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If your kitchen cabinets look a little shabby, your whole kitchen will look outdated.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Ditch the Doors – Remove outdated cabinet doors and go for the open-shelf concept.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.

 

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.

5 Space-Friendly Ideas for a Home Bar

Love entertaining, but don’t have a dedicated bar area? You can easily create an on-trend home bar by carving out a small space in your kitchen, dining, or living room.

Here are 5 ideas to craft the perfect home bar:

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P: Wayfair

Bar Cart – All the rage these days, bar carts are a stylish and mobile solution for a home bar. Stock the cart with your favorite liquors, mixers, drinking glasses, and anything else you need to entertain. You can store the cart in a corner and roll it out for parties. Try something small and simple like this bar cart from Wayfair.

Bookshelf – Instead of filling all the shelves with books, use a few shelves for your bottles and cocktail glasses. You can dress up the shelves with some nice placemats and fun beverage napkins.

Armoire – Keep your booze and drinkware tidy and out of site by repurposing the top of an armoire into your own mini bar. Arrange your glasses neatly on the top shelf and your bottles on the bottom. Shut the cabinet doors when not in use and you can still use the bottom drawers for storage.

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P: Houzz

Floating Shelves – If you’re lacking extra floor space for a piece of furniture to use as a bar, floating shelves are a great option. Install a couple shelves above a dining buffet or on any blank wall. Display your favorite bottles and drinking glasses. You can also find floating shelves with glass holders, like this one from Houzz.

Dresser – Take a counter height dresser or chest of drawers, clear the top and use it as a home bar. Set your favorite spirits and mixers on one side, and glasses, straws, and cocktail shaker on the other.

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.

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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.

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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.

5 Storage Tips to Hide Your Clutter

It’s the most wonderful time of the year – the holidays are here! The family is coming to town, which means it’s time to tidy up around the house. But seriously, where are you supposed to put all of the random piles of things you don’t have a home for? Don’t worry, we’re here to help out your clutter woes, read on for 5 storage ideas to help you declutter … or at least hide the clutter.

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P: West Elm

Bed Storage – There are plenty of bed frame options out there that incorporate drawers into the base, creating ideal storage for clothing. There are also lift-up mattresses that offer a larger storage area for items you don’t use every day. Another simple solution? Bed risers. They will lift your bed 3-6 inches off the ground so that you can slide storage containers underneath.

Use the Inside of Doors – Your closet and cabinet doors can do double duty, hiding clutter behind closed doors, and adding storage to the doors themselves. You can purchase storage systems that mount to the back of your closet door and create vertical storage with different sized baskets. Or use an over-the-door shoe organizer on the back of your hall closet to store cleaning supplies, light bulbs, etc.

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P: Classy Clutter

Pull-Out Pantry – Do you have a tiny space between your refrigerator and wall? Turn that unused sliver of space into pull-out storage for canned food and spices. You just need a few basic tools, wood boards, dowels, and casters. Check out this DIY tutorial from Classy Clutter.

Between the Studs Storage – Your home is hiding potential storage space behind the drywall and between the studs! Remove a rectangular piece of drywall to reveal the hollow space between the studs and add a shelving niche. This new shallow shelving will provide space to display decorative items or books, liquor or barware in the rec room, or toiletries in the bathroom.

Stair Storage – This project will require custom construction, but building pull-out drawers into your stairs will create hidden and efficient storage. This is a creative fix for tiny spaces where you need to make every inch count.

 

8 Gadgets to Make Your Home Smart

PC Magazine

P: PC Magazine

Smart home technology is becoming increasingly popular amongst homeowners, and it’s no wonder since this tech is designed to make our lives easier and less stressful. Out for the night and forget to turn off the lights? Not a problem, just open an app on your phone and shut the lights off. At the grocery store and can’t remember if you need milk? Open an app and see what’s in your fridge.

From appliances and electronics to tech that controls lighting and temperature, here are our 8 favorite smart home products:

Belkin WeMo Insight Switch – Probably the simplest way to ease yourself into smart home technology is with this WiFi enabled switch. Just plug the switch into an outlet and then plug and electronic device or appliance into the switch. You can then monitor and turn your appliances and electronic devices on or off from an app on your smartphone.

P: Digital Spy

P: Digital Spy

Nest Learning Thermostat – It only takes a week for this thermostat to learn what temperature you like and it will build a schedule around yours. It knows when you’re away and will automatically lower the temp to save energy. You can control the house temp from an app on your smartphone and the app will also show you how much energy you use each day.

August Smart Lock Homekit Enabled – Never copy a key again! With this smart lock, your smartphone is your key and you can create virtual keys for your family and guests, choosing when to grant them access. Your door will auto-lock behind you when you leave and will auto-unlock when you approach. The August Home app lets you monitor who enters your house 24/7.

Phillips Hue White and Color Ambiance Starter Kit – You can set timers to turn lights on and off, as well as control light color and brightness from an app on your phone. The system also works with the Nest Thermostat, when Nest senses you have left the house, the lights will automatically dim.

