Click inside for the weekly home and garden rail, with items on fall decorating, a how-to on using a plunger, tips on building a bat house for your backyard and more. Or check out these links:
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Decorating Tip: Nature's bounty inspires fall interiors
The warm tones of the autumn harvest transform your indoor haven from one resonating light summer frivolity to something a little richer with more depth.
Fall thrives on all things rustic and natural - so it's no wonder that a home enhanced by a backdrop of deep brown, gold, green and purple reflects the season's warmth.
Armed with a palette of rich autumn-inspired hues, a high-quality wall paint, the right applicators and a sense of creativity, you'll easily be able to reinvigorate your home into a vibrant reflection of the harvest season.
Paint, in general, is a savvy, cost-effective way to transform your interior from the light, airy summer palette to autumn's bolder, warmer hues. A simple change of wall colors lends a completely different feel.
Gold walls will complement rich wood furniture and patterned upholstery. Consider truffle-based brown and clay tones. And gray holds timeless appeal, whether for the walls or ceiling.
These paint hues can even be used to refresh tired furniture.
While the pairing of blue and brown remains popular, designers have mined a new combination of colors for fall interiors: green and brown.
Blending nature's two most prevalent colors, this sophisticated, yet accessible, combination plays well in a variety of interior rooms and settings.
While color is critically important, don't forget, in any painting project true success lies in the initial legwork and the tools you use to get the job done. Make sure you properly prepare your walls before painting. You'll be glad you did.
Repair any holes or cracks, sanding the spackle smooth. Wash the walls to remove any debris or grime, then prime with a quality latex primer to provide the best possible canvas for your new palette.
The quality of tools you use also is important. A poorly constructed brush or roller cover can make a great color look terrible when it's applied. Selecting the right brush and roller is crucial. Cheap brushes can lose bristles and spread paint unevenly.
Home-Selling Tip: Keep it clean
A few more tips for preparing your home for showings: Remove all clutter from every room, including closets. Organize your basement and attic. Have a garage sale with all the stuff you don't want to move to your next home.
Maintain the new and improved interior and exterior of your home until you successfully sell. It's hard, but it's necessary.
How To: Use a plunger
The plunger is one of the most trusted tools in unclogging a drain. Here are a few tips to make plunging more effective.
- Block the overflow holes, other drains in adjacent sinks or any other openings by stuffing wet rags into the holes.
- If water is not already present in the basin, run 2 to 3 inches of water over the drain hole. The water helps to force the obstruction out of the way and you’ll know when you succeed.
- Apply a thick layer of petroleum jelly to the rim of the plunger. This helps create a tighter seal and greater suction.
- Force the plunger handle down powerfully numerous times. After plunging for a minute or two, stop to test whether water will drain. When clear, run hot water to flush away any remaining particles from the clog.
Did You Know …
Hot water heating accounts for about 90 percent of the energy your washing machine uses to wash clothes — only 10 percent goes to electricity used by the washer motor. -- www.energystar.gov
Home Improvements: Try IKEA’s online design tool
IKEA has an online tool that allows homeowners to become a virtual interior designer.
The IKEA Planner Tools let you drag and drop your choice of furniture into the room and fit it to the exact measurements of your home. Rearrange and try different styles until you’re satisfied with the result.
Once you’re happy with your plan, you can save it onto the IKEA server so that you can pick it up at an IKEA store. Then get final planning advice and assistance before purchasing the products you need.
Visit www.ikea.com/us/en/ and click on “IKEA Planner Tools.”
Garden Guide: How long to run the sprinkler?
To keep your lawn green without wasting water, keep this tip in mind:
1. Scatter clean, empty tuna cans or other straight-sided containers on your lawn.
2. Turn on the sprinklers and check the time.
3. When most cans have 1 inch of water in them, turn off the sprinkler and check how long it ran.
4. Now you know how long to run your sprinkler each week in summer if you want to keep your lawn green.
Bats play an important role in maintaining the balance of nature, especially as mosquito predators. A bat house will encourage bats to take up residence in your backyard.
- Bat houses should be made of exterior plywood or cedar (rough on the inside). The inside should have grooves at least every 1/4 inch or have polyethylene plastic mesh attached to the walls.
- The house should be at least 24 inches tall, 13 inches wide and about 3 inches deep.
- The opening at the bottom of the house should be about 3/4 to 1 inch. Any larger would allow predators to enter.
- Your house needs to be placed at least 15 feet up, the higher the better, and should face a south to southeasterly direction with at least 6 hours of sunlight daily.
GateHouse News Service