Fall is the season of change––the leaves change, the temperature cools, and with the proper planning, you too can be prepared for the autumn season. Whether weatherproofing in preparation for winter or re-envisioning your home's décor, there are many cheap and easy do-it-yourself options to ready your home for fall.
Weatherproof windows and doors
Unless your home and windows are brand new, there are probably some gaps that let the fall chill creep in, wrecking havoc on your electricity bill. Luckily, there are some DIY options to keep the cold weather outside, where it belongs. Caulk and less permanent weather strips can both be bought on the cheap at your local hardware store. The process of adhering weather stripping is easy, and there are many guides available, like this one from Home Depot.
If you have a sprinkler system, it's wise to blow it out before the first freeze. This will prevent pipes from freezing, which can cause costly plumbing repairs. Blowing out your sprinklers requires the purchase or rental of an air compressor. Though this may seem like a pricey job, ensuring your sprinkler system is properly winterized will save you a ton of money repairing it. The process itself is a fairly simple and painless procedure with simple step-by-step instructions.
Over the summer months, leaves, debris and dirt have no doubt clogged your home's only run off option. Once snow and rain start falling, these clogged gutters can cause the water to pool up in undesirable places, which can cause many problems. As the cheapest DIY option on this list, cleaning your gutters only costs the time it takes to complete. While you're up there, it doesn't hurt to check for any roof or gutter issues that can be dealt with before they require costly repairs.
Maintain fireplace and chimney
If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace in your home, remember that if you clean and maintain it before winter rolls in then you can cozy up to a toasty fire when the first snow falls. It's up to you whether you want to maintain your own chimney or hire someone to take care of it for you. Should you opt to take care of your own, there are many things to keep in mind, including inhalation, mess, wear and tear and proper damper position. To properly prepare, make sure you have a drop cloth on the floor, you wear a mask and you are ready with a vacuum to suck up the ashes. Other than the basic clean up it is also important to ensure the bricks in your chimney are holding up to avoid more costly problems down the line.
If you're looking for a subtle change that's easy on the back and wallet, simply working in some fall colors into your current décor can add autumn spice. Rather than going out and buying a bunch of new blankets or throw pillows, there are some simple color options that only cost as much as a sample bucket of paint. Pick up a few cheap picture frames from a thrift store or garage sale and a few sample cans in your favorite fall hues. Paint the frames one solid color and (ta-da!) you have a new décor. You can use these frames to re-frame current wall photos, or get more creative to make an interesting piece of art using leaves or other fall items on your mantel piece, like this one.
A festive centerpiece
Autumn is the season for gatherings. Whether it's a football Sunday, Thanksgiving dinner or a Halloween party, there are many reasons to get together with friends and family come autumn. With everyone gathered around the table, why not put together a pretty centerpiece to get people talking? Pumpkins, leaves and corn are common fall adornments, but rather than simply spreading them all over the table, try a new trend that will get people talking. What you'll need is a pumpkin, some fake flowers (preferably autumn hued) and some hot glue. Take your flowers and glue them to the pumpkin until completely covered. This unique floral project is appealing to the eye and can be made in any color scheme that suits your home.
Oh the joys of pumpkins! Simply putting a few on your porch can evoke nostalgia, but if you're feeling a little more ambitious, try making flower pots or vases with these seasonal gourds. For a festive flower pot, empty out a pumpkin or gourd as you would if you were carving a jack-o-lantern. Rather than filling with a candle, top it with soil and plant your favorite seasonal flowers. Another fun option is to use a gourd as a vase. Empty out the gourd and it's ready to be filled with water and flowers as a beautiful table display. Gourds will stay water tight for about a week, but you can also insert a bud vase to ensure there's no leakage.
There are many cool ways to use leaves in your fall décor. Some people adhere them to candles or use them in center pieces or wreaths, but there are other creative options. Make an interesting wall hanging or shelf topper by using an old book, some colorful leaves and picture frames. To create this look, remove a few choice pages from an old book. Select your page based on the passage or simply the look of the page (think dog eared or with gold finish.) Before you start, select your favorite colorful leaves then press them between newspaper in a heavy book. After a few days, you'll have a dry and flat leaf for decoration use. Once the leaves are ready use the book page as the backdrop and place the leaves over it in a frame and you'll have a very pretty piece of art.
Nicole Cormier is a hip-hop head with business ambitions who stumbled awkwardly into journalism in 2007 as Colorado Music Buzz's hip-hop editor. Nicole quickly became infatuated with Colorado hip-hop and devoted thousands of words to creating awareness of the inconspicuous yet insanely talented community. Nicole is the publisher and editor of the Colorado hip-hop e-magazine, www.HipHopRollCall.com and is also the Colorado Hip-Hop Examiner
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