Evictions

Federal officials have imposed a nationwide halt to foreclosures and evictions for more than 36 million Americans with home mortgages backed by the FHA, Fannie Mae, and Freddie Mac.

The moratorium only affects borrowers with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, FHA, VA, and RHS (Rural Housing Service loans through the USDA). This doesn’t apply to the roughly 35% of mortgages held in bank portfolios and private label securities. But some individual lenders are offering relief.

Some cities, counties, and states, including Delaware, Indiana, Kansas, Louisiana, New Hampshire, North Carolina and Texas, have placed a moratorium on foreclosures. Check with your city, county and state governments. Find state-by-state tallies online.

Housing Counselors

Another tool in your relief toolbox are housing counselors. Counselors can provide independent advice on buying a home, renting, defaults, foreclosures, and credit issues. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s look-up tool lets you can find counselors in your state.

Your Credit

The CARES Act forbids lenders from dinging your credit score for missed payments on federally backed mortgages and student loans during your forbearance period. The federal government is also encouraging private lenders to suspend reporting late payments on eligible mortgages. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has more advice about protecting your credit.

By law, you can get a free annual credit report from each of the three credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Note that these reports don’t include credit scores. Equifax offers six free credit reports every 12 months through December 2026 if you sign up for a myEquifax account

Your Student Loan

The CARES Act includes immediate relief for those who can’t make their monthly payments on federally held loans due to coronavirus. All loan payments (both principal and interest) are suspended through Sept. 30, 2020, with no penalty. You don’t need to apply for this program or contact your lender. It’s automatic.

If you keep making payments, they’ll be applied entirely toward the principal. These suspended payments will count towards any student loan forgiveness already in effect.

Here’s a list of servicers — and their phone numbers — for loans backed by the U.S. Department of Education.

Some loans under the Federal Family Education Loan (FFEL) program and some Perkins Loans not owned by the Department of Education aren’t eligible for suspended payments. Nor are private student loans owned by banks, credit unions, schools, or other private entities. If you can’t make payments, contact your loan servicer to find out what options are available. Many are offering ways, like forbearance, to postpone payments.

Not sure who your servicer is? Look on your most recent statement and contact the servicer immediately.

If your student loan is already in default, the relief act immediately suspends wage garnishments or tax refund deductions. They’ll resume after the suspension ends.

Find out more about student loan relief at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

Your Taxes

The IRS has pushed back the deadline for filing and payment of federal taxes to July 15, 2020. Many states are following suit. Check with your state tax agency, or see this list from the American Institute of CPAs for details on deadlines.

Related: Tips to Get Filing Ready for (Delayed) Tax Deadline

Your Real Estate Transaction

If you’re going to be buying or selling a home in the near future, find out if your county recording office can complete the deal online.

In addition, more than half of states, many under emergency state directive, allow for remote online notarization of documents. This makes it safe and easy to complete real estate transactions under social distancing orders. The number of states allowing remote notarization could grow as pandemic legislation expands.

Your Appraisal

Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have provided detailed appraisal alternative guidelines, so homeowners and appraisers can practice social distancing on Freddie and Fannie loans through May 17, 2020.

FHA, VA, and RHS are also allowing variations on the usual appraisal protocol. Check with your servicer for details.

Look Out For Scams

Fear breeds scams. And scammers are out in full force during the pandemic. Beware of third parties offering mortgage assistance and other help. Seek help from your lender directly.

For information on circulating scams and guidance on identifying them, visit the Federal Trade Commission website.  

With additional reporting by Christina Hoffmann

Published at Tue, 07 Apr 2020 13:23:42 +0000

Apartment Living

How to Host a Video Meeting When Working from Home

How to Host a Video Meeting When Working from Home

Video conferencing is becoming the new normal across the U.S. as more and more people begin to work remotely.

As simple as it used to be for us to walk into a conference room, sit down and have a face-to-face meeting, a lot more effort goes into hosting one from your home office, especially if it’s a makeshift workspace you set up due to the coronavirus pandemic.

