HOME & FAMILY BLOG
Winter is just around the corner so it’s important to find efficient, inexpensive ways to keep your home warm over the next couple of months. In order to keep your home from getting too drafty and cold, here are 5 tips for you to use all winter long:
- Thick Curtains: Blackout curtains will help contain the heat in your home. You can also buy a fleece liner or a PVC shower curtain to line your existing curtains. During the day, leave the curtains open to let the sun in to heat your home naturally, but in the evening, close up the curtains to keep the heat inside.
- Weatherproof Air Leaks: Air leaks in windows, doors, in the attic or anywhere else can cause your home to lose heat. Contain those leaks with weatherproof strips, caulking, foam and reflective foil material.
- Space Heaters: Remember to turn down the thermostat in the house before using a space heater. Space heaters work best in walled-in rooms, such as a bedroom, because it keeps the heat in that room. A space heater is less likely to heat the whole room if it’s in an open area.
- Storm Windows: Storm windows can be used all year-round and some even offer low-emissivity coating to cut the heat loss even more.
- Plug Up the Chimney: To keep the heat from escaping your home, plug your chimney with a chimney balloon when you’re not using it. You can buy the balloons or create your own with cardboard and bubble wrap.
Do you have other ways to keep your home warm during the winter months? Share with us in the comment section below.
After a long day, there’s nothing more relaxing than coming to your humble abode and being in your own space. While not everyone has a large budget to spend, you can still create the bedroom of your dreams with these tips:
- Accent wall: If you’re looking to add some color to your space, painting an accent wall will give your bedroom the life it needs to make your room feel homier.
- DIY: You can create a headboard for your bed, refurbish old door knobs or drawer handles, or even paint over your dresser to give your bedroom the look you’ve always wanted.
- Plants: Adding some greenery to your space will make it feel more Zen and calming when walking into your room, especially if it’s been a busy day and you’re looking to relax for a few moments.
- Clear the Clutter: Add shelving units or storage under the bed to get rid of some of the clutter. Your bedroom will feel like the big space you want.
- Canopy: If you have some extra fabric from your last DIY project, you can make a canopy to make your space look more luxurious. Even if you don’t have fabric around, you can easily find an inexpensive roll.
- Lighting: Lighting can give your room a chic, simple feel. Lamps, candles and even white Christmas lights can give you that effect.
- Throw Pillows: Find some inexpensive throw pillows to accent your bed and to give it the comfy, cloud-like feel you want when you put your head down at night.
Do you have other tips on how to design a bedroom on a budget? Share them with us in the comment section below!
If you recently put carpet in your home and you have carpet remnants you’re not sure what to do with, we have six different solutions for you:
- Move furniture: Sure, you can buy little stickers to put on the bottom of furniture when you move it around, but instead of buying cheap stickers that may end of scratching your floors, you can use a square of carpet underneath and move it around that way.
- Cushion your knees: Whether you’re kneeling on the ground when gardening or you’re working on hardwood floors or cleaning the floors, take a carpet remnant, fold it over and kneel on it so it’s not so hard on your knees.
- Scratching post: If you have a cat that scratches your furniture, use leftover carpet remnants to create a scratching post.
- Muffle noises: Do you have a laundry set that makes a lot of thumping noises when it’s running its cycle? Place carpet squares underneath the set to drown out the sound.
- Create an exercise mat: If you have a large, excess amount of carpet remnants, cut out about 3 feet of the carpet and roll it up for when you’re not using it.
- Car mats: To keep your car clean, you can use carpet remnants to put on the floors of your car to keep dirt from spreading or to keep your feet comfortable while driving.
Do you have other tips on how to use carpet remnants in your home? Share with us in the comment section below!
Halloween is just around the corner and we want to make sure that you have all the essentials to get your home in the spirit for the best holiday in October! Here are a few tips on how to decorate your home for Halloween:
- Front porch: Sprinkle Halloween on your front porch with pumpkins that have either been carved, painted or anything else creative you can think of. You can also decorate your front porch with straw hay that’s bundled together with themed Halloween ribbon.
- Doors: Decorate your doors with Halloween themed wreaths. You can make your own wreath with your favorite ribbon, pumpkins, spiders or anything else that fits your decorating needs. You can also buy Halloween wreaths at your nearest craft store.
- Windows: Place Halloween themed window clings on your windows, create silhouettes to hang in your windows, or if you really love Halloween, you could hang window treatments to really get your home in the spirit!
- Entry-Way: When trick-or-treaters arrive at your doorstep, you want to make sure they see the fun decorations you have for Halloween. You can set up a cauldron with a fog machine inside the pot, witches’ shoes, dimly lit electric candles or tall pillar candles.
