Category Archives: Living Space

Family in the kitchen

5 Ways to Prep Your Home for Back to School Time

As we enter back-to-school season, it’s important to focus on preparing your child for this year’s academic journey. It’s also important to ensure your home provides a supportive environment for their educational efforts. A new school year is a fresh start, and that can apply to areas of your home, too. With just a few adjustments, you can create an organized space that encourages learning, productivity, and overall well-being, at home and in the classroom. Take a look at 5 ways you can help prep your home, and family, for going back to school.

1. Set up a study space

A dedicated learning space will help your kids compartmentalize work versus play. This space will help them to keep their schoolwork more organized, and all in one spot. If pens, pencils, and schoolwork are kept at their desk, it’s less likely that assignments or supplies will wind up in places they shouldn’t be.

2. Establish a routine before school starts

During the last week of summer, have the whole household practice the way mornings and evenings will go during the school year. Prepare a backpack before bed, go to sleep at the same time every night, wake up at the time you will on a school day, pack lunches, etc.
Establishing a routine before school starts will help prevent a groggy, sleepy students on the first day of school.

3. Create a family calendar

Whether it’s a physical calendar on the wall or a shared calendar on your phones, a family calendar is a great way to keep track of your family’s busy schedule. From extracurriculars, to important projects, doctor’s appointments, etc, you will all be on the same page!

4. Organize the mud room

Have your children’s shoes, backpacks, and sports gear organized before school is in session, for a less hectic start to the year. Upgrade to newer baskets, add some extra hooks, or even a bench. Refresh the space for a fresh, new school year.

5. Encourage organization

Depending on the ages of your children, what they can manage on their own will vary, but it is never too early to help foster good organizational habits. Help younger children pick out their clothes for the week. Help older students organize their binders to manage their different classes. Creating spaces that will help them stay organized for the year is a big part of this, so make sure their study spaces and rooms are primed to keep everything in its place.

How to Maximize Natural Light

Natural light can make a big difference in the look of a room, and it can improve your mood significantly! While we don’t get very harsh winters in Coastal Carolina, the gray months of the year are still bleak, and sunlight is a sought-after commodity year-round.

How can you keep things naturally bright, any time of year?

1. Angle your house appropriately.

This may not work on every plot of land, but when planning your home build, explore the different angles that you can place your home. Find the direction that maximizes the natural light during the time of day you want it most. For example, if you’re an early riser, an east-facing house could boost your mood with the earliest rays lighting the house each day.

2. Hang mirrors.

Not only do mirrors reflect images — they reflect light! Reflective mirrors can bounce light around the room and help make the space brighter.

3. Use light or bright colors.

White or light-colored walls, furniture, and ceilings will all help to reflect light. This helps to
maximize the luminosity of a room during periods of lower light in early mornings, gray days, or when the sun goes down.

4. Open the blinds and curtains.

To instantly brighten up your home, make sure to crack the blinds or pull back the curtains
when you want to lighten the mood.

5. Keep windows clean.

Dirty windows can’t let in as much light! When washing your windows, don’t forget to clean the outside, too.

6. Get skylights or solar tubes.

While your dream home is being designed and built, check to see if there’s any opportunity to add a skylight or solar tube! These will let the natural light flow to areas of the home that may not get much otherwise.

7. Strategically use artificial light.

Not all light bulbs were created equal! Use artificial lighting to help supplement natural light with bright bulbs that are energy-efficient.

Enjoy the sunshine!

kids playing with toys

All You Need to Know About Playrooms

We all need a little personal space. This is true for children, too.

In your dream home, your kids can have their own space to explore the bounds of their creativity. Depending on your layout, you can have a designated room or corner area to function as a playroom.

Here are a few things to consider when making your kids’ play space come to life!


Designate “zones” for different activities and interests

Designating zones for different areas of your child’s interests is an important part of designing a playroom. Your child will be able to read, play, create, and learn all in the same space while staying organized! You can use the same strategy if you have more than one child as well.

Create a fun and safe space for their school work by picking a corner for each of your school age kids; and leave the main area of the room for play! You can use furniture to make these zones obvious—a desk for crafts and homework, a comfy chair for a reading nook, a tent for hiding away, a rug for blocks, etc.

