Your Complete Guide to a Haunting Halloween Home

Haunted House Ideas

Feeling a little spooky this Halloween? Here are some haunted house ideas to help make your house the creepiest on the block! Photo courtesy of

By Drew Knight

October has arrived and with it come the cutesy little trash bag ghosts and smiling jack-o-lanterns you see every year. Halloween is finally on its way!

This year, why not stray from the beaten and safe path of cute and classic Halloween décor and instead creep down the path less traveled to a haunting Halloween home?

We’ve stalked through the tangled web of the Internet to find the most haunting, bone-chilling and hair-raising haunted house ideas. Proceed with caution, you might just make your new home the spookiest house on the block.

Haunted House Ideas

(Photos courtesy of and Vitamin-Ha)

Step 1: Start Outside

This is where neighbors, friends and trick-or-treaters will get their first look at your haunted home, so why not go all out?

We suggest you start by taking a trip to the local dollar store, party supplier or Halloween central and stocking up on life-size plastic skeletons and cheesecloth. Then, grab a ladder and a trusted partner to help you hang those guys up on the walls and near entryways of your house.

You could go for an escape look coming from your doors and windows, as if past unfortunate souls didn’t make it out alive, or a zombie apocalypse look, as if the living dead were climbing up the walls to get in to attack. For a how-to, check out

Another good look we scraped from Vitamin-Ha is the unfinished burial using an old wheel barrow. Dig up some loose dirt, take apart your skeleton and scatter its remains. This will leave passersby certain this haunted house is not to be trusted.

As for the cheesecloth, this can be used all around your home. Hang it on the walls, from the ceilings, in doorways, whatever. We don’t know what’s creepy about fabric used to cover cheese, bit it works.

Haunted House Ideas

(Photos courtesy of and

Step 2: Bug Out

If anyone’s ever told you they’re not at least a little bit afraid of bugs, they’re lying.

That’s why you should consider adding some creepy crawlies to your haunted home. An easy way to start is to buy a bag of plastic bugs — flies, roaches, spiders, etc. — and tape or glue them all around your door handles. Nothing is creepier than entering a home with an infestation problem!

Adding on to the bugged-out theme, you could build your own spooky spider egg sac. Those inclined to arachnophobia will head for the hills when they see these glowing orbs of spider babies waiting for their first feed.

Martha Stewart can teach you to birth your own spider sacs right here.

Haunted House

(Photos courtesy of PopSugar and Country Living)

Step 3: Find Your Creep Factor

After you’ve spooked up your exterior, it’s time to haunt up the inside!

Perhaps the easiest haunting look is to throw some old white sheets over your furniture. After all, have you ever seen a haunted house movie without that creepy, uninhabited feel? Bonus points if you find a way to add dust.

To go along with that look, you can add a personal touch by creeping out your own family photos. As long as you have a black and white printer, some spooky frames, a few LED lights and a little bit of imagination, you can do it yourself! Country Living can teach you to create some paranormal portraits of your own here.

Haunted House Ideas

(Photos courtesy of and

Adding to the personal touch, why not display the pickled head of your spouse? Of course we’re not encouraging the decapitation of your loved ones, just the illusion.

As long as you have a jar, a photo printer, some water and food coloring, you can create this look too. Again, we direct you to to learn how to create your own odd specimens.

Don’t feel like getting so macabre? Use rubber animals, body parts or plants instead.

Finally, no haunted house is complete without some haunting spirits. Again, we direct you to Mrs. Stewart to help you create some ghosts of your own using foam mannequin heads and that cheesecloth we mentioned earlier. Get the scoop here.

To wrap it all together, invest in a fog machine and a spooky soundtrack to play throughout your home and you’ve finally got yourself a haunted house!

Now you just have to decide one thing: When will the haunting begin?

Drew Knight is a Digital Content Associate for New Home Source.

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Go Industrial with These Standout Etsy Shops

By Drew Knight

It’s urban, it’s hip and it’s a little bit hard to find. We’re talking about the industrial interior design style.

This trendy style is booming in popularity among new home buyers, especially in Millennials. And due to its rustic and unique nature, finding the right pieces to fit your new home might not always be an easy task.

Because industrial style can range from worn woods and cool concretes to meticulously chosen metals, it might get a little difficult to make your design plan truly standout. Thus, we’ve pored through the online marketplace where unique, quirky and artsy craftsmen and consumers congregate — Etsy.

Take a look at some of these standout Etsy shops that spoke to us and get to shopping!