- Inside Your Home: Strategically place candles or fake skulls that you got from a Halloween store around your home. Add fake frogs or eyeballs in jars to really get into Halloween or dress up your walls with “spooky” paintings or spider webs.
Do you have other tips on how to decorate your home for Halloween? Share with us in the comment section below!
Getting ready to move into a new place? Getting your new place ready is more than moving boxes and placing everything how you want to, you also should have a fresh and clean home to move into on that special day. Here are tips for you to deep clean your new home on moving day:
- Start in the bathrooms: First step is to replace the toilet seat covers. Then you’ll want to clean behind the toilets, clean out the shelves of the medicine cabinets (if there are any), and make sure you give the bathtub and shower a good scrub down.
- On to the kitchen: Remove the top knobs of your stove and give it a deep clean. Then, wipe down the counters, kitchen appliances and inside the refrigerator. If your oven doesn’t have a self-cleaning feature, you’ll also want to wipe out the oven. The biggest part of cleaning the kitchen is cleaning out the cabinets. Wipe down the shelves and drawers, and if you’re considering using a liner, this would be the time to put those in.
- Wash the walls: If you’re going to do this, make sure you are using a safe cleaner for that particular surface. And don’t ignore the molding along the tops and corners of the wall.
- Dust: Dust doorknobs, light fixtures, tops of the doors, window sills and anything else you can think of. The last thing you want in your home is a place covered in dust mites.
- Wash windows: When you’re washing windows, don’t forget the window panes and screens that are notorious for catching dirt.
- Carpets: Before you move in your furniture, you’ll want to give your carpets a fresh, clean scrub down. You can do this yourself by renting a steam cleaner or paying a professional carpet cleaning service to do the work for you.
- Vinyl or tile floors: Sweep up and mop down those floors, getting in between the nooks and crannies to make sure they are spick and span.
- Hardwood floors: Use a cleaner that is designed to clean hardwood floors. Each wood grain is different, so use something specific to your flooring. Avoid using wax, oil, ammonia, cleaner that is silicone-based, as well as water.
Do you have other tips on how deep clean your home on moving day? Share with us in the comment section below!
Happy first day of fall! What better way to welcome the season than with cooler temperatures, hot apple cider by the fire and, of course, fall-themed décor. With these decorating tips, your home will be autumn ready:
- Bring the outdoors to your front door: Decorate your front door with a fall wreath made with fall foliage you’ve picked yourself or purchased at a craft store, adorn the steps with pumpkins and gourds, or put together a flower arrangement.
- Rustic charm with firewood: Firewood isn’t meant for only making your home warm. You can also use it as stand to hold other decorations in place or as a serving platter—get creative! Make sure you clear off small twigs and branches, and brush off and bugs or spiders before bringing the wood inside.
- Fresh flowers: Sunflowers, mums, chrysanthemums, and many more fall flowers are ready and waiting to be arranged into something beautiful. Use a vase or make your own to add a little floral charm to your fall-themed home.
- Fall hues: No need to repaint your furniture, but if you can bring in some accessories colors such as a deep red, a bright orange or a golden yellow to get your home in the spirit of fall.
- Candles: Fill up hurricanes or lanterns with fall-themed décor such as acorns, coffee beans or candy corn. Make sure the candle doesn’t burn below the filler.
- Make over your mantel: Get creative with your mantel. String fall foliage across your mantel. You can also decorate it with miniature pumpkins or a vase filled with decorative branches.
Do you have other tips for decorating your home for the fall? Share with us in the comment section below!
What better way to celebrate the end of summer than with a Labor Day party? Whether you’re having an outdoor barbecue with friends and family or your shindig is going to be inside, here are some tips to help you throw a memorable get together.
- Test out recipes: If you’ve been itching to try that appetizer recipe on Pinterest, your Labor Day party would be the perfect time to test it out. Let your guests be food critics for the day and try some awesome recipes.
- Play games: Whether you’re partial to a jumbo-sized version of Jenga, Twister, cornhole, or a simple baseball and glove, it doesn’t matter. Get outside and have a blast with friends and family while doing something active. Encourage guests to bring any other games they think would be fun to have at your party, as well.
- Decorate with a theme: The typical go-to for a Labor Day party is a patriotic theme. However, if you’re celebrating going back to school or want to throw a beach party to relive the beginning of summer, you’ll want to decorate accordingly.
- Invitations: Get creative with fun DIY invitations or send out a simple online invitation. Don’t forget to add an RSVP date so you can keep yourself organized.
