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Autumn Decorating Tips

Now are the days to make your home blend with the typical autumn colors and accessories to celebrate the season. But don't do the same old thing. Here are some tips with a fresh, new twist.

  • Dough Bowls - Rustic wood dough bowls, hewed out of plant wood, are unique as no two are alike. Come in various shapes and sizes. Are excellent contrast to refined silver and crystal because of their rustic qualities. Put an antler-shaped candlestick or fall figurine in the center. Fill around it with medley of gourds, hedge apples or seasonal fruit.
  • Apothecary Jars - Group several on a side table. Fill one with colorful layers of found objects: acorns, persimmons, dried corn, hops. Fill second with faux fruits or vegetables (red apples, pears, artichokes, avocados). Fill third with cinnamon sticks.
  • Transferware - This is anything you can pair with something else. Choose something black, brown, gold, green or red. Place next to amber glassware, wicker chargers or cranberry napkins. Add fall accents for a gorgeous table.
  • Urns - Place pumpkin in garden urn. Fill with gourds. Use as a vase for fall flowers, foliage or berries. Tuck faux red apples around base of fern. Let green berry picks cascade down the side.
  • Fall Linens - Pair fall colored napkins with everyday dishes. Place table runner with fall leaves down center of table. Use paisley throw in the center to add fall colors.
  • Lanterns - Fill with gourds, hedge apples, fall branches. Place on coffee table, side table or mantel.
  • Baskets - Use baskets everywhere. Combine with other accessories for a rustic, fall look.

Decorating Guest Rooms

Even though spending for gifts might be down this year, chances are visitors will not, as families will still want to get together. So let's work now on getting your spare bedroom ready for the in-laws or other company you might have. Make your room beautiful but thoughtfully practical too. Here are some easy tips.

  • Twin beds are more practical. They can be pulled together if a couple shares the room, or kept separate for other guests.
  • Make sure the mattresses are comfortable.
  • Add an egg crate foam mattress on top of the bed's mattress for extra comfort.
  • Provide variety of pillows in different weights.
  • Remove down pillows in favor of foam pillows.
  • Do not use wool or down comforter, but a polyester one.
  • Cover mattress with dust cover. Vacuum top of mattress before placing sheets.
  • Upholstered headboard is good for reading or watching TV in bed.
  • Add extra throw blanket and soft rug for extra warmth.
  • Add small desk and chair for writing postcards or as a vanity.
  • Put screen on windows.
  • Supply empty drawers and space in closet with extra hangers.
  • Keep colors soothing and restful.
  • Add lamps for plenty of lighting.
  • Add magazines, newspaper and books for reading material, along with a TV guide.
  • Add a night light.
  • Add unscented candles here and there.
  • Add bottled water, packaged snacks, fresh fruit in a basket by bed, also new bar of soap, travel-sized shampoo, conditioner, lotions, new toothbrush, new toothpaste, spray-on deodorant.
  • Consider adding lint brush, sewing kit, shoe shine kit.
  • For final touch, add cut fresh rose on bed pillows with welcome note.

Getting Rid of Musty Smells

Remove all dirt, vegetation and debris from crawl spaces.

  • Use fill dirt to fill in low areas that might hold water.
  • Make sure ground slopes for drainage toward entry.
  • Check floor joists for moisture or decay or fungi growth.
  • Use a moisture meter to check readings on wood in various places.
  • Place a dehumidifier inside crawl space if humidity levels rise above 70.
  • Hire a professional to get rid of mold. You don't want mold spores to reach the living area to cause health problems such as allergies or asthma.

Making Your Home Safer

You know the saying, A stitch in time saves nine. And so it's also true that fixing problems around the home while they are little will prevent them from being major repair projects (or disasters) down the road. Before you settle in for the winter months, here are some tips to help you make sure your home doesn't have any problems waiting to erupt.

  • Home Fires - Heating equipment fires peak in December, January and February. Make sure your equipment is operating safely and properly. Space heaters are especially dangerous. Make sure they are at least 3 feet from anything flammable.
  • Smoke Alarms - Change the batteries. Test each alarm. Have an aerosol product (commonly called canned smoke) to test it. Pushing the "test" button only shows that the wiring is functioning properly. If alarms are 10 years old, replace them. Time will affect alarm's sensitivity. Replace with alarms that are interconnected so that when one goes off, they all go off. Should be installed by an electrician. Battery operated ones can use wireless technology and installed by you.
  • Fire Escape - Develop two paths of escape from every room. Get out quickly and safely. Invest in equipment that will allow quick exits. Fix windows that don't open easily, move objects blocking exits, purchase window escape ladders, or install quick-release latches for security bars. Decide who will wake small children and conduct fire drills. Choose a spot outdoors away from the home for everyone to meet up.
  • Chimney Inspection- Have a chimney sweep inspection. This could detect cracks in lining that could allow fire to spread inside your walls. Remove creosote, a highly flammable substance that builds up in chimneys when wood is burned.
  • Grab Bars in Bathrooms - Grab bars reduce falling, especially for elderly people.
  • Check Stairwells - Make sure you have adequate lighting at the top and bottom. Remove things from the stairs. A second handrail is always good. Install sturdy baby gates at top and bottom if you have small children.
  • Area Rugs - Area rugs are prone to migrate on carpets and hard surfaces. Anchor them with double-sided tape along all edges. Helps to eliminate trips and stubbing toes.
  • Carbon Monoxide Poisoning - Install one or more CO detectors, especially in bedrooms. Change batteries regularly. Replace if seven or more years old.
  • Check for Poisons - Do a walk-thru of garage and home to remove poisons, dangerous tools, cleaning products, automotive fluids - anything with the words "caution, warning, danger, poison" on it. Place all such items in a child-resistant cabinet with a lock.
  • Poison Control - Post the telephone number of poison control at every phone: (800) 222-1222.
  • Thermometer - Use a candy thermometer to check water temperature out of the tap. If it is higher than 120 degrees, lower the setting on your water heater.

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