If you don’t have enough space to dedicate a full room to playtime, you can pick an area of their bedroom or the family room where they can play and make lifelong memories.  This designated space helps to contain toys and gives your children a sense of ownership over a space that’s fun for them to do what they do best: play and create.



Along with cheerful giggles and play, come all of the toys! Provide ample age-appropriate storage for books, toys, games, costumes, and anything else they love. A dresser, toy box, or bookshelf are great starting points for playroom storage! Be sure to anchor furnishings that a child could climb to a wall. This will help prevent tipping and accidents.



Playing and creative activities enrich your children’s lives. Use their favorite colors or themes to decorate the space and bring it to life. Hang educational or inspirational art on the walls. Have a budding astronaut?  Put up planets and constellations.  Have a bookworm who loves mysteries? Decorate with a detective theme and “secret compartments.”

Wall art, pillows, and curtains are easy to swap out as your children get older and their interests change.


Functional for Years to Come

The older your kids get, the less inclined they will be to “play,” but that doesn’t mean they can’t use their playroom. Investing in a comfy couch where they can chat with friends or a play video games keeps the space inviting and useful as they grow.

Every child is unique; taking time to tailor an area for their special interests gives them a place to explore, play, flourish, and grow. Teaching them to clean up and keep their belongings in that play space as they grow also helps keep your home tidy. Now everyone can enjoy their own spaces and shared spaces together.


Trendy vs. Timeless

When building your dream home, you have a lot of freedom in the design and details. While you’re navigating options for light fixtures, paint colors, and flooring, you want to find the right balance between trendy and timeless designs.

Keeping true to your personal style when designing your home is important. Keep in mind that trends change often, and opting for a super-trendy look in your whole house, may lead to you wanting to redecorate or remodel after a short time as trends fade. Timeless design elements may not be as ‘trendy’, but they will stand the test of time and require fewer changes.  They can also boost resale value, which is an investment your future self will thank you for.

As a rule of thumb, if you want to include trendy design elements in your home, you should make them easily changeable. For items that are permanent, costly, or labor-intensive to change, consider more timeless options.

Choose timeless styles for your flooring, built-ins, ceiling designs, countertops, and cabinetry. You can never go wrong with hardwood floors, stone countertops, and simple ceilings. Once the more expensive and long-term elements are in place, you can decorate and furnish your home with unique pieces.

Great ways to incorporate trends are in items you can change easily! Have fun picking out trendy light fixtures, a bold paint color for an accent wall, unique art, and special hardware. You can swap out a wall sconce or chandelier in a few years if your choices feel dated, and you can always repaint.

At the end of the day, it’s your home! We want you to love it and enjoy it for years to come. Horizons East is here to help make your dream home a reality.

How Home Décor Can Reduce Holiday Stress

The holiday season is always busy.  It can cause extra stress and wintery weather can mess with your mood. Even though the holidays should be a time of joy, making plans and preparing for the many different activities with family can make it a not-so-jolly time some days.

To help reduce the stress of the season, consider decorating your home for the holidays.  That’s right – decorating for the holidays can reduce stress.

Whether it’s Fall, Halloween, Christmas, or New Year’s Eve, you have fond memories of celebrating the holidays over the years. Nostalgia from holiday home decor can improve your mood. Put up decorations that remind you of your favorite holiday memories. Rekindle a bit of holiday magic from when you were younger and enjoy the warm feelings this season.

Decorating your home for the holidays can also improve joy. Acting cheerful actually will make you feel more cheerful. The old adage, “Fake it ‘til you make it!” kicks in here. Spruce up your home with festive furnishings that make you smile.  Put on a funny movie or favorite seasonal songs to lift your spirits, and you’ll be feeling more joyful during the season.

Once your home is decorated for the winter season, you’ll have created the perfect environment to make more happy holiday memories with the ones you love. You may want to host your loved ones for holiday festivities to show off your decorating skills. Spending time with those you love most in your home will create lasting memories for years to come.


