6 Low-Cost Kitchen Cabinet Upgrades

If your kitchen cabinets look a little shabby, your whole kitchen will look outdated. No need to break the bank and completely replace the cabinets, just give them a simple facelift with one (or all) of our inexpensive kitchen cabinet updates:

fanofugifts.com

P: fanofugifts.com

Paint – Nothing will create a bigger impact than a fresh coat of paint. This is a project you can take on yourself, but the key is in the prep. Start with a thorough cleaning to remove any grease or dried on gunk. Fill holes and nicks with putty and sand to create a smooth, even surface. Lay cabinet doors flat to paint, and wait until completely dry before painting the other side. Create some visual interest by mixing up colors on upper and lower cabinets, or on cabinets and islands.

Hardware – Installing new hardware is probably the easiest way to dress up tired cabinets, but you need to be careful here as cabinet hardware can get very fancy and expensive. You can find simple, contemporary hardware in packs of 10 or 12 at Lowes or Home Depot.

BHG

P: BHG

Ditch the Doors – Remove outdated cabinet doors and go for the open-shelf concept. They will make any kitchen look larger and you can accessorize the shelves to reflect your personal style.

Molding – Adding crown molding to the top of cabinets will add height and create a more high-end look. This added touch of luxury isn’t as pricey as you may think – three-inch, primed composite crown molding with a dentil design costs as little as $20 for 8 feet.

Glass Inserts – Changing or adding a decorative glass insert will give stock cabinets a custom look. Not all cabinet doors can accommodate a glass insert – check the backs of your doors to see if the center panel can be taken out. Glass inserts typically cost between $7 – $9 per square foot.

Task Lighting – You can easily add lighting under and inside cabinets with battery powered peel-and-stick LED lights. At about $8 each, you can afford to buy several and scatter them around. Under cabinet lighting is not only practical, it will also make the room feel much brighter and bigger as the dark shadows under the cabinets would otherwise visually shrink the space.

 

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5 Ways to Boost Your Curb Appeal

First impressions are everything – you don’t want a potential buyer to pull up to your house and decide to not even enter because they don’t like the look from the outside. It’s easy to enhance your front yard with a few weekend projects. Here are our top 5 ways to boost your curb appeal:

decorologist

P: The Decorologist

Paint your front door. Adding a splash of vibrant color to your front door will create a welcoming entry and draw potential buyers in, and will only cost about $30 for a gallon of exterior paint. Check out DIY Network’s 28 Inviting Colors to Paint a Front Door.

Replace your house numbers. Installing new numbers on your house is an easy fix to spruce up your curb appeal. There are tons of options out there – choose metal numbers that match the finish of your exterior lighting fixtures or get a customized plaque that matches the vibe and style of your house.

Update exterior light fixtures. Replacing outdated light fixtures will immediately modernize the look of your entry. Look for fixtures that have the same mounting system as the current ones that you have to save yourself some time.

lowes

P: Lowes

Add potted plants to your front porch. Add a pop of color to your entry with colorful pots filled with flowers, succulents, or ornamental grasses.

Tend to your yard and garden beds. A well-manicured lawn and groomed garden beds tell potential buyers that a home has been well-maintained. Cut your grass regularly and edge your lawn for a professional look. Weed your planting beds and spread mulch to give your landscaping a fresh appearance.

6 Best Bathroom Remodeling Trends for 2017

Agnizer

P: Agnizer.com

Dreaming of that spa-like bathroom, but not sure if you should drop the money into a remodel? Springing for a new bath is typically a sound investment, often returning more than 100 percent of the cost. So go ahead and design the bathroom of your dreams! To help get the ideas flowing, here are our 6 best bathroom remodeling trends for 2017:

Increase the Size – Most bathroom renovations focus on increasing the room size to give the space an open and light feel. Adding square footage to the bathroom frees up area to install a separate soaking tub and shower, maybe a master closet space, and room to add much desired storage.

