Decorate your home for Halloween

Decorate your home for Halloween

Do you love driving around your neighbourhood during late October and checking out the ghostly and gruesome Halloween decorations? Thinking of upping your game this year?  With plenty of time to get crafty before October 31, make this the year to go all out and enter the running for the street’s creepiest house!

Here are 8 spooktacular ideas for creating a spine-chilling Halloween home:

  1. Remove your doormat and use black duct tape to create a spider web on your front porch.
  2. Cut eye holes in empty toilet paper rolls, insert a glow stick in each and strategically place in bushes around your yard.
  3. Think large scale and drape spider webs from your eavestrough down to your front porch. Make or buy some massive spiders (you can find instructions for creating your own on Pinterest) and place the creepy crawlers in the web.
  4. Use some discarded Barbies or other dolls (you can find them at your local thrift shop) to create an army of zombie dolls. Use grey paint on their faces, mess up their hair and remove a few limbs for the full effect!
  5. Nothing says Halloween like swirling fog! Make your own fog machine with a few simple ingredients. You’ll need pure gylcerin, distilled water, an empty 2 litre bottle, a small tin foil pie tin and a couple other easy-to-find supplies to create your DIY fog machine. Check online for detailed instructions.
  6. Instead of a red carpet entry, offer your guests a faux blood-stained pathway! Cut 3-foot strips from an old, white sheet or drop cloth and lay along your front walkway a few hours before trick-or-treaters start arriving. Step in red paint with bare feet and add some bloodied footprints and splatter some more red paint for a little extra gore.
  7. To create the illusion of desperate folks trying to escape your home, cut out forearm/handprints from black bristol board and affix to windows. Use dim lighting for the desired effect.
  8. For a weird and whimsical look, shape chicken wire into ghostly figures, spray with glow in the dark paint and place on your front lawn.

You can find plenty of exciting ideas for Halloween decorating at http://www.countryliving.com/diy-crafts/g1370/outdoor-halloween-decorations/.

Revamp your outdoor space

Revamp your outdoor space

Nothing beats relaxing on your patio, porch or deck after a long day. With just a few months of warm, sunny weather, Canadians do like to maximize their outdoor space come the summer months. But not every home comes equipped with the perfect spot for enjoying a warm, evening breeze. Here are some tips for making the most of your home’s outdoor space, no matter what the issue!

The blank slate: If you’ve recently moved into a home with a bare backyard and your budget is tight, try making small changes every year rather than tackling the entire space in one summer.  There are tons of affordable changes you can make to create a relaxing setting. The first mission to undertake is seating, a key element to any comfy gathering spot. Shop online garage sale sites and Kijiji to find a used patio set in good condition or look for some old, aluminum folding lawn chairs that you can upcycle. Simply remove the canvas or plastic webbing and replace by weaving some colourful craft cord across the frame! You can find step-by-step instructions online. Other options for DIY, budget-friendly furniture include pallets and cement blocks, tires and cable spools. You’d be amazed at what you can create with so little!

The fishbowl: Some homeowners are reluctant to use their backyards because there is little privacy, especially in newer subdivisions lacking mature trees.  If you’re feeling a little exposed, there are many ways to make your space feel like a secluded oasis. For an immediate solution, use wood, outdoor fabric or plants to create a wall that will create a partially enclosed seating area. Thinking long term, a privacy hedge is the perfect solution for an exposed backyard.  Good options include: arborvitae, boxwood, Golden vicary privet, forsythia and French lilac.

Small and compact: Even tight spaces can be turned into a wonderful place to kick back and relax after a long day. When creating more livable space outdoors and square footage is tight, think first about how you want to utilize the space and plan accordingly. Would you like an entertainment/eating area? A spot for kids to play? A meditating garden with a pond?  You likely will only be able to choose one function for a small backyard so take the time to consider how you can get the most bang for your buck!

Top off your home with a functional attic

Top off your home with a functional attic

Need more living space in your home? Look up! If you have an unfinished third floor that you just aren’t sure what to do with, the possibilities are endless.

Before you start the planning process, you will need to make sure that your attic is workable. Grab a tape measure and make sure that your space will conform with the “rule of 7s”. Ideally, at least half of the finished attic should be at least seven feet high, 70 square feet and seven feet wide. Building codes vary from one municipality to the next, so a contractor will be able to tell you if your town or city has more specific guidelines and explain how dormers can be used to remedy low ceiling issues.

