Update the Look of Your Fireplace

Whether you're installing one for the first time or simply remodeling a room in your home, updating the look of your fireplace can change your entire living space. Fireplaces are often one of the focal points of homes and are usually located in the living room. Since they are seen and used by homeowners and guests quite often- especially in the cooler months- it's essential to make sure your fireplace is working properly and looking its best. Here are a few simple ways to update the look of your fireplace.

plinth block

Plinth blocks. Plinth blocks are square pieces of wood that serve as the base of columns, mouldings or pilasters. They add a nice transition from the moulding to the baseboard and add a decorative touch to your fireplace. They are available in a variety of sizes and styles to fit best in your home. It's important to make sure that the moulding is not wider or thicker than the plinth. Some people prefer to create their own plinth blocks, but they are available at most hardware stores and wood retailers.

fireplace mantel

Fireplace mantels. Another way to update the look of your fireplace is to install or change your mantel. These mantels are decorative pieces of framework that are placed above and around the fireplace. They are available in a wide range of materials, including fine woods, granite, stone, brick, marble and more. Wood mantels can be sculpted and carved with intricate patterns and details, setting your fireplace apart from the rest. You can also choose the color of your fireplace mantel- wood mantels can be painted, glazed or distressed for different colors and finishes. White mantels convey a clean look, while a bolder color will certainly make your fireplace the center of attention.

Fireplace accessories. An easy way to update the look of your fireplace is with accessories. Display your favorite photos, antique items and beautiful flowers on your mantel to add a personal touch to your room. Your favorite piece of artwork or a decorative mirror will also add interest to the space. Some people even choose to display their television above their fireplace mantel! Keep any fireplace accessories nearby in a clean and attractive manner, like a handsome log carrier or fireplace tool holder.

Clean. Cleaning your actual fireplace and the surrounding areas will instantly update the look of it. Sometimes a little cleaning and a fresh coat of paint is all a fireplace mantel really needs. Make sure you use the appropriate products and are careful of the debris. If it's best, hire a professional to clean your fireplace and the mantel.

Prepare Your Home for the Winter Season

Fall is the perfect time to start planning and preparing your home for the upcoming winter season. With winter comes significantly cooler temperatures and poor weather conditions (snow, ice and freezing rain). This affects your water systems, heating systems and your home’s energy efficiency. Preparing a few months ahead of time is the best way to plan for a disaster before it happens and keep your home and family safe. Here are a few ways you can prepare your home for the winter season.

Update your water systems. Winterizing your water systems is an important task that most homes require in some form. These water systems that should be dealt with include faucets, sprinkler systems and pools. A home in a mild climate may not need their faucets to be dealt with, however colder regions may need some attention. In this case, shut off the water system and then pull off any attachments. Open up drain valve and leave the faucet in the open position for the winter season. For your sprinkler system, turn off the automatic timers first. Then open the pressure valves and drain out water from any section that might freeze. Lastly, if you have a pool you will need to do a few things. This includes removing any loose parts, lowering the water level and draining the pumping system.

Check windows and doors for drafts. In order to keep your heating bill from going off the charts, it’s important to check your windows and doors for drafts. Make sure that the edges of windows and doors are properly sealed and that the caulking has no cracks, gaps or holes. If they do, seal them with new caulking.

Inspect and clean your fireplace. In the warmer months, fireplaces are rarely used. Once winter rolls around and the temperatures begin to cool down, it becomes a frequently-used item in the home. During the fall, you should inspect and clean out your fireplace to make sure there is no build-up of debris. This debris, creosote, builds up and could start a chimney fire when you least expect it. Wood and gas fireplaces should also be swept once a year before winter and inspected as a precaution. This is also a great time to check for any cracks in the brick or mantle and have those repaired as well. Lastly, clean up any smoke marks or discoloration for a nice and clean appearance.

Inspect your furnace. Having a professional come in to service your furnace before winter is a very smart idea. They will clean various parts, check for carbon monoxide leaks and make sure that everything is running smoothly. Every few months you should change the air filters to keep the furnace clean year-round.