Heated Floors – Add a touch of luxury and comfort with some extra-added warmth. Radiant floor heat can make all the difference on a chilly winter morning, and it will warm you from the bottom up. If you can’t afford a new heating system for your floors, install a towel warmer so you can wrap yourself in warmth.

hgtv

P: HGTV

Upscale Shower – Start with a beautifully tiled shower and then up the ante to create the ultimate spa experience by installing multiple shower heads and body jets. If you can fully enclose your shower, add steam and a built-in bench to sit and relax as you sweat your cares away.

Cue the Music – Who doesn’t love singing at the top of their lungs in the shower? Wireless speakers are being incorporated into bathroom mirrors, showerheads, and vanities. Put on Pandora’s spa station and take a relaxing soak in the tub, or pump up the jams to get your morning going. Check out Kohler’s Moxie® Showerhead for a super easy way to add a speaker in your shower.

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P: Entirely Eventful Day

Smart Storage – Storage never goes out of style! Take advantage of vertical space and install floor to ceiling cabinetry. If built-in cabinetry is not an option, bring in an interesting piece of furniture like an antique armoire. Open shelving is still a popular trend that works in the bathroom – install floating shelves and neatly arrange extra towels and toiletries.

Go High-Tech – If you love smart home technology, don’t forget the bathroom! You can buy toilets with seat warmers and motion sensors, digital faucets with touchless technology, and soaking tubs with mood-enhancing lighting.

6 Types of Countertops to Suit Your Style

New countertops can totally transform your kitchen, and there are plenty of options out there to choose from, all with their own pros and cons. From modern chic to casual country, there’s a countertop option to suit your design tastes.

granite

P: Decorpad

Granite – The top choice for most, but also the most expensive option for your countertops. Granite comes in a variety of color patterns and is extremely durable. If you are looking to add color and shine to your kitchen to achieve an upscale look, then granite is for you … as long as you have the budget to accommodate the pricey stone.

Butcher Block – Perfect for adding a feel of warmth and comfort to your kitchen, butcher block countertops are available in a variety of woods. If you’re not ready to go all in with butcher block, start small by just replacing your island countertop. Butcher block needs to be well-maintained to keep its beauty.

Glass – A simple, yet gorgeous option, glass countertops paired with stainless appliances will create a sleek and modern kitchen. You may think glass is the most fragile option, but in actuality it’s quite the opposite. Glass countertops are heat, stain, and scratch-resistant, and are also very hygienic.

soapstone

P: Homedit

Soapstone – No two slabs are exactly the same, so you will get a countertop unique just to your kitchen. Soapstone won’t get damaged from heat and doesn’t stain, so it’s a great option for those who cook a lot. An eco-friendly and timeless option, soapstone is a much more affordable option compared to granite.

Concrete – Concrete countertops offer complete customization, including color, finish, shape, and size. Concrete countertops are extremely durable, but may develop hairline cracks as a result of curing and settling. You can make your own concrete countertops, it is one of the most challenging DIY projects, but it can be done!

Copper – If you are looking for something extravagant, unique, and warm, try copper. It is important to remember that copper is constantly oxidizing, so anything that comes into contact with the surface will leave it’s mark. These counters require a lot of maintenance and quite a bit of prep to install. To copper-ize your countertops, you will have to laminate a sheet of copper to your current countertops or a sheet of MDF.

8 Ideas for Your Spare Room

Do you have a guest room, but no guests? Or maybe you have a great bonus room … but have no idea what to do with the space. Rather than leave the space empty or fill it with junk, create a functional space that will add to your quality of life and your home value!

Here are our favorite 8 spare room transformations:

P: HGTV

P: HGTV

Home Office – A home office is probably one of the best and most popular uses for a spare room. Bring in a desk and comfy chair to create a workspace and home for your computer. Keep all of your mail and important papers organized neatly in a filing cabinet. Bookshelves are great for organizing, well, books, but also office supplies, knick-knacks, photos, etc. Paint the room a soothing shade of blue or gray to make a relaxing, tranquil space that you will want to work in.

Craft or Art Studio – A wood or laminate floor works best in this type of space as you are likely to  drop craft materials or spill paint. Install cabinets to store supplies, or opt for a bookcase or open shelving with baskets to organize and hold supplies. Bring in a large table or floating island to place in the center of the room to provide a flat workspace.

