Archive for the ‘Small Projects’ Category

Quick and Easy Home Updates

If you have been living in your permanent or even semi-permanent home for more than a year, it can be refreshing and healthy to give it a new look. While it is easy to hang a new picture or bring in some flowers, there are other tasks you can complete to improve your home’s aesthetics. While art and other personal memorabilia are important, maintenance of our physical homes is often overlooked, most often because people consider this activity to require more time and dedication that other home updates. There are simple things that we can do to help make the places we live in feel more alive, and they can be completed in just one day.

  1. hardwood-shineBring back your floor’s shine. Your home’s tile and wooden floors take a lot of damage throughout the year as you travel in, out, and through your home. Taking a few hours to mop and shine your floors can go a long way in the overall look of your home. Before beginning, be sure that you have the proper cleaning product for the surface. This is a great way to refresh your floors and revitalize the look and feel of your home.
  2. Replace electrical outlet boxes. If you own an older home, this is an extremely easy way to not only improve your home systems electricity efficiency, but to make it safer as well. You may notice that a plug no longer fits snug in a certain outlet, which is a strong indication that it may be time to look into new electrical outlet boxes. Be sure to shut off the power in the electrical area of your home before starting this easy and empowering job. Take the time to evaluate all of your home’s electrical supplies, components and parts to ensure safety for you and your family.
  3. simple home updatesOrganize around your home. If you are constantly picking up papers, clothes or knick-knacks from around the first floor of your home, you may want to consider consolidating it to one spot. Doing this is as easy as finding a shelf, new or used, that can be used to store a variety of everyday items. A convenient place to put these items, like keys, bills or mail, is right by the exterior door that you use the most. Have fun with this update – it doesn’t have to be a shelf. You can use cabinets in the mud room or a small desk in the office to store these everyday items. The more creative you are with this project, the more likely you are to use the space on a regular basis.
  4. Liven up your home’s entrance with exterior lighting. The outside of your home is the first part that your guests see. Making a good first impression can go a long way, and is simple enough to do! Transform your home’s run-of –the-mill gateway by putting an inviting light by your door. You can do so with an inexpensive but stylish fixture that, once installed, should be relatively low maintenance. Don’t hesitate with this one, go for it!

These projects will help you feel like a true homeowner and bring back that newly-moved-in feeling. The best part is that these tasks are simple enough to complete on a rainy day stuck indoors, or as a quick weeknight project!

House Feeling Cramped: Five Tips for Making More Space

House Feeling Cramped Five Tips for Making More SpaceOne of the laws of nature is that the amount of stuff you have expands to fill the available space. Whether it’s clothes, books, furniture or houseplants, you may find yourself wondering how it multiplied, seemingly overnight, and now has you crowded into one corner of your living room. Follow these easy tips to avoid the pitfall of “too much stuff” and create more space in your home.

Sort Possessions

Take a hard look at what you use and what you don’t then act accordingly. If you haven’t worn it in two years and it’s not your wedding dress, out it goes. The same rule applies to college textbooks, novels you didn’t care for, broken tools and sets of dishes you’ll never use. Recycle broken items, donate usable items to libraries, charities and other service organizations, and watch your space expand.

Get a Storage Unit

If getting rid of your possessions is too painful, get a storage unit in your neighborhood. Many storage companies can be found online like TheStorageCenter.com, which lists monthly fees and types of spaces available. Move your clutter into one of these units until you can make decisions about its fate. For valuable items, be sure to choose one that has climate control!

Use Wall Space

That clunky entertainment center that juts out into the living room can be turned into extra floor space if you hang the television on the wall and install shelving for components. For knick-knacks that occupy tabletops, “floating” shelves can be easily installed. Get rid of plant stands by hanging plants from wall brackets.

Get Versatile Furniture

Platform beds with drawers in their bases are a great way to hide a dresser’s worth of clothes and clutter. Ottomans and coffee tables with flip tops and inside storage accomplish the same task in the living room. Repurpose a small chest of drawers as a side table or night table and gain extra storage in a snap.

Reorganize Your Closets

Once you’ve edited what’s in your closets, maximize the space by organizing the closet with organizer shelves and hangar systems. You can double the usable space in most closets with these ingenious and affordable devices. Add extra shelving wherever you can, and you’ll find that those extra blankets, off-season clothes and special occasion items become practically invisible.

A Journey Begins With the First Step

Remember that you don’t have to do all of these things at once. Try one at a time, and you’ll find your home growing bigger instead of smaller!

Five Current Trends in Home Remodeling to Consider

Five Current Trends in Home Remodeling to ConsiderHome remodeling trends often change based on shifting demographics, evolving consumer needs and new technologies. It is hard to predict exactly which trends will last and which will fade away over time. Many trends today are focused on functionality and classic aesthetics. There are five current trends in remodeling that homeowners should consider.

