Holiday Table-Scape Inspirations

What could be more enchanting than a gorgeous holiday table-scape? Surprisingly, they aren’t as difficult to put together as you might assume. In fact, awesome table-scapes can be whipped up using many of the items you already have at home!

Use Different-Sized Candles and Ornaments

Candles arranged with ornaments that have been placed in bowls are a fast and effective way to create a table-scape that’s simple, but impressive. You can choose candles of different colors for a multi-hued effect. This is a great use of ornaments that won’t be put on a tree this year. (photo)

tablescape

Use Natural Plants and Items

Why not use what’s available this time of year thanks to Mother Nature? For instance, you can place pine cones in a wooden basket for a rustic effect. You can also use berry-laden twigs, leaves, rocks, squash and gourds. (photo)

table

Let the Kids Help

Have some youngsters who would love to help you make a picturesque table-scape or centerpiece? All they need are some pieces of construction paper, a few crayons, a little tape and their imaginations. Let them run wild! (photo)

table

Turn Baked Goods Into the Table-Scape

Cookies, cakes and candies can actually add to the ambiance as part of the table-scape. They can be lined up in fun ways on a runner or on special dishes. Make sure everyone knows that they can eat the table-scape at the end of the meal! (photo)

table

Make a Table-Scape Tableaux With Figurines

Do you have some figurines in your china cabinet? Bring them out and arrange them on your table top. You can even position them in vintage scenes, such as kids sledding or couples waltzing. If there are kids at your meal, put them at a different table to protect any breakable objects. (photo)

table

No matter how you choose to decorate your table, have fun with the experience along the way. Even if it isn’t perfect, it’s your personal innovation — your friends and family members will be wowed!

How to Maximize a Small Space for Family Gatherings

holiday

Ah, family! It seems like they come out of the woodwork around the holidays. It can be tricky to host a holiday meal in a smaller abode. Fortunately, there are several clever ways to maximize even a tiny space for your upcoming family gatherings.

Remove Unnecessary Furniture

If you’re hosting Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner, you may want to move any unnecessary furniture out of the main living spaces, at least for the meal. You can always squeeze bookshelves or desks into bedrooms for the night. That way, you’ll have more room to move around.

Ditch the Big, Round Table

Do you have one round table that serves as your dining area? You might want to put it away for your larger family meals. Instead, rent a few long, slender, rectangular tables. You’ll be able to seat more relatives and friends in the same space.

Invite Family Members in Shifts

Do you have a super-small apartment? You could always ask family members to come at staggered times. This allows you to entertain everyone without feeling like you’re being inundated by bodies. For example, you could host a special Thanksgiving breakfast, then a lunch and finally a dinner. While it’s not ideal, it will allow you to play host to lots of loved ones.

Make Kids Sit in the Kitchen

This is an “oldie but goodie” in terms of tricks to maximize space. If you have lots of children at your event, put them in the kitchen at a smaller table. This will free up space for the big kids in the main room.

Don’t Have a Big Meal

Rather than asking relatives to come for a big, sit-down event, have them stop by for drinks and appetizers. That way, they can sit and chat. Remove the table from the dining area and replace it will some chairs. This will encourage mingling.

There’s no reason to let a small space keep you from entertaining the people closest to you. With some planning and ingenuity, you can make all of them feel at home no matter what size the room!

 

(photo via)

How to Winter-Proof Your Home

gutters

When cooler weather starts to enter the Mechanicsburg, Harrisburg and Camp Hill areas, it’s time to winterize your residences. Winter-proofing a house doesn’t need to take a lot of time, but it does require some practical planning.

Below are six ways to lower your winter heating costs, improve the quality of your home and ensure you’re not surprised when the temperature dips below 40 degrees Fahrenheit.

1. Get your furnace and duct-work cleaned.

Your furnace and ducts have worked hard all year long, and they need to be checked out and cleaned. Hire a professional for this job — that way you’ll know of any problems before they get worse.

2. Replace drafty windows

Drafts take a serious bite out of your wallet every winter. If you have windows that are obviously allowing your heat to seep out, contact a trusted Mechanicsburg replacement window company. You’ll see a huge difference in your utility bills.

3. Clean up your lawn and outside areas.

As the weather cools, clean your patio furniture thoroughly and store it either in your home, shed, garage or a rented storage unit. At the same time, clear away any brush and leaves. They won’t go away during the winter and can cause paths to become slippery.

