Home Improvement


Paint-free ways to brighten your home

Brighten homeAutumn is a beautiful time of year marked by pleasant temperatures and colorful fall foliage. But as vibrant as nature can be in the weeks after summer has ended, homeowners know that the shortened days of autumn mean less light inside their homes, which can become dreary even in the weeks before the arrival of winter.

Many homeowners pick up their paintbrushes in an effort to make their homes more colorful. But homeowners need not embrace their inner Picasso to brighten their homes’ interiors. The following are a handful of paint-free ways to add some splashes of color to your home this fall.


Bring nature inside

Flowers and plants can make colorful additions to a home’s interior. Flowers tend to be aromatic, which can make a stuffy house in which windows need to be kept closed a lot more pleasant. Plants and flowers also can improve indoor air quality. Several studies, including one published in the Journal for the AmericanSociety for Horticultural Science, have shown that houseplants improve indoor air quality by filtering out volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, that can be harmful to human health. That’s especially important come late fall and winter, when homeowners typically shut their windows and keep them shut until spring, making it difficult for fresh air to enter a home.


Invest in some colorful throw pillows

Natural sunlight brightens a room come spring and summer. But sunlight is increasingly scarce as fall turns into winter, and rooms that do not boast too many colorful accents can quickly grow drab as summertime sunlight dwindles. Instead of buying new furniture, invest in some colorful throw pillows to give a room a more vibrant look. Patterns can be mixed and matched to provide some contrast and transform a room from somewhere to spend time into a sight to behold.


Paper the walls

While many of today’s homeowners prefer paint to wallpaper, those who want a less permanent solution to brighten up their homes may want to consider removable wallpaper. Such paper is less expensive than traditional wallpaper, and many do-it-yourselfers find removable wallpaper is easy to both install and remove. Choose a colorful pattern that can turn an otherwise plain wall into a potent palette that adds some life to your home’s interior. Because removable wallpaper does not require a significant financial investment, you can experiment with various colors or change things up each month if you so desire.


Add some artwork

Another way to add color to the walls inside your home without dusting off your paintbrush is to hang some colorful artwork. Paintings that feature bold colors tend to draw your immediate attention when you enter a room, and that quality can make you forget the room is not benefitting from natural light. If you want to go the extra mile, find a painting that features colors which match throw pillows or other accessories in the room. This way your walls and your accessories are working in concert to make a room more colorful.


Rug it out

A patterned throw rug is another accessory that can effectively brighten a room without much effort or financial investment on the part of homeowners. When choosing a throw rug, find one that’s colorful but does not clash considerably with existing furnishings, as you don’t want the rug to draw attention for all the wrong reasons. You have more freedom with regard to rugs if you’re furnishing an empty room, as you can choose whichever rug you look and then choose additional furnishings based on the rug.

Homes tend to darken as late fall turns into winter. But homeowners can brighten their homes in various ways, even if they prefer not to paint.

— MetroCreative

How to prevent winter soil erosion

Acres upon acres of landscape may be under siege this winter, and not by foraging animals looking for food. Soil erosion is a significant problem when the temperatures dip, as snowstorms and wind can blow unprotected soil away. What’s more, when warmer weather returns, even more soil may erode from spring melt and runoff.

Unprotected soil that is exposed to wet and windy weather can quickly deteriorate. Especially harsh winter weather can cause soil to break down, subjecting the soil to erosive forces. Soil loss is wasteful and can compromise landscapes, leaving lawns and gardens susceptible to further damage. To combat poorly performing gardens, landscapers may have to rely more heavily on chemical fertilizers and supplements, neither of which is an especially eco-friendly alternative.

Rather than reacting to the problem of soil erosion, homeowners can take proactive steps to protect soil before winter weather has a chance to wreak havoc. Composting can protect and improve soil conditions throughout the winter season.Soil Care

Some people see gardening as a spring and summer activity. However, by making gardening a year-round effort — and choosing plants for all seasons — homeowners can protect landscapes and provide hardy habitats for wildlife.