Game Room – Create a dedicated space to hang out with friends … or where your kids can hang out with their friends and not tear up the entire house! If you’ve got the space, a pool table is always a win for a game room focal point. But there are plenty of other options – poker table, bubble hockey, arcade games, or a folding table tennis table. Assemble a lounge area with seating and a coffee table or large ottoman to play board games or cards.

P: HGTV

Home Theater – Who wants to spend $9 on a movie ticket when you can kick back and relax in the comfort of your home? Bring in a large sectional and some recliners or chaise lounges for plenty of comfy seating. Mount a large flat screen on the wall, or get tech and install a projector and screen for the ultimate movie experience. Add a surround sound system, blackout drapes, and an old-school popcorn machine and get ready for some binge-watching.

Boutique Closet – Ladies, this one is for you! Take that tiny extra bedroom and turn it into your dream closet with dressing room. Install tons of storage – hanging, shelving, and drawers. Up the ante by adding a center island with storage and a stone top to display your jewels. Bring in a full length floor mirror (or 2!) to lean against a wall. Add some dazzle with a sparkly chandelier.

Wine Bar – If your idea of entertaining includes uncorking a fabulous bottle of wine, why not create a room dedicated to good taste? All wine, red or white, should be stored between 53 – 57 degrees Fahrenheit, so you will want to invest in a wine refrigerator or build your own wine cellar with wine racks and a cooling system. Bring in a simple bar, a few bar stools, and a wall-mounted wine shelf with glass rack to complete the bar. Add some cozy lounge chairs for guests to sip and relax.

P: Green Heat Initiative

P: Green Heat Initiative

Home Gym – There’s no excuse not to work out when you have a gym at home. Start with wood floors or interlocking rubber tiles to support any heavy equipment. Add mirrors to one wall to check your form and bring in a TV to do your workout videos or watch The Real Housewives when you’re running on the treadmill.

Library – If settling in to a comfy chair with a good book is your ideal Saturday afternoon, then consider turning that extra room into a library. It really won’t take much – bring in a few bookcases, you can buy cheap bookcases at Ikea and add your own molding to make them look like an expensive built-in. Add a couple plush chairs, pillows, and soft lighting to create a relaxing reading space.

Revamp with Paint!

Feel like your home could use a little update? Or maybe you are just looking to change things up … either way, the simplest way to make an inexpensive change is with paint! The walls are an obvious choice, but you can spruce up almost anything with paint, from fixtures and objects to floors and furniture.

Not all surfaces are alike, here are some guidelines for painting 5 different surfaces:

  1. P: How to Nest for Less

    P: How to Nest for Less

    Wood: Probably one of the easiest surfaces to paint, wood will easily soak up paint. Clean the surface, removing any buildup. If it has a glossy finish, you will want to lightly sand it first so the paint will adhere. You can use a primer, but it’s not often necessary, and most paints these days have primer already built-in. Stick with eggshell paints for interior wood projects, it’s more durable and has a slight sheen.

2.  Metal: The first step in painting metal is to remove any rust using sandpaper or a wire brush. Next comes the primer to protect the surface and provide a good base. Choose a paint with rust inhibitors or spray paint – they make spray paint specifically for metal. You will need to apply multiple layers for a nice finished look.

P: decorpad.com

P: decorpad.com

3.  Concrete: Yes, you can totally paint concrete! Floors should be sanded and the surface must be clean and completely dry before painting. You will need to prime and then opt for a floor or epoxy paint. They make kits to paint garage floors that include decorative chips to give a speckled effect.

4.  Tile: Have some dated tile or are you just sick of the color? Instead of ripping out your existing tile and replacing with new, which could be quite expensive depending on the tile, refresh the look with paint. Tile must be cleaned and then use a special glass or tile paint, other paints will easily chip or scrape off.

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P: Pinterest

5. Drywall: If you are starting with a newly dry-walled wall, make sure you’ve sanded down the seams so that the surface is smooth and then clean off any dust.  Primer is not required, but recommended on new walls. The type of paint you choose really depends on the room – satin or eggshell finishes are fine for bedrooms and living spaces. You will likely want to go with a higher-gloss finish for kitchens, bathrooms, and entryways that can easily be wiped down.

