Weekly Home Help with how to use natural light in your home, a new mattress from Dr. Scholl's, planning your indoor herb garden and more.

Natural light should play an important role in your home decorating efforts.


Not only does light from outside affect how certain colors look in your decor, it can also influence a home's mood, style and even the health of the people who live there.


Decorating with natural light doesn't require a designer's expertise or budget. You can use natural light to create an inviting atmosphere by keeping a few important points in mind:


- Sunlight entering from the north is usually colder. A northern exposure will only get direct sun during summer months. By contrast, a southern exposure guarantees a warm, sun-filled interior. Rooms that receive light from the east will have bright mornings, muted mid-days and cooler evenings. West-facing rooms will experience the most sun in the afternoon and evening.


- You can also bring light into your home from above with a skylight. No matter where you put one in your home, a skylight will allow you to admit the full scope of the day's light into your decor - morning, afternoon and evening. Both venting and fixed skylights will offer the benefit of allowing you to control the amount of light that enters through it if you add simple accessories like manual or remote-controlled blinds.


- The colors you use in your home decor will react differently under different natural lighting conditions. For example, reds will look vibrant and cheerful in a room that gets sun from a north-facing window. But those same colors might overpower the decor in a west-facing room. Settings with a southern exposure that brings in ample light can withstand a darker color palette that would make a north-facing room feel dark and dreary.


-- ARA


Decorating Tip: In customized kitchen, anything goes


In the ongoing effort to customize kitchens, almost anything goes. Now range hoods are works of art, literally. Already beautiful as well as functional, hoods can now be customized with panels you choose. Cupboard doors can be replaced with accent doors. Also, glass is everywhere in today's kitchens. Use it on cook tops, refrigerators and cabinet doors.          


-- Anne Krueger/ Scripps Howard News Service


Home-Selling Tip: Clear out the pet odor


Although you may be used to the odor of your pets, potential homebuyers can be put off by it. Make sure litter boxes are clean, dog fur is vacuumed and the carpet smells fresh. If you have an open house, leave your pets in the backyard or consider dropping them off at a friend’s house until it’s over.


-- RealEstateABC.com


New Product: Dr. Scholl’s goes to the mattresses


Dr. Scholl’s is now in the mattress business. The company Technogel is now selling mattresses with a topper of its trademark blue gel. According to Consumer Reports, they liken it to “floating on water.” It’s not the same gel found is Dr. Scholl’s foot inserts, but the company says the gel will mold to your body, evenly distributing pressure and improving blood circulation.


Did You Know …


Nearly 5 million mortgage modification arrangements were started between April 2009 and the end of May 2011. – HUD.gov


Going Green: Coca-Cola to reopen recycling plant


According to PlasticsNews.com, Coca-Cola will reopen its bottle-to-bottle recycling plant in Spartanburg, S.C., which closed in March after experiencing a host of technical problems. The company has a goal to distribute 10 percent recycled-content plastic bottles in the U.S., but it has only been able to produce about 5 percent in the past five years.


-- Earth911.com


Garden Guide: Plan your indoor herb garden


For those of you without a garden, many herbs grow well indoors, too. Here are a few more facts about herbs.


• Culinary experts classify herbs into two groups: robust herbs and fine herbs. Robust herbs are added while food is being prepared or cooked, while fine herbs are eaten uncooked in salads or sprinkled over a cooked dish.


• Use less dried product by weight or volume, but experiment with fresh herbs to adjust quantities.


• Italian seasonings include such herbs as basil, oregano, fennel, flat-leaf parsley and garlic (or garlic chives).


• Mexican assortments include cilantro (coriander), basil, chile peppers and tomatillo.


-- University of Illinois Extension


GateHouse News Service