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The Internet’s Broad Home Improvement Resources

The World Wide Web, commonly referred to as the internet, is one of the best home improvement resources. For home improvement ideas, simply search over your favorite internet browser and you will find thousands of sites dedicated to improvement and renovation projects. These web pages are rich with how-to information, step-by-step do-it-yourself guides, contacts for local contractors and reviews of house improvement services.

Using online mapping sites is very ideal in finding local contractors and hardware stores in your area. Conveniently in front of your computer, you can search and browse for home improvement shops. Usually, store reviews are also presented.

In addition to store reviews, the internet also provides lots of product reviews. If you are planning to buy a new home improvement item, take the time to check the product reviews from various resources online. By doing so, you can learn about the pros and cons of certain products which have been used and tested by customers like you. Information on price, durability, power and ease of use are the common concerns covered in these product reviews.

Online quotations are often provided by home improvement websites. With these quotations, you can easily have an idea regarding the project’s price and the estimated cost of materials. Online quotes are great tools to give you a fairly accurate idea of the expenses you would have.

How-to’s and do-it-yourself guides are to be found on many online home improvement resources. The internet offers tips on everything about home renovation projects, even about the smallest and simplest task of hanging a picture frame on the wall.

There are also many web communities where you can connect with other individuals engaged in home projects. These message boards, forums and web communities are filled with helpful tips and advices. By joining one, or by simply reading the online pages of these resources, you can have your questions answered without having to pay for professional help.

How to Choose the Right Paint Finish for Your Home Projects

Throughout the years, I have consulted with clients on how to choose the right finishes for their paint projects…here is a quick reference guideline:

Flat – good for ceilings throughout the house except for kitchens and bathrooms. Flat is NOT recommended for your walls because it is NOT very forgiving. I liken it to a chalkboard. If you accidentally rub furniture against the wall, touch the wall with dirty hands or worse, a child writes on the wall, you have every little to no recourse but to repaint.

Eggshell – highly recommended for walls throughout the house except for kitchens and bathrooms. It has a little bit of a sheen which allows you to wipe away any “accidents” as indicated above.

Satin – this is my recommendation for kitchen and bath areas. Most painters recommend semi-gloss, but semi-gloss is too shiny and tends to look very industrial (like a hospital). Satin offers ease of cleaning without the glossy overkill. It’s a lot more sophisticated and modern.

Semi-Gloss – perfect for doors and trim. It offers the ease of cleaning (you just wipe it down with a damp sponge or cloth) with just the right contrast against your eggshell walls to make your woodwork pop.

A few extra tips to keep in mind:

  • Be careful when doing touch-ups. Make sure it is the right finish. I have seen on more than one occasion when the wrong finish was used to do touch-ups and the walls end up looking like it has a skin condition. If the original paint finish is flat, make sure to touch up using the same flat paint. If the original paint finish is semi-gloss, make sure to touch up using the same semi-gloss paint. Paint finishes are not interchangeable. You will notice a difference, even between semi-gloss and high-gloss. Don’t try to cut corners because it will cost you more in time, effort and money in the long run!
  • If it’s been a few years since the walls have been painted, touch up is not the right solution. Wall colors tend to fade from the sun and dust and dirt will also change the wall color.
  • Avoid painting EVERYTHING (walls, doors, trim) the same finish). There is no contrast and it just looks bad!!! If you’re going to put forth the effort, do it right! The only time I recommend painting the wall and the baseboard the same color is when you have the builder’s grade 1 inch baseboards. It’s not worth highlighting those baseboards with a contrasting paint color. If the budget does not allow for upgrading the baseboards, painting the wall and the old baseboard the same color and finish allows it to blend together and bring less attention to the inferior trim.
  • Check the paint color in the room that you’ll be painting that color in…colors tend to look different in different light. Better yet, get a sample and paint a swatch on the wall for best results.
  • Remember, color is your friend. Don’t be afraid to add a little color to your home…it makes furnishings, paintings, everything look better!

Paint is the least expensive home improvement resource with the most return on investment. Choose wisely and enjoy the rewards!

