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Happy Fall!

Today is the first day of fall, which means we will soon be spending increasingly more time indoors. Get outside and pick some apples or walk through the park while you can, because winter is coming. It’s important to make sure your home is just as prepared for the cold weather as you are.

Source: D. Sharon Pruitt

Here are a few ways to prep the house for fall:

Check your heat

For about $80 to $100, a technician will inspect your furnace or heat pump to make sure the system is clean and in good condition so that it can achieve its efficiency standards. The earlier the better…you do NOT want to wait until winter to find out if your heat isn’t working. The inspection also measures carbon-monoxide leakage. Look for a heating and air-conditioning contractor that belongs to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America .

Buy a programmable thermostat

Many homes today already have this option, so if you already have one, be sure to check the settings. The initial investment of $50 to $100, you will save you well over that annually on energy bills if keep the thermostat set to no higher than 70 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re at home and awake and no more than 62 degrees when you’re away or asleep. Energy Star–qualified models are your best bet because they come with preprogrammed settings. You could also consider home automation for added convenience. While you’re at it, check the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon-monoxide detectors.

Seal all cracks and holes

Check windows, doors and the perimeter for cracks or holes that will cause leaks. Fill any found holes around windows and doors with caulk. If the gap is bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. Check window glazing putty, too (which seals glass into the window frame). Add weather-stripping as needed around doors, making sure you seal any cracks from inside your home. For extra insulation, consider installing cellular shades. These shades are another product that’s going to cut your energy bills down. The larger the cell, the more insulation they provide.

Get the Fireplace Ready

If you have a working fireplace, cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds. You should consider calling a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote if it hasn’t been cleaned in a while. Be sure to inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing and check the mortar between bricks and tuck-point if necessary.

Prevent Mold Growth

The biggest areas susceptible to mold are any areas prone to humidity and stuffiness. Bathrooms, basements and crawl spaces can be hotspots for mold growth.  Make sure exhaust fans in bathrooms are working properly and being utilized if the room gets humid, such as after a shower.  Ever smell that mildew smell in your basement? Mold and mildew can increase the risk of illnesses.  Consider placing dehumidifiers in crawlspaces or basements.

 

Design tip: Consider switching up the art work in your home or change a few accessories. It can be a simple switch, such as new throw pillows or a different scented candle. You’re going to be spending more and more time inside as it begins to get colder. It can be refreshing to change your scenery inside. Select four to eight simple black frames and you can change the photos with each season. It’s like having a small personal art gallery in your home.

Best Window Treatments for Home Theaters

A home theater is an excellent investment in your home, but to pull off the actual theater experience, you do need to invest in the right window treatments. As home theaters become more popular, new drapery and window treatments become more readily available, designed especially for the home theater itself. However, you do not have to invest a lot of money into these products. For the home theater, simply choose shades and curtains that block out the most light. Consider a curtain to cover the screen too, for that classic dramatic movie theater effect.

If your home theater has any type of windows within it, it is critical to find a way to block out the light that could stream in. In order to get the darkened room, there are several types of window treatments you can choose from for these windows. By far, the best choice in products will be blackout shades or curtains. The material does not allow for any light to pass through it, creating the deep darkness that really transforms the movie watching experience. Also, it is a good idea to choose side channels, which also block out the light that could come in from the edges of the window frame.

To make the movie theater experience at home even more seamless, you could choose electrical blackout shades or curtains. . Using an electrical track will allow you to easily open and close the draperies or shade at the push of a button, instantly darkening the room.  One more thing to consider is sound. You don’t want to be interrupted by outside noises or be causing a disturbance yourself with your theater sound system, so look for material that will help block sound too. Avoid flat designs and instead choose layered drapery and treatments with slots, like cellular blackout shades that reduce sound with their irregular shape and internal air pockets, which are also often lined with aluminum to additionally block out sound.

Select window treatments for home theaters that are designed to provide the darkest and quietest of rooms to ensure your movie experience is the best it can be.

Ideas for Kitchen Window Treatments

The kitchen is the heart of your home. Windows here can really open up the space and provide you with great light. However, having window coverings is important. For some homeowners, there is a need to have treatments for privacy. For others, energy efficiency is a reason to add treatments. However, considering the area of the home, there are certain things you need to think about such as if the window treatment is a good choice for cleanliness and for the aesthetic beauty, it offers. There are some outstanding options available to you.

Consider what you need first. If the kitchen in your home is adjacent to the dining room or other formal place, or the kitchen has a more formal look to it, the window treatments need to reflect this aspect. Also important is cleanliness. Since many windows are placed right above sinks, it is easy for everything from splashes to grease to get on them. You need a product that is easy to clean and maintain.

The good news is that there are a wide range of options to choose from. For your kitchen window treatments, consider solar shades to keep temperatures in control and to reduce the overall ability of others to see into the window when you do not want them to. You may want to consider silhouette shades or cellular shades too, since these are easy to maintain but do provide that formal, elegant look.

Kitchen window treatments are available in numerous styles and function options. You are sure to find a wide range of colors, styles and fabrics to select from so that you can personalize this space. You can enhance the look and function of your window when you select the proper kitchen window treatments for the space you have selected. This is a great way to change out the look of this space inexpensively, too.

Why Do People Need Window Treatments?

Electric privacy shade for bedroom
Electric privacy shade for bedroom

Window treatments provide much more than just a covering for your window.  Some types of window treatments can help to reduce energy costs. Other products add a decorative element to the room or allow you to take full advantage of the space no matter how you want to use the space nor what time of the day or night it is. Privacy is yet another of the key benefits of window treatments.

As you can see, there are numerous reasons to use window treatments. Consider your options carefully.

  • Select window treatments that are able to block out the sun so that you can get some sleep during the day. Blackout shades and drapery works well for this.
  • Add some decorative flare with a few ornate rods and a stylish tassel on your drapery in the living room. This makes it more elegant in the space.
  • Consider the benefit of cellular shades or other types of blinds that block out others from seeing into your space. This is a critical feature in places like the bedroom.
  • For larger windows, you should look into solar shades or drapes. These do not allow sunlight to overheat your home during the summer months. They also help provide a layer of protection so that your home does not lose as much energy in the summer or winter months.
  • Change the look of the space. Choose vertical blinds, for example, to elongate the look of a window and make the room look higher.
  • Choose blackout drapery to help create the right ambiance for your movie theater room.

From a design perspective, having window treatments just makes sense. However, the right treatments can sell a home or transform a boring space into one that is a lot of fun and functions better for your particular needs.