If you’re decorating for the holidays this year, try some of these ideas:
  1. Use throw pillows to decorate quickly and interchangeably. Invest in a few different festive pillows and toss them around the house on beds and couches. Save space by using pillow covers to easily swap out your decor for different holidays!
  2. Hang garlands around the house. Trailing greenery (faux or fresh), twinkling lights, and more can add miles of holiday spirit quickly.
  3. Opt for festive hand towels. These are functional and can go in bathrooms and the kitchen. Just like throw pillows, you can easily change them out for different holidays.
  4. Hang a wreath on your door. If decorating inside isn’t your thing, but you still want to do something to decorate, a wreath is a quick and easy way to spread some holiday cheer. They aren’t just for Christmas, either!  Shop around to get a fun wreath for every fun occasion on the calendar this year.

Don’t Overlook a Room’s Fifth Wall

When you’re decorating your new home, you fill the space with things that bring you joy. You adorn the walls with art, paint, and family photos. You roll out functional and fashionable rugs and hang curtains to soften windows. An empty space is brought to life with furnishings you and your family can enjoy for years to come.

That sounds like everything, right?

Maybe not. Have you forgotten a key feature in that room?  The fifth wall. Your ceiling!

Ceilings can open up a new playground for interior design. They don’t have to be left white. You can decorate a ceiling much like any other wall — just think about the masterpiece on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel! You may not want to go that far, but there are options that can make the fifth wall a fun, appealing addition to your decor.


Here are some ways to spice up ceilings in your home.

  1. Match the walls. While many leave the ceiling white, consider painting it the same color as your walls. This can create an extra-cozy, more intimate space.
  2. Install fun lighting. Whether a chandelier, an ornate ceiling fan, or recessed accent lights… choosing a stylish lighting fixture will add spice to a white ceiling.
  3. Wallpaper. Instead of wallpapering an accent wall, place a statement wallpaper on your ceiling. It’s more subtle when overhead, but can add a lot of visual interest to the room.
  4. Add a wooden texture. Wooden ceilings are versatile features in your home, since wood comes in so many different shades, grains, and can be painted any color. Use any kind of wood, from wooden slats to wainscoting for a little extra interest on your fifth wall!


Remember to look up and add a new dimension to your home decor!

Aspen Exterior

Meet the Aspen

The Aspen floorplan is a 3 bedroom, 3 bath home with 1,977 heated square feet and a bonus room. It also comes with a spacious two-car garage, offering ample storage space for the whole family.  


Starting on the covered front porch, you enter the home’s foyer that contains a conveniently placed coat closet. Immediately to your left is the dining room. The dining room features a large window to offer plenty of natural light for family meals and more.   




The living room is just a few steps away and has an option to include a cozy fireplace to provide a lovely focal point in the open floorplan. The kitchen is spacious, featuring an island for additional storage and counter space. You can also entertain guests on the optional covered patio!  




To the right of the living space is the master bedroom. With three windows, an ensuite bathroom with a bathtub and double vanity, and an extremely spacious walk-in closet, it is the perfect escape from the busier shared spaces in the home.  


The other two bedrooms are on the opposite side of the house, allowing space for family while preserving the master suite’s privacy. These two bedrooms shared an unattached bathroom and are similar in size. They’re also near a laundry room and linen closet.  


Up the stairs, you’ll find another bathroom, a walk-in closet, and a bonus room. This room is perfect for a home office, game room, gym, or even as a guest bedroom! The Aspen is a wonderful option for families and has just enough space for room to grow.  


The Aspen Floorplan Rendering

Simple Ways to Decorate Your Front Doorstep

Are you ready for holiday parties and welcoming your loved ones to your home? Decorate your front door with some festive embellishments to offer a warm welcome. Even the simplest decorations can go a long way and will only take a few moments to hang!  Here are a few ideas to inspire your holiday door and front porch décor!


Recycle a Wreath

Repurpose old Christmas decorations for your front porch. Old ornaments, strips of ribbon, pine cones, and more, can be fastened to a wreath and hung on your front door. Reduce, reuse, recycle, and be merry while you do it! We do not recommend over-the-door wreath hangers as they can throw doors out of alignment.



Swap Out Your Doormat


Replacing your doormat with a seasonal one is another fun way to decorate your front doorstep. Choose a wintery message or a cute Christmas icon to get into the holiday spirit!


String or Garland Lighting

Add joy by lighting up your entryway with string or garland lights. Frame the door, wrap columns and railings, or even the walkway leading up to your door. Try finding energy efficient lighting options so your energy bill doesn’t skyrocket and to reduce your carbon footprint.


