Two dogs lying in leavesBeing able to entertain al fresco is one of the primary benefits of having a patio, deck, or outdoor kitchen. Spring and summer weather are obviously perfect for this purpose, but fall is less so because of the shorter days and nippy temperatures. Fortunately, there are some quick and easy steps you can take to extend the usefulness of your outdoor living space for another season. Here are our top tips for prepping your patio, deck, or outdoor kitchen for fall.

  • Give the area a thorough cleaning by first sweeping and then hosing down the wood, concrete, or tiled surfaces.
  • Clean the furniture if you plan to continue using the same pieces or swap out your summer tables and chairs for their fall coutnerparts.
  • Place an assortment of blankets in decorative basket so guests have a means of snuggling in on cooler nights.
  • Install a fire pit, outdoor fireplace, patio heater, or similar warming element to help control the temperature in larger spaces.
  • Add textured accents such as fuzzy area rugs or throw pillows and bolsters to give the space a warm, cozy feel.
  • Create a custom centerpiece for the table by placing autumn leaves, pinecones, and other seasonal foliage in a glass container.
  • Ambient lighting is a must, so make liberal use of candles, rope lights for deck rails, and walkway lights to help ensure guests can move about without encountering unexpected obstacles.
  • For a fun decorative option that doubles as extra seating, consider placing a couple of real hay bales in your outdoor space.

If you’re only using your patio, deck, or outdoor kitchen during the spring and summer, you’re missing out on weeks of beautifully crisp autumn nights every year. Extend the use of your outdoor living space well into the fall season by implementing these tips and tweaks to make the cooler temperatures more tolerable as you entertain family and friends.

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Tips for Cleaning Area Rugs

by Loy on September 6, 2016

Charming Types Of Area Rugs Living Room Ideas Homedsgn InteriorHow do you clean your area rugs? If you’re like most people, you might shake them out every once in a while and run the vacuum cleaner over them every week or two. While these methods are sufficient for many types of area rugs, different fabrics tend to require different cleaning techniques to protect the material and keep the rug looking its best. Here are some tips on how to clean some of the most common kinds of area rugs.

Nylon, polyester, and other synthetic fibers

Rugs made from synthetic fibers tend to be very tough and durable, so frequent vacuuming is the way to go. In addition:

  • Spot clean spills as soon as they occur, using a mixture of vinegar and water.
  • Use a commercial degreasing product to help remove tougher stains caused by oil or grease.
  • Deep clean/shampoo the rug at least twice a year.

Grass, rush, sisal, bamboo, and other natural fibers

Rugs made from natural fibers often feature relatively open weaves, which makes them easy to keep clean with light vacuuming. Furthermore:

  • Dirt and debris tend to filter through the weave to the floor, so be sure to sweep or vacuum under the rug from time to time.
  • Many natural fiber area rugs are reversible and should be flipped regularly to promote even wear on both sides.
  • Spills should be spot cleaned with a gentle detergent and a soft-bristled brush.
  • Since natural rugs are often woven together from separate parts, broken, damaged, or severely stained sections can be replaced piece by piece as needed.

Woven and braided area rugs

Some woven and braided rugs can be machine washed, so check the care label before proceeding. But even if the label says machine washing is okay, refrain from doing so if you notice any loose or broken stitches. To clean without machine washing:

  • Place nylon, mesh, or similar protective material over the rug prior to vacuuming. This allows dirt to be suctioned up while helping to preserve the rug’s stitches.
  • Deep clean by placing old towels or blankets beneath the rug and gently scrubbing with a commercial carpet cleaner. Rinse and hang dry (or put in the backyard on a sunny day) before replacing.

Bearskin, sheepskin, fur, and similar rugs

Known as hair-on hides, these rugs should not be vacuumed.  Instead, to clean safely you should:

  • Sprinkle baby powder or unscented talcum powder across the entire rug and let sit for two to three hours. Brush the powder through the fur to pick up dirt and debris, and then shake out thoroughly.
  • Clean spills or stains on the underside of the rug by using a soft microfiber cloth and warm, soapy water. Rinse clean with a soft cloth dampened with plain water and let dry before replacing.

Antique, oriental, and handmade rugs

Rugs that have significant monetary or sentimental value should be professionally cleaned at least once a year and treated with care at all times.

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Different Uses for Windex

August 23, 2016

There’s a good chance you have a bottle of Windex or other blue glass cleaner in your kitchen right now, and of course you use it religiously on all of the windows and mirrored surfaces in your home. But if that’s all you’re using it for, you’re missing out on much of the product’s cleaning […]


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Ways to Clean and Freshen with Lemons

August 9, 2016

Do you have lots of lemons left over after making summer favorites like fresh-squeezed lemonade and lemon meringue pie? Instead of letting these versatile citrus fruits go to waste, use them as a natural, nontoxic way to clean and freshen your home. Here’s how: Sprinkle a halved lemon with course salt and use it as […]


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Easy Ways to Freshen Up Patio Furniture

July 28, 2016

Patio furniture is subject to a lot of wear and tear. Not only is it constantly exposed to sunlight and the elements, but it also bears the brunt of family dinners and get-togethers with friends and neighbors all summer long. As a result, your outdoor chairs and tables can start looking old and faded well […]


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Keep Kids Entertained this Summer with Backyard Fun

July 12, 2016

Maintaining a clean and organized home is challenging even in the best of times, but it becomes practically impossible during summer vacation when the kids are out of school and underfoot all day long. This is when it seems like the sink is constantly full of dirty dishes, the laundry is always piled sky high, […]


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How to Safely Remove a Wasp Nest

June 28, 2016

Flying bugs and insects are a staple of summertime. But while most winged pests, including mosquitoes and houseflies, are mere nuisances, some are stingers that can cause injury or severe allergic reactions. Wasps fall into this latter category, which is why it’s important to get rid of any wasp nest located in an area frequented […]


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Give Dad a Helping Hand This Father’s Day

June 7, 2016

Not sure what to get Dad (or Grandpa or Uncle Rob) for Father’s Day this year? We suggest skipping the unwanted neckties and overpriced gadgets for something that everyone can use more of: free time. The best way to do this is by giving your favorite father figure a helping hand with his household chores […]


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Tips for Hiring a Professional Housecleaning Service

May 24, 2016

Hiring a professional housecleaning service is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family. Not only will your home be cleaner and more organized, but you’ll also have more free time to devote to important pursuits like going to the gym, attending your children’s athletic matches or music recitals, or […]


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5 Home Improvements That Are Worth the Money

May 10, 2016

This is the time of year when many home owners decide to make improvements to their property either in advance of a sale or for their own enjoyment. But not every project is worth the money, so before you begin talking to contractors consider the long-term implications of what you’re planning to do. In general, […]


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