Multigenerational Features

Families are living in homes for a longer time than in previous years. Multigenerational households are also becoming more common with elderly parents living in the same home as grandchildren. This has made adding multigenerational and accessibility features a current remodeling trend. This involves adding handrails around the home, lowering cabinets and switching to easily used fixtures. It can also mean switching to zero-clearance bathtubs, installing occupancy sensors for lights and widening hallways and doorways.

Countertops Made From Quartz Composite

Quartz composite is trending as an alternative to installing natural granite countertops in kitchens and even bathrooms. Quartz countertops are highly resistant to staining, chipping and cracking. They withstand high amounts of heat. The surface is nonporous and does not collect bacteria like other materials. The final benefit is that quartz countertops come in nearly any color a homeowner could want when remodeling.

Special Purpose Rooms

A clear home remodeling trend today is creating a special purpose room in the house. Some examples are a butler’s pantry for cooks, home offices for entrepreneurs and media rooms for gamers or movie enthusiasts. These special purpose rooms integrate all of the features necessary to work or enjoy a hobby. They often include dedicated storage that fits the tools or items associated with the main purpose of the room. Creating a special purpose room usually means giving up some common space although the added convenience often makes the project worthwhile.

Double Bathrooms

Another trend seen in larger homes is creating a double bathroom. A double bathroom can accommodate a couple living in the house together. The design usually includes a double vanity with double mirrors. It can include separate cabinets and closets for each person. Some double bathrooms have multiple entrances and comfortable seating along the walls. Double bathrooms make it easier for couples to get ready at the same time

Engineered Hardwood Floors

Installing modern engineered hardwood floors is a popular remodeling project in homes. Engineered hardwood comes to a home with the finish already applied. The top layer is attached to a durable core. The installation process can be done over nearly any type of existing flooring including over radiant heating lines. The durability, ease of maintenance and attractive surface makes engineered hardwood floors a good choice for high traffic homes. So clear out your home and put things in storage and then put down the new floors you will love.

 

Five Don’ts for Home Remodels

Five Donts for Home RemodelsAny kind of home remodeling project is usually going to be an exciting experience, but it is important to remain smart and use your head throughout this entire process. There are plenty of mistakes that are made around the world on a daily basis because people try to rush into the home remodeling projects of their dreams. If you take your time and follow these five guidelines for home remodeling, then you should be able to miss out on any huge mistakes and bonehead errors.

Don’t Store Your Stuff in another Room

Whenever you are dealing with a home remodeling project, you are probably going to have to move all of your stuff out of the room involved with the project. Instead of storing this stuff in the guest room or in the shed in the backyard, you may want to go with Spring TX storage units. The facilities at http://www.extraspace.com/Storage/Facilities/US/California/Irvine/1000000121/Facility.aspx are really all you need to hold your things during the home remodeling process.

Don’t Get Cheap Materials

You definitely get what you pay for when it comes to remodeling a certain aspect of your home. There is no point in using cheap materials because they will breakdown for too quickly for your project to be worth it. You will find yourself going through a home repairing process a few months or years later if you use cheap materials and equipment.

Don’t Use Inaccurate Measurements

If you have decided that you can handle the workload involved with your home remodeling process, then you may want to make sure that you actually take accurate measurements. There is nothing worse than cutting a piece of granite or moving a piece of furniture into the right position and then realizing that you’ve made a huge mistake.

Don’t Force Yourself to Do the Work

If you are not a specialist when it comes to home remodeling projects, then you should definitely call in a specialist. You will end up wasting a lot of time, energy and money if you try to do everything on your own.

Don’t Try to Wing It

Remodeling any part of your home is going to be a project that requires a lot of planning. You need to plan exactly what kinds of changes are going to be made and how much everything is going to cost before you get started. You never want to be in a situation where you run out of money halfway through the project.

 

Divan Bed Drawers – Quick and Easy to Repair

Owning a divan bed combined with a comfortable mattress provides you with plenty of comfortable nights’ sleep at minimal cost, which includes a couple of pull-out drawers beneath to stash your belongings and hide them from sight – far more space-friendly than a chest of drawers.

Broken Divan Bed DrawWhilst these popular bed types are affordable, they are often susceptible to damage from owners who are either heavy handed or, in my case, own heavy stuff. Unfortunately this DIY tutorial, like many, starts with a broken divan drawer – the result of me storing hefty camera gear under the bed for 5 years.

The side panels of the sliding drawer have remained in tact, which on closer inspection are made from chipboard. The bottom of the drawer, however, has bowed in the centre causing it to pop out of its fitting, making my belongings fall through the gap and into the bed’s hollow insides.

 

In this article I’m going to share how I repaired it back to its former functional glory so you’ll know how to repair your own drawer if you ever accidentally break it.

 

To Repair the Drawer You Will Need:

– a broken divan drawer

– a thin length of wood (1cm tall, 1.5cm deep, and width of the longest drawer panel)

– wood glue

– drill

– screwdriver bit

– thin drill bit

– 5 short screws

– 4 slightly longer screws

– small wood saw

– flat filing tool

Method of Drawer Repair

1. Measure the length of the bottom panel that has broken and saw the the wood to this length so you end up with a length of wood that slots perfectly underneath the broken panel and sits in line with the height of the sides.

