Autumn is one of our favorite times of year. The weather is cooling down and some of the best holidays are on the horizon. One of the most enjoyable aspects of decorating for Autumn is the many directions you can go with it, making personalization a cinch. Today, we’ll be focusing on a Harvest theme. Whether you like to go all out or keep it simple, we’ve gathered some great tips and ideas for decorating your home this season.
Did you know that ‘Autumn’ and ‘Harvest’ come from the same root word – hærfest? Here in rural Texas, most of us are at least a little familiar with the historical and cultural significance of harvest-time. We drew from the past to create these decorating suggestions that compliment every Holiday of the season:
Pumpkins, of course. Pumpkins are an Autumn staple; it’s their peak season, after all. But they’re not the only vegetable in the patch. We recommend taking advantage of all the other squashes that flourish this time of year to add variety in color and shape to your decorations. You can put them in baskets or add them to yard displays. The smaller varieties can also enhance your dining table or mantle pieces. They’re also incredibly useful once it’s time to exchange them for winter decorations. They can be used as ingredients if you’ve displayed them somewhere cool and dry (fresh winter squashes can last up to 3 months!), or they make excellent compost for your garden if they’ve turned before the season’s over.
Woven or Half-Bushel baskets are a simple way to capture the spirit of Harvest. You can fill them with practically anything, but we suggest apples, winter squashes, flowers, hay, or blankets. Store blankets in the baskets for a casual and cozy look in your living areas. You can even combine these options for a look that is absolutely homey. Fill the majority of your basket with hay or a blanket so that the ‘filling’ slightly pokes out over the basket’s edge. Then, pile your choice of (fake or fresh) Autumn fruits or vegetables on top, and you’re done! Half-Bushel baskets are paint friendly, so don’t be afraid to put your monogram on the side or paint the edges for a personal touch.
Seasonal decor wouldn’t be complete without a wreath. Whether you’re making or buying, we love the idea of honoring the Harvest tradition by using natural pieces such as leaves, flowers, berry branches, wheat stalks, or cotton. Add a bow, letter, or other ornament as you desire. For a unique twist to this classic decoration, turn the wreath on its side and use twine or thin chains to hang it! This requires the wreath base to be fully covered, but an unexpected seasonal chandelier is sure to make your decor stand out. If you plan to include lights on your chandelier, we advise you to stay away from candles to avoid a fire hazard.
It’s been about two weeks since Fall began and the weather is cooling off slowly but surely. Maintaining your home in the Fall consists of much more than turning down the A/C and raking some leaves (which isn’t always a good idea! But more on that soon). Click on any of the blue links for more information on any of these tips.
Here is a checklist, complete with tips, of ways you can care for your home’s Fall needs:
Fight off drafts by sealing your windows and doors. Sealing leaks with spray foam, caulk or weather stripping is a huge step towards a more comfortable and energy efficient home.
From 2010 to present, October has ranked second only to May in highest average rainfall in our area. Now is a great time to check your roof or hire a professional to do so.
When both leaves and rain are falling, it’s important to make sure your gutters are clean.
Daylight savings time is coming up on November 4th. Don’t forget to check your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms while you’re changing the clocks.
It may not seem like much, but a programmable thermostat can save a significant amount of energy and money by automatically adjusting your HVAC’s output.
Remember when we said that raking your leaves isn’t always a good idea? Turns out that leaves are one of the best natural, and free!, mulches available. For the first few weeks of the year, we suggest mulching your leaves with your lawn mower to keep your soil healthy. Relocate any excess leaves to garden areas to enhance the natural plant cycle.
Speaking of mowing, once you’re done mulching your leaves, you probably won’t have much use for your lawnmower until Spring. Empty unused gasoline from your lawn equipment or, even better, add a fuel stabilizer to keep it fresh.
If you have a fireplace, then now is the perfect time to prepare your chimney for all the cozy nights you’re soon to spend around the fire. Experts recommend having it swept when 1/8-inch of sooty buildup is present.
If you plan to store firewood this year, it should be kept at least 15 feet from your home. Don’t keep large amounts of wood inside, due to the risk of termite infestation. Keep an eye out for animals that may shelter in your wood pile when the temperature drops.
Prepare your sprinkler system for the cold nights ahead. Draining your irrigation system before the first freeze of the season can prevent burst pipes and a headache in the Spring.
Even if you don’t have a sprinkler system, you probably have outdoor faucet and a garden hose or two. Attached hoses can cause water to back-up into the plumbing just inside your exterior walls. When the freezing temperature hits, this water could freeze and expand, cracking your pipes and fixtures. So detach your hoses and turn off any water supply lines that lead to exterior spigots.
Comment your Fall Maintenance Tips or any questions you have below!
Interested in more tips or don’t feel like reading? Check out this short video from American Home Shield:
[Videos like this are the closest we’ll ever get to advertising, and it’s only because we don’t make our own videos – yet.]