Finally, it’s starting to feel like Fall. The holidays are beginning to be top of mind as we set shopping budgets and plan for holiday get-togethers. In the busyness of the holidays, it’s easy to neglect the important home maintenance tasks that your home needs before the cold weather really sets in. Why not make a personal goal to take care of these tasks before things get really crazy?
- Fireplace. If you have a traditional fireplace or a sealed gas fireplace, there are inspections that need to take place before you begin using it regularly throughout the winter. Inspect the chimney or venting system, as well as the firebox. For gas fireplaces, inspect the flame and rod. In traditional fireplaces, make sure your flue closes tightly.
- HVAC System. Have your furnace or heat pump professionally serviced. Just like your car needs a tune-up, so does your heater. A well-maintained heater will run more efficiently and use less energy. Clean ducts and air filters will also help your system work more efficiently, and reduce the allergens in your home.
- Weatherstripping. As we discussed in last month’s newsletter, now is the time to inspect and repair any detached or deteriorating weatherstripping. Keep the warm air in and the cold air out!
- Gutters & Downspouts. Once the leaves are finished falling, inspect your gutters to make sure they haven’t become clogged with leaves and other debris. Ensure that water can properly drain through your gutters and downspouts. Water shouldn’t spill over the edge of the gutters during rain (or behind them), it should flow easily into the downspouts. Make sure the bottom of your downspouts are directing water away from your home.
- Protect Pipes. If you live in a region with prolonged freezing, make sure that all exposed piping is properly insulated.
- Trim Trees. Trim any trees that may impact your home during winter storms.
- Irrigation. Reset your irrigation timers in preparation for the rainy season. If you live in a region prone to freezing, you’ll want to shut down and drain your system for the winter.
Proper home maintenance is what keeps your home working as it should all winter long. If you’ve fallen behind on your maintenance, don’t despair! Start with this list, and then refer to the Home Maintenance Summary in your Homeowner Maintenance Guide for an organized list of your home’s maintenance needs.
With the holidays just around the corner, you may be starting to experience anxiety over the guests you plan to have in your home. You want your home to feel clean, fresh, and homey, but don’t necessarily have the time, money, or imagination to make that happen. We have some ideas to put your mind at ease and help you come up with a plan!
1. Make it Sparkle
A clean house is always the best place to start. A clean house will automatically feel fresh and give you the proper canvas on which to incorporate other updates. Get your carpet professionally cleaned or rent a machine for a day. Better Homes and Gardens has a great 7 Day Cleaning Plan to help you get a handle on your cleaning tasks. If you just can’t make time to clean (this is a busy time of year!) consider indulging in a professional house cleaning service just this once, if you don’t already. Even on a tight budget, sometimes saving time and reducing your stress is worth the splurge.
2. Declutter Your Space
Reducing the clutter in your home will go a long way in making it feel more spacious and inviting. Think clear surfaces! The less clutter and the fewer your knick-knacks, the cleaner and larger your home will appear. Check out this post from earlier this year on reducing the clutter.
3. Focus on a Few Small Changes
Updating a few small things can make an impact and most importantly, change the way you feel about your home. If you’re on a tight budget (aren’t we all?), hit up the discount stores or use coupons for the bigger stores. Here are some simple ideas that will make a noticeable difference:
- Replace a worn out rug. A stained, fraying rug can really take away from all the other hard work you’ve put in to make your home look lovely.
- Add some new throw pillows in this season’s trendy colors or patterns.
- Hang a festive wreath on your front door and put out a seasonal welcome mat.
- Make your entry more welcoming by hanging a piece of framed art, placing a stylish area rug, or adding a vase of flowers on a small table.
- Place new towels or a pretty soap dispenser in your guest bathroom. Pick up a new shower curtain if yours is looking worn.
- Update the curtains in your main living area with a color or pattern that makes you feel good and adds a pop of design to your room.
- Inexpensive, well-chosen art can also bring a freshness to your home!
4. Appeal to the Senses
So much of the experience we have in our own homes or the homes of others comes down to our senses and how a space makes us feel.
- Scent: Make sure your home smells clean and homey. Simmer oils on the stove, use an electric wax warmer, or pick up some plug-ins. Seasonal scents such as cinnamon, vanilla, or spices will give your home a pleasing, holiday feel. If you or your guests are allergic to the manufactured scents, try something natural like citrus, cinnamon sticks, or essential oils.
- Sight: Clear, clean spaces with a few thoughtfully placed items are much more pleasing to the eye than having every memento you own on display. Also, lighting is important in creating a space that is comfortable – you want it not too bright, not too dim. Lamps tend to create a nicer ambiance than overhead lighting.
- Sound: Play soft music in the background. Create a Pandora station that sets the mood you want to convey, be it soothing, romantic, peppy, or retro.
- Touch: Use appealing textures to draw your guests in to your seating areas. Textured throw pillows that beg to be touched or a soft throw over the back of an arm chair will make your home feel inviting and encourage your guests to get comfortable. Touchable linens on your table will add to the mealtime experience. Clean, fresh towels in your kitchen will make pitching in to dry dishes a pleasure.
- Taste: Have yummy treats ready for your guests – especially the kind that evoke comfort and home. Have some hot cider simmering on the stove. Click here for some great holiday recipes to try out!
What are your favorite ideas for getting your home ready for the holidays? Want more ideas? Check out this post from last year!
Each year brings a new palette of on trend colors that will shape the home decor collections we see in catalogs, boutiques, and big box stores. This year’s trend colors include soothing and refreshing greens, as well as hues of blue, blush, and berry. If you are looking for fresh color ideas for your home, use these as a guide to explore the different colors options that are available.
The ColorGuild is a guild of paint manufacturers from all over the world who work to predict color trends. See their list of the 2015 trends here.
Additionally, here are links to the 2015 colors of some the top paint manufacturers. Let them inspire you as you consider ways to update your home!
What do you think of the 2015 color trends?