But with the right preparation, look and presence, you can become a video meeting expert in no time.

1. Pick the right software

There’s a lot of video conferencing software out there, and each one takes its own approach to virtual meetings. You want to find an option that has a good reputation for working, fits your needs and is user-friendly.

Take into consideration the most tech-savvy member of your team, as well as the ones who struggle with simple applications when making a selection. Some of the most popular video conferencing software, according to G2, includes:

  • Zoom
  • Skype
  • Cisco Webex Meeting
  • GoTo Meeting
  • Google Hangouts

zoom meeting

2. Have the right equipment

Besides picking the right video conferencing software, you’ll want to get some extra equipment. Your computer should include a usable camera and microphone, but you’ll also want a good set of earbuds to drown out background noise and distortion.

It’s also good to have an extra way to take notes during your meeting. Typing on the same computer where you’re hosting your meeting can get complicated, and takes you away from the conference screen. Keep a tablet handy if you have an extra device or go old-school with a pad of paper and pen to take meeting notes.

3. Test everything

Before hosting your first virtual meeting, make sure everything works. From a dry-run with your conference software to testing your equipment, ensure everything is ready to go when your meeting rolls around. “Avoid the embarrassment of delays and technical glitches by testing the connectivity of all sites before the meeting,” says Faith Thomas from Inc.

Too often, the start of a video conference gets delayed as you mess with stuff on your end that’s not working. Sometimes it happens while you’re on camera. Other times you leave attendees waiting around for your software to come online. Either way, these delays will make you seem less professional, so try to avoid them.

4. Dress to impress

It’s become a common joke that working from home means never having to get out of your PJs. That’s not the case if you’re video conferencing. At least on top, your wardrobe should include clothing you’d wear on a normal day to the office. You should also style your hair like you’re leaving your home and put on makeup if that’s part of your routine. This all helps give your video meeting a more professional feel even though everyone is sitting around at home.

When deciding what to wear, solid colors work best. You should also do a quick mirror check before logging into your meeting. Make sure there’s no food in your teeth and nothing on your face. Keep your meeting room a good temperature, so you won’t have to fiddle with adding or removing layers while talking.

man on video call

5. Get the best picture

Lighting conditions can seriously impact video quality during a virtual meeting. Make sure you have enough light in the room so your image isn’t grainy, and commit to one type of lighting, natural or artificial. If using natural light, don’t sit with windows behind you. This position increases glare and can make you hard to see. Lighting coming in from the sides will make you look best, according to Meredith Hart from OWL Labs.

Frame the camera in a way that feels natural, like how people would look at you face-to-face. Position your computer so you can easily look at the camera and keep it close enough to give a headshot view.

Opt for a simple background with a light-colored wall. White works great since light bounces off and helps to brighten up the space. Keep your personal space off camera. Your co-workers don’t want to see your laundry or dirty dishes.

6. Keep it professional

When you’re not the only one at home, keeping it professional during a virtual meeting can be a challenge. Avoid interruptions or people walking past your shot if possible. Post a “Do Not Disturb, Quiet Please” sign if you have a door to close. Have a quick conversation with your family, partner or roommate if you’re hosting a meeting in an open area.

Treat each video conference like you’re connecting with attendees in person. A video call is no excuse to divide your attention. Show respect to whoever is speaking by maintaining eye contact. While you’re speaking to the group, try to look at the camera rather than your screen. It helps listeners feel like you’re looking at them directly.

Don’t forget to use the mute feature to keep out all background noise. Tell attendees you’re muting everyone who’s not talking to keep things quiet, and if they want to speak up they can unmute themselves or raise their hand. You’ll need to make sure your home is especially quiet as the host. When you’re listening, mute yourself.

