Decorating For Fall

Put away the white linen, beach towels and cool toned accessories. It’s fall and it’s time to breakout the corn husks, pine cones and other harvest decorations. Here are a few simple ideas:

Decorate a bookshelf with pressed leaves and pumpkins.

Hang a corn husk wreath.

Display green apples and acorns in apothecary jars.

Spray paint pumpkins silver and white. Make sure you use a variety of sizes. Display them on your mantle with pine cones. This is a very elegant look.

Decorate your dining room table by placing a row of pumpkins and gourds. Add a tall vase filled with wheat.

Fill your votive candle holders with pumpkin or squash seeds.

Make leaves out of decorative scrapbook paper. Glue them to branches for a whimsical look. Display the branches in tall glass vases.

Fill an old tool box with candles, clementines and pine cones.

Hollow out gourds and use them as vases for fall flowers.

Put single leaves, either pressed or fresh, in small glass vases or use old lab beakers — look for them at antique stores. Replace leaves as they brown.

Put together a colorful outdoor fall display using a sturdy wheelbarrow as a base. Fill the wheelbarrow with ornamental cabbage and peppers, grasses, chrysanthemums, flowering zucchini and other seasonal plants. Fill the wheelbarrow with soil and insert the plants loosely, or tuck containers into the wheelbarrow, making sure to fill in the gaps with more plants.

Nuts are as easy to decorate with as they are good to eat. Anchor a candle inside a hurricane lamp. Experiment with different varieties of nuts and a selection of clear containers.

Nestle a candle in popcorn kernels or other seasonal materials such as candy corn or colored clear round stones.

Don’t forget to break out the rich, warm colored throw rugs, pillows and rugs. Light a fire, pour a glass of wine and enjoy autumn.

Happy Fall Decorating!

Creating a Pet Feeding Station

Our pets are part of our families. Our dogs and cats are like children with all of their toys and accessories. Pets are big business in America. Billions of dollars are spent every year on pets, food, toys, beds and even clothing for our dogs.  This industry means you can find the perfect solution for almost every need your pet may have. The perfect water bowl and food dish are the start of a charming pet feeding station in your kitchen.

Creating a pet zone in your home can help control the clutter that comes with having a dog or cat. Designing a pet feeding station in the kitchen or mudroom will help organize all of your pets food needs into one place, saving you valuable floor and counter space. Floor space is at a premium in most kitchens. Finding a place for Fido’s or Fifi’s water bowl and food dish that isn’t in a major traffic pattern can be tricky.  Set up a food station that is out of the main foot traffic to avoid spilling water and kibble all over your kitchen floors.  A simple mat under the food and water can protect your floors from spills and messes.

If you have a walk-in pantry you might want to set up the feeding station in there. Keeping pet food in containers or bins can also make things neater and more organized on the shelf or in a cupboard. If you have the room next to the food dish, you might want to keep a pretty canister or bin there.

5 Inexpensive Ways to Make Your Bedroom Super Comfy

Rockaway Model

Your bedroom should be so much more than just a place to sleep. In fact, it should be your oasis; a place you can retreat to in the midst of chaos. With these budget-friendly ideas, you can turn your bedroom into your own sanctuary without breaking the bank.

  1. Paint the room a darker color
    Light colors can make a room feel larger and more open. Darker hues envelope the space making it more intimate. Yes, using a dark hue on your walls will create the perfect space to relax in. Since color has the power to change the mood of an room you’ll want to select a color that you really love. You can contrast and add some color to the room through your bedding and accessories.
  2. Adjustable lighting
    Soft lighting is ultimate for cozy living. If overhead lighting is necessary than you’ll want to invest in an adjustable lighting solution. Consider installing a chandelier with a light dimmer so you can set the right mood by simply adjusting the level of illumination according to your needs.
  3. Layering Rugs
    There’s nothing that says comfort more than a soft rug. Rugs provide warmth especially during the winter months. Whether you have hardwood floors or wall to wall carpet be sure to incorporate a couple of area rugs in different shapes and textures to provide that super comfy look.
  4. Make your bed extra comfy
    Of course, your bedroom can’t be a retreat without a comfortable bed. When creating the ultimate bed you can never have too many blankets or throws. Use an assortment of blankets in various textures from soft cotton blankets to plush fleece throw. For an added comfort you can invest in a quality mattress topper. Don’t forget the pillows. What’s more inviting than a huge pile of pillows?
  5. Create a reading nook
    Put together your very own reading nook in your bedroom so you can cuddle up and read a book, browse a magazine or just enjoy the view. Forget about building a window seat since this can be costly. Instead, you can form a reading nook with a comfortable chair, a small bookshelf for your books or a small side table to hold your reading material and snack.

Labor Day Kid Party Ideas

It’s time to start planning an awesome party for the kids! What better time to have some late summer fun than the ultimate holiday for being outdoors? We’re guessing you already have the menu and decorations planned for your event, but there’s a good chance you haven’t yet planned out the games. The best part about Labor Day is that it has an easy going vibe that makes life seem breezy and fun. As such, planning for a party shouldn’t feel like a big burden! To help you along we’re sharing seven quick ways to create a super day of play!

