Drew is the founder of the Design Dudes blog. He is passionate about design and making it accessible to your average dude. During the week, he is working as a social media expert and as a writer for Rio Magazine. On the weekend, he is kicking back with a cold brewski and blogging about design. He has been featured in Better Homes & Gardens, Realtor.com, and Reader's Digest.
San Antonio is quickly becoming one of the most popular cities in the country. It is the 2nd largest city in Texas and the 7th largest city in the United States. This year, San Antonio also earned its spot as the 9th fastest growing city in America, with a projected population of over 4 million people by 2050. Any dude can see that the real estate market here is HOT! But, before you get a piece of the city for yourself, you need to know what to look for when buying a home in San Antonio. Here are my top five tips for San Antonio house hunters.
1. Consider the Location
San Antonio has dozens of unique neighborhoods, making it easy for anyone to find the perfect fit for their lifestyle. If you’re a dude who’s into city life, consider an inner loop location close to popular restaurants and bars, like Pearl, Southtown, or Alamo Heights. If you want more square footage and a deck for outdoor BBQs, consider an outer loop location with a more suburban feel. This New Braunfels property at 543 Orchard Way would be perfect—just look at that deck!
2. Limit the Search to Homes That Fit Your Budget
While house hunters on HGTV have no problem blowing their budgets, you will want to make sure you rein in your search to homes you can actually afford. Luckily, San Antonio is still an affordable city with a low cost of living. The median home price comes in at under $300,000! However, if you have the budget, why not splurge? This brand new 543 Orchard Way property is priced at $584,900 and comes with over 2,500 square feet, including four bedrooms, three bathrooms, 11-foot ceilings, stainless steel appliances, and a spa-style soaker tub! Just wait until you see the neighborhood amenities, though! This property gives you access to a fitness center, sauna, lap pool, hot tub, yoga studio, tennis courts, nature trails, and even a lazy river. Sounds like a dream staycation to me!
3. Find a Floor Plan That Meets Your Needs
Lots of square footage is great, but you also need to find a floor plan that meets your needs. For example, do you want an open-concept kitchen? Then the layout at 543 Orchard Way would be perfect for you! I could definitely see some great parties happening in this pad.
4. Look for Upgraded Finishes
If you aren’t up for a remodel, you need to look for a home with upgraded finishes. I love the upgraded kitchen at 543 Orchard Way, which includes an oversized island, marble-quartz counters, a dynamic tile backsplash, and new stainless steel appliances. All you’d have to do is buy a set of new dishes to stock the cabinets!
5. Get Help from an Expert Real Estate Team
While buying a new home can be fun and exciting, it can also be stressful if you don’t have help. That’s why you need to find a team that knows the San Antonio real estate market. Realty San Antonio only hires experienced realtors to help you navigate the Wild West of the Texas housing market! The realtors at San Antonio average ten years of experience and sell 5x more homes, 20 days faster than your average realtor. Find an agent and find that San Antonio dream home!
Sprechen sie fun? To live the Design Dude’s Life, you need to remember to kick back and have a good time. And, that is what Wurstfest is all about! I am giving you the dude’s guide to Wurstfest with all the tips for planning your New Braunfels vacation. Trust me—you probably haven’t experienced this side of Texas before!
What is Wurstfest?
Wurstfest is known as the best ten days in sausage history. It turns out that Texas has way more than just barbecue and tacos to offer! The Texas Hill Country region, nestled between San Antonio and Austin, is home to a bustling Bavarian culture, which Wurstfest has celebrated for 60 years. This non-profit organization works to preserve the community’s rich German heritage, and the annual festival showcases the culture through food, music, dancing, and plenty of beer.
When is Wurstfest?
Wurstfest starts the first Friday in November and runs for ten full days. For 2021, all the festivities are going down between November 5th and 14th. Before you go, know that weekend nights are primetime and can get crowded. Try going on a weeknight or during the day if you want a more relaxed experience.
