Nov. 25 home and garden rail, with items on indoor and outdoor lighting, how to correctly use a dehumidifier, tips for choosing a rake, and more.
Home Improvements: Simple lighting tips
Believe it or not, lighting can make all the difference when it comes to the appearance of your home - and it doesn't have to break the budget. Try some of these techniques from the lighting pros to boost your home's ambiance.
Make a grand entrance
Curb appeal doesn't only matter when selling a home, it sets the mood for visiting guests before they cross the threshold.
"We recommend updating exterior lights with new technology that will enhance the home facade using the proper light levels and color temperatures," says Richard Lentz, owner of Dallas-based Lentz Landscape Lighting and Lentz Services. "Many homes have floodlights mounted directly to the face, shining up. These could be changed to fixtures using LEDs that would provide excellent lamp-life and low energy consumption."
If you wish to hold your holiday party outside, Jeffrey Dross, senior product manager of Kichler Lighting, has some suggestions.
“The light is low, indirect and perfect for conversation," he says. "Be certain that stairs and steps are well lit. Guests may not be as familiar with the landscape as the owner."
For specific holiday-themed drama, explore the latest seasonal decorations powered by LED lighting.
"New color-changing technology now allows lighting designers to have the ability to specify custom color scenes or shows to set a particular mood for festivities," says David Wilkins, president and CEO of American Lighting in Colorado. "Whether you desire a red roofline or one that fades from red to green and back to red, color-changing LED technology offers creativity like never before. You can produce the exact ambiance you like at any moment during your party or gathering this season."
Festive mood indoors
You've set the scene outside your home, now it's time to create a warm and cozy atmosphere inside.
Colleen Visage, senior product manager for Progress Lighting in South Carolina, shares several easy ideas for increasing the elegance of living and dining spaces without inflating the budget.
"Decorate your existing lighting with festive accents. Replace a chandelier's crystal teardrops with gold, silver or red glass balls or use berries or ivy to wrap around sconces, chandeliers and pendants," she says.
Many homes already have track lighting, which can be adjusted to suit your decorating needs.
"Position the track heads and mini-pendants so that they showcase the holiday items on display. Track heads and mini-pendants are available in a wide variety of colors to coordinate with the color theme in your decor," says Visage. "In the dining room, add more light to the centerpiece or a holiday meal by aiming adjustable halogen track or recessed fixtures so that the light shines directly on the tabletop."
Both exterior and interior lighting advancements have changed significantly in the past few years. Today, there are more sophisticated lighting choices than the consumer would have ever thought possible in the past.
Decorating Tip: Flooring should work with the room
If you’re looking to add new hardwood flooring, select a type of flooring that best complements the room -- color-wise and shape-wise.
Think big: Wider planks and bigger tiles are very popular.
And don’t overlook items like wool area rugs. Wool is the most versatile option and is the easiest to clean.
-- Hunter Douglas
Home-Selling Tip: Prepare for winter weather
If winter weather drops ice and snow, make sure to clear the way for potential buyers who come to view your home. Shovel any snow, de-ice walkways and steps, put out a welcome mat where people can wipe their shoes, and provide a spot to leave coats and hats.
How To: Make the most of a dehumidifier
A dehumidifier can do a great job of reducing the humidity in your home, thus reducing the risk of mold and mildew.
When you first turn the dehumidifier on, set it to the driest setting possible to stabilize the room's humidity. After a couple of cycles, you can set the unit's automatic humidistat to the setting you need. Other tips:
- Run the machine only when room temperature is at or above 70 degrees Fahrenheit. If frost collects on the coil, the air temperature is too cool to operate the machine. Frost keeps the machine from working properly.
- Keep doors and windows closed to prevent air loss.
- Maintain an unrestricted airflow. Keep at least 6 inches away from walls and furniture.
- Keep the coils and bucket clean.
Did You Know …
To clean tile grout in your bathroom, mix equal parts Epsom salts and dish detergent and start scrubbing.
Garden Guide: Choose the right rake
In Consumer Reports testing, researchers found extra-wide rakes (36 inches) require more downward pressure to move leaves.
The magazine recommends a standard-width (24 inches) rake with a soft grip.
Another great tip: Before you buy a specially designed rake, such as one with an ergonomically curved handle, try to it out in the store by simulating raking.
Rakes aren’t one-size-fits-all; you want to find the one that fits you the best.
Need a good gift idea for the bird lover in your life? Birdseed ornaments are seed cakes in festive shapes.
Place them in outdoor trees to give your backyard birds a holiday treat to nibble on, or use them inside as a natural decoration. Many birding supply stores carry the hanging ornaments.
Or make one yourself by dipping a pinecone in a mixture of suet, peanut butter and birdseed. These homemade versions work best outdoors.
GateHouse News Service