Fire Pit

Fire Pit – Fire Table from BSquaredInc


With more than 50 unique items ranging from lighting fixtures to gramophone iPhone speakers to fire pits, BSquaredInc is certainly a good stop if you’re looking for a great statement piece.

Shop owners Brian Wood and Katie Hendrickson write, “We hand-fabricate everything seen in our shop with a sense of pride rivaled by none. The things we build are not only aesthetically pleasing, but fabricated to last a lifetime.”

Not to mention that most of their items come from reused and up-cycled materials — lumber cast off from local shops and wine bottles thrown out by area restaurants.

Don’t feel like paying for your item all at once? Ask about their payment plan option.

Rustic Sofa

Rustic Sofa from DendroCo


Perhaps the hardest industrial pieces to find are furniture. With more than 400 one-of-a-kind items, DendroCo puts an end to the struggle.

Whether you’re looking for couches, bed frames, coffee tables, bar stools or shelving units, DendroCo has it all. And everything is hand-built by the company owners themselves in Chicago, Ill., using reclaimed wood and accents inspired by urban America.

“Reclaim. Reimagine. Rebuild,” writes store owner Tara Podrez. “It’s these three words that not only describe our process, but also our passion, because everything we build is built by hand and guaranteed for life.”

Industrial lighting

Pulley Wall Mount with Industrial Cage Light from IndustrialRewind


Focusing on industrial lighting fixtures, IndustrialRewind is taking the world by storm.

Take a browse through their online shop. Do the pieces look familiar? You might have seen some of their designs anywhere from HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and Syfy’s Warehouse 13, to Pacific and Artisan magazines.

With items shipping from Selma, Ind., IndustrialRewind’s catalog includes beautiful pendant lights, chandelier lights, pulley lights, and other add-ons and accessories. They also accept custom orders.

1868 Green Honey Bottles

1868 Green Honey Bottles from PineknobsAndCrickets


Here’s where things get really unique. PineknobsAndCrickets is a whimsical shop dedicated to oddities like Mason jar wall décor, wine bottle tiki torches, earthy lantern hangings and more.

Perfect for kitchen or hallway decorating, there are nearly 300 items to pick and choose from, and with custom orders available, there are limitless possibilities.

PineknobsAndCrickets also has numerous seasonal items that you can switch out over the course of the year. From flowers to candles to leaves, you’ll find the perfect item (or several) to add a natural touch to your industrial design.

Cedar Headboard

Cedar Barn Wood Style Headboard from UrbanBilly


The star of UrbanBilly’s shop is its reclaimed barn-wood headboard. Also notable are its barrel and foundry table nightstands. And you don’t have to be going with a barn look to make these designs work.

“UrbanBilly is American style awesomeness for urban to rural living,” writes owner Nathan Ryder. “We don’t discriminate against rust, vintage, chipped, ground, dented, dinged and otherwise discarded materials.”

As you’ve probably already guessed, all items in this shop are made or remade locally with new and recycled materials.

Drew Knight is a Digital Content Associate for New Home Source.

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App of the Month: BrightNest

BrightNest app

The BrightNest app can help you stay on top of household tasks and projects.

By Judy Marchman

As a homeowner, you face a never-ending to-do list, whether it’s cleaning and straightening up, working on the lawn or garden, or taking care of various fixit and DIY projects. And if you’re like me, you try to keep up with all of the “shoulds”: You should change your air filters every three months; you should change your smoke detector batteries twice a year; and so on. The trick is keeping up with it all.

The BrightNest home organization app can help you keep track of all those important tasks, from basic maintenance to seasonal cleaning and upkeep. You can schedule reminders through the app for regular or one-time projects, or put together a “wish list” of design and DIY projects you’d like to tackle. Once you’ve taken care of the task, you can mark it as completed.

You can take an interactive home quiz to establish your home’s profile that includes your home’s unique attributes and any personal goals you may have (declutter, clean out the garage, paint the guest room, save for new floors, etc.). The quiz also helps BrightNest provide you with customized household tips or you can browse the app’s repository of home-related articles, which run the gamut from “how do I clean …?” and “how do I fix …?” to simple changes to make your home “greener” and recipes and other entertaining ideas.

You can save your favorite tips and ideas for future reference, and by getting all those little household tasks in one spot, you don’t have to worry about forgetting to take care of things around your home. The only downside is that BrightNest can’t do the actual work for you.

BrightNest can be downloaded for free through the iTunes or Google Play stores and is available for iPhone, iPad, and Android mobile devices.

Judy Marchman is a freelance contributor to NewHomeSource with 20 years of magazine and book publishing experience. You can find her on Google+.