Speak with a landscaping professional about which plants are hardy enough to survive through the fall and winter seasons. Certain ornamental bushes and shrubs can thrive in colder temperatures. Root vegetables, such as carrots and potatoes, are viable in the winter months. Many people plant flower bulbs in early winter to protect the soil and to enjoy vibrant color upon the arrival of spring.

If your goal is to plant a placeholder for spring crops or plants, cover plants, such as rye, are an ideal winter protection crop. Rye will remain rooted into spring and then can be mulched into a soil amendment.

Another solution is to use leaves and other compost matter to cover naked soil until planting resumes. The compost will be heavy enough to stay in place and will add healthy soil nutrients, including potassium, phosphorous and nitrogen, as it decomposes. Place a breathable soil fabric on the compost to help slow decomposition. Soil fabric also can be used elsewhere to protect soil and plants where thick layers of compost may not be practical.

Some home landscapers and gardeners may overlook the importance of preventing soil erosion during the winter. But preventing such erosion can protect resources and guarantee a landscape that is ready to thrive when spring planting season returns.

— MetroCreative


Home improvement projects perfect for fallFall projects

Home improvement projects can add value to a home and do-it-yourselfers know the sweat-equity that goes into such projects can give homeowners a greater sense of pride in their homes. But no two home improvement projects are the same, and homeowners should know that certain projects are best tackled during certain times of the year.

Fall is a great season to work on your house, as the weather is often at its most agreeable once the summer heat has gone and before winter weather arrives. The following are a handful of fall-friendly home improvement projects for homeowners looking to improve their homes.


Roof repair

Whether you’re repairing or replacing the roof, fall is a great time of year to dust off the ladder and get some work done on your roof for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, fall is ideal for roof work because you won’t have to be up on the roof with the summer heat bearing down on you. This can make the project move along more quickly, which is especially beneficial if you are paying laborers to work on the roof. The fewer hours workers are fixing your roof, the less you will be paying in labor costs.

In addition, fixing up the roof in the fall ensures those winter storms, be it rain or snow, won’t find their way into your home via leaks. A leaky roof in winter is hard to fix, as the roof surface could be treacherous in the winter and winter winds can make it dangerous to be up on the roof at all. Addressing leaks in the fall can prevent damage to your home’s interior, which can mount up if a leaky roof is not addressed until the following spring.


Window work

When the weather outside gets frightful, poorly insulated windows can allow cold air into the home. That often has a trickle-down effect on finances, forcing you to turn up the thermostat in an attempt to offset the cold air pouring into the home. Whether you need your windows replaced or simply need to patch up any leaks, a proactive approach to leaky or older windows in the fall can save you from unnecessarily high heating bills come the winter. Addressing leaky windows also makes a home more comfortable for its inhabitants.

Fall is the ideal time to address a home’s windows because the temperature outside tends to be pleasant. This means you likely won’t have to make much of an effort to offset the elements, and open windows in the fall won’t make your home’s interior very hot or cold like they might if you were to tackle the project during the summer or winter.


Fixing the floors

Wood flooring is a hot commodity for many homeowners. But not all flooring can be added to a home at any time of year. That’s because certain types of flooring employ adhesives that need temperatures inside the home to be within a certain range, and that range is often within 70o to 80o F, which makes fall a great time to install such floors. Colder temperatures can make it difficult for the flooring to dry and bond, which will prove problematic down the road. What’s more, many people entertain friends and family come late fall and into the holiday season, and it can be difficult to do so if you are busy installing new flooring.


Painting projects

Painting is another home improvement project that seems tailor-made for fall. A fresh coat of paint or a new color scheme around the house can give a home an entirely new look and feel. But paint can be pungent and the aromas may last if it’s applied at a time of year when it can’t dry while the windows are wide open. Paint fumes inside a home can make the home uninhabitable, but painting at a time of year like the fall, when you can keep the windows open during and after the project, can help air the home out.

But interior painting isn’t the only painting project homeowners can tackle in the fall. Many exterior paints are temperature-sensitive and need the temperature outside to be above 40o F. Paint that freezes won’t dry properly, and homeowners might be left with a costly and unsightly mistake on their hands. Fall temperatures tend to be amenable to both interior and exterior painting projects, just be sure to check the weather forecast before making your first brush stroke.  FH139449

— MetroCreative