4. Bring in some outdoor plants.

Have a few plants that you bring indoors every winter? Make sure you have a place that will help them stay alive and healthy until you can re-plant them in your garden.

5. Clean out the gutters.

While it isn’t a job that everyone loves, gutter-cleaning is a necessity. If you can’t safely get on a ladder to do it yourself, pay someone else to do the work. It will help take away the worries that your gutter might overflow and cause serious property damage over the cold months.

6. Add insulation to your home.

Do you have enough insulation in your attic or crawl space? You might be surprised to learn that replacing insulation can lead to huge gains in terms of home efficiency.

Winterizing definitely has its rewards: you’ll be able to sail through the winter more comfortably and with fewer “uh-oh” moments.

(photo via)

How to Care for Your Andersen Replacement Windows

andersen windows

After you have made your investment in replacement windows for your Harrisburg area home, you should start a maintenance schedule to make sure your windows stay in tiptop shape for as long as you have them. Here are some of the best ways to keep your Andersen windows sparkling and beautiful every season of the year:

In the Spring…

Springtime is ideal for sprucing up your windows, especially after the tough winter snow, sleet and ice has melted away. First, it’s a good idea to clean every window in your house on the inside and the outside. You can use any kind of gentle cleaner, although it’s recommended that you choose one that won’t scratch your windows or frames.

If you want an all-natural cleaner, mix equal parts vinegar with warm water. Dry the windows with a soft cloth. If any of your windows require lubricant, use the type of spray that’s recommended for the product.

In the Summer…

While you don’t have to clean your windows on the outside if you did a thorough cleaning in the spring, you should still clean the insides of the windows every month or so during the summer. Again, use a gentle cleaner and a soft cloth. Screens can be cleaned with a vacuum — never use any kind of intense pressure, as they might break.

In the Fall…

The autumn is the time to do another indoor and outdoor cleaning of your Harrisburg home and its replacement windows. Don’t forget to clean the tracks and mechanisms of your windows – many people who invest in window replacements neglect to maintain all the parts that help the windows work as expected.

If your replacement windows have to be taken apart, make sure you know exactly how they work. It’s actually much easier than you might expect!

In the Winter…

Just like the summer, make sure you take good care of the indoor elements of your windows. Keep them free from dirt and dust. If you notice that the grout is getting dirty, you can use special grout cleansers.

If you focus on a little bit of maintenance each season, your efforts will pay off in a big way. You’ll love your Andersen Replacement windows even more every day of the year!

5 Simple Home Organization How-Tos

pantry

We all have those areas of our home that have become a catch-all for clutter. But those drawers, cupboards and closets can easily be tamed so you can make the best use of your space.

Here are five simple tips for how to organize your Harrisburg area home.

1. Take advantage of space under the bathroom sink.

 When everything is commingling in one space, your bathroom cabinet can quickly get out of control. Take advantage of inexpensive shoe-box sized clear storage containers with lids. You can buy them at any Harrisburg area box store for less than $1 each. Label what’s inside and combine similar items together. The containers easily stack and will keep your sink space organized.

2. Organize under the kitchen sink.

 Most people have cleaning supplies, plastic bags and a stockpile of trash bags ready to burst out of the kitchen cabinet. You can easily cut down on the amount of plastic bags you’re saving and store only what you need in an inexpensive caddy on the cabinet door. Keep cleaning supplies at eye level by installing a tension from a home improvement store under the sink and hanging spray bottles.

3. Revamp your front entryway.

 Your entryway is the first impression of your home but it is often the messiest because everyone dumps their stuff as they enter. Making a place for everything can easily solve this issue. Look for inexpensive baskets, bins and hooks at Harrisburg retailers for shoes, bags, jackets, keys and purses. Label bins and hooks with each family member’s name so they have a designated spot to store their stuff.

4. Put containers under the bed.

Out of sight, out of mind, right? Not quite. Keep things dust-free and organized with under-the-bed storage containers. The containers, which you can find at home improvement stores, are shallow and slide easily under your mattress to store extra linens and clothes.

5. Simplify the pantry.

While BOGO deals seem like a good idea at your favorite supermarket, they can cause storage havoc in your pantry. Take granola bars, powdered drink mixes, oatmeal and microwave popcorn out of boxes — store them in bins for easy access. You can group tall boxes of spaghetti together in hanging magazine files. And consider putting cereal, flour, sugar and rice in storage containers to keep them fresh and easy to find.

Organizing is contagious. See where else you can use inexpensive fixes to cure the clutter in your home!