It’s not so different

Using these tips to successfully host a video meeting from your home will help ensure you maintain a professional and collaborative space for remote work. Treat your virtual meeting like you’re all sitting in the same conference room, and you should have no problem earning the reputation as a virtual meeting aficionado.

Published at Tue, 07 Apr 2020 13:35:25 +0000

Apartment Living




We are made of tough stuff. Now more than ever before, we need to know that we will make it through this unprecedented COVID-19 global health emergency. As an industry multifamily will remain a strong player in the US economy. But what will be the impact of this national health crisis for apartment housing?

As we look for answers in the short term, one thing is clear, no one really knows what may and can happen.  This is the time to pull together as a country and help our residents the best way we know.  First and foremost, communication will be crucial. Some apartment communities have a broadcast text or email system to keep their residents well informed in real time. Message Assist from @CallAssist247 is a simple easy way to message your residents via phone, text or email. Remote messaging is the best way to continue to maintain physical distancing. We need to be social as isolation can lead to depression and sadness for many.

In the short term, The National Apartment Association has given guidelines for their members and has been key in trying to keep pace with an event that changes hour by hour. As rents are at an all-time high and the typical renter is spending close to half of their income on rent, April 1st there will be delinquency. NAA suggests that there is no easy cookie cutter approach for how to handle default rent, but to take each situation on a case by case scenario. Perhaps partial payments? There will be many residents who have never missed a rent payment and may need to choose between food and rent. Local governments may offer some solutions. You can be helpful and keep abreast of these local resources to help your residents. Are there local food banks or state agencies that can offer some financial assistance?

What can we expect moving forward for our industry? Again no one has a crystal ball. Shelter is a basic need. Possible recession is a distinct possibility. Historically the apartment sector overall is likely to weather a recession well. We may see mobility slow as eviction and foreclosure processes evolve. The shortage of work force housing will be exacerbated by job losses from the service sector. And perhaps as more of us are working from home, the demand for commercial real estate will lessen. (Source:

We survived the subprime mortgage crisis in 2008, Black Monday in 1987 and recession in 1975. Often our greatest opportunity lies in our biggest challenges. With the strength of our nation, we will make it through this unprecedented global health crisis. As we pulled together as a country during 9/11, we will make it through Covid-19 as we are made of tough stuff!

Published at Thu, 26 Mar 2020 10:48:45 +0000

Apartment Living

25 Brilliant Ideas for Creating a Super Stylish TV Wall

25 Brilliant Ideas for Creating a Super Stylish TV Wall

We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission.

A television is great for movie nights and binge-watching favorite shows. But TVs aren’t always the easiest things to decorate around, especially if they’re large. In a perfect world, you wouldn’t allow your television to take up precious space on a console or media stand. But mounting a TV on the wall isn’t always an option, especially if you are in a rental. Even if you can hang your television, figuring out the right height for that can be a challenge.

“People tend to mount TVs too high, which puts the neck in an unnatural, uncomfortable position while watching,” says Laura Webb, design center director at Artful Provisions. “As a simple rule of thumb, your TV looks best mounted six to eight inches above a media cabinet or other piece of furniture that functions in the space.”

That said, there isn’t a definitive rule for styling the rest of the wall around your TV, whether mounted or not. TVs generally look nice against neutral wall shades such as whites, off-whites, and grays. If you’re looking to camouflage your screen a bit, you may consider going with a dark paint color like black or surrounding your TV with a vibrant gallery wall, so it blends in. Check out some of our favorite TV wall ideas below, and maybe you’ll be inspired to finally figure out how to decorate around your screen.

1. Create a Photo Display

Blogger Mary Ann Pickett designed a black-and-white photo wall surrounding her son’s TV. This decorating move keeps the space looking calm and collected but adds some visual interest when the television is not on. If you’re looking for a clever way to showcase those favorite family pictures, this might be the right solution for you.

Blogger Jordan Kahn also got creative with black-and-white photography in her space. The best part of this setup is that there is no right or wrong pattern in which to display your photos. Choose a style and frame type that most appeals to you, and go to town! You can choose a more freeform arrangement for your photos, as seen in the previous example. Or you can take a more structured grid-like approach, as Kahn did here.

