5 Affordable Ways To Spice Up Your Bathroom

Are you embarrassed to have people in your bathroom? Here are some affordable ways to spruce it up!

Whether you’re preparing to show and sell your home or just planning on having company over, you don’t want to be embarrassed about the look of your bathroom. If it’s outdated or dirty, it’s definitely time for a makeover. Because the bathroom is typically one of the smallest rooms in the house it doesn’t have to be expensive to update, but a great looking bathroom can offer you a great return on investment (second only to the kitchen). From the National Association of Realtors ®, here are 5 ways to spruce up your bathroom for cheap!

  1. Repaint. Giving any room a fresh coat of paint can totally transform the room and give it an updated look, but when choosing a paint color for your bathroom it’s important to coordinate with other elements in the room. Are the toilet, tub, and sink white or off-white? What’s the finish on the light fixtures and door knobs? Does your mirror have any color to it? Just as it is for any room in the home, it is important that the colors in your bathroom complement each other. *TIP: clean walls thoroughly with a washcloth before repainting; many beauty products leave residue on the walls that could cause problems with your new paint.

  2. New Flooring. Dirty, worn, or peeling flooring can be a major turnoff for potential homebuyers and guests. Again, because the bathroom is typically a small area, the cost of new flooring for the room and all necessary supplies won’t break the bank. Consider installing large tiles (it’s easier to clean than small tiles) or linoleum for a fresh look. *TIP: you can save more money by installing the new flooring yourself.

  3. Replace your shower curtains and curtain rod. Curtains need replaced fairly regularly, as they can accumulate mold and mildew if they aren’t properly cared for, but curtain rods should be replaced at some point as well. For the most part this is simply because things go out of style. Also, usual wear-and-tear often leaves curtain rods looking rusty and dinged up; if your curtain rod is out of style or a little worse for the wear, consider purchasing a nice, new rod to transform the look of your bathroom with relatively little effort.

  4. Upgrade your lighting. Many people tend to get ready for the day in the bathroom, so it’s very important that you have good lighting. Good lighting means that the room is well lit and that the light isn’t discolored for any reason. The National Association of Realtors ® says that bathrooms should have two different types of lighting: “ bright wall or ceiling light for regular use and a softer, warmer type of light, like a night light, to keep on when the bathroom is not in use”. *TIP: try replacing your lighting fixtures to update the look of the bathroom as well.

  5. Update the Vanity. Vanities experience wear-and-tear just like everything else in your bathroom. If your vanity is outdated or beat up, replacing it with something brand new can completely transform the look of the bathroom. Most home improvement stores have a variety of options for vanity and sink combinations for reasonable prices. If you’re not ready to purchase a new vanity, you can update the one you have by deep-cleaning it and possibly adding new paint.

Simple and cheap updates, such as adding a fresh coat of paint, purchasing new lighting fixtures, and adding a new curtain, can dramatically enhance the look and feel of your bathroom. These quick and easy fixes will help you transform your bathroom from drab to fab in no time, and you won’t be embarrassed to show it to guests or potential homebuyers.

Read the original article from realtor .com here.

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How To Find Storage In Your Kitchen

Feeling claustrophobic in your kitchen? Having a hard time finding the right utensils? Time to free up some space!

The kitchen is one of the most-used areas of the home, with a lot of traffic going in and out all day long. So, it’s easy to see how a kitchen could get to be cluttered and completely overrun by junk in just a few days. It’s important though to maintain a clean and clutter-free kitchen, since it’s really the hub of your home. Also, in terms of real estate, “A functional and attractive kitchen adds tremendous value to a home”,  according to writers at Realtor.com. You can easily clear out some space in your kitchen and effectively de-clutter by thinking creatively and and really dedicating some time to organizing.

Stop holding onto junk.

  • If you’ve been hoarding broken appliances or utensils with the noble purpose of fixing them some day, get rid of them to help free up kitchen space instantly.

  • Broken plates or cups? Toss ‘em. They’re an eyesore and a hazard.

  • Go through your refrigerator and kitchen cabinets-get rid of any condiments, spices, etc. that have expired or that never get used.

  • Tons of mismatched and warped-by-microwave tupperware? Time for those to go too.

Organize.