Home Improvement: Landscaping Ideas for the Front Yard

Whether you are buying or selling a home, the front yard is the first thing that people look at. Without curb appeal, it is impossible to sell a home because buyers are often turned off by unkempt yards. Many home owners associations require you to keep up your yard or you could be fined. The unattractiveness of a yard can actually bring down property value, a quality your neighbors will not appreciate. Luckily, there are many things you can do to improve the look of your front yard.

Most homes of the year win because of their exceptional green grass. Some grasses have thick course blades, and others are more thin and smooth and grow thicker. However, different grass grows in different kinds of soil. Ask someone in your local home improvement store which grass grows best in your area.

Planting a flower garden is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your yard. It is important to find flowers with height and colors that complement each other. Just like the house required planning to build, a good garden requires planning. Researching types of flowers and whether or not they are perennial or annual will help you plant a better garden.

Trees also help to improve the look of a front yard. Palmetto trees often look nice at the edge of the curb. Two Dogwood trees, one at either side of the yard, bring color to your yard in the spring and summer and add curb appeal to your home. One Dogwood in the middle of the yard also adds color and style.

Regardless of what type of tree you decide to put in your yard, be sure to plant it so that it is at least 5 feet away from your home when fully grown. Homes need room to breathe; having a tree planted too close could eventually cause the home to rot where air is not coming through. Keep an eye on branches so that they do not tower over the roof of your home and become a potential hazard.

If your front yard is big enough, another idea that helps bring a look of tranquility to the yard is a small pond or fountain. If you decide to place a pond in your front yard, adding some stones and rocks to the outside and planting lily pads will bring a unique look and design to your front yard. Bird baths also help enhance the look of a yard, and the birds are entertaining to watch.

When landscaping your front yard, have fun with it. This is your yard, and your art project.

Quality Home Improvement Ideas for Budget Bathroom Remodeling

When homeowners want to start a home improvement project around the home, whether it’s in the kitchen or it’s a major bit of bathroom renovation, they tend to get sticker shock once the research begins. Budget remodeling is key, but that’s doesn’t mean you have to settle on the cheapest goods, materials and labor. It just means smart home improvement. You can use some tried and true home improvement tips to shave money off the cost of your next remodel that will still turn a simple bathroom into something truly unique.

Of course the best way to eliminate budget problems is to plan appropriately. Nothing will blow your home improvement budget faster than going at it without a plan. A general contractor will help you plan accordingly but if you’re doing it alone you definitely need to take the time to develop a game plan for your bathroom renovation and remodeling. Get the big problems drawn up first, figure out your dislikes and target those things that you’d love to update. Here are some great tips to update your bathroom without breaking the bank:

Home Improvement Design Challenge One – Ditching the same tired color scheme

Updating the colors in your bathroom is easy, and there’s really no cheaper way to go about giving your bathroom a new look during the home improvement process. Too many bathrooms are a drab white or come with contrasting “safe” colors that contractors use in the building process. The problem with stark white or contrasting blacks & whites is that they don’t often match the personality of the homeowner. Use softer tones, earth-tones and other simple palette choices to quickly transform your bathroom into a room you’ll find most comfortable.

Home Improvement Design Challenge Two – Shrinking the Vanity

The vanity is the focal point for most bathrooms. It’s not uncommon to have a lot of counter space in master bathrooms with plenty of storage. A small vanity is common in smaller bathrooms. If you can get away with it, don’t replace this with another big cabinet system. Instead, purchase a pedestal sink and open up the floor plan. The style and extra space will definitely enhance the comfort of the room.

Home Improvement Design Challenge Three – Originality in the Flooring

This is where a lot of homeowners try to save money by installing cheaper material like a vinyl floor or cheap replica tile. Instead of getting cheap on the material, do something a bit more unique. If you decide to splurge in one area, this is where you should do it. You want your floor to be durable and last, while also standing up against the moisture. A great idea (and easy to install) is a pebble floor using smooth natural stones or larger glass beads.

Bringing Your Bathroom Remodel Together

If you’re concerned with how budget remodeling will look in your bathroom, remember that decorating and some additional improvements can really accent the remodeling you do in the rest of the bathroom. Custom moulding isn’t expensive, especially in a small bathroom space and it can really flesh out your color in the paint. Likewise, linen shower curtains can help the reach of your linen curtains. It doesn’t take much to create a beautiful new bathroom and you can still get a custom, luxury look even on a budget.

