Cleaning & Organizing Design Tips DIY Home Decor

The RoomPlace offers advice on preparing your house for icy temperatures

The week after Thanksgiving is always a tough one. Adapting back to early mornings at work and all the responsibilities of real life can be a struggle, especially on the heels of a long weekend filled with family, feasting, and festivities. And this year, the misleading 60-degree Thanksgiving enjoyed by The RoomPlace customers throughout Chicagoland and northwestern Indiana has made that adjustment even more difficult.

If you’re anything like the teams at The RoomPlace Furniture Stores, November’s unseasonably warm weather may have fooled you into procrastinating on winterizing your home for the frigid months ahead. But with temperatures as low as 15 degrees near our furniture stores in Schaumburg, Downers Grove, and nearby cities earlier this week, it might be time to start thinking about beginning that all-important yet dreaded task.

The good news is that preparing your home for winter doesn’t have to be quite the chore it’s cracked up to be. Here at The RoomPlace, we’re firm believers in mixing business with pleasure, and we’d like to take this opportunity to invite our Chicago and Indianapolis furniture customers to do the same. For all our interior design fanatics out there, let’s discuss the silver lining of any home improvement project: the chance to protect your house (and your family) from the elements, while simultaneously keeping up with the latest decorating trends and seasonal styles.


Work before play

Illinois and Indiana have nothing on the Great White North, but everyone from Merrillville to Chicago knows that winter in the Midwest can bring blizzards and accompanying heavy winds or snowfalls; hailstorms that wreak havoc in the form of ice dams and property damage; and sleet or freezing rain that cause slippery sidewalks and driveways. So, it’s important to keep a few main tasks in mind as you set about cold-proofing your home.

Unfortunately, some things need doing that just can’t be sugarcoated. If you’re a homeowner around Indianapolis or in the Chicago suburbs, you’re probably already familiar with draining your rain barrels, cleaning out your gutters, and trimming the trees around your home as the fall season draws to a close. But don’t forget about those smaller tasks that are easier to overlook.

Before the real cold hits, remember to make sure that:

  1. your snow-blower is in good condition and stocked with plenty of fuel, and you don’t need to replace any of your snow shovels.
  2. your furnace is running efficiently, and the filter is clean.
  3. your chimney is free of small animal nests or deposit buildup, both of which can result in polluted air inside the home or dangerous chimney fires.

Getting all your ducks in a row will save you not only time and work after a particularly nasty storm or freeze, but also energy and money on your utility bills, which often skyrocket during those cold winter months.


Insulate while you decorate

Insulating your house probably isn't how you want to spend your Friday night, but it only takes a few minutes to lay the groundwork. Next time it’s chilly, take a few minutes to walk around checking for leaks and drafts by feeling around your doors, windows, lights, and switch plates for cold air. This sign that your home's warmth is somehow escaping outside can certainly be irritating, but it’s also where the fun can begin.

  1. Protect your windows: Here at The RoomPlace, one of our favorite ways to insulate while decorating is by using full blockout curtains with fabric-covered pelmets or cornice boards. The great thing about pelmets is that you can kill two birds with one stone by decoratively concealing the curtain rod, while also insulating your windows. The combination of the pelmet with the blockout lining is a great way to mix up your home décor, while sealing airflow from the cold outdoors and trapping heat inside your home at the same time.
  2. Dress your room in layers: Drape a cozy knit throw over the back of your leather sofa, and heap extra blankets and oversized, fluffy pillows around your living room furniture to create an inviting ambiance where family and guests can all keep warm. Strategic layering of warm blankets, furry rugs, and heavy draperies throughout the draftier corners of your home is one of the quickest, most painless ways to create a new color scheme or tone and fend off the cold while you’re at it.
  3. Heat it up in the bedroom: Make sure the cold weather doesn’t interrupt your sleep by adding a few simple items to your Chicagoland king bed or your kids’ twin mattresses. Replacing your current bed linens with flannel sheets and a down comforter will help capture optimal heat in your bedroom, while wool mattress pads or underblankets and two-in-one quilts are useful for creating cozy warmth that can easily be stripped away as the weather gets warmer.