  • Keep countertops clear of unnecessary junk. Reserve countertop space for regularly-used appliances or simple decorative items like a vase of flowers.

  • Don’t keep sponges or dish towels on display. Try storing them in a wire basket that can easily be hung from the inside of a cabinet door.

  • Store appliances that don’t get much use. If you don’t use your blender or panini-maker at least every week, store them to make room for things you do use.

  • Make use of flatware trays to keep silverware organized and maximize drawer space.

  • Use larger flatware trays to keep larger utensils, like spatulas, whisks, and ladles organized.

  • You could also use a decorative canister to store larger loose cooking utensils.

  • Hang a pot rack from the ceiling to quickly clear out an entire cabinet (or two). Pot racks make pots and pans easy to access and free up tons of space for other kitchen items.

  • Drawers and shelves within cabinets also help keep things organized

  • Consider using food storage canisters to hold staple items like cereal, snacks, flour, and sugar – these canisters are easy to stack, which helps you maximize cabinet and counter space.

  • Invest in a spice rack to keep all spices together and correctly labeled.

  • Store cleaning supplies in the laundry room or a hall closet to free up even more space.

These quick and simple tricks can help transform even the most cluttered kitchen into a manageable, functional, attractive room. Freeing up space in the kitchen will allow you to feel more organized yourself, will make cooking and baking easier, and will ensure that your kitchen is the hub of the home again.

For more tips on home and kitchen organization, check out this article from Realtor. com.

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How To Reface Cabinets

he quality and style of the cabinets in your kitchen and bathrooms can affect the value of your home; is it time to invest in refacing them?

Your kitchen and bathrooms are the most important rooms in your home, in terms of real estate. Improvements in these rooms can offer you the biggest return on investment and can quite literally make or break the deal if you’re trying to sell your home. In terms of kitchen renovations, paying for new cabinets can take up nearly half of your budget, according to HGTV, so deciding whether to replace or reface them is not a decision to take lightly. If your cabinets are in decent condition, it will be more cost-efficient to reface them, rather than replace them. Here’s how to do it from the DIY Network:

Start by refacing sides, drawers, and doors with veneer and stain.

  1. Remove cabinet doors, drawers and all hardware.

  2. Flat-front doors and drawers are easily refaced (if yours have raised panels or other architectural detailing, consider buyingnew unfinished doors and drawers and stain them along with your cabinets)

  3. Sand the side and front surfaces of the old cabinets enough to rough up the surface so the new wood veneer will adhere properly

  4. Practice applying veneer in less visible areas of the cabinet like the side panel

  5. Apply a thin film of wood glue to the cabinet surface

  6. Use a nail gun with 5/8-inch brads to fix the veneer panel in place (adjust the nailer to sink the brad heads just below the veneer surface)

  7. Nail from top to bottom to avoid creating a bubble in the middle of the panel

  8. When all side panels are in place, use a block plane to trim the veneer edges so they are flush with the old cabinet faces

  9. Apply veneer to the cabinet fronts – veneer all of the horizontal areas and rails first, then use a razor knife to cut in the pieces for the vertical stiles.

  10. Trim all intersecting edges and corners so they are flush with the sides

  11. Reface the cabinet doors following the same procedure as above

  12. Fill all brad holes with wood putty colored to match your intended stain color.

  13. Let it dry and sand lightly to remove excess, use a sanding block to evenly distribute pressure and avoid gouges and indentations

Next: stain cabinet interiors

  1. When all of the cabinets are ready for stain, use a paint brush or rag to stain the inside edges and openings first, then the sides, and finally the cabinet fronts

  2. Apply a generous coat of stain, wipe away the excess and allow to dry according to the manufacturer’s directions

  3. Repeat with a second, final coat

  4. Stain the cabinet doors and drawer fronts, along with any separate wood pieces or moldings (if these parts have raised or routed features, use a paint brush to flow the stain into crevices and corners but don’t allow it to accumulate in these spots)

Finish Cabinets with Polyurethane

  1. Apply three coats of polyurethane to protect cabinets from heat, grease, steam, etc.

  2. Water-base polyurethane is a good choice because it’s relatively odor-free, “flattens” better than oil or alkyd urethanes and dries fast, allowing you to put on all three coats in a day.