- Ask for help: Don’t feel like you have to do everything yourself. Let your guests bring different food or games. That way the pressure is off you to do everything and you can relax.
We hope you have a great Labor Day weekend! Do you have any other tips on how to throw a great Labor Day party? Share with us in the comment section below!
Summer is getting ready to make its exit, but because of the sunshine and rain’s effect on your wooden patio, it’s important to consider some maintenance and care to keep the natural look all year long.
Wood stains come in three different varieties—clear, which will show off more of the grain and natural look of the wood; solid, which covers the wood completely; and semi-transparent, which is a mixture of both a solid and a clear stain.
If you’re looking to freshen up your patio, these Consumer Reports top-rated wood stains might be what you’re looking for:
This clear wood stain provides strength and protection from mildew and UV ray damage. The formula is water based, so it’s easy to clean up. Best of all, it’s a one day project, so you can apply to damp or dry wood in just one coat and go on with the rest of your day.
If a solid stain for your deck is what fits your style, this 100 percent acrylic formula seals out water and protects from UV ray damage. This wood stain can be used to prepare new to heavily weathered or cracking wood stains.
If you fall in the middle and want a wood stain that’s semi-transparent, this product also had high ratings from Consumer Reports. The formula for this wood stain is also acrylic, seals out water and protects from UV ray damage. You can use it on properly prepared new to moderately weathered, unsealed exterior wood surfaces.
What qualities do you look for in a wood stain? Let us know in the comments!
Keeping up-to-date on your home’s maintenance is important to save you money and headaches later on. Here’s a good list of regular maintenance tasks to help you get started:
- Inspect HVAC filters and change them if necessary. Depending on the size of your family and whether or not you have pets, you may need to change filters every month or as infrequently as every three months.
- Inspect your fire extinguishers once a month. Make sure it’s in an easy to reach place, there is enough pressure in the extinguisher and that it still looks like it’s in good condition.
- Clean your garbage disposal at least monthly. Make “ice” cubes out of a 75/25 mix of white vinegar and water (make sure to label them clearly while they are freezing!). Turn on the disposal and throw in some of the cubes. Follow up with lemon slices to clean and deodorize the disposal.
- Clean the range hood filters at least every other month, depending on how often you cook. Use degreaser from an auto parts store mixed with hot water. Let it soak for a few minutes and then rinse.
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors monthly. Replace the batteries immediately if necessary.
- Deep clean the house in the spring and the fall.
- Vacuum your refrigerator coils to keep it running smoothly. At least once a year should help!
- Inspect your exterior in spring to check for any damage it’s suffered during the winter. Check gutters, roofing, trees, siding, drainage, window screens, pavements and any other potential areas that might cause you trouble down the road.
- Service your air conditioner in late spring to make sure it’s ready for the summer heat!
- Check on water pressure in faucets and toilets, and look for any potential leaks to prevent larger (and more costly) problems from appearing later.
- Clean out your dryer vents and other exhaust vents at least once a year to prevent fire hazards.
- Get your home ready for winter with this fall maintenance list!
Homeowners, what else would you add to this list? Let us know in the comments!
- Swap out heavier drapes for sheers that flow in the breeze.
- Add pops of color with pillows, lampshades, artwork, dishes and flowers to make a space more cheerful for summer.
- Empty out your fireplace – You won’t be needing it for a while! Get rid of any remaining wood and ash, and fill the space up with candles, books or other collection of items you love.
- Create vignettes with beachy-décor such as seashells, flowers, sand and anything else that reminds you of summer.
- Paint furniture. Go with either a bright pop of color or white/ similar light color to make a room feel airier.
- Build or buy a fire pit for your backyard to make s’mores and to snuggle up to during long summer nights!
- If you have a canopy bed, add gauzy white panels to make the room feel like a summer getaway.
- Create the perfect napping nook outside with a hammock, day bed or a lounge chair with lots of pillows.
- Make your outdoor sitting feel casual and inviting by using benches instead of chairs. Bonus feature – you can fit more people around the table this way!
- Lighten up your rooms by clearing out clutter and stowing away heavy fabrics and throws. Swap out darker decorations or furniture for lighter pieces.
- Bring the outdoors inside! Fill your home up with a variety of plants – big flowing plants, succulents, flowers – whatever brings you joy!
- Add lights outside to get the most out of the summer nights. For some great ambience, use strings of paper lanterns, bulbs, or even white Christmas lights in a pinch.
- Swap out textures. Use natural, breathable fabrics like linen to make rooms more comfortable and summer-like.
What else would you add to the list? Let us know in the comments!