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Five Ways to Create the Ultimate Craft Room

By Judy L. Marchman

Have your crafting supplies taken over your dining room table or the floor of your den? Or are your ribbons, buttons and beads all in a jumble? It might be time to consider creating your own craft room or space to organize those supplies and free up time spent sorting into actually creating.

Here are several ideas for ways you can put together the perfect crafting space, from setting up a craft table and organizing supplies to decking out an entire room.

color organization

Photos via Teacup Lane

Color Rainbow

One way to keep your supplies organized and easy to locate is to arrange them by color, as in this example. Whether you have a lot of paints, ribbons, pens or beads, putting them in order by color not only creates a beautiful display, but also makes it easier to keep that display neat in the long run.

rolls of ribbonsRolls of Ribbon

If you use a lot of ribbon in your crafting projects — or you’re really into gift wrapping — you can put together a tidy and color-coded wall of ribbons by adding a few shelves. This simple DIY project — if you’re relatively handy with a drill and a level — can help you keep track of your ribbon inventory and get all those random strands of ribbon out of the bottom of your storage bins.

repurposed storageRepurposed Storage

Do you have an old dresser or buffet gathering dust and cobwebs in the garage? Why not repurpose it with a new coat of paint, some drawer liners and organization bins as a way to store your crafting supplies? You can keep fabrics and delicate papers in the drawers, and then add a hutch or inexpensive storage cubicles for other items.

pegboard wallSmall Space Solutions

If you don’t have a lot of space for your crafting endeavors but still want to keep your supplies neat and accessible, the versatile pegboard is a great solution. You just need to determine what size best fits your space and how you want to use it. You can find a variety of hooks and holders on which to hang various baskets, bins, rods and other storage devices.

craft tableUltimate Craft Table

If you are setting up a dedicated craft room, you know the centerpiece is the all-important craft table. The size and height will, of course, depend on the available space and what kind of crafting you do, but you have plenty of options, from purchasing a table specifically made for crafting to repurposing a flea market find to building your own. Whatever you decide to do, the keys to a great craft table, such as the above example, are a sufficient work area, comfortable seating and ample storage.

Judy Marchman is a freelance contributor to NewHomeSource with 20 years of magazine and book publishing experience. You can find her on Google+.

Posted in Home Decor/Furniture, Interior Design, New Home Design | Leave a comment

Baby Safety Month Provides Tips to Safeguard Your Home

Baby safety tips

Celebrate Baby Safety Month by conducting a safety sweep throughout your new home.

By Judy L. Marchman

September is Baby Safety Month. Sponsored by the Juvenile Products Manufacturing Association (JPMA), the month-long event aims to educate parents and caregivers on ways to safeguard their children against hidden hazards in the home every day.

Properly safeguarding the home has to go beyond just babyproofing cabinet doors and electrical sockets. The JPMA has highlighted the top 10 hidden hazards in the home that parents should be aware of:

  • Magnets. Small refrigerator magnets become a choking hazard for little ones and multiple magnets can attract each other, causing internal damage. Be sure to keep magnets up out of reach of small hands.
  • Loose change. The same goes for loose change, another choking hazard. Be sure to place change in a jar or tray in a location away from curious hands — and check the couch or chairs (and underneath them, too) for coins that got away.
  • Button batteries. Small, round batteries used in some remote controls or hearing devices can pose a serious health risk and choking hazard if swallowed.
  • Cords. Any kind of cord, from electrical cords to those used with blinds or draperies, can pose a strangulation risk for small children. Be sure to keep cords tied up and out of reach.
  • Hot mugs. When small children are present, be cognizant of where you place a mug or cup filled with a hot beverage. A child could easily reach out to grab it and either burn fingers from the hot surface or spill the liquid on themselves. Also, be aware of tablecloth edges that a child could pull on, potentially causing hot liquid or food to fall.
  • Pot handles sticking out. If you’re cooking, keep any pot handles turned in or to the side, and not sticking out where small fingers can grab a hot handle or pull the pot over. The same goes if you have to hold a child while working in the kitchen.
  • Tipovers. From TVs to small bookcases, tipovers can cause serious injury to small children, so it’s important to secure heavy furniture and appliances to the wall.
  • Loose rugs or carpet. Children running through the house can slip on loose rugs or trip on torn carpet, so make sure to add a sticky nonslip pad underneath all area rugs and tape down any loose carpet edges.
  • Laundry packets. Laundry packets and pods can look like tempting treats to children, but can cause serious harm if ingested. Be sure to keep all laundry detergents up high and out of reach of children.
  • Recalled products. Manufacturers may have recalled certain toys or games for possible defects, so it’s important to keep on top of these notices, particularly if you buy toys secondhand. You can check on toy recalls at

Parents and older children can play an interactive game to uncover these hidden hazards and learn additional tips on preventing accidents at

Judy Marchman is a freelance contributor to NewHomeSource with 20 years of magazine and book publishing experience. You can find her on Google+.

