Framingham MA Real Estate | Judy B Leerer, Realty Executives Boston West


Humans have been thinking about the way they decorate their homes for thousands of years. In ancient India, Vastu shastra (literally, "the science of architecture") has been informing decorating techniques since as early as 6,000 BCE. The more commonly known influence for home decorating, feng shui, has its roots in ancient China where practitioners were inspired by astronomy. In the early 1900s, however, a modern science was founded that attempts to solve some of the problems that arise based on our environments. Environmental psychology is a field that focuses on the interplay between humans and the environments they live and work in. Scientists have studied the way humans (and other animals, like rats) are affected by their environment. Their findings help to inform us of how we can live more relaxed or focused based on how we decorate our home and workplace.

A place to call your own

As society becomes increasingly urbanized, many psychologists are studying the problems that arise from being in constant contact with one another, both physically and in the digital world. One thing that scientists have discovered is that it is important for humans to have a place of sanctuary during their day. Whether this is your cubicle at work, your home office, or your tool shed, everyone needs a place they can be alone. Ask yourself if your home setup provides you with a space that you can go to be alone.

How colors can affect mood

Have you ever been in a school or hospital that was painted an awful color that just made you uncomfortable? Many of us have trained ourselves to adapt and live with environments that aren't ideal for us. For example, the bright red walls of McDonald's or the blinding fluorescent lights in a department store probably aren't conditions we'd pick for our homes. Scientists have discovered that there is a correlation between colors, brightness, and our mood. Try to match the colors of your rooms with their functions. For example, you wouldn't want to paint your bedroom bright red, as your bedroom should be a place you can relax to fall asleep. Instead, go with a less-pronounced color for the bedroom.

The balance between cluttered and sterile

Much of the way we choose to decorate our homes is informed by our childhood. If you learn meticulous cleaning habits from your parents, you might carry on with this into adulthood. As a child, you probably went to a friend's house and marveled at how differently they did things. Part of that lesson is learning that the way someone chooses to decorate and clean their home is part of their personality. But like most things in life, it's important to find a balance. If you find yourself restless or distracted you should ask yourself if the room is too cluttered or messy. Maybe it's the opposite; you could just as easily become distracted or uncomfortable by an environment that is too sterile looking.

Listen to yourself

The most important thing to remember when decorating your home is to follow your intuitions. Decide if you decorated a room a certain way because that's what everyone else does or if it actually makes you feel more at home.

If you’re looking to make changes to your home in a big way but don’t have the time or the budget, there’s plenty of things that you can do in order to bring your home to another level without breaking the bank. 


Look From The Outside In


Enhancing the landscaping and curb appeal of your home can be an easy project to add value and comfort to your home. Whether you’re getting ready to sell or you just want to feel more at home, making your home look more inviting from the outside is a worthwhile project. 


Open Some Space


Just knocking down a wall can make a huge difference in your home. Once a wall is removed, it can really transform your space. Be careful though, as knocking down a wall where plumbing is or electrical work is can disrupt a lot. This can become very costly, so you may not want to undertake such a big project. Also be mindful of reconnecting floors or moving features like a kitchen island. Be sure to get a few quotes from contractors for these jobs before you settle with one.


Get New Windows


Putting in new windows is a great project that can add a lot of value to your home. You should really replace the windows in your home every 20-25 years. Updating the windows in your home not only changes the look of your home but makes it more energy efficient as well. The extra insulation can also help to keep out noise disturbances and keep your home a quiet place to live. If you live near a main road, new windows are a must. 


Upgrade Appliances 


There is nothing more attractive to buyers and homeowners alike than new appliances. These are fairly cheap investments considering their returns. You can replace one appliance or go for a whole new kitchen if you’d like. It all depends on the condition of the appliances. Even simply replacing the washer and dryer can make your life easier and also make your home more attractive to buyers when you decide to sell.


Change Up The Floors


Simply switching your carpet or ripping up carpets to put in hardwood floors can be a huge game changer for your home. The costs of these improvements can vary greatly. The size of your rooms and the type of materials that you choose can affect the costs as well. 


Get Organized


Putting in shelving or other organizing systems to help you and your family keep organized can be invaluable. Not having to deal with constant clutter can reduce stress and make your home look more presentable. This is another improvement project that is totally worthwhile for you to complete.


With grocery prices on the rise, many of us are cutting corners any way we can at the supermarket. Some people cut coupons, others have switched to wholesale grocery stores where they can buy in bulk to save. However, there are many ways you can be more frugal just by switching to some more cost-effective recipes. Here are some frugal cooking ideas that will help you save each week at the register.

Smart lunches

Preparing lunches can seem like a chore that no one has time for. Many people find themselves grabbing a can of soup while they run out the door. Others go out for fast food on their lunch break spending money on food and gas. There’s a solution to this problem that will save you money on lunches and save you time in the morning—bulk cooking.

Pick one or two lunches that you’d like to eat throughout the week and prepare them all Sunday morning. You could buy ingredients for a couple types of tacos to avoid getting sick of the same ones every day of the week.

Aside from tacos, other good lunch meals to cook in bulk include pizzas, stir fry meals, burritos, and pasta dishes.

Cook with the staple foods

You can save a huge amount of money at the grocery store by planning out meals that involve staples like rice, beans, pasta, and frozen vegetables. When bought in larger portions, you’ll save at the register but won’t sacrifice nutritional content because these food staples are rich in essential vitamins and nutrients.

