January 2012

Tackling Winter Home Improvement Projects

With the winter season in full swing and the cooler temperatures keeping people indoors more, now is the perfect opportunity to tackle those home improvement projects you’ve been putting off. Some ideas from well-known sources will help you take your project from start to finish.
Better Homes and Gardens (www.bhg.com) offers some great ways to give any room in your house a quick, but impactful, facelift. Put these ideas to work without breaking your budget – or your back.
  • Although it may be one of the smaller rooms in the house, the bathroom is probably one of the rooms your guests will see the most. Make a statement by using fabric, paint or textured wall coverings on the walls. Substitute a piece of furniture, like a small bureau or cabinet, for the vanity to offer some visual interest, and replace a dated mirror with a framed mirror from a discount store ($500 or less).
  • The kitchen is sometimes called the heart of the home; as such, it’s another room often frequented by family and friends. If your kitchen is looking a little tired, spruce up the countertops with an affordable stone-substitute laminate. Give the cabinetry new life with a fresh coat of paint, use fun, bold fabric for window treatments and bring in colorful accessories like vases, mugs or artwork to match ($500 or less).
  • The front door is the first thing people see when they come to your home. Why not make a great first impression by giving your main entrance an easy makeover? Manufacturers now offer an endless variety of styles, materials and prices to choose from, and replacing an old front door can even boost your home’s security and energy efficiency ($1,000 or less).
Tackling a home improvement project yourself can help you save money otherwise spent on a professional, and stores like Lowes and The Home Depot can help ensure the job is done safely and correctly. Whether you are attempting to paint a room, clean your gutters or simply rearrange your picture frames, both stores offer how-to pages and videos full of great resources including project guides and tips, how-to forums and even in-store workshops.
If you’re revamping that kitchen of yours, Lowes and The Home Depot offer handy guides on replacing your sink’s faucet. The guides include a list of necessary tools and materials, simple, easy-to-follow steps and even information on safety and saving money. Other project guides available include installing crown molding, painting interior walls and renewing your deck. Find more helpful tips at www.lowes.com/cd_How+To+Library_615580068_ and www6.homedepot.com/how-to/index.html.
Perhaps your home improvement project revolves around making your home more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. ENERGY STAR offers a helpful list of changes to make and how to make them to transform your home into a more efficient environment. Topics include replacing light bulbs, wrapping your water heater and insulating your home. You can find the full list at www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=home_improvement.hi_tips.
Using these great ideas and resources will help you complete your home improvement projects easily without emptying your bank account.