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