Home Improvement Software – Its Advantages And Disadvantages

Computers play a large roll in people’s lives. So why not in the home improvement aspect of it? There are tons of computer programs that do massive improvement projects. They lean towards organizations skills, planning and going over what you need.

Home improvement projects cannot be done spur of the moment. Rather, they must be thought out methodically and then carried out. Professionals should always be consulted when doing a home improvement design. This means extra money is shelled out.

The software is usually reasonably priced. Yet, like anything else that is in this field, the more you spend, the more ideas and things you will get on the software. Do some checking between software programs and see what is to your liking.

The software can come in the form of DVDs and CDs. Using the computer, they can show you what you want done from an architect’s view. They will offer tools that can help you to build buildings and other areas within your home. It is a basic guide to more ideas that can be done. It is also telling you about how much time is involved with it and what you can aspect over all.

It will not show you, however, the costs behind the improvement. This is when you will speak to contractors about the type of material they would involve and their labor charges. Get several estimates if possible and check out the business before settling on a contractor.

The software is far from easy to use. Either you need to be an expert yourself, hire an expert and just automatically know how to use the software since it can be quite confusing. Like anything else… once you get the hang of it, it’s like you have always done it.

The software is fitting and helpful in any huge home improvement project as long as it used correctly. It is not to play with. Architects and other home improvement specialists use it and can get it at a reasonable price. For the common folk, the software is more expensive.

The software will allow some experimentation with different methods, coming up with different solutions. Should you want to take down a wall in a bedroom, it will allow you to choose which of the different ways to do this.

To use this software, be sure to play out every scenario and the challenges that is presented and overcome them. This way you are not met with any surprises along the way when you are doing the actual work. It’s never good to leave a job half way done because your plan failed to work.

Revitalizing the Kitchen and Its Purpose in Your Home

The kitchen in your place of residence serves one fundamental purpose: to feed and supply food with all those who enter its realms. When it fails to meet this quintessential point, something is not working out correctly. Still, having a ‘functional’ stove, microwave and oven isn’t what everyone dreams of when they think of the ideal cooking arena. In fact, people want to feel comfortable, at ease, and hungry when they take a peek into the refrigerator. Creating the ideal atmosphere is thus a combination of practical considerations and aesthetic choices.

Fortunately, cooks and home renovation experts aren’t the only ones occupying their time with plans for the most ideal layout. You’ll find a wealth of interior designers and Feng Shui aficionados offering their tips for how to set up the most comfortable and practical kitchen you can imagine. Part of making all the factors come together is about creating an atmosphere that works with the space that you have. By looking into design ideas and layouts, you’ll begin to see how others before you have accommodated their spaces to the variety of options available.

Taking aesthetic considerations into account is also a fundamental goal when you contemplate kitchen renovation in your house. As mentioned before, having practical place to cook your meals is basic, but most people also want to feel comfortable while they do so. This sentiment is only created with the right balance of space, tools, light, and the physical attributes that you might include. You may want to take a look at how residents of big cities make use of tiny apartment spaces in order to strike a balance between the aesthetic appeal we’re talking about here. Finding these examples is simple enough by just going to home and garden websites, flipping through magazine or even books at your local bookstore.

The revitalization process of kitchen renovation can actually be a fun and exciting project. For those who enjoy cooking and the atmosphere provided by a good setting, you can personalize the process as much as you like. Often times, making repairs and adjustments also necessitates a good bit of creativity, such as working with limited space and small budgets. If you’re up to the challenge, than you can turn the project into something that you look forward to doing when you wake up and get ready to talk with the constructors.

Unlike some home repair projects like redoing your roof or installing an air conditioning unit, giving a new sense of life to the kitchen can be an altogether rewarding experience. If researched properly, you will find loads of inspirations that can help you achieve the perfect balance between the look and function of your space. Taking into account the opinions and previously completed options of others will further sharpen your vision for an ultimately far more personalized eating and cooking facility. At home, you want to feel comfortable and excited to eat, and creating just the right space to do so is exactly how you can achieve this goal.