Now that you know you CAN transform your attic, the question of what kind of space to create must be answered! Here are a few ideas for making the most of your third floor renovation:

Craft room: Pretty much everyone in the house can take advantage of a space dedicated to creative expression! The key to a functional craft room is organization, so be sure to include built-in storage and work spaces, utilizing every square inch of real estate. You’ll also want to let in plenty of natural light and add good lighting for those rainy day and evening projects.

A home office: If your dining room table or bed is currently doubling as your office, your attic could be transformed into a pleasant, quiet place where you can get some work done. Again, try to use every square inch of space, adding storage and lots of shelving. Include plenty of outlets, potlights and a comfy window seat for brainstorming sessions!

Home gym: Sometimes the idea of heading to a dark basement to sneak in a work out isn’t all that appealing. A bright and sunny attic space might be the perfect solution. Ask your contractor about adding in a skylight to maximize the natural light. Choose the right equipment to suit your space and consider investing in a portable air conditioner if you’re concerned about being too warm during the summer months.

Playroom: A children’s playroom is another excellent way to use your unfinished third floor. Choose fun flooring, paint one wall with chalkboard paint, add lots of storage and comfortable seating and include a table for crafts, board games and snack time.

It’s all about smart storage for winter gear!

It’s all about smart storage for winter gear!

If your home doesn’t have a #mudroom, it doesn’t take long for your front foyer to become buried in a sea of hats, mittens, scarves and boots. With just a little effort, you can cut down on the clutter and hopefully prevent yourself from buying the same #winter wear items over and over again. Invest in some attractive storage solutions – think wicker baskets, fabric boxes or some pretty bins – and make sure everything has a place. You can also pick up an over-the-door plastic shoe organizer to store smaller loose items like #mittens, scarves, hats and umbrellas.

What’s hot and what’s not in 2017 home trends

What’s hot and what’s not in 2017 home trends

Velvet, jewel tones, white marble and built-in bars are forecasted to be the biggest home design trends for 2017, according to the latest Zillow Digs® Home Trend Forecast.

According to Kerrie Kelly, Zillow Digs home design expert, interior design this year will be about bringing warmth and comfort into the home. Homeowners will start to shy away from overly industrial designs that feel stiff or cold. Instead, they will incorporate plush fabrics like velvet and rich jewel tones into their home to make it feel more approachable and welcoming. Here they are in detail as well as 2016 trends to forget:

1.  Velvet

A hot fashion trend, velvet is also expected to make a big splash in interior design. Look for velvet fabrics and textures to weave their way into anything from throw pillows to upholstered couches and curtains.

2. Jewel Colours

Saturated colours like emerald green or sapphire blue will take centre stage. From artwork to furniture, these vibrate hues will be popping up everywhere, bringing life and richness to homes.

3. Marble Surfaces

Marble, especially in shades of white and light gray, will be one of the year’s biggest design trends. Experts predict marble to become an increasingly popular material for countertops, flooring and tabletops, as well as in everyday household items like serving platters or vases.

4. Built-in Bars

Stemming from 2016’s popular bar cart trend, homeowners next year will look for a more permanent solution for entertaining within their home. From built-in shelving for craft cocktail fixings, to a small bar seating area, homeowners are enjoying decorating and hosting more classic parties and will seek ways to make these spaces more of a focal point within the home.

Fads to Forget from 2016:

1. Industrial Furniture

While aspects of the industrial design trend like exposed brick will still be present in 2017, homeowners will start to shy away from its sometimes uncomfortable or impractical furniture. Instead, the 2017 design aesthetic will shift towards “steampunk,” a unique hybrid of Victorian-inspired elegance boasting rich leather and plush fabrics, combined with machine-like accents for a modern twist.

2. Cool Grays

From wall colours to couches, shades of gray have been a safe, go-to choice for homeowners and interior designers alike. In the coming year experts predict homeowners to be more experimental and welcoming of brighter pops of colours on everything from walls to rugs in an effort to make their space feel more individualized.

3. Quote Art

The quote art trend is overdone, and a fad that will be forgotten quickly in 2017. Rather than decorating with words or cliché sayings, homeowners will start to incorporate artwork reminiscent of the colours and textures found in nature.

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