3. Select a Serene Background

The Samsung Frame TV is a great option for anyone who wants to transform their television into a work of art. Just pick a background or piece of art from their options to keep on the screen, then shock your guests when ESPN suddenly appears on it with just a click. Blogger Carrie Waller decided to group her Samsung TV with a couple of other frames to create a mini gallery wall with boho flair above her console. That way, the television blends in seamlessly with its surroundings when it’s not on. Yes, this idea works best with thin televisions, but you can get a similar effect by mounting any flatscreen TV this way.

4. Let Your Furniture Do the Talking

If your TV is displayed above an intricate piece of furniture like the geometric inlay dresser in blogger Kat Tanita’s bedroom, keep the surrounding wall quiet and clean to draw attention downward. Mounting a bedroom TV is an excellent solution, particularly if you’re living in a small space. Kat is able to use the dresser top to hold getting ready essentials, while still being able to watch her favorite shows from bed.

Blogger Chrissy McDonald also owns a Samsung Frame TV and styled it solo in her living room. She picked a traditional background that complements the neutrals in the room, and the piece could easily be mistaken for an oversized piece of art! Keeping styling simple lets the background truly shine in her space. If you have a smart flatscreen television, you could recreate this same effect with a favorite free wallpaper or family photo, too.

6. Play Up Your Built Ins

Blogger Kelly Larkin hung her TV above her living room fireplace and let her preppy accessories on the nearby shelves do the talking. If your television is displayed between built-ins that are styled out like this, try to keep the background behind the television itself simple and clutter-free, so as not to create too much visual stimulus. This will also help you focus on what you’re watching.

Blogger Katrina Blair implemented a similar setup in her living room, which once again demonstrates how a placing a television atop plain white backdrop certainly isn’t boring when there are built ins involved. You can even use the surface directly below the television for a few objects, too. Just be sure to choose things that fit below the screen—or on its sides—so you aren’t obstructing the view.

Blogger Joanna Charron’s television blends right into her colorful, modern gallery wall! Her design proves that there’s no need to sacrifice personality and whimsy in order to incorporate technology into a space. Also, if blending your television into a gallery wall is your goal, don’t be afraid to add shelving and greenery to the setup. Anything you’d use in a regular wall art arrangement is fair game.

9. Embrace Your Minimal Side

Prefer a minimalist look? Blogger Mackenzie Horan kept the wall behind her TV crisp, clean, and simple. Blue-and-white accents atop the media console tie in with her living room’s color scheme without overwhelming the space. And yes, you can totally use lamps around your television as long as you keep them to the sides of the screen (and keep them off while the TV is in use to prevent glare).

Blogger Ashley Fultz also opted for a more minimalist look, and her television fits perfectly in the space above her fireplace. If you prefer a sleek and modern space, such a setup is definitely ideal.

That said, if white walls don’t strike your fancy, any solid color is a safe bet. A navy blue in blogger Colleen Pastoor’s bedroom actually helps her television set blend into the space, no additional steps required. Black is also an ideal color for achieving this effect. Just remember to balance out that darkness with bright furnishings, as Pastoor did here with her white dresser and drapery. It also helps that she gets a lot of natural light in her room.

12. Eliminate the Need for Extra Tables

Michelle Scheibe added her own built-ins to her home while leaving room for a television to hang front and center. One perk of this design scheme is its space-saving element—there’s no need for a console or media stand, but the overall effect has a furniture-like feel. If you can’t splurge on custom built-ins, you could try recreating this look on a budget with two bookcases flanking either side of your television.

13. Decorate Below the TV

If your built-in shelving comes with a bench area as seen in this Australian home, don’t be afraid to jazz that surface up with some plants or other small items. A little greenery can go a long way, even when you are unwinding inside and streaming Netflix.

