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Tips for keeping cool on summer's hottest days
By Payless Decor
6/24/2015 9:35:00 PM  

For most of us, the summer months provide a welcome respite from the short, frigid days of winter. However, as the summer wears on into its dog days, homeowners are often faced with the challenge of staying comfortable as the heat and humidity indices climb. Here are some tips for keeping your home cool and minimizing energy bills in the summer:

Draw blinds and shades
Heat from direct sunlight can turn your windows into lenses. Drawing blinds and shades will keep rooms cooler during the day. Consider investing in light-blocking shades or high-quality pleated shades to minimize the effect of sunlight, and prioritize east and west-facing windows, which see the sun's most intense rays in the morning and late afternoon. In addition to the cooling factor, quality window treatments will protect furnishings, like certain stained woods, which are susceptible to ultraviolet (UV) damage.

Cook in the evening
Plan your heat-producing activities, like cooking and using major appliances like dishwashers and clothes dryers, for the evening, when the temperature begins to drop. Kitchens in many older homes are typically small, and something as simple as boiling a pot of water can increase the temperature and humidity levels in the room to uncomfortable levels in a matter of minutes. Consider recipes that feature food that can be served cold for a couple of days, like a refreshing summer soup or pasta salad.

Use energy-efficient cooling appliances
Energy-efficient air conditioners (ACs), oscillating fans and ceiling fans can make a big difference. If your window-unit AC is out of date, consider investing in an upgrade. Newer AC units with good energy efficiency ratios (EERs) require less input wattage to produce an effective cooling output, so you'll get the results you want without the crippling spike in your electricity bill. Many ENERGY STAR qualified ACs have auto-shutoff settings that maintain a room at a preset temperature without overworking the compressor. Read appliance manuals and follow instructions for the most energy-efficient cooling. In many instances, leaving a unit off for most of the day and then cooling a room quickly at a very low temperature output will overwork a compressor, requiring more energy than if the unit were left on for a longer period of time at a low-energy setting.

No matter how hot it gets, following a few simple practices like these can keep your home cool.

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Tags: pleated shades, summer, home improvement, energy-efficient
Categories: Home Improvement, pleated shades
Four tips for sprucing up your guest bedroom for visitors
By Payless Decor
10/10/2012 12:21:00 PM  

When it comes to decorating your guest room, you might make it low on your list of priorities, especially if you don't have visitors on a frequent basis. But it may be time for an upgrade if your pleated shades aren't what they used to be and your furnishings are relatively dated. Here are a few tips on how to spruce up your guest room and make it feel like a sanctuary away from home for your guests.

1. Let light flow into the room.

If your guest room is dark and dreary, chances are your visitors aren't going to have a great time in your living space. To ensure comfort and warmth, allow as much natural light as possible to flow into the room. Discount window treatments such as drapery panels that can be swept out of the way during the daytime are ideal for bedrooms that could use more sunshine.

2. Bring in freshness.

To immediately get rid of the stale feeling in your guest room, think about bringing in fresh flowers in a decorative vase before your guests arrive. Nothing says "Welcome!" like a new bouquet of flowers, and it can instantly bring life into the room. As an added touch, consider adding a few potted houseplants to the space.

3. Provide the basics.

Good Housekeeping Magazine recommends taking a cue from hotels and ensuring your guests have all the basics they need to be comfortable - specifically toiletries and towels. Leave a basket on the bed for when they arrive including small soaps, shampoo and a loofah for  ultimate convenience. Fresh towels are also a big plus - you don't want your guests to have to go looking for them when shower time arrives.

4. Pay extra attention to the bed.

The bed is a crucial part of how comfortable your guests feel in your home, according to Ideally, the sheets should be lightly tucked in (not too tight) for easy accessibility. If you have a large comforter or throw blanket on top, be sure to have airy sheets under it as a secondary option if your visitor doesn't want to use all of the linens. When it comes to pillows, you can never have too many. Place a variety of different sized pillows on the bed to give your guests a choice in what they use to sleep - people tend to have their preferences when it comes to pillows.

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Categories: Decorating Tips, Shades, Window Treatments, pleated shades
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