 

(photo via)

Splurge vs. Save: Spruce up Your Home This Fall

windows

Now is the final push for many home improvement projects. Homeowners want to wrap up many of the items on their to-do list before the winter chill sets in, as installing replacement windows during a snowstorm doesn’t sound very fun! But if your finances aren’t matching your wish list, we’ll share the top splurges and a few places where you can save.

Save: Couch

If your couch is looking a little worse for wear these days, you might be able to save it — or at least prolong its life until tax refund time. If cushions are starting to sag, use 1/4-inch thick plywood, foam and fabric to add some support. If your replacement windows are shining light on unsightly stains on the sofa, invest in an inexpensive couch cover in a neutral color and add colorful throw pillows.

Splurge: Lighting

Why does it always seem like all the lightbulbs in a room go out at the same time? If you’re reading by the light of your replacement windows and all the lamps in your living room are in need of new bulbs, resist the urge to be cheap. Sure, a big box of bargain bulbs might seem like the easy choice, but newer energy-efficient bulbs will last longer and save money on your electric bill. It’s worth the extra money now.

Save: Furniture

With Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners right around the corner, you might be looking at your dining room table a little closer these days. If you’ve had it for years and the nicks and scratches are multiplying, you might be considering a less-dated replacement. But this is an inexpensive, easy weekend fix. Sand the table down and paint or stain it — just be sure to open your windows to properly ventilate the workspace.

Splurge: Windows

Last winter’s utility bills were off the charts and you know the culprit: your old, drafty windows. By investing in energy-efficient replacement windows, you’ll add value to your home and save big on your home heating and cooling costs. Price out your replacement window options to get the most for your budget.

Make your money go farther this fall with a little planning and some smart saves and splurges on your home improvement projects.

 

5 Easy Fall Décor Tips

 

oct

The dog days of summer will soon come to a close. Before you turn off the AC and throw open your windows to let in the crisp fall air, here are five ways to transition your decor from summer to autumn.

1. Incorporate wreaths.

A new wreath is an inexpensive way to welcome the new season. If you have a wicker wreath, you can easily switch adornments from neon hues and flip flops to warm tones and leaves. For an extra-festive look, consider using orange ribbon to hang several fall-themed wreaths on the exterior of your street-facing double hung windows.

2. Enjoy the smells of autumn.

 While you should definitely open your windows to let the scents of autumn infiltrate your home, one of the easiest ways to transition from season to season is to swap out your scented candle collection! Put away flowery, fresh scents and opt instead for pumpkin and cinnamon.

3. Invest in window treatments.

In the summertime, you might opt for light, breezy curtains in your home. As we transition to cooler temperatures, you’ll want to go with darker, heavier fabrics to cover your double hung windows. Drapes can lower your utility costs and make a room feel cozy.

4. Set the table.

Your centerpiece should match the season. If you used fun, bright colors or a nautical theme for your summertime tablescape, it’s time to switch things up. Use branches, leaves and a color palette of red, orange, yellow and brown to set the scene in your dining room. Tie in your dining space’s double hung windows and add complementary smaller arrangements on the window sills to tie the space together.

5. Embrace new flowers.

As the nights get cooler, your pansies, daisies and other summer flowers might start to die out. That doesn’t mean your front porch and flower beds need to be bare! Embrace hearty flowers like mums for the fall and add pops of color in planters. You can also bring seasonal blooms inside with sunflowers and other end-of-summer favorites. Fill mason jars and place them on tables, mantles and your window sills.

It’ll be a lot easier to say goodbye to summer and hello to fall with these simple decor switches.

 

(photo via)

3 Ways to Make Your House a Dream Home

dream home

Whether you have a few years in a starter home or you’ve finally purchased a place with your must-haves — bay windows, a home theater and a grand staircase — here are the three things you can do to turn any house into a dream home!

1. Create a Comfortable Living Room

A room large enough to hold friends and family is key. You want your living room to feel cozy and function well. Make sure there is ample seating for playing board games, watching movies and reconnecting.

Consider the space and make the most of it with items that do double duty such as storage ottomans. Decorate to your taste, but consider timeless themes that won’t make your room feel outdated — think gauzy curtains on your bay windows in a beach-themed space. Mix and match fabrics and textures for a homey look that will invite your family and guests to sit down, kick their feet up and stay awhile.