14. Add Comforting Accents

Blogger Marly Dice had a large wall to fill around her TV, but she truly transformed the space with her photo frames and other accessories, including a blanket ladder. The television set is still the center of attention, but its presence is toned down with calming accessories and a soothing, soft palette.

Blogger Dabito went bold and colorful with his Frame TV and styled it in a bedroom that couldn’t look like a more vibrant place to hang out. Like others with this television, he supplemented the background he chose with equally stunning pieces of framed artwork. And again, you could get a similar effect to this with any flatscreen really, even if it just looks like a black rectangular box most of the time—it’ll still blend in better than if it were by itself on a wall.

Love shiplap? Make like blogger Becky Daly and design your own shiplap-backed entertainment center. Give your walls the attention they deserve by keeping other artwork and accessories to a minimum.

Blogger Christina Dennis of The DIY Mommy created a shabby chic TV gallery wall on a budget to enhance her living room. A little paint, some printed artwork, a vintage-inspired clock, and some fabric scraps went a long way in her space.

Blogger Jess Keys mounted her TV over a fireplace for an extra cozy movie watching setup. Keeping the walls simple and art-free helps draw attention to the gorgeous, color-filled rug that she chose for her space.

When creating a serene space, you’ll always want to keep excess decor and artwork to a minimum. Blogger Tyler of Girl Meets Gold created the most relaxing living room while working with design service Havenly, eliminating extraneous pieces around her television in favor of a simplified look. This is often your best bet if you’re placing a television on a small stretch of wall, like the bump-out fireplace area seen above.

20. Add Some Charm to Your Mantel

If you don’t have room to hang artwork surrounding your TV, a little mantel decor can go a long way! Blogger Caitlin Covington placed oversized lanterns on either side of her television set to add a bit of classic coziness to her living space.

21. Address That Cord Situation

Blogger Diane Henkler was determined to find a solution for hiding pesky cords beneath her mounted TV, and a sideboard was the answer. By drilling a few holes, she was able to turn the buffet into a storage system that also camouflaged necessary but unsightly cables.

Bloggers Sherry and John Petersik also found a creative camouflaging solution that doesn’t involve drilling into a piece of furniture but rather required moving around a power strip and installing an in-wall cord system. The couple has a full step-by-step tutorial on their site.

23. Think Outside the Box

Just because your living room has a fireplace doesn’t mean you’re required to hang your TV above it. Blogger Shelley Westerman chose to mount her television beside her fireplace and surrounded it with a stunning gallery wall. This bold decorating move wouldn’t have been possible if she had mounted the TV over the fireplace, due to lack of space. Do what works best for you and your room.

This Cape Town home is another example of a situation where hanging a television over the fireplace wouldn’t be feasible (placing a sofa across the room would render the bar area unusable). Since the room already features a large piece of art, keeping the area surrounding the TV frame blank keeps the space looking nice and neat.

Blogger Jules Hunt of Om and the City customized her Samsung TV by setting the background to feature some of her favorite personal photographs. This is an excellent way to display meaningful peaces while still contributing to a light, airy, and clutter free look.

Published at Tue, 31 Mar 2020 17:00:00 +0000

Apartment Living

Hand Shake Replacement: Elbow Bump, Fist Bump, Or Wave?

Hand Shake Replacement: Elbow Bump, Fist Bump, Or Wave?

Originally posted on March 27, 2020 8:46 am

Updated on March 26, 2020 9:14 am

Over a decade ago, founder of TechCrunch Mike Arrington ranted about why we should all stop shaking hands as a ritual in all things business and social. He cited all the germs and unhealthy reasons we shouldn’t do it, and suggested some alternatives like bowing and fist bumping.

The Elbow Bump

For some reason he was anti elbow-bump, but if you’ve ever met him, Mike Arrington is super tall and tended to wander Palo Alto’s University Ave walking his dog. Elbow bumping someone much shorter than you while getting tangled with a dog leash is probably awkward. For those of us on the shorter side, I’ve come to terms with the unequal height bump, which usually requires some raised arm-pit action. It’s not bad in the winter, but I can see problems in Bay Area weather and attire.