5 Landscape Projects That Make Sense

P: 411homerepair.com

P: 411homerepair.com

Warmer temps and sunshine have us itching to get out and enjoy the outdoors. When Spring hits, it’s prime season for yard work –  you don’t want to be slaving away in the gorgeous summer weather when you could be sipping lemonade (or a margarita!) in the shade of your perfectly manicured outdoor paradise.

But where do you start? What projects are really worth it? Here are our top 5 landscape projects that offer the best return on your investment:

  • Spruce up what you have. Start with a spring yard cleanup – pull out the weeds, prune trees and bushes and rake up any leaves you may have missed in fall. Freshen up your mulch by flipping and fluffing with a rake, once you’re finished you may not even need to buy new mulch for the season!
  • Renew your deck. A wood deck will take a beating being exposed to our crazy VT weather. If your deck is looking a little worn, start by power washing to get a completely clean surface. Once dry, you can stain and then follow with a waterproofer designed for unsealed wood to protect your deck.
  • P: sheknows.com

    P: sheknows.com

    Plant flowers for a pop of color. Choose some colorful perennials to dot your yard, these plants will last for years so you will not need to replant every spring/summer like an annual. Cone flowers, daylillies, and hydrangea are good choices for VT. Annuals come in so many pretty varieties, you can add them in to your landscaping or plant in window boxes and colorful pots. Choose a variety of flowers that bloom at different times, as well as a mix of heights, colors, and shapes.

  • Plant some trees. As trees grow, they appreciate in value providing fantastic ROI. Trees also provide privacy, which tops most buyers’ wish lists. Emerald Green Arborvitae are a great option for privacy, and are perfect for VT as they resist snow and ice damage. Other trees that thrive in VT include spruce trees and of course the sugar maple.
  • P: lockerdome.com

    P: lockerdome.com

    Create an outdoor living space. Pick out some stone pavers that complement your house and landscape to build a patio and/or fire pit. Permeable paving and fire pits rank high in outdoor elements that buyers desire. Learn how to lay a paver patio on Lowe’s website.

Save Money Around the House – 8 Simple Tips

Some of the best money saving hacks can be found in your own home – and they are so simple! Try these 8 tips to cut down on your monthly bills and save big bucks over the course of a year:

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    P: hometone.com

    Update your light bulbs. Switching out traditional light bulbs for compact fluorescent bulbs could save up to 80% on your electric bill. They cost a bit more, but they last 3 to 25 times longer!

  • Unplug. Your electronics will continue to use energy when plugged in, even when they are turned off. Unplug your computer, chargers, and other small appliances when not in use. To simplify, plug everything into a power strip you can use as a master switch.
  • Use a programmable thermostat. Programming your heating and cooling settings based on your schedule will cut your utility bills by $135 – $145 a year.
  • Seal windows and doorways. Save an average of 15% on heating and cooling costs by sealing up cracks and adding proper insulation. Try caulk to fill cracks in windows and doorways. Insulated window shades, weather strips, or plastic film kits will also seal up openings.
  • P: bergefarrell.com

    P: bergefarrell.com

    Buy generic. Cut costs on items like food, toiletries, OTC meds, cleaning items, etc. by going generic and it could save you $50 – $500 a month.

  • Wash your laundry in cold water. Most clothes will come out just as clean in cold water as they do in warm or hot. A hot wash and warm rinse costs about 60 cents per load, while a cold wash and rinse costs only 4 cents per load.
  • Coupon codes! Before you purchase anything online, search for coupon codes. Sites like Retailmenot and Coupons.com have codes for almost any retailer out there.
  • Run appliances at night. Do your laundry or run the dishwasher at night to avoid peak energy rates.

Spring Cleaning Tips

P: lambertwm, flickr

P: lambertwm, flickr

Spring is just around the corner (March 20th to be exact), which means warmer temps, green grass, beautiful blooms and everyone’s favorite – Spring cleaning!

