Real Estate Tips: Expert Tips to Creating a Relaxing Home

Great design tips that work all year. Throw on Slipcovers- Little Rock designer Courtney Singleton thinks slipcovers are the perfect quick fix for a stuffy room. Slipcovers make a sofa “seem like a place to flop down and read a book,” she says.  No Color- Elizabeth Gibson-Wakeman, a Sarasota, Florida designer, likes the look of black-and-white photos. “They’re usually best with a white mat in a black frame,” she says. “The look is almost a non-statement because of the absence of color.”  Rethink Bouquets- Anything from nature can become an attractive — and inexpensive — centerpiece. Rebecca Cole, a New York City landscape and interior designer uses wispy grasses, twigs, and produce for bouquets. “They offer conversation as much as they do beauty,” Cole says. “There’s nothing more beautiful than just a simple bowl filled with driftwood.”  Easy Art- “I love to lean pictures instead of hanging them,” says Janna Lufkin, a Redmond, Washington, designer. Lean pictures on a mantel, a windowsill, or against furniture for a no-fuss display. Source: Better Homes & Gardens    September Quote Labor Day is a glorious holiday because your child will be going back to school the next day. It would have been called Independence Day, but that name was already taken. ~ Bill Dodds


Few household aggravations rank higher than dealing with ailing (leaking, thumping, malfunctioning) appliances. Sometimes the machine will be beyond hope―destined for the recycling pile. Other times an inexpensive repair is all that’s needed. Refrigerator Problem: It’s not cooling or freezing well. It could be: The condenser coils. Found behind the kick plate at the front or the back of the unit, they can easily become caked with dust. Verdict: Fix it yourself. Unplug the refrigerator, loosen dirt with a soft-bristle brush then vacuum. It could be: The gaskets (the rubber strips that seal the doors shut).  Try closing the doors on a dollar bill at several spots. If the bill slips, you need a new gasket. Verdict: Fix it yourself. To install a gasket ($40 to $60), take out the old one and screw the new one in, making sure the door is properly aligned. It could be: Frost buildup in a self-defrosting freezer. A bad thermostat or compressor could be at fault. Either way, you’ll need to call a repairman. Verdict: If it’s the thermostat, a pro can fix that. Parts and labor will cost $100 to $175. If the compressor is shot, you should ditch the machine A new compressor is $500 to $700. It’s not worth the cost if the refrigerator was less than $1,000 or is more than five years old.