Of course, if the weather’s feeling unpredictably fickle tomorrow, it could always decide to jump up 20 degrees overnight. But don’t be tempted to put away your winter coat and blankets. It’s better to play it safe than be caught unprepared for below-zero nights, heavy snowfalls, and chilling winter freezes.

Take The RoomPlace’s advice and don’t fall for those hope-inspiring weather forecasts of sunshine and climbing temperatures – winterizing now could save you a headache later!

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Use Thanksgiving-inspired home décor to get into the spirit of the season

With radio stations already starting to play round-the-clock Christmas tunes, the imminence of the holiday season probably hasn't escaped your attention. As most of The RoomPlace's Chicago and Indianapolis furniture customers know, Thanksgiving is already on the ten-day forecast and Christmas is just around the corner after that. But during the hustle and bustle of preparing for ever-dropping temperatures, noisy house guests and much-anticipated (dreaded) holiday shopping, it's easy to neglect the ways you could be getting into the spirit of the season just by doing a little sprucing up around the house.

Thanksgiving marks the end of the fall season and launches us headfirst into winter, so for 2012, make sure you give the end of the autumnal era all the respect it deserves! The teams at The RoomPlace furniture stores in IL and IN encourage our readers to celebrate this year's Thanksgiving the right way, by sending the fall season out with a bang.


Bring the outdoors in with rustic home accents

What better way to procrastinate on your Christmas shopping than by clinging to every scrap that’s still left of fall? For the final weeks of November, consider adding a little autumnal rustic flare to your dining room or living room. Furniture replacement won’t be necessary; we're not talking about transforming your house into a log cabin. Keep it simple.

Pick up some silken leaves at your local crafts store and drape them around your bookshelves, or display them inside your picture frames for a more sophisticated look. If you're truly dedicated to the "natural" vibe, try threading freshly fallen leaves into a makeshift garland and hanging them above your living room fireplace. While you're at it, invest in some cheap faux feathers or artificial birds for a nature-inspired mantel setting, and throw in a few wood-framed mirrors or a vase filled with red leaves and acorns for good measure.

Finally, Halloween might be over, but white or "ghost" pumpkins are still in style – and they're the perfect way to blend those last remnants of fall with the snowy white winter ahead. Pick up a few of these tasteful home accents and create a simplistic display on your dining room’s buffet table or sideboard by adding a few ceramic pedestals, potpourri, or a vintage clock. 


Spice it up with seasonal colors

You don't need to re-paint your entire house to add a seasonal color scheme to a few of your rooms. Incorporate the warm hues of autumn into your home décor with just a few extra touches of trendy fall colors like bold bronze, chocolate brown, copper, and wine. Try switching out your everyday draperies or rugs for some new ones featuring these kinds of colors. Feeling adventurous? Add a little fall flavor to your Thanksgiving table by picking out a few dining room chairs – or new upholstery fabrics for the ones you already have – that highlight autumnal hues in exotic patterns and prints.

For those more familiar and vibrant fall colors like orange, gold, and red, focus on the details: Select some of your favorite items from around the house that already utilize these colors, like a brightly colored cultural piece or shiny brass candle holders, and dress your room around them. You'll be surprised at how in-season your home feels with just a few splashes of bold Thanksgiving hues.


Reduce, re-use, recycle

It's nice to have the home looking gorgeous when relatives come calling, but when it's time to sit down to Thanksgiving dinner, let’s face it: Nobody will be concerned about the color scheme of the dining room. Keep your creative autumnal vibe in the spotlight during this year's feast by re-using some of the elements from our other tips, to create a simple recycled Thanksgiving centerpiece before you carve the turkey.

