Home and Garden

Home and Garden: Autumn-ize Your Home

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Well, Summer is definitely over. The days are getting shorter, and the nights are getting colder. We all know to winterize the outside of our homes. Well, the inside need a little Autumn-izeing too. Weíll be spending more time indoors, now, and weíll be noticing things we didnít when we were out enjoying the Summer.

Now is the time for your decor to change seasons. The light and airy feeling we all shoot for in Summer, needs to make way for a more warm, cozy, feeling. Take out those colorful throws, and drape them on your sofas and chairs. Now is the time they're on sale, so pick up one or two on special.

Hereís something you might not have thought of. Change your light bulbs, even if they're still working. Replace them with higher wattage bulbs. With it being darker longer, youíre going to want that extra light. Not just to see better. Studies have shown that stronger lighting, in the winter months, helps ward off a case of the blues.

Before you start using the fireplace, move any decoration you had near it for the Summer. That fan screen might have looked stunning all Summer. But think of how stunning it will look in flames. Just stash it away until the Spring. Make sure you donít leave plants, stuffed animals, silk or plastic trees - anything flammable - near the fireplace or wood stove. Moving these few things will ensure a safer fire area.

Your windows may need a change of clothes too. Take down your lightweight curtains, and replace them with heavier curtains or drapes. This will cut down on drafts, while providing you with privacy when itís dark out. Itís harder to see through the heavier material.

Hereís something you need to do that you might not look forward to. Vaccuum out your heat registers, air exchanges, and/or radiators. If you do have radiators, make sure you bleed them. If you donít know how, call your local heating company. They should be glad to either tell you how to do it, or do it for you, at a minimal fee. Doing these things will insure you the maximum heat using less energy.

Now for your walls. No Iím not suggesting painting, unless they really need it. Iím talking wall art. We all have at least a thing or two hanging up on the walls. Start seasonalizing your art work. I have pictures and other wall art for each season. Autumn pictures, needle points, wreaths and so on, can be hung for a more seasonal look. If you need to do this without seasonal stuff, just start with one or two pieces. If all you can afford is a Fall silk, or dried, arrangement, do it. Every thing starts with one step. If you're crafty, make some Autumn art, for your walls.

In the Bedroom, itís time to change your bedding. Switch from Summer lights to warm and comfy. Put a quilt, or heavy spread on the bed. Flannel sheets are nice too. They even make sheets from T-shirt material now. Put a nicely folded afghan, or a nice big blanket, at the end of the bed. If you donít use it at night, just put it to the side while you sleep. Put it back when you make the bed. This makes your bedroom look warmer and inviting. Oh, and donít forget the guest room. You want it to be warm and cozy too.

In the bathroom, replace your bath mats and rugs with thicker, more plush ones. They are warmer on a cold Autumn night. Change your towels to a deeper shade of your color. This will make the room look and feel warmer. While youíre doing this you might as well take this time to change the shower curtain.

In the kitchen; Their are many ways to change the season, in the kitchen. Replace live floral arrangements, and centerpieces with dried arrangements. You can also use a bowl of apples, or tiny pumpkins, or Indian corn, for your table decoration. Now is the time to clean the oven. Itís cooler now, and youíll be getting ready for your holiday baking. Hang big, decorative hooks on the wall, for jackets.

Little things: Move house plants to a southern exposure. That way they will get all the sunlight they need. Place wicker baskets here and there. Theyíre great for stashing magazines and books in, for later use. You might need to move your lamps around, to get optimal light. Some folks rearrange their furniture. When I was a kid, we did that every Autumn and Spring. By the time the newness wears off, itís time to change again. This helps with the winter doldrums.

Iím not suggesting you do everything I have mentioned. Of course you can, but just a few of these changes can Autumn-ize your home.