Image result for elbow bump or handshake

Fist Bump

The Fist Bump seems to be a hybrid of sorts. You are still touching the other person’s exposed skin, and any germs on their knuckles. The fist also defeats one of the original medieval purposes of the handshake: to show the other side you are not holding a weapon. Or for more modern times, fist bumping just feels more of a bro-culture move, further promoting Brotopia as Emily Chang would say, and alienating those who prefer the more gentle and empathetic hand shake.

The Wave

Not a bad alternative for the anti-elbow people. As a software engineer an introvert, I like the wave because it is what we call an order-one algorithm. In the old hand-shaking world, if you meet 5 new people in a meeting, you feel obligated to shake all 5 hands. It gets increasingly strange when you hit a room of say, 9 people — small enough that it’s weird to leave anyone out, but not large enough where it’s obviously too impractical.

I’m a fan of the wave, but its biggest strength is also its biggest weakness. It isn’t personal. You wave at the whole room, or these days, at the entire Zoom gallery view of collaborators. Perhaps in this work-from-home era, we will learn to get more efficient and turn greeting rituals from linear order-N processes into order-one.

One solution is the wave and mini-nod. You can still personally greet or say goodbye to a small group of 3 or 4 people, if you wave at each one, one-by-one, and sort of nod your head to each one. And if the crowd is too big, you can convert it to a mass wave to all of them. You pan the room while waving, as if your hand were a flame-thrower or shower head, and you’ve engulfed everyone in the spray.

What solutions do you have for navigating the post handshake world?

Published at Fri, 27 Mar 2020 12:46:25 +0000

Apartment Living

Millennials and Boomers: The Best of unlikely friends

Millennials and Boomers: The Best of unlikely friends

Millennials and Boomers: The Best of unlikely friends

My daughter sat down next to me and looked like she had something serious to say. “Mom you don’t look as old as grandma did to me when she was your age.” At first, I thought that this was a compliment, but after a moment of reflection, I wasn’t sure if it was a compliment, or more of a statement of fact. So I said “what makes you think that I look younger”? She said that my clothes were trendy, and I have a lot going on in my life. My new position as the National Sales Manager for @Callassist24/7 has been an exciting challenge. I have always been passionate about the multifamily industry and about helping people find solutions to make their lives easier. Call Assist 24/7 has a simple solution for call management that makes communication with apartment residents seamless by using the native tools in our cell phones to text.

We are in a unique time in the multifamily industry history where we are experiencing a strong period of high occupancy. As the Baby Boomers look to downsize as they retire, they are moving into apartments in unprecedented numbers. (Source: Housepedia)  Strapped by huge student loan debt, the Millennials find that renting an apartment suits their needs financially. They want the flexibility that home ownership cannot provide. How will these two groups relate to one another co-habituating in the same apartment community?

One group likes to read print and the other group prefers to tweet, post, like and share their communication. Central Media Solution has the perfect answer with their print for both generations. @ApartmentMagz is a targeted apartment publication that gives you the option to hold and read a magazine or the ability to see it on a mobile device. Both generations are seeing the same content, but in a manner that makes them both feel comfortable. In addition, a vanity URL in the ads will offer both groups the option to go directly to the website of the apartment community to see more information.

If my daughter doesn’t view me as “old”, then I won’t view her as an internet obsessed young’un. As age and circumstances have brought these two groups together, all for one and one for all, they can help each other. Boomers have much to learn from Millennials about technology and creating sustainable environments. We raised these young adults to make the best decisions that they can by sharing our failures and successes. Age diversity makes for a strong sense of community. When we have communities, neighborhoods will grow strong and we will be better for it.

Published at Thu, 05 Mar 2020 12:51:56 +0000