2. Turn your drawer so that the front of the drawer is face down and flat on a surface. Apply wood glue/ PVA to the edge that has popped out and the grove in the back panel. Re-align the floor panel with the groove and push down, holding it for at least a minute.

3. Apply glue to the piece of wood on the side that makes contact with the floor panel. Press it to the panel and hold for another minute.

Repaired Divan Drawer4. Using the thin drill bit on your electric drill, create 4 evenly spaced holes that lead from the back panel and through to the new section of wood.

5. Replacing your drill bit with the screwdriver bit, drill each of the 4 long screws into the holes you made. Start with the inside two and work to the outside two to ensure the wood is applied evenly. Be sure that the screw heads sit flat with the back panel to prevent any catching or obstructions.

6. Next you will need the thin drill bit again and create 5 evenly distributed holes that lead from inside the drawer through to the new wood – in between the 4 you drilled previously.

7. Switch back to the screwdriver bit and drill the shorter screws into the new holes you made. Once drilled the heads of the screws should be flush with the drawer’s floor panel.

Repaired Divan Draw8. If any of your screws have gone through the wood and are exposing their sharp tips use a flat filing tool to blunt and smooth down the ends, making it safe and less likely to catch anything.

Voila! Your drawer is repaired and stronger than before.

 

Final Word of Advice

As tempting as it is to reload your drawer with all the stuff that broke it in the first place, I’d advise against it otherwise you could end up breaking it again. Instead, try loading it with lighter items like clothing or bed linen and find a new place for your heavier stuff.

Randal is an enthusiastic home design blogger from Essex who regularly contributes to the blog of Frances Hunt – an online retailer of quality furniture at affordable prices.

Don’t Call an Expert: Top Five Home Repairs You Can Do Yourself

You can eliminate labor costs and wasted time by tackling some simple home repair jobs with your own two hands. Here are some quick fixes for common household repair issues.

Constantly Running Toilet

toiletA running toilet is not only annoying, but can waste large amounts of water. Determining the cause of a running toilet is simple, and fixing it may not even require repair parts.

Step 1: Lift off the tank lid and observe the water movement. If water is spilling into the tube that sticks up from the bottom, the water level should be adjusted.
Step 2: Adjust the float arm by bending downward. Some newer toilets may have adjustment clips that slide down for adjustment purposes.
Step 3: If water does not spill into the vertical tube, the rubber “flapper” covering the tank drain likely needs replacement. Turn off the water and pull out the flapper. You can obtain an identical one at any hardware outlet.

Faucet Washer Replacement

A leaky faucet can put a dent in your bank account and your sanity. A faulty washer is usually the culprit.

Step 1: Shut off the water.
Step 2: Remove the faucet handle and packing nut. You will need a screwdriver and pliers.
Step 3: Unscrew the valve stem and take it out of the fixture housing. Then unscrew the washer screw, and remove the washer. You may to need loosen it with oil.
Step 3: Find a replacement washer at any hardware outlet.
Step 4: Reverse steps to install the new washer.

If your faucet still leaks, it may require replacement. Be care while unscrewing the faucet as if your water lines are older they could be brittle from water corrosion and break, costing you a little extra and a trip to the hardware store to replace.

Hole in the Wall

Broken or dented interior walls are usually the result of rambunctious teenagers or unrestrained doors. Wall dimples or holes create unsightly decor, but leaving them unrepaired can generate more maintenance. Before you call a carpenter, try this simple fix for your damaged wall.

Step 1: Crumple newspaper to a reasonably solid wad.
Step 2: Wedge the paper wad tightly into the hole or dent, leaving a space of approximately one-quarter inch between the paper and the outside wall surface.
Step 3: Fill the space with joint compound. Smooth the surface of the compound to match the wall surface, using a putty knife or other wide-bladed tool. Let the compound dry according to package instructions.
Step 4: Use fine sandpaper to refine repaired surface before painting.

Squeaky Hinges or Sticky Doors

Always keep a can of household lubricating oil for squeaky hinges. Wet, dry or spray lubricants can work equally well. If your door does not close without hitting the frame, loose hinges, wood expansion and warping are probably to blame.

Step 1: Examine the door hinges for loose screws. Hinges may need to be moved down, if the screw holes have been damaged. An extra set of hands may be required.
Step 2: If hinges are not loose, rub colored chalk on the door frame where it meets the door. Close the door and observe where chalk rubs onto the door. Shape these areas with a rotary grinding tool.

Damaged Furniture or Woodwork

Scratches and dents can be sanded out of wood trim or furniture items.

Step 1: Remove old paint or stain from the affected area with sandpaper or steel wool.
Step 2: Fill with wood filler product and let dry according to package instructions.
Step 3: Sand new surface and paint or stain.

Gina McNeely works with PartSelect, an ecommerce company that sells replacement appliance parts for all types of appliances.  An appliance repair can save an appliance from a landfill, and it is often far less expensive than replacing the whole appliance.
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