(NC) Long nights and chilly weather activate our instincts to hunker down and nest at home. Get inspired to make your space relaxed and inviting and make the most of the season with these helpful tips and ideas.


For warmth. Is there anything better than curling up with a good book and comfy duvet as the snow falls gently outside? For a soft and warm cover, consider one with a down filling. Down is the warmest available; it’s a natural fill that has the ability to reloft and mould itself to your body for continuous warmth and comfort. It’s also great for your bedroom pillow and in a jacket for when you do decide to brave the cold.


Avoid buying down fibre, an inferior product that lacks insulation. To make sure you’re getting a quality product, look for the Downmark certification label, a globally recognized and trusted quality certification symbol for Canadian-made down and feather filled products. The label assures items are genuine and have been finished in Canada according to strict standards.


For décor. When looking for accent and decorative pieces, look for elements that evoke that cozy log cabin aesthetic. Think rich textures, plush neutrals and wooden accents. When layering a variety of throws, consider down and feather that will make the space feel warm and relaxed.. Add some winter whites with flowers and vases, and consider gold accents for a funky pop of colour that’s trendy and fresh.


For lighting. Fight the winter blues with plenty of lamps and candles. Create a comforting ambiance with a mix of overhead, floor and task lighting, which also gives you the flexibility to find the perfect brightness. Candles can add both warmth and light, giving your home a calm and lived-in feeling. Choose scented candles with your favourite aromas to remind you of yummy sweet treats or take you back to sunny summer day.


Curious about quality down and feather products? Learn more at downmark.org.

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(NC) As the change in weather has us retreating indoors, take some time to spruce up your interiors with these design ideas.


Play with paint. One of the most budget-friendly ways to change up a space is with paint. You can use it to refresh antique or dated furniture, or you can create a whole new ambiance with a new wall colour. For the cooler months, try dark, nearly black walls to add depth to a room. Keep it warm and inviting with lighter furnishings and décor; the deep shade will accentuate their silhouettes for a striking finish.


Re-theme a room. Whether it’s your bedroom, kitchen or living room, switching up the style of a room can dramatically improve the overall look and feel. Try a new colour palette, or a different aesthetic like rustic, contemporary or cottage to create a renewed environment. For an affordable makeover, focus on smaller but impactful elements like textures, accents, furniture and décor.


Frame your view. Transform a boring basic window with gorgeous shades that do more than add style and polish. Hunter Douglas’ innovative custom window treatments offer light control for the perfect amount of natural sunlight, elegant performance fabrics for energy efficiency and UV protection, and intelligent shade operating systems for convenient smart home integration. Purposeful, polished window coverings give any room a finished look.


Organize chaos. Improving your home’s organization can make your entire living space feel fresh and welcoming. So take some time to clear out the clutter and use drawer and closet organizers to find an out-of-sight place for every trinket. If you have a small space, choose smart storage solutions that work double duty. And don’t forget your entryway. As the first impression of your home, it’s essential to keep neat and tidy. Use a coat rack and bench that doubles as shoe storage for an organized and seamless appearance.

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By: Scott McGillivray


(NC) Looking to update your home but don’t have the time or money for a full-on renovation? Not a problem. With the right application of paint, you can breathe new life into your home, inside and out.


Consider these five painting projects to boost your home’s appeal:


Reimagine your space. One of the easiest ways to add personality is to refresh the walls by adding bold and contemporary colours. Try highlighting a focal point or niche with a fresh pop of colour, or paint an accent wall to command the eye’s attention.



Make a statement in your bathroom. People generally limit the amount of time they spend in their bathrooms. But what if you could make it a room you actually want to spend time in? With a coat of paint in just the right colour, anything is possible. Turn your bathroom into a statement room with a dark shade. Forgoing the usual neutral finish, this bold approach catches the eye and can create a sense of class and drama.


Revitalize tired cabinets and furniture. Bring old cabinets and furniture back to life with a fresh coat of paint. Choose a colour theme that complements the rest of your home or room. You can accentuate little details, hide imperfections and create great conversation pieces. I recommend using Para Paints Ultra melamine hybrid cabinet and furniture paint in a neutral colour that complements your style.


Captivate with a stylish doorway. The front door is the focal point of your home’s exterior, so you want it to look as good as possible. If yours is looking a little tired and a new one isn’t in the budget, a coat of paint is a terrific option. A brighter hue can add energy, while a more subdued one plays up a traditional feel. Top it off with some stylish hardware and accessories and you’re good to go.


