Summer is hardly the time to set your fireplace a-crackling with cozy cheer. But the fact that you're not roasting chestnuts by the open fire doesn't mean that your fireplace has to put a damper on your decor.  Here are some great ways for you to keep your fireplace as fun and refreshing as the rest of your summer style:

1. Use Candles Instead of Wood

Inexpensive and popular, candles are a go-to solution for keeping the fireplace functional when warm weather kicks in. Scented candles also lend subtle fragrance to the home.

Be creative! Put candles of all sorts of shapes, colors, and sizes in the firebox to make the fireplace an engaging and romantic focal point of the room.

2. Bring in Plants to Invite the Outdoors

If you have a fireplace in the sun and a hearth with a longer extension, opt for a tropical display of fresh flowers and ferns to surround it and give the room some colorful flare.

If your fireplace is in shadow most of the day, you can always use imitation foliage to create a unique arrangement of lush summer greenery.

3. Show off Your Work of Art

Anyone handy with a paintbrush — or any art lovers, actually — will probably love this idea. Easily make your fireplace a statement piece of your decor by including it in your artwork.

Once the winter is past and you’re not using your fireplace anymore, tidy the hearth and cover the floor of the firebox with stone or glass beads. Even white pebbles will do the trick!

This will be a great anchor for a favorite work of art or a photo of cherished memories.

4. Create a Unique Vignette With Your Favourite Collectibles

Show off some of your favorite decorative pieces and collectibles like pots or vases and cluster them both in and out of the firebox to produce a special, personalized vignette. Remember to apply design elements like size, shape, color, and pattern to make a sophisticated statement.

5. Relax With a Personal Meditation Nook

Depending on your lifestyle preferences and the location of your hearth, creating an area of restful meditation is a smart way to use the empty space in and around your fireplace during the summer.

Make the firebox into a relaxing shrine for meditation by placing a mirror in the cleaned box and including a picture of your meditation icon. Add to the zen ambience by using candles, flowers, and glass beads. For comfort, soften the hearth with pillows or cushions. Accessorize with small plants or flowers to complete the zen flow.

6. Keep Your Fireplace Out of Sight

If you really don’t like the idea of looking at your fireplace during the warmer months, consider custom-tailored screens or large room-dividers to hide it and make the fireplace disappear.

Remember; decorate your fireplace whatever way you want —just have fun with it this summer!

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You’ve taken one of the biggest steps of your life, buying a home. As the realization sinks in you might start to wonder what you should do next. Here are some ideas that should help you keep your sanity as you adjust to your new role.

 

   

Home Inspection

You did get a home inspection, right?  Now it’s time to pull out that report and see what, if anything needs taken care of. Most of the time the home inspection outlines issues that get taken care of before you sign on the dotted line. But sometimes your home is bought as-is or is a short sale. That means repairs are up to you. Home inspectors will tell you what needs fixed and when. Pay attention. If you home inspector says something needs fixed ASAP, make that repair a priority.

Become a DIYer

Save some money by doing simple repairs yourself. At the same time don’t choose projects that are totally over your head. Research before you get started so you have some idea of what goes where. If you go with a contractor, get two or three estimates for the work.

Renovation Budget

Set a budget. Stick to it. Easier said than done. You might be able to hold off on some items, like new carpets or flooring until you can handle the expense. Both can be expensive ventures. Replacing knobs on kitchen or bathroom cabinets and painting cam be budget friendly depending on your tastes.  Keep in mind you don’t have to fix the entire house all at once.

Get Good Insurance

Protect your investment. Get good insurance with as reasonable a deductable as you can afford. Should anything go wrong you’ll be happy you did. Consider life insurance, which protects your family, as well as mortgage insurance. The latter pays off the remainder of the mortgage with no cash left over.

Furnishings

Don’t go crazy with the furnishings when you first move in. You’ll be tempted to go out and buy a new living room suite, dining room table and whatever else you think looks good. It will look good until you get the whopping credit card bills. Go slow. Besides, after you do some updating that furniture you bought may end up not “fitting in.” It’s back to the store you go…again.

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