  1. Squirt gun tag. Provide the squirt guns and place a large bucket of water in the middle of the yard for use as an easy refill station.
  2. Prior to the party, let the kiddos paint empty tin cans red, white, and blue. Then on the big day stack them in a pyramid. Provide a lightweight ball, such as a wiffle ball, and let the bowling shenanigans begin.
  3. Buy neon light-up necklaces at a party supply store. Shortly before the party light them up and attach them end to end. Drive a stake into the ground and play a game of glow in the dark ring toss.
  4. Serve red, white, and blue cupcakes filled with Poprocks. Have your camera ready! (Be sure and warn the kids first!)
  5. On the morning of the party give your kids plenty of sidewalk chalk. Instead of asking  them to “keep busy” using it, tell them you need their help to decorate for the party. They’ll feel very important accomplishing the task of sidewalk decorator!
  6. Set up an American flag relay race. Fill extra large red and blue buckets with sand and handheld American flags on sticks. Each member of the relay team has to grab a flag and bring it back to a teammate.
  7. If you have a yard full of rocks make a game of it. Tell the kids they can each select 1-3 rocks (they like picking things out.) Then provide red, white, and blue paint and brushes.

Happy Labor Day from all of us at Fulton Homes!

Make the Most Out of Household Items

The truth is there are ways to make household items last longer. Who doesn’t want to get more for their money and cut down on waste? These little tricks will help you save money and trips to the store!

Buy foam hand soap dispensers. Get the regular hand soap refill bottles. Fill the dispenser up ¼ of the way with hand soap. Fill the rest with water. Shake the dispenser and voila, now you have foam hand soap. This will definitely save you some money in the long run and the soap works just as good as liquid hand soap.

Keep fresh cut flowers fresher longer by adding a cap full of vodka to the water!

Keep left over salad or bags of spinach and lettuce fresh by adding a dry paper towel to the leafy greens. This will soak up the moisture that is released from the greens; which also makes the greens spoil.

Have you ever wondered why Starbucks has already separated the bananas for purchase? Separating the bananas from the bunch keeps them fresher for days longer.

Keep cheese fresh for longer by these two simple tricks. Do not touch the cheese when cutting it. Wrap the end in plastic wrap. Bacteria from your hands will speed up the process of your cheese molding. Keeping your hands off, when cutting will add at least a week to its life. Smear butter on the end of the cheese. This will provide adequate moisture to keep the cheese from drying out so soon.

Keep batteries in the freezer to help prevent them from losing charge before you actually use them. It saves you money when you buy batteries in bulk. This little trick will add plenty of shelf life to purchased batteries.

We hope these tips help save you a little time and money! Be well!

Decorating a Home Office/Spare Bedroom

The term spare room is kind of a misnomer. For most homeowners, any extra space is a luxury that is quickly gobbled up and turned into something: a playroom for the kids; a guest room; a home office.  There are ways to combine a home office and a guest room into one stylish space.  Home office/bedroom doesn’t mean shoving a desk in the corner of the guest room or squeezing a queen size bed into the office.  Create a room that is a true multifunctional room that is the best of both.

Rather than having a big bed in a small room use a convertible day bed/sofa.  While this won’t accommodate two guests, it will work for a single guest.  During the day or when the room is not being used as a guest room, the sofa provides a comfortable place to lounge and relax.

Place a stylish desk in the room. Choose one that can be cleared of work papers and laptop for a guest’s visit. Having a few file cabinets or a bookshelf with doors to hide work and home finance paperwork would optimize the storage in this space. Consider a storage ottoman as a coffee table because they are portable and easily moved around the space.

Use neutral colors to make this space guest-friendly.  A patterned area rug could add interest and coziness.  A few pieces of art on the walls would help warm up the space and keep it from feeling too sterile. Even personal family photos would be nice hung as a gallery wall.

Getting Ready for School

It’s getting to be that time of year – back to school. While some parents are anxiously anticipating getting back to a routine; others are dreading the end of long lazy summer days at home with no early morning alarm clocks and only driving to fun activities like the swimming pool or the amusement park. With the beginning of the school year, families are once again ruled by start and end times, sport schedules and homework.

There are a few things you can do to make the transition from summer fun to getting back in the classroom a bit easier on everyone.

First, create a family calendar. Keep this calendar in a central spot, like the kitchen. Older students can be responsible for posting their own events, but you’ll have to record things for your younger kiddos – like when it’s their turn to bring a snack, or when it’s pajama day.

Stock up on foods that your kids will actually eat. Do a grocery run each weekend. Cut up fruits and veggies. Stock the pantry with nutritious snacks. Then, teach your kids how to make their own lunches. If they make them the night before your mornings will go much smoother.

Set your alarm clock for 15 minutes earlier than you think you need to get up. This will allow you time for the little things that can go wrong in the morning.

Have your kids set out their clothes the night before. In fact, have them shower the night before.  And be sure that they have their backpacks and all their homework ready and waiting by the front door.