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Future-Proof Your Home with These Eco-Friendly Devices

By Alexis Breitkreutz

Technology grows and changes just as fast as we do.

In years past, we’ve seen technology appear that we never thought we’d ever see, only to have it quickly replaced by something newer and better — and just as we finally figured out how to use it. With technology growing so quickly and needing to be replaced faster than a growing infant’s clothing, how do we keep our biggest babies — our homes — outfitted properly for the future?

Many homebuilders recommend that you practice eco-friendly techniques as well as future-proof your home by using technologies that evolve with it. Using eco-friendly technologies helps both the environment and your wallet. Future-proofing technologies don’t have to be fancy; sometimes they’re as simple as using a protective film on your windows or changing out an outlet. Following these tips can prepare your home for the future, save you money and even help save the environment from the outside in.

The Ecovent system

Photo: Ecovent.

One of the easiest ways to conserve energy in your home is by regulating your air conditioning. Smart thermostats have improved modern home energy efficiency tremendously by allowing the homeowner access to its systems from anywhere in the world via smartphone or tablet. This technology continues to advance with the development of products such as Ecovent. Ecovent aims to give you even more control over the energy used in your home by monitoring the temperature in every room through sensors that plug into your standard electrical outlets.

“Rooms are too hot or too cold, regardless of what temperature the thermostat is set to. The problem is compounded when you consider how many unused rooms in a home are heated and cooled — wasting more energy and money,” says Dip Patel, co-founder and CEO of Ecovent.

Ecovent can help save money and energy by only heating and cooling the rooms that you use regularly. “With Ecovent, homeowners have the ability to control the temperature of each room individually through the app, saving energy and money by heating and cooling only the rooms that are needed.” Ecovent will work with smart thermostats like Nest, though if you do not have a compatible wireless thermostat, the company does offer the ability to order one when ordering the Ecovent system.

3M Window Screen

Photo: 3M.

To help with home heating and cooling regulation, homebuilders often recommend upgrading your windows. This may seem a little low-tech to really be high-tech, but we’ve found the window films from 3M do just the trick without having to plug in or replace your windows entirely. A representative from 3M states that “3M window films can cut up to 30 percent of a building or home’s cooling cost and reject 99 percent of harmful UV rays that can damage furnishings and carpet without changing the exterior look of a home.”

Window films work by reducing hot spots in your home, so your cooling units don’t have to work harder than necessary, saving energy without using any.

ConnectSense Smart Outlet

Photo: ConnectSense.

The Smart Outlet from ConnectSense can help you monitor your energy use even while away from home. The Smart Outlet allows you to access the individual plug from the convenience of your smartphone. This technology pairs with the Apple Homekit to make your user experience that much easier.

How does the Smart Outlet work?

“The ConnectSense Smart Outlet features two Internet-connected electrical sockets that enable users to control devices plugged into them using an iPhone app or by voice command via Siri,” according to Adam Justice, vice president of Grid Connect, parent company of ConnectSense. Control when your kids can play video games or watch TV with the Smart Outlet and even turn off appliances that plug into the wall all from the comfort of your smartphone.

iControl Network

Photo: iControl Networks.

As homeowners think about home safety more and more, smart technologies are providing an increasing array of options. In the 2015 State of the Smart Home Report by iControl Networks, the company behind the software of smart-home technologies such as ADT Pulse and Xfinity, 65 percent of people surveyed said they would like to have home monitoring cameras.

True to form, iControl Networks delivered with its home monitoring product Piper. Piper is a home security system that works through your Wi-Fi to keep you connected to your home at all times. Receive alerts to suspicious activities, loud sounds and opened doors — all from your smartphone. You can also check up on your pets and speak to your kids from another room or even across town, ensuring their safety wherever you are.

Rain Machine from Green Electronics

Photo: Green Electronics.

When thinking of being eco-friendly, we usually think about making changes inside of our homes, but what about making changes outside? With several areas of the United States having been in a severe drought for several years, how do we keep our yards lush and green while preserving water at the same time? Enter the Rain Machine, the first home irrigation system that monitors the weather so you don’t worry about wasting water while maintaining your “yard of the week” status, even while you’re away.

The RainMachine connects to your Wi-Fi and monitors current weather predictions to make sure you don’t accidentally water your yard in the morning only to have it rain that afternoon. We contacted Andrei Bulucea, chief technology officer of Green Electronics, producer of the RainMachine, for more information.