Take a leaf out of the rustic decor book and fill the center of your dining room set with fresh herbs and colorful fall foliage. Or, decorate your ghost pumpkins with your silken leaves for a more literal representation of the season. Our favorite minimalist Thanksgiving idea here at The RoomPlace? Stroll around the block and gather some bare branches for a sculptural, elegant centerpiece that costs you nothing and allows you to keep the rest of your fall decor intact. Incorporate your favorite autumnal color scheme by sticking the branches in a bronze or brass container, or create eye-popping contrast by placing them in a bowl of red apples or berries.


This Thanksgiving, don't forget to give the fall season a little credit as you wave goodbye to it and head into December! Whatever you end up doing to prepare your house for Thanksgiving and however you choose to celebrate, the team here at The RoomPlace wishes you a safe, healthy and happy holiday.

Now, don't you have some cooking to do?

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Brighten your home for shorter winter days with these tips from The RoomPlace

The end of Daylight Savings Time has officially brought the fall season to a close, and that means we’ll be greeting the sun a little earlier as we enter the long winter months ahead. But for The RoomPlace customers working 9-to-5 jobs, those premature sunrise hours might be the only opportunity to enjoy daylight that's vanished even before punching the clock at the end of the workday.

Unfortunately, the consequences of setting our clocks back can be more serious than just waving goodbye to that nice summer tan. Recent studies suggest that loss of daylight this time of year tends to result in more car crashes and pedestrian fatalities, while the darker evenings of winter increase our susceptibility to unhappiness at work, weight gain, and even Seasonal Affective Disorder.

But The RoomPlace has a few quick tips for how our Indianapolis and Chicago furniture customers can keep life feeling bright and cheerful, despite early sunsets and dropping temperatures. Just because it's darker outside doesn't mean it has to be gloomy where it really counts: inside your home.


Help sunlight help you

The first step in brightening your home for the winter is remembering one simple rule: Dark, matte surfaces absorb and hide light, while light, glossy surfaces reflect and maximize it. Take a quick look around and take note of which description best applies to your favorite rooms. Some of your home accents – like shadowy drapery, heavy shades, dark-value wall paint, or murky-colored upholstery fabrics – might be sucking up your rooms’ available light.

There’s only so much natural light to go around during the shortened days of winter, so try to make the most of it by storing some of your heavier or darker items away for the season and replacing them with lighter fabrics or reflective materials. For example, you might try exchanging your framed photographs for framed mirrors, or consider going without window dressings for a few months.


Let there be light

There’s no better time than the end of Daylight Savings to replace old or dated light fixtures. Replacing your lamps and sources of artificial light is one of the least expensive, least time-consuming ways to perk up an older house or a dim room that isn’t getting enough natural sunlight. Worried about ending up with mismatched lamps after updating? Choosing lighting package specials rather than individual items will ensure not only a cohesive décor, but also a lower total price tag.

Once you’ve found the perfect new floor or table lamps from The RoomPlace, you might also consider upping the wattage of your lightbulbs to further brighten the interior of your Illinois or Indiana home. If you’re trying to save energy, at least go for clear bulbs instead of opaque; they tend to shed brighter light at the same wattage level.


Create warmth underfoot

Finally, it’s no secret that temperatures are dropping as days are shortening. Looking for a quick, cheap way to stay warm while continuing your home-brightening project? Create warmth underfoot by investing in some new rugs – available at The RoomPlace furniture store nearest you in all styles, sizes, and price ranges. A new rug can bring a splash of bright colors and patterns to any room, while also protecting your feet from cold tile and the draftiness we’ve come to expect from those harsh Chicago winters.


Of course, there's no better way to brighten your home than jumping headfirst into the upcoming holiday season. Check back on The RoomPlace furniture blog frequently so you don't miss any interior design news about bringing holiday cheer to the home in Schaumburg, Tinley Park, Merrillville and beyond!