With a little advance planning you can make the transition easy on the entire family. And remember as you are driving them to school or to the bus stop, it’s a great time to talk about goals for the coming school year.

Revamp Your Bedroom

As the weather turns hotter, most people will find themselves spending more time indoors.  Make sure your bedroom is ready for you to retreat!  Sprucing up your bedroom doesn’t need to mean making major changes. There are several items within a bedroom that can be revitalized to make it feel cozier and ready for you to feel like a new sanctuary.

Reupholster the headboard. This can be done with minimal effort and material. Doing this makes your bed appear to be brand new. Upholstered headboards can be re-covered as many times as you want, whether you change your style or simply want a fresh look.

Change out the artwork over the bed. You can mix up the artwork around the room and find new homes for the pieces to live. Get a few new pieces to spice up the look of your bedroom. Three dimensional or sculpted art can be hung on the wall to add interest and a pop to your decor. Keep an open mind and eye for sculptural pieces throughout your home – however, make sure the pieces are not too heavy to hang on the wall!

Nothing helps a bedroom like switching out your bedding, especially if it looks dull or tired. The season change is a perfect time for this!  Put a light blanket at the foot of your bed, change your sheets or replace your comforter with a lighter material.  Your bedroom will look freshly designed!

Revive the floors by adding a new rug. A cushy rug adds warmth and comfort to the bedroom floor and creates a nice layered look.

Paint or wallpaper an accent wall. Doing so will transform the room with minimal effort and material. If you do not want to redo an entire wall, consider adding a wall decal. Decals are very easy to install and do not damage the wall when removed. A decal or a painted accent wall has the ability to set the tone for the whole room.

You can decide to tackle one or all of the ideas in this article. Before doing so, take a long look at your bedroom and decide what areas really need your attention! 

7 Ways To Conceal Unsightly Things

If you’re a perfectionist we’re betting that you are going to LOVE these ideas. It can be such a frustration to create a beautiful, well designed room only to have it interrupted by unsightly features. Some things just can’t be avoided, such as a thermostat or utility meter, but there are creative ways to conceal them. Are you ready to be done with grumbling at the modem every time you walk by it? Read on! 

  1. Utility meter or A/C Unit outside – Cover (and easily uncover) using free standing, accordion shutter doors.
  2. Computer printer – Use a dresser or entertainment unit with a drawer deep enough to fit the printer. Detach the front panel and reattach it with hinge so you can open it as needed when using the printer.
  3. Computer modem – Hollow out a hardback book and simply slip the modem inside, display with the book spine facing outward.
  4. If your TV is mounted on the wall hide the dangling cords by installing a hollow shelf made crown molding.
  5. On a wall that has a thermostat create a collage with various sized frames. The thermostat will blend in rather than being starkly apparent.
  6. Hide a power strip using a photo storage box. Remove the back wall of the box and slide the power strip in.
  7. If you can’t or don’t want to use a bed skirt, simply cover the unsightly box spring using fabric and a staple gun. 

Do you have ideas to hide unsightly household items? Share your ideas in the comments!

Spruce Up the Patio for Summer

Harris Beach Model

Summertime is the time to renew your home, inside and out. The goal is to clean it well and add pops of color, perfect for summer!  Find out how to freshen up your patio space and have your patio ready when the Arizona heat arrives.

Tip 1: Clean patio furniture thoroughly. Dust, dirt and grime can accumulate even when stored properly. In most cases, using a mild dish soap and warm water with a sponge will clean off all the buildup. Rinse them clean by spraying them down with the hose. A pressurized nozzle will work best for this. Always check with the manufacturer of your furniture before cleaning with any cleaning product.

Add a pop of color by adding brightly colored pots with succulents or vibrantly colored flowers. A helpful tip for potted flowers is to add crumple up newspaper to the bottom half of the pot. Next cover the newspaper with potting soil. This will make you planters lighter and easier to move, as well not using up a ton of potting soil.

You can also add color by purchasing some new indoor/outdoor accent pillows for the furniture. Accent pillows bring fun and color to the outdoor living space. Lay down an indoor/outdoor rug that has a fun geometric pattern or print. Outdoor rugs transform outdoor spaces into a comfortable place where you want to take your shoes off and relax. The best outdoor rugs are made from natural or synthetic fibers that allow water to drip right through. These rugs do not have a backing on them (as the backing would not permit water to pass through the rug). They may only last a season with the Arizona sun, so choose wisely when shopping.

Feel free to spray paint old planters for a bright new finish. This will make any old planters look new again. If you are using the typical white, plastic patio furniture, you may want to hit them with the spray paint as well. Make sure to clean them well before as paint can’t stick to dirt. Read and follow all furniture and paint instructions before starting your project.

Buy new cushions for outdoor furniture. Unless you have well-made indoor/outdoor cushions, most likely it is time to upgrade these items. The goal is to renew your patio space. This is achieved by cleaning and adding pops of color throughout!

Don’t forget the grill! You’ll be thankful in the long run when you take the time to properly maintain your grill!

Enjoy your summer on your Fulton Home patio!