“This weather-aware sprinkler system is the first forecast-oriented sprinkler controller,” she says. “The RainMachine harnesses big data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and other satellite services to deliver just the right amount of water to up to 16 zones in your garden. It is ideal for micro-managers or gardeners who are gone for weeks at a time.”

Alexis Breitkreutz is a Digital Marketing Intern for New Home Source.

Posted in Green Home Building, Home Entertainment & Automation, New Home Design | 2 Comments

The Latest in “Smart” Technology: Smart Water Heaters

Tankless Water Heaters

In a world of “smart” technology, it’s hard to stay up to date with the latest trends. Here are some of the latest options in smart water heaters. (Photo: Rinnai)

By Drew Knight

The year is 2015 and everything is getting “smart.” From phones to watches to homes, it seems as if nothing is safe from getting a little wiser, and now water heaters are no exception.

Today, heating water can account for up to 30 percent of your home’s energy budget, according to, so it’s no wonder water heater manufacturers are working to boost their products’ efficiency. In fact, some brands now claim their smart water heaters can cut energy costs up to half as much as regular heaters.

Some top brands of conventional water heaters also offer energy-efficient heaters that are “smarter” than average, while other brands focus on the “smart” versions. Here are some of the top brands and products to look for in your search for a smart water heater.

Whirlpool Energy Smart Electric Water Heaters

The Whirlpool Energy Smart electric water heater combines an electronic thermostat with a consumer-friendly user interface that is simple, convenient, easy to access and informative, Whirlpool says.

Consumers can set their hot water temperature and change the operating mode of the water heater to automatically adjust to their water usage patterns. Additionally, the interface can also provide diagnostic feedback about the unit’s operation.


  • Touch screen electronic user interface
  • Multiple energy-saving operating modes
  • Diagnostic feedback
  • Electronic thermostat
  • Smart grid ready
  • Dry fire protection
  • Premium stainless steel heating elements
  • 2-inch or 3-inch environmentally friendly non-CFC foam insulation
  • 9-year or 12-year warranty

Rheem Tankless Water Heaters

According to Rheem, tankless water heaters combine new technology and functionality in an innovative way to heat water. These products only use energy to heat water when it is needed so that nothing is wasted while you’re not using hot water.

One selling feature on this line of water heaters is a precise digital controller, which allows you to adjust the maximum water temperature to whatever you prefer — great for families with young children!


  • Continuous hot water on demand
  • Compact, space-saving design
  • Indoor and outdoor models
  • Environmentally friendly
  • Digital display
  • Remote controls
  • Self-diagnostic program
  • Commercial and hydronic usage
  • Stainless steel venting

Rinnai Tankless Water Heaters

Rinnai’s tankless technology is designed to provide maximum efficiency to meet ENERGY STAR qualifications. It also uses up to 40 percent less energy than a traditional tank, Rinnai says.

Similar to Rheem’s line, Rinnai’s tankless water heaters operate only when hot water is needed, and use an electronic ignition so that no standing pilot light is constantly sapping energy.


  • Designed for energy efficiency
  • Improves Home Energy Rating System (HERS) index score
  • Multiple sizes
  • Replaceable parts, not the whole system
  • Flexible installation
  • Earth-friendly, less waste and low emissions
  • Copper heat exchangers

EcoSmart Tankless Water Heaters

EcoSmart touts the “most advanced technology in tankless water heating.” EcoSmart’s heaters take up zero floor space, are lightweight and save up to 50 percent on water-heating costs.

EcoSmart also offers a limited lifetime warranty — the only tankless water heater in the business with such a warranty, according to the company.


  • 99.8 percent thermal energy efficiency
  • No standby heat loss
  • Limited lifetime tankless warranty
  • 90 percent smaller than most tank heaters
  • Easy installation at point of use
  • Can last up to 20 years

Heatworks MODEL 1 Water Heater

A newcomer in the industry, Heatworks’ MODEL 1 water heater is being marketed as the world’s first digital water heater, which can be used to improve your existing water heating system or installed as your main water heater.

The MODEL 1 employs graphite electrodes and electronics that use water’s natural resistance to heat itself, which means no superheated parts, no rusty tanks, no maintenance and no wasted energy, according to Heatworks.


  • Remote temperature control access
  • Extended hot water usage
  • Multiple installation/usage options
  • Saves up to 5,500 gallons of water annually
  • Can cut energy costs up to 40 percent
  • Saves up to $200-plus annually

Drew Knight is a Digital Content Associate for New Home Source.

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