What to Expect at Wurstfest
You can expect to have a whole lot of fun at Wurstfest! This event was founded on sausage making, which is still the backbone of the celebration. You can sample several varieties of sausage as well as other Bavarian treats like sauerkraut, strudel, and Reuben sandwiches. On the fairgrounds, you can dance to over 40 bands on four stages, play carnival games, and take a ride on the Ferris wheel. The beautiful location on Comal River also allows you to take a break from the bustle and relax on the banks with a brew. Of course, the beer flows freely at Wurstfest! If you are planning on drinking, it is a good idea to make your Wurstfest visit an overnight trip—which is easy because there are over 2,000 rooms in New Braunfels for guests looking to get the most of their Wurstfest experience.
Just four days following the close of the 2019 festival, a massive fire destroyed the Wurstfest Marktplatz and heavily damaged the 100-year-old Wursthalle. This City-owned property has been home to Wurstfest for over fifty years. This year, a newly constructed Wursthalle is set to open, and you can leave your mark on it! Personalized 4×8 or 8×8 bricks are available for sale. Purchase one for the 60th anniversary and become a part of Wurstfest for the next 60 years and beyond!
Don’t limit your Wurstfest experience to just one day! The Texas Hill Country has beautiful scenery, fun shops, and delicious restaurants to explore. I recommend staying at the Gruene Mansion Inn. This bed and breakfast is located in the Heart of Gruene, just ten minutes away from the Wurstfest fairgrounds. Since 1872, this inn has provided a quaint retreat footsteps away from Gruene’s best restaurants and shops.
Where to Eat in New Braunfels
Of course, Wurstfest is a fantastic place to get a taste of the best German food in Texas! You can explore dozens of vendors offering specialty sausages, snacks, and strudels. If you choose to extend your New Braunfels vacation, make sure to check out some of these fun spots.
Buttermilk Cafe is the perfect place to start your day and grab some breakfast before Wurstfest. They have all your country classics and a few fun surprises.
If you need to recharge, Gruene Coffee Haus offers a selection of cold brews and espresso beverages as well as tasty snacks.
If beer is not your thing, don’t worry. The Grapevine is the perfect spot to wind down after the thrills of Wurstfest. This spot offers a selection of Hill Country wines, peaceful outdoor seating, and local music performances.
Plan Early for Wurstfest
Wurstfest is one of the Texas Hill Country’s most popular experiences. People come from all over the Lone Star State and the country, so it is best to plan ahead. Make sure to book your accommodations, plan your itinerary, and buy your festival tickets ahead of time. Prost, y’all!
The Top Home Trend in 2021 is Comfort – Here’s How You Can Make Your Home Office More Comfortable with Purple
Purple sponsored this blog post, and all opinions are my own.
One Day, I Decided to Make My Home Office Even Cozier
Did you dudes know one of the leading home design trends in 2021 is comfort? It seems like it should be a given, right? After spending so much time at home, dudes realize just how important comfort really is. Like me! I work from home and decided it was time to add some extra cozy vibes to my home office space. When I learned Purple makes a full line of seat cushions, my curiosity was sparked.
First, I Researched the Purple Office Chair Seat Cushion
The Purple Double Seat Cushion is designed to turn your desk time into “me time.” It’s made for eight hours of sitting and comes with the official Purple Grid and seat cover. The Purple Grid features a hyper-elastic gel grid that immediately flexes to support your position and springs back into place as you readjust for an immediate pressure-reducing response. I had to test this bad boy out for myself.
Next, I Tested Out Purple Mattresses and Seat Cushions in Store
Then, I Freshened Up My Office Space with the Purple Seat Cushion
I was so excited to get my Purple Double Seat Cushion in the mail! Freshening up my office space was so easy. I just followed a few simple steps, and BOOM…my office was the pinnacle of comfort. The Purple Grid really does make a difference at my desk. I can sit uninterrupted for much longer, the anti-slip cover stays in place, and I can move it around with the convenient handles. If you dudes want to jump on this whole comfort trend, Purple’s got your back! (Plus, they make it easy to upgrade with awesome sales.)