Update exterior trim and accents. There’s a connection between outer upkeep and what a visitor can expect inside. Painting your exterior windows, trim and shutters with the right colour palette can greatly boost your home’s curb appeal and make it more inviting for you and your visitors. Experiment with colour to create a playful welcoming effect or opt for a more subtle palette to create a formal or classic look. Remember, first impressions matter.

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(NC) For many of us, the aesthetics of our home –– a colourful garden, new furniture or trendy appliances –– often become our primary focus. But this can leave little time for unseen elements that can become a safety hazard.


Something overlooked like a loose or frayed cord can spark a house fire, and this happens most frequently during the winter months, according to the Canadian Red Cross.


It doesn’t take much for a fire to start in your home, but it doesn’t take much to prevent one. That’s why around this time of year, it’s crucial to take small, precautionary measures that will keep your family out of harm’s way. Here are four easy steps for a fire-free home:


  1. Develop a fire escape plan. Should a fire occur, it’s important to evacuate the home as quickly as possible. Creating a fire escape plan and practicing that plan twice a year will help ensure the safety of your loved ones in the event of a fire.
  2. Check smoke detectors frequently. A functioning smoke detector can be the difference between a false alarm and a life-threatening scenario. Install them on every level of the house and take the time to test them monthly, replacing batteries at least twice a year; daylight saving time always serves as a good reminder.
  3. Store and recycle batteries the right way. Once you have changed the batteries in your devices, be sure to recycle the old ones. Used batteries that are disposed of or stored incorrectly or damaged can be a safety hazard. Keep your home and the environment safe by recycling all your old batteries. Call2Recycle Canada has more than 8,000 drop-off locations across the country, so one is bound to be close by. You can visit their website at call2recycle.ca and plug in your postal code to find one closest to you.
  4. Pay attention to detail. Have an eye for the little things. Make sure your home’s heating sources are clean, as many house fires are started by poorly maintained furnaces or stoves, or chimneys with buildup. Check wiring and cords and fix or replace any frayed extension cords, exposed wires or loose plugs. Finally, make sure to store combustible materials in open areas and away from heat sources.
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(NC) Whether you’re building a home from scratch or replacing the roof of an existing home, it’s important to consider the range of materials available and build a budget based on your needs. With a variety of styles and colours to choose from, you can easily find a look to match your home at an affordable price.


Jack Rende, senior merchant of building materials at Home Depot, suggests asking the following questions when choosing your roof materials:


  1. How long will the roof last? The climate you live in is one of the most important factors here. When selecting roofing materials, choose one with better durability to withstand mother nature.
  2. Does the type of roofing complement the style of your home? Bring your personal style to the exterior with a wide range of roof colours, looks and architectural shapes. The appearance of a roof can dramatically affect the look of your home, so it’s important that the material be suitable to its aesthetic.
  3. Is this roofing material within my budget? The cost of a new roof can vary drastically depending on the type of material and cost of installation. An asphalt roof is the most commonly used. It’s also the least expensive and requires minimal installation. The complexity, height and steepness of your roof can also affect the installation costs. 

Find more information online at homedepot.ca.

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(NC) Sometimes you want to create a major change in your home, but don’t want to shell out for an expensive renovation. Fortunately, you can use these tips to makeover any space.


Kitchen. Instantly make this room look sophisticated and transformed with a new backsplash. Since it’s a relatively small surface area, you can splurge on more luxurious tiles to create the aesthetic of your dreams, whether it’s sleek and modern or rustic and country. Finish off the room by swapping out cabinet hardware for a fresh and polished look.


Living room. The right window coverings can add value, style and ambiance to your main living area. Frame the space with custom-designed window treatments from Hunter Douglas that let you choose the perfect fabric, size and style, whether you have patio or sliding glass doors or a bay window. Their shades offer both natural light and privacy, as well as energy efficiency and smart-home operating systems that move the shades automatically to their perfect positions throughout the day.


Bedroom. Switching up the bed linens can have a major effect on the mood in your bedroom, whether you want to go for chic and cheerful or eclectic and bohemian. Just be careful not to be too matchy-matchy with your comforter, sheets and pillows — it screams bed in a bag, which lacks style and personality. Instead, add your own flair with a variety of colours and patterns for space that is unique to you.


Bathroom. It’s wise to keep plumbing where it is, as moving the location of your sink or tub can be a pricey move that isn’t worth the expense. For a more affordable makeover, focus on decorative elements that can give you that home-spa feel. Add a bold frame to the vanity mirror and invest in open storage shelves. Store personal items in drawers or textured baskets, and line shelves with plush towels, candles and live greenery for a lush, comforting ambience.

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Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.