December 10, 2012
Winter time provides great opportunities to give your house a new look. If you are hosting a party, you have the chance to impress your guests as they walk up to your door. From lights to wreaths, here are some of our favorite decoration tips for your front porch:
- Lights – Everyone’s favorite winter decoration is lights. You are sure to see houses decked in lights as you drive through your neighborhood. Wrapping them around trees, railings, windows and other fixtures around your house provides a great festive look. Check out our previous blog on Christmas lights for your home.
- Evergreens -Wreaths, garlands and Christmas trees. Evergreen provides the green during the white-out of winter. Wreaths are perfect for your front door. Garlands are perfect for wrapping around posts and railings. It is always nice to see a Christmas tree through the window of a house, as well.
- Poinsettia – Besides evergreen, poinsettias are the signature plant of Christmas time. It is best to keep the real poinsettias inside the home as they will not be able to handle the extreme cold temperatures. However, you can add fake poinsettias to your front porch decorations for an extra bit of color.
- Doormats – The doormats’ main use is to keep your guests from dragging in snow and dirt but it is also great to add a bit of decoration to your front porch!
- Candles – If you are planning on having guests over, lighting candles that have protection from the wind are a perfect addition to your front porch. Be careful that they are out of the way of dry evergreen!
If you are looking for ideas for your front porch or you need help decorating your home, call Total Renovation Group at (913) 451-7800 or contact us on our website,
November 16, 2012
One of the signature scenes of Winter are neighborhood full of houses that are lit up by Christmas lights. If you just became a homeowner or you had never thought about hanging lights before, it might be somewhat intimidating about the thought of hanging lights from your house. However, it is not as difficult as you might think.
Here are some tips to help you plan out your own Winter Wonderland:
- Evaluate your house – Go outside and analyze your house. Do you have a lot of trees or bushes around the house? Do you have a lot of stairs and railings? Can you easily access your roof or do you have a cantilever or overhang that could provide a place to hang lights without going on the roof? Also, you should evaluate your outdoor electricity access. You do not want to run a cord from inside to outside.
- Budget – If this is your first time ever hanging lights, you should consider making a budget so you do not overspend. Remember, these lights can be used for more than one winter. You can always buy more next year.
- Proper equipment– There are certain pieces of equipment that will help keep your house safe in case of an accident. An exterior Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) is a safety feature which will automatically shut off electricity if there is an electrical surge or short circuit. use 12-gage or 14-gage exterior extension cords with a ground (these have three prongs). Getting an automatic timer is crucial if you do not want to walk outside each night to shut them off (Crucial during those below-freezing nights). This will also help you save money.If you are planning on hanging lights from an elevated height, you should get a sturdy ladder. Make sure you are on steady ground, not on patches of ice or snow, and always have someone there to hold the bottom of the ladder. Only purchase lights that are rated for outdoor use only. It is also recommended to plug your lights in before you get up on a ladder to hang them. This will reduce frustration later on if they do not work.
- Here are the best places to install your lights and which types of lights work best in these locations:
- Bushes – Bushes provide a great place for lights as they should be relatively easy and safest to install. Instead of running lights around the whole bush, get the “net” style lights. This will save time during installation and when you are cleaning up your set-up.
- Trees – Wrap lights around the base of the tree and around branches. Circle around the base for a more attractive look (see below)
- Roof, porch or overhang – Icicle lights look great if properly spaced on a roof, porch or overhang.
- Stairs and railings – If you are decorating around a porch, using the railings around stairs is an attractive look. (See below for example)
Now that you have attempted your first Christmas house lighting, you can start planning on your project for next year. Soon enough, you’ll be Clark Griswold…