You Can Level Up Your Home Comfort with Purple’s Epic Memorial Day Sale, Too!
The Purple Memorial Day promotion runs from May 19th through June 8th. Amazing (and comfortable) deals include up to $400 in savings on Purple Mattress Bundles.
Step 1 – Pick Your Dream Mattress
$200 Off Purple Hybrid Premier
$150 Off Purple®Hybrid
$100 Off The Purple Mattress
$25 Off Kid Mattress
Step 2 – Add a Bundle and Save Even More!
$200 off 2 Harmony Pillows, 1 set of Purple Sheets + 1 Mattress Protector
$175 off 2 Purple Pillows, 1 set of Purple Sheets + 1 Mattress Protector
$150 off 1 Harmony Pillow, 1 set of Purple Sheets + 1 Mattress Protector
$150 off 2 Plush Pillows, 1 set of Purple Sheets + 1 Mattress Protector
If you currently live in or have experienced living in a studio apartment you know what it means to work with what you’ve got. Transforming a single room into a livable space that acts as a bedroom, living room, kitchen, office and more is no small task, and doing it alone can be a very arduous process. That’s why we’ve reached out to the experts in studio design from Miami to Portland, to offer their insights on how you can make your studio apartment as livable as possible without sacrificing aesthetic. So if you’re moving into your first studio or dorm room, follow these 20 tips to make the process as simple as possible.
Recognize the power of association
The power of association for humans cannot be understated, that’s why we recommend you organize your studio apartment around three main hubs of activity, each with access to an ample amount of natural light. First is where you sleep, make sure that your bed and resting area is neat and surrounded by only the essentials, keep your electronics away! Second is where you want to be productive; some may get more use out of this space than others, but everyone should have a space for taxes, bills, serious hobbies, etc. Put the power of productivity in your hands! Lastly have a place to relax, this is where you can watch TV, read, and generally unwind; having a designated space for each kind of activity will make it easier for your brain to tackle tasks with precision and intent. – Inhabitr
Efficiency is your friend
Studio apartment living is all about minimalism and efficiency. Storage beds are a great place to keep some clothing that can help you reduce the size of the dresser or armoire you buy. Keep your paint colors neutral or bright, as a dark color will make your space feel more confined. If you can, get some barstools for your counter to reduce the need for a table in the kitchen area. Above all, declutter at least once per quarter. You’d be amazed how much space can be created with a reduction in the knickknacks you allow to accumulate! – Maureen Mcdermut Santa Barbara RE
Try to create some sense of division
My biggest tip for designing a studio apartment is to create division and designated spaces for sleeping, dining, cooking, and living. With one open space, it is so easy to see clutter and feel confined to a single box. Easy ways to create division in a space are to define zones with different area rugs, add dividing screens, create privacy walls with bookshelves that add storage, and even hanging curtain panels to create division. – Design Dudes
Give attention to negative space
Ever heard of the saying ‘Less is more?’ This also holds true when styling your apartment. Refrain from pushing your furniture up against your walls and instead work on creating mini spaces within your room. (Tip: You can also use rugs to section off areas within the same space!) Also, avoid putting your furniture too close together. You want enough space between your furniture to help you easily and comfortably move around. – Foerni Limited
No windows? No Problem!
There are many affordable lighting solutions for small or stuffy apartment spaces. These come in all shapes and sizes and can be standing lamps, LED lights and ambient lights that replicate the feeling of warm sunlight. These can be hidden or if they’re visually appealing, placed somewhere as a centerpiece. Most of these options can be bought in places like Amazon or other online retailers. – Big Spoon Co.