P: CNN Money

P: CNN Money

Amazon Echo – This voice-activated smart home speaker can play your music just by asking. You can ask Alexa to read the news, weather, sports scores,  or you can simply ask her any question. Maybe the best feature is that Amazon Echo is compatible with most smart home devices, so you can ask Alexa to lock the doors, turn off the lights, or turn up the heat!

GE Profile Free-Standing Gas Convection Range – The WiFi Connect allows you to preheat the oven and adjust the oven temp from anywhere via the GE Kitchen app on your smartphone. You can also set timer alerts for when you are baking. GE WiFi Connect also integrates with Amazon Echo so you can ask Alexa to preheat the oven to 350.

P: Samsung

P: Samsung

Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator – You’ll always know what’s in your fridge thanks to the 3 built-in cameras that take a photo every time the doors close, so when you’re grocery shopping you can access the app to see what you need to pick up. You can keep track of everyone’s schedule, post reminders, and show off your favorite photos on the refrigerator’s touchscreen. Entertain guests in the kitchen with streaming music or TV right on your fridge!

Whirlpool Smart Top Load Washer & Dryer – Control your laundry from anywhere with the Whirlpool app. Put a load in the dryer but heading out to run some errands? Activate Wrinkle Shield from your smartphone to help keep wrinkles from setting in. You can remotely start and pause cycles, as well as track progress and energy usage from the app. The Smart Top Load pair also connects to the Nest Thermostat.

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.

7 Ways to Live Greener at Home

Have you been yearning for a more eco-friendly existence? You don’t need to go to extremes or jump through tons of hoops to reduce your environmental impact.

Start simple – at home! Here are 7 ways to achieve a more environmentally friendly life at home:

  • Change the bulbs. Making the switch from traditional incandescent light bulbs to LED lights will save energy – these bulbs use up to 85% less power and provide the same amount of light. LEDs are now available in a variety of colors, and with a lifespan of about 22 years, choosing LED light bulbs is a no-brainer.
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    P: Fast Company

    Clean green. Swap out chemical cleaning products for more eco-friendly options. Seventh Generation, based in Burlington, offers a plant-based line of disinfectants, surface cleaners, soaps, and laundry detergent that will remove grease, grime, and dirt without harsh fumes.

  • Unplug. Even when you are not using a device, anything that is plugged in will still draw energy – so be sure to unplug your phone charger, toaster, printer, etc. when not in use. It is a small amount of electricity, but unplugging anything unnecessary will reduce your energy use in the long run.
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    P: hellosociety.com

    Reuse/Recycle. We are pretty lucky when it comes to recycling in Vermont – most glass, metal, plastic, and paper can be recycled and you don’t even need to sort it yourself! There are undoubtedly items in your home you are looking to get rid of that cannot be recycled, think about reusing these items in a new way, like repurposing an old ladder into a bookshelf, or turning an old picture frame into a jewelry holder. Pinterest is a great resource for ideas for upcycling and repurposing items you are no longer using.

  • Harness the power of the sun. Go solar for your exterior lighting. You can find tons of options for pathway lighting, stair lighting, and spotlights – all utilizing the power of the sun so no need to plug in.
  • Recharge. Rather than tossing tons of AA and AAA batteries when they die, buy rechargeable batteries and a good charger. You’ll reduce the number of disposed batteries, creating less waste. An added bonus – look for rechargeable batteries made with recycled batteries.
  • Use appliances to your advantage. Dishwashers and clothes dryers produce a lot of heat, capitalize on this by running these appliances throughout the day in the winter months and at night during the summer.

8 Ideas to Celebrate the Fourth of July in Style

Celebrate America on the 4th with some festive decorations and patriotic treats:

  • P1130835Rustic Americana fabric banner | Combine a mix of stars, stripes, red, white, and blue fabrics to create a rustic garland banner to decorate your space. Get the tutorial at Catch My Party.
  • Red, white, & blue cocktails | The Firecracker will not only quench your thirst, but will look fun & festive for your Fourth celebration. Get the recipe at Cosmopolitan.
  • mason-jar-american-flag-@it-all-started-with-paint-300x922American flag mason jars | Paint 1 mason jar blue with white stars and 2 jars with red and white stripes to create Patriotic utensil holders! Go to It All Started With Paint for the full tutorial.
  • Patriotic parfaits | Layers of angel food cake, strawberries, and blueberry whipped cream create a tasty and simple dessert perfect for any Independence Day bash. Get the recipe at Good Housekeeping.
  • Pinwheel wreath | Red, white, and blue cardstock are used to create a simple and stylish patriotic wreath. See how at Blooming Homestead.
  • Stars + stripes flower pot | Take a simple terra-cotta pot, dress it up with some paint and you have a festive centerpiece or patio decoration. Get the tutorial at Lolly Jane.
  • Red-White-and-Blue-Cheesecake-Cake-RecipeGirl.com_Red, white and blue cheesecake cake | Red and blue colored vanilla cake layers surround a layer of cheesecake to create a festive dessert to wow guests when the cake is cut. Get the recipe at Recipe Girl.
  • Jazz up your plasticware | Add some red, white, and blue flair to your plastic forks and knives with washi tape – just stick on the tape and voila! Check it out at Tikkido.