It’s a bit late in the year to start a roof-raising reno, but autumn is a great opportunity to do some simpler upgrades and get your home ready for winter. Here are some seasonal ideas to spruce up your nest:
• Extend the life of your outdoor parties. (Who doesn’t want that?) To cope with cooler temperatures, add an outdoor firepit. Even the simplest metal-bowl design (which can double as an ice-filled drinks cooler on hot summer days) can be a warming, festive focal point — and an invitation to toast s’mores! Propane space heaters (the kind used on restaurant terraces) are another option. Add to the cosiness with blankets. Autumn is also a great time to plan ahead. Remember that oxygen-giving trees and shrubs are good for the environment as well as your property value. Plant them in fall, and they’ll have time to settle in before the first freeze and be ready to flourish in spring.
• The interval between summer vacation and holiday entertaining is a good time to upgrade your kitchen. Before you tackle a total makeover, remember that smaller fixes also can make a kitchen look and function better: new drawer and cabinet pulls and sink faucets, fresh paint on walls and/or cabinets, more stylish lighting. Replacing counters can be a big plus (and cost), but even without doing that, putting in a new tile backsplash can have a striking impact. Make sure that all your choices harmonize with each other, and your kitchen will look better than ever.
• An affordable way to mark the change of seasons: new throw pillows or pillow covers and slipcovers. A palette of warmer, richer hues and patterns complements the shorter days and cosy nights of fall and winter. You can even add new accessories that complement the feel of the fabrics. This is a fun way to keep things fresh without tearing down any walls or committing to an entire design overhaul — store what you’re replacing, then swap it back into the mix to herald spring and summer.
• It’s a good idea to have your chimney inspected and swept periodically — something we tend to neglect because we don’t see the result. And consider upgrading what you do see: your fireplace surround. If it’s dated or discoloured, a new finish or cladding can really dress up the fireplace and the room. For a tired brick fireplace, this could range from painting it to resurfacing it with a surround of tile, stone, metal or whatever strikes your fancy (and conforms to code safety standards!). You can find good-looking prefab chimney surrounds in a wide array of sizes, styles and materials — or handsome vintage ones from architectural salvage dealers. Update your fireplace and you’ll enjoy it more this winter — and even without a fire, it will enhance the room. There’s nothing better than a round of board games with the fire crackling in the background!
• Now — before cold weather comes — is when you want to check for energy-wasting leaks around doors and windows and stop them with caulk or weatherstripping. Replacing a leaky, weathered front door is one of the most cost-effective changes you can make. The latest metal and fibreglass doors offer greater insulation and security without sacrificing style, and a well-crafted wood door has timeless appeal. Whatever the material, complement it with durable hardware that complements your home style.