When designing your studio apartment, think maximization when it comes to furniture function and layout but think minimization when it comes to visual clutter. Use materials that don’t take up visual space like acrylic or glass. Hang one large impactful art piece or use peel and stick wallpaper to create a large accent feature instead of hanging a busy gallery wall. Even consider one cohesive paint color for your walls, built-ins, and cabinetry to avoid chopping up space visually (bonus: the room will appear larger!). – Sidney Wagner Designs
Take advantage of multipurpose furniture
Make the most of every inch of floor space with multipurpose furniture pieces. A wall-mounted shelf with coat hooks adds a spot for displaying art and photographs while storing coats more efficiently in a small hallway. A Murphy desk provides a dedicated workspace when you need it, without crowding your living space when you don’t. – NY State MLS
Studio Apartments are the ultimate in self-expression in a very limited square foot space. In order to feel as if the environment is larger than the actual footprint, several key strategies can be put in place to succeed. First, don’t overlook multi-functioning furnishings. These creative objects can provide several functioning purposes while taking up minimal space. A dining settee with a mid-height back can comfortably sit for evening meals and double up as a small sofa for binge-watching your favorite series on Netflix. Throw in a small cushion/ottoman for an impromptu meal guest and then use it to prop your feet up with the settee. – Pu’uwai Design and Build
Having a murphy bed allows you to increase your usable space during the day for your hobbies and needs. A Murphy bed is a regular bed that can be folded up into the wall. This way, your studio can also be your home office or home gym. While Murphy beds are often expensive, companies like Lori Wall Beds offer a high-quality, inexpensive alternative certain to meet the needs of even the tightest budgets. – Lori Wall Beds
One of the easiest ways to transform your space is with art on your wall. It sets the tone for the entire space and can evoke any mood you like; from bright and playful to calm or dramatic. The right art can brighten your mood and uplift your spirits when you walk in the room and has a unique power to transport you anywhere…and don’t be afraid to go big when it comes to size! – Latitudes Gallery, Ventura
One of the quickest and the most unique ways to transform your studio apartment is by using art to create an illusion of a bright open space. There are artists, like myself who will work with you on creating a new vision for your space using a variety of materials; canvas, paintings, wall sculptures, murals, fabrics, acrylic, metal, or wood. The style of the art can be Modern, Bohemian, Traditional, Scandinavian, Shabby Chic, Hollywood Glam, or Rustic with the composition and concept of the art creating a more airy and bright space. Live the dream you envision with art. – Robin Maria Pedrero
Decide on a focal point
A well-staged room has a singular defined purpose and a focal point. Buyers scan a room from left to right when entering, much like we read a book. If you place the tallest piece of furniture in the far left corner, the room will appear larger than if that same piece of furniture is closer to the entry. Placing a large or tall piece of furniture near an entryway or door tricks the eye into thinking a space is smaller than it is, one should keep taller items in corners or eliminate them altogether. – FormDecor Furniture Rental
Decorate with intent
Only add items you love and remember to include focal-point pieces that will make a statement. Items with no installation, such as our Slimline Bio Ethanol Stove, can benefit a studio or small space with a no-fuss setup. This, and other pieces of furniture alike, means you can feng-shui your space until you are happy with the end result. – Bio Fires
Make it original
Put the ‘studio’ back in ‘studio apartment’ by showcasing the cool creative you are. On a mid-century credenza, a flea market table topped with an Indian bedspread, or a curbside reject revived with paint (pieces that can also offer hidden storage) prop a painting, stack books you’ve read or want to read, place interesting found objects. Start the visual conversation as soon as anyone walks into the room. You be you. – Judith Fertig, Kansas City Magazine
Utilize vertical space
If a space is small, I try to utilize vertical space as much as possible. Perhaps a floating shelf around the perimeter of the top 2′ of the wall for books and plants. Large scale art to create an illusion of grandeur and make a focal point. Paint the ceiling the same color as the wall so the eye doesn’t stop and everything just FEELS more spacious, well designed and FREE. – Spark Vintage Rentals
Less is more