Omit the meat on occasion

We eat a lot of animal products in America. The beef industry alone leaves a larger carbon footprint on the environment that the auto industry! Is your family the type that has some form of meat with every meal of the week? If so, you’re probably spending a lot more at the grocery store than need be. Vegetarian and vegan meal options are usually cheaper and just as healthy (if not healthier) than meals that have meat. If you’re worried about not feeling full from a vegetarian meal, try making recipes with hearty ingredients and plant-based proteins (beans, nuts, grains, etc.). A good example would be a burrito packed with rice, beans, and grilled vegetables.

Plan before you shop

Many people have a hard time saving money at the grocery sure because they’re just not sure what to cook. They arrive at the store with only a vague idea of what they want to eat and then fill their cart with all the possibilities. Plan out a weekly menu of your meals and snacks for the week and only buy those items you’ll need for your recipes.

Invest in a good frugal cook book

There are thousands of cook books out there. Many expert chefs have realized that the average person is just looking for some good meals to try that won’t break their wallet. Some even boast cookbooks that will feed your family for just a couple dollars per person per meal.

Now that you know some good frugal eating tips it’s time to turn them into habits. Start with just one tip for now and add the others as you become more comfortable. Soon you’ll be saving money and finding new favorite foods at the same time.


Finding the ideal home for your family's needs is no easy task, but if you stay organized and focused, the right property is sure to come along!

One of your most valuable resources in your search for a new home is an experienced real estate agent -- someone you trust and feel comfortable working with.

They'll not only set up appointments for you to visit homes in your desired price range and school district, but they'll also help keep you motivated, informed, and on track. Once you know and have shared your requirements (and "wish list") with them, your agent will be able to guide you on a path to finding the home that will best serve your needs -- both short- and longer term.

In addition to proximity to jobs, good schools, and childcare, you'll probably want to pick a location that's close to supermarkets, recreation areas, and major highways. If you have friends or family in the area, then that would also be a key consideration.

While your immediate needs are a good starting point for creating a checklist of requirements, it's also a good idea to give some thought to what you may need in the future. Plans to expand your family, possibly take care of aging parents, or adopt pets are all factors to consider when looking at prospective homes to buy.

If you have college-age children or recent graduates in the family, you might have to save room for them in your new house. Many grads need a couple more years of financial and moral support from their parents (not to mention home-cooked meals) before they're ready to venture out on their own. Houses with a finished basement, a separate in-law apartment, or even a guest cottage on the property are often well-suited for multigenerational households.

In many cases, people tend to buy a home based on their emotional reaction to it, and then justify the purchase with facts. For example, if the price was right and a particular house reminded you of your childhood home, then that combination of elements could prompt you to make an offer on the house -- assuming those childhood memories were happy!

Sometimes prospective buyers might simply love the look and feel of a neighborhood or the fact that there's a spacious, fenced-in back yard in which they can envision their children or dogs happily (and safely) playing.

According to recent surveys, today's buyers are attracted to homes that have energy efficient features, separate laundry rooms, and low-maintenance floors, counter tops, and backyard decks. Gourmet kitchens, stainless steel appliances, a farmhouse sink, a home office area, and outdoor living spaces are also popular features. Although your tastes may differ, many house hunters also like design elements such as subway tiles, hardwood floors, shaker cabinets, pendant lights, and exposed brick.

When it comes to choosing the home that you and your family will live in for the next few years, your top priorities will probably include a sufficient amount of space, plenty of convenience, and a comfortable environment in which you and your loved ones can feel safe, secure, and happy for the foreseeable future!


When you’re searching for a home, perhaps the price of the house isn’t as important as the overall affordability of the neighborhood itself. While you have a long wish list of what you want for your property, if you search by neighborhood in order to help you fit your budget, your search may be much easier and help you turn up with a more affordable house.


Look At The Price


This seems obvious, but we mean that you should go a bit deeper. The list price of a home and reality could be two very different things. A house could be underpriced or overpriced based on the surrounding properties in the neighborhood. If you do a little research, you’ll be able to see what the going price for similar style homes is in the area and make a judgement based on that information. 


Don’t Stick To One Neighborhood


You should take a peek around and look outside of the certain neighborhood that you find to be the most desirable. If you look just a few streets away, you could find out that the prices are better and the benefits of the area are the same. 


You’ll choose your neighborhood based on what you’re looking for in your lifestyle. If you prefer to go out to eat, you’ll need to know what types of restaurants are nearby. If you like to walk in the park, being close to parks and recreation is of course important to you. 


Know The Phrase Up-And-Coming


This description of a neighborhood can sometimes seem like a bit of a reach, but many times it turns out to be true. Once undesirable neighborhoods may become the place people want to be after a certain amount of time. The problem with this is that no one can be sure as to exactly how long this will take. Potential warnings for properties described as being in an up-and-coming neighborhood would be:


  • There’s low sales in the area
  • The value of the properties has actually been decreasing
  • There’s little access to grocery stores, restaurants, and entertainment


Overall, use your judgement when it comes to what’s described as a neighborhood waiting to be gentrified. You could buy your own piece of gold, or you could be on the search for a dud.


Check Your Commute Times


Match the cost of different homes that you’re looking at with the reality of the commute times that you and your family are facing. How far are the kids from school? Will you be closer to work? Will it cost you more to get to and from work in the new location? While your commute costs aren’t exactly directly correlated with real estate, it’s definitely a part of your regular budget. You also don’t want to add a lot of time to your work commute if you can help it. 


These tips should help you to make an informed decision about what neighborhood to buy a home in that will be the most cost-effective for you.




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