NEWS

Home Help: Make the most of your extra bedroom

Staff Writer
Mount Shasta Herald

Decorating Tip: Give guests a 5-star experience

Overnight guests go hand-in-hand with the holidays. Whether visitors are spending just one night or an entire week in your home, the situation can be stressful for everyone involved.

Never fear. You can do a few simple things long before your company arrives to ensure their stay is a comfortable one.

Clean up

First, remember that less is definitely more when it comes to guest bedroom clutter. While you might enjoy your vintage doll collection that sits on top of the dresser, visitors might not share that sentiment. Other than some stylish accent pieces, remove all unnecessary items in the room.

Of course, it goes without saying that no one wants to stay in a room that isn't fresh and clean. Make sure your guests stay in a tidy bedroom. Clean the room thoroughly from top to bottom, starting with the ceilings, and systematically work your way down to the floors until everything is spotless.

No guest likes to live out of his or her suitcase. While the guest bedroom closet or dresser might be a convenient place to store your family's off-season wardrobe, the holiday is the time to find a new place to store it, at least until your company leaves.

Decor

Once cleaning and storage are addressed, it's time to focus on the room's decor. Create a comfortable, calming environment for your guests, starting with the color of the room.

The use of paint color is one of the quickest, easiest and most cost-effective ways to dramatically change the look and feel of any space. One option is to begin with hues that tend to relax and soothe such as neutrals, light greens, pale blues or even creamy yellow, then give it your personal style with coordinating paint accents in fresh, vibrant colors.

Bedding

Carry the feeling of tranquility through to one of the most important parts of a guest bedroom: the bed. Don't scrimp on a cheaper mattress; choose a high-quality one that will last for several years. Your guests will definitely thank you for it.

Beyond the mattress, offer plush, inviting bedding that further enhances that feeling of a quiet, hotel-like retreat. A high-thread count sheet set, featherbed mattress topper, oversized pillows and a down comforter can help create a feeling of serenity. Don't forget to top things off with an equally luxurious bedcover and matching throw pillows.

The extras

Also offer special items that show you've taken the time to personalize their stay with you. Lay out two plush robes and matching slippers for them.

Place some magazines or books you think might interest them in the room. Or, if they'll be sightseeing, provide them with books about the region and tourist information.

Guests can also get the munchies long after you've retired to bed, so have water, drinks and their favorite snacks on the nightstand when they arrive.

-- ARA

Home Improvements: Add solar-powered outdoor lights

Eco-friendly lighting isn’t limited to just CFL bulbs inside. Use solar-powered lights, which are charged by sunlight and automatically illuminate once night falls, for your garden, deck, porch or walkway.

Solar-powered lights come in a variety of price points and styles. New technology means they’ve become brighter and last longer.

Plus, there are no cords or wires, so they’re easy to install, and you can place the fixtures wherever you want and move them around as necessary.

-- www.homedepot.com

Home-Selling Tip: Put together a sales flier

Displaying fliers that include a photo, details about your home and contact information is a great way to get information to potential buyers. Display the brochures in your home, and in a box on the “for sale” sign on your lawn.

-- www.realestateabc.com

How To: Store lawn tools for winter

It’s about time to pack away your lawn and garden equipment for the winter. Proper storage of your mowers, string weeders and tillers will ensure they’re in good shape next spring.

- When cleaning power equipment before storage, do not use pressure washers because water will get into bearings and seals.

- Empty plastic gas tanks or leave gasoline in them and add a stabilizer. Keep metal tanks full of gas with stabilizer since they will rust if left empty.

- Oil cleans and cools parts and inhibits corrosion. Change the oil in fall before storage so dirty oil does not sit all winter. Run the equipment at least five minutes after the oil change so it runs through the engine.

- Keep blades sharp and balanced. Discard worn or damaged blades as they pose a safety hazard.

-- Missouri State University

Did You Know …

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires every year are associated with the use of space heaters.

Garden Guide: Plants help clean indoor air

A study from the University of Georgia found that ornamental indoor plants were able to remove harmful volatile organic compounds from indoor air.

Of the 28 species tested, Hemigraphis alternata (purple waffle plant), Hedera helix (English ivy), Hoya carnosa (variegated wax plant), and Asparagus densiflorus (Asparagus fern) had the highest removal rates for all of the VOCs introduced. Tradescantia pallida (purple heart plant) was rated superior for its ability to remove four of the VOCs.

Researchers say that in addition to health benefits, plants enhance our psychological health.

Backyard Buddies: Keep raccoons out

In the fall, raccoons may decide to find shelter under your deck or porch, or inside your attic or chimney. To deter this backyard wildlife from causing a nuisance:

- Remove tree branches that overhang the roof to limit access to chimney or attics.

- Do not leave pet food outside over night.

- Store garbage in metal or tough plastic containers with tight-fitting lids. It may be necessary to secure the lid with wire or a clamp.

- Close dumpster lids each night. Check to make sure that animals are not in the dumpster before closing the lid.

-- University of Illinois Extension

GateHouse News Service