In studios or small apartments, minimalist style is the key. Keep the decor simple and straightforward. I advise you to decorate only with basic furniture. Do not use any furniture pieces or objects that have no specific purpose. This decoration will give a greater sense of space and depth. With fewer elements, space will gain in personality. – Noelia Unik Designs
Make good use of your available space
Living in a studio is really about making good use of every inch of the area while not creating a jam-packed feeling. You may consider including convertible furniture in your home. For example, I have seen a work desk that can be folded and mounted to a wall when not used. It can be displayed as decoration and help to save space tremendously. Another one I have seen is a small coffee table that can be opened up into a big dining table. – Jacob Coleman at RealEstateCareerHQ
Keep it light
Stick with light colors for wall paint and even lighter on the ceiling to draw the eyes upward and to create an illusion of higher ceilings, as well as light-colored flooring. Invest in good lighting to brighten everything up. If you are installing kitchen cabinets, go all the way up to the ceiling so that you can get in more storage and avoid wasted space. Consider a Murphy Bed with built-in shelving/night table space (they make extremely comfortable and attractive ones these days) to enable you to hide your bed during the day. With furnishings, focus on items that have multi-purpose uses, such as a small island that doubles as a kitchen table/workspace, or an ottoman that functions as a coffee table or as seating. Items with built-in storage are helpful to keep clutter at bay. – Team Hatvany
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced most of us to stay at home to prevent the transmission of the virus. As we spend more time indoors, it’s important to take the time to organize and spruce up our homes-turned-offices. After all, good design, Psychology Today notes, can contribute to a better overall mental state. To help you out, we’ve compiled for you five décor tips to get you started:
Play with Textures
Add a pop of liveliness to an otherwise flat and boring room by incorporating and experimenting with different textures. Doing so is useful, especially if you’re big on neutral colors and don’t want to include hues that are too bold or loud.
One obvious way to do this is by using cushions or blankets, but you can also add textural accents with trinkets like lamps, baskets, dried flowers, or candles.
Use Eco-friendly Materials
There’s always been an ethical question when it comes to fast fashion and fast décor. As we become more environmentally conscious, the demand for sustainable products grows. The same can be said for interior design.
Luckily, there are a lot of materials to choose from that have a low environmental footprint. Furniture made from materials like timber, acacia, bamboo, and rattan, which are all sustainably sourced, are examples of these. The best part? They lend a warm earthiness to a space, which can help if you’re trying to achieve a more eclectic kind of look.
Make a Gallery Wall
An empty wall is like a blank canvas, and what better way to decorate it than to turn it into your personal gallery? For a more bohemian touch, HomeServe recommends starting with collecting things you love in print form – family photographs, original art, even newspaper clippings.
Once you’ve gathered enough material to cover your wall, it’s up to you how to arrange your frames. You could organize them into themes – family in one corner and friends in the other, for example – or you can do it randomly in a mixed arrangement, depending on your preferences.
Clean Up the Clutter
If your tastes skews towards a more minimalist style, you can take a cue from mid-century interior designs. Forbes notes the style’s enduring appeal, and for good reason.
The mid-century style emphasizes cleanliness, simple lines, flat planes, and plenty of light. You can mimic this in your own home by doing away with excess ornaments and adding as much natural light as possible to create the illusion of an expansive space. Books, nightstands, and coffee tables are also great fixtures and accessories you can use to draw the eye towards sharp geometric patterns.
Incorporate Nature-inspired Colors
With the pandemic depriving us of most of our outdoor activities, Architectural Digest predicts a trend of using nature-inspired tones in interior design this year.
Gemma Riberti, head of interiors at WGSN Lifestyle & Interiors, recommends using liberal swaths of deep greens and blues to relax the eyes and give you a much-needed dose of nature even as you stay indoors. If you have a garden, you can also pick out a few flowers to add as a colorful centerpiece to your room.
These tips can be useful for beginners looking for guidance on how to decorate their homes. But as we’ve previously mentioned here in our post How To Find Your Interior Design Style, your space is your own at the end of the day. Perhaps the best tip we could give you is to stay true to your own style. Everything else will follow.