Here are 6 of our top Spring cleaning projects to get you started:

Complete a Thorough Dusting – You may swipe your Swiffer duster through the surfaces of your home on weekly basis, but we’re talking about getting down and dirty here. Remove all of the items from shelves and tabletops and give the surface a good wipe down with a multi-surface cleaner or furniture spray. Now is also the time to tackle ceiling fans and the top of cabinets.

Wash Walls, Cabinets, and Baseboards – Vertical surfaces may not look dirty, but enough dirt and dust cling to these surfaces to justify a seasonal cleaning. Use a clean sponge and water mixed with a few drops of dishwashing liquid to wipe down walls, cabinets, and baseboards.

P: Total Perfection Cleaning

P: Total Perfection Cleaning

Wash Windows – Step it up a notch from your normal Windex and paper towel routine and really take a minute to get your windows to sparkle. Vacuum the inside panes, sills, and window frame. Choose a cloudy day to clean your windows to prevent streaks – heat from the sun will dry the glass too quickly. Create a window wash solution by combining 1/2 cup sudsy ammonia (which is a specific type of ammonia), 1 pint of rubbing alcohol, 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid, and 1 gallon of water. Recipe from Better Homes & Gardens

Refresh Window Treatments – Just like your walls, they may not look dirty, but dust clings to everything! Take down and throw washable fabrics in the washer and air dry. Intricate curtains and draperies can be cleaned using the upholstery attachment on your vacuum, or you can take them to be dry cleaned. To remove dust from sheers, toss them in the dryer on low with a fabric softener sheet.

Clean Carpets – Rent a carpet cleaner and start with a hidden spot of carpet to make sure the treatment will not cause discoloration. To save yourself some time, move furniture slightly rather than clearing out a room. Place wax paper squares under the feet of furniture to protect the carpet and keep the furniture from getting wet as the carpet dries. Open windows to speed up the drying process. Don’t feel like all the work? Hire a professional to take care of the carpets for you.

P: trendecoration.com

P: trendecoration.com

Freshen Your Space – Not so much a cleaning project, but a quick and easy makeover for any room is changing up or adding textiles! Put a brightly colored table linen on your dining room table, spruce up your living room with fun throw pillows or a patterned rug, swap out your bedding, or switch out the towels in your bathroom – any of these will revive your home for Spring.

If you need a list to stay focused, or if you love the satisfaction of checking off a task when completed, we found a very thorough downloadable Spring cleaning checklist on the blog The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking.

Prepare Your Home For Winter

P: Taylored Restoration

P: Taylored Restoration

Baby, it’s cold outside! The dreaded polar vortex has made it’s first unwelcome appearance in our neck of the woods, which means it’s time to get your home ready to weather the winter months.

You want to keep your home warm and toasty inside, but winterizing isn’t just about staying warm. By investing some time and energy of your own to prep your home, you will end up saving in energy costs. Preparing your home for the cold winter months will also save you the unexpected headaches of busted pipes or a failing furnace.

Follow our winter prep checklist to get your home ready for the deep freeze:

Clean your gutters. Water should be able to flow freely now to help prevent icicles and ice dams from forming later.

Change your furnace filter. Regularly replacing the filter can significantly improve its efficiency and longevity.

Invest in a programmable thermostat. Install a programmable thermostat and save money by setting the temperature lower while you are away or asleep. The US Department of Energy says that you can save as much as 1% on your energy bill for every degree you lower your home’s temperature in the winter.

Check for drafts. Cold air can easily leak in through windows, doors or any additional exterior gaps. Here are a few fixes:

  • Window insulation film – if you take the time to do it correctly, it won’t look tacky and will significantly lower your heating bill
  • Weatherstrip tape – simple and easy, seal your windows and doors tightly with weatherstripping
  • Caulk – fill any remaining gaps in siding, windows or doors with caulk
P: Better Homes and Gardens

P: Better Homes and Gardens

Reverse your ceiling fan. Having fan blades move in a clockwise direction will push the warm air back down to reheat the space.

Inspect your chimney. If you have a fireplace or wood stove with a chimney, check it for creosote buildup and have it cleaned if necessary. Also look for any blockages like bird nests.