2. Make Your Kitchen Functional

Your kitchen is the hub of the home. It’s where meals are cooked, homework is done and stories are told over glasses of wine. In addition to sparkling stainless steel appliances, you’ll want a kitchen that combines function and style. Consider a large island with added seating for guests. Think about incorporating double ovens if your home is the go-to spot for big holiday meals, and use materials that are easy to keep clean if you have little ones.Take advantage of natural light with bay windows over the sink.

3. Recharge in a Bedroom Oasis

After a long day, you’ll want to recharge in your master bedroom retreat. Invest in furniture that helps you make the most of your space. Paint the walls with soothing colors and splurge on soft linens, so you can completely unwind. If your bedroom has an en suite, carry the theme into it with spa-inspired neutrals and soft, fluffy towels! Or, consider installing windows over a garden tub. You’ll emerge relaxed, refreshed and ready to take on tomorrow.

No matter what you do to decorate your living room, kitchen and master bedroom, it’s ultimately the people inside of it that make a house a home. Enjoy making memories in your dream space!

(photo via)

 

Are Window Walls Practical and Safe?

window wall

Modern homeowners are all about openness. We want open floor plans with sight lines from room to room and large entertaining spaces. And when it comes to windows, we want to let as much sunlight in as possible. A popular trend for remodeling projects and new builds is the installation of window walls.

Window walls are just what they sound like: exterior walls of your home made predominantly of glass. The result is a flood of natural light; however, the unique feature doesn’t come without some challenges. Below, we’ll outline the pros and cons of window walls.

Pro: Beauty

Window walls come in a variety of styles that can include metal and can fully retract to open into an outdoor space. Whether you go for a more industrial look or opt for full glass, window walls will maximize your view. Depending on where you live, you can take in staggering cityscapes, ocean waves or tree canopies.

Con: Cleaning

If you “don’t do windows,” a window wall might not be for you. While many of the windows used in window walls come treated to reduce water spots, they’ll still need to be cleaned more than traditional windows. And you’ll likely need professional help, which will be an added cost.

Pro: Durability

Because window walls are popular for beachfront properties, builders have had to work to make them durable enough to stand up to hurricane-force winds. But that doesn’t mean they’re safe from human error. Take special caution when mowing the lawn — a kicked up rock could mean a big repair bill.

Con: Cost

Because of the construction, materials and expert installation required with window walls, the cost of installation is significantly higher than traditional replacement windows or double-hung windows.

Pro: Efficiency

Window walls take advantage of the advancements made in window construction. Today’s window walls are extremely energy efficient and cut down on the amount of harmful UV light let into your home, so your upholstery won’t fade.

Con: Privacy

Unless you want to put on a show for your neighbors, you’re going to have to figure out a way to cover your window wall when needed. There are many options — including high-tech blinds that can be operated by your smartphone — but all will come at an added cost.

 

Consider the pros and cons of window walls. While they’re a wonderful option, make sure they’re the right choice for your home.

 

(photo via)

6 Gorgeous Windows From Around the World

If you’re in the middle of a home renovation project, it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel and a world where your microwave isn’t balancing precariously on a chair in your living room.

Take a break from picking paint colors, choosing finishes and living in a construction zone. Check out these seven beautiful windows we found from around the world and get a little inspiration for your home.

1. First up, check out this fun bistro window in Poland. While it’s probably not a look you’d like for home use, local restauranteurs should take note of this unique way to display a menu and add a bit of personality to your to-go window. (photo via Roman Emin)

bistro

2. If we’re being perfectly honest, what makes this window in Northern Ireland so awesome is the view. But the rough board trim adds a rustic look that would be perfect in a cabin or shabby chic home. (photo via Tony Bowden)

ireland

3. These blue shutters pop against this building in Malaysia, which almost looks like it was painted with watercolors. The pairing is a good reminder of the importance of finding a strong color scheme for your shutters and siding. (photo via Gavin Firkser)

blue

4. We love the thick casing and fun pop of color on this window in Australia. The eggplant would pair well with a neutral siding color such as beige or gray. (photo via Jocelyn Kinghorn)

denmark

5. These ornate windows from Spain were just too beautiful not to share. The thick, white plaster casings pop against the building’s intricate pattern. While it might be a bit too busy for the average home, we would really enjoy drinking our morning coffee on that Juliette balcony. (photo via Jocelyn Kinghorn)

spain

6. This home in Slovenia is overflowing with old-world charm. The window combines both form and function with the wooden shutters and beam. We’re in love with the deep-set windows that have just enough space to house some herbs and flowers. (photo via Arun Katiyar)

slovenia

What are your favorite windows from around the world? What inspires your taste and style?