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Greet your guests with a holiday jingle by adding a strand of Christmas bells around your door handle.


Natural Greenery

Keep things simple with greenery, whether man-made or fresh. Drape it around your door frame, along the banisters, and add a small tree to the stoop. It’s festive throughout the winter season. Elevate it with some ornaments, bows, or with white fairy lights for nighttime.

The Multi-Purpose Garage

While it is easy to think of garages exclusively as places to park your cars and store tools, they really provide an opportunity for much more. After all, they’re large, flexible spaces with a big door to the driveway. Garages can have many uses.  Here are a few options to consider.

Workout Space

Whether you’re a weightlifter, crossfitter, dancer, martial artist, yogi, or just want a space to do a few jumping jacks, equipping a portion of your garage with fitness equipment for your chosen activity is a valuable use of the space. Add a weight rack, a barre, padded flooring, or a treadmill to convert your garage into your ideal home gym, without sacrificing any of the space in your house. Use cation in using heavy weights or equipment, as dropping heavy items could damage your concrete.


In summer months, it can be fun to project a movie onto a wall in your garage, set up some lawn chairs or a sofa and convert your garage into a movie theater. It can also be a space for food at an outdoor party, live music (or a practice space for a band), or even a dance floor.

Arts & Craft Studio

From simple to sophisticated, art projects make a mess.  What better place to be creatively messy than in a garage converted to an art studio or craft room?  Enjoy your hobby, make projects with the kids or create masterpieces in a room that has plenty of storage space.  And no one will cry if the paint drips.

Game Rooms

Some homeowners have converted garage spaces into family game rooms. Bring on the card table, pool table and foosball table! Give your game room a personal touch with colorful seating, rugs, artwork and game-themed décor. It will make family game nights come alive.

Mudroom Area

If your floor plan doesn’t already have a mudroom, adding a storage bench and a coat rack to your garage can give your family a place for coats, muddy boots, and other gear. It won’t take up much space in the garage, but it can save you a lot of storage issues inside.


Be creative and think outside the box. Your garage space can be adapted to fit the regular needs of your family or a special event.

Value of a Mudroom

A mudroom is the perfect place to keep extra dirt and clutter from finding its way into the rest of your home. It provides a specific location for dirty shoes to be removed before dirt or mud is tracked onto your living room floor. Backpacks, coats, and sports gear can be stored, instead of tossed on the couch or in the dining room. It can make your life so much easier! Here are 5 valuable benefits of having a mudroom in your home.


1. More Useful Storage

Winter gloves? Coats? Rain boots? Extra shoes you don’t want in your closet? Having a mudroom is like having an extra-large coat closet. It’s the perfect place to stash seasonal items, keeping them out of your bedroom or coat closet. They’re available when you need them, but not in your way everyday.  With built-in storage options, your mudroom will stay tidy, too.


2. Everything in One Place when it’s Time to Go

Many families can have a hard time getting out the door. Everyone’s shoes are in different places, someone left their backpack in their room, you can’t find your coat, etc. A mudroom makes it easier to get everyone ready to leave in one place and at the same time. All the shoes, bags, car keys, everything you need to leave the house can be safely stored in one place! A little bit of planning can make your morning routine “grab and go.”


3. Everything has a Place, too

Giving kids a dedicated place to hang school bags, or sports equipment, means there is less chance that it will end up in the middle of the floor. Everything should have a home, and a mudroom is a great home for a lot of things. And when they are stashed on the way in, life’s a little easier for everyone.


4. Functional Space

Many mudrooms have a bench to make putting on shoes a breeze. It’s also right by the door, so the perfect place to take things on and off as soon as you leave or enter the home. No more stomping around the house in your boots! Use this space to create functional storage that fits your family’s lifestyle and needs.


5. Keep it Clean!

Rain and mud are part of daily life in eastern North Carolina. Mudrooms help ensure muddy shoes and dripping raincoats don’t make the whole house messy. Consider adding a sink to your mudroom.  It’s a great place to clean muddy shoes, dry umbrellas or soak a stained uniform. Some families even plan for laundry rooms to be near a mud room for easy access. Talk to your builder about your options.


A mudroom helps preserve your home’s interior, flooring and well… maybe Mom’s sanity.  We think that’s a great investment.