  3. Use a brush recommended for the finish you choose and apply the first coat – Always brush in the same direction as the wood grain or pattern. Don’t lay the finish on thickly, and don’t overwork the brush — too many brush strokes will cause air bubbles in the finish, leaving bumps and pits when it dries

  4. After the first coat is dry, sand all surfaces lightly with fine-grit sandpaper to prepare them for the second coat

  5. Wipe away all sanding dust with a tack cloth, then apply the second coat of finish

  6. Repeat these steps with the third and final coat

Reassemble the Cabinets

  1. Install the door hinges first: position each hinge one hinge-length from the bottom and the top of the door (use the hinge itself to mark the location by lining it up with the door edge and marking the wood at its opposite end)

  2. Create a jig for pre-drilling door hinge holes in the cabinets – a shelf clamped to the bottom rail ensures that all doors will line up evenly when hung

  3. Install door shock absorbers inside each cabinet opening to enable the doors to open and close smoothly

  4. If you purchased new drawer fronts and boxes separately, lay one of the new drawer boxes on an old drawer front to ensure proper alignment (take equal measurements on the top, bottom and sides, then transfer these dimensions to the new front panel and drill pilot holes for the screws and clamp the front and box together when installing the screws from inside the drawer box)

  5. Repeat these steps with the other drawers

  6. When finished, install the drawer pulls

  7. Reattach the old slides to the new drawers, or install new drawer slides

Refacing cabinets can be more work than simply replacing them, but refacing allows you to save money while still giving your kitchen and/or bathrooms a great new look and thus increasing the value of your home. Read more on refacing cabinets from the DIY Network here.

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5 Rules Of Ladder Safety

Some of you homeowners are still working on spring cleaning, some of you are getting ready for the upcoming holidays, and some of you are getting your home ready to sell. No matter what you’re working on this year, it’s important to practice ladder safety.  According to the U.S. Consumer Products Safety Commission reports, there are 164,000 ladder injuries each year. The number of incidents rises around the holiday season each year, but no matter what time of year it is, and no matter what you’re working on (cleaning gutters, washing windows, changing light bulbs, etc.) it’s important for you and your family to be safe when working on ladders. Here are some safety tips from Werner, one of the world’s leading ladder manufacturers to help keep you safe this year!

It’s very important to choose the right ladder for the job. If you’re trying to replace a light fixture on the ceiling, maybe you only need a 6-foot step ladder; if you’re cleaning out second floor gutters, you will need an extension ladder or a specialty ladder that bends to a 90-degree angle to get at a hard-to-reach place in a stairwell, according to Inman News. Ladder manufacturers make different styles of ladders so that, no matter what job you’re doing, the ladder you’re working on will keep you stable and productive (climbing or standing). Choosing the wrong ladder for the job could easily end in a trip to the emergency room, so make the right choice!

The length of the ladder you choose depends on the height of the job you’re doing. One important guideline for ladder safety is to never stand above the fourth rung from the top of an extension ladder or the third rung from the top of a stepladder. So, the ladder you’re using for the job needs to extend a certain distance beyond the area you’re working on; experts advise that “if using a stepladder to get on a roof, the ladder must extend 3 feet beyond the roofline. If an extension ladder is leaned against a gutter or roof line, it must extend 1 foot above the roofline.”

Use common sense when working on a ladder. It seems like pretty simple advice, but the truth is that many of the ladder injuries reported each year were preventable. Make sure you’re using your ladder the way it should be used.

  • Ladders should be set up on a firm foundation.

  • Tennis shoes or other shoes with non-slip soles are the best to wear when working on ladders.

  • Your body should be centered on the ladder and be sure to keep your waist between the rails while maintaining a firm grip on the ladder.

  • Don’t over reach or lean to one side.

  • Climb and descend facing the ladder by moving one step at a time and firmly setting one foot before moving the other.

  • If you need to move a ladder, climb down before repositioning it

  • For high work, have one person hold the ladder at the bottom while the other one performs the task.

To read the full article on ladder safety from Inman News, click here.

5 Ways to Work Smarter, Not Harder, on Your DIY Projects

Whether you’re working on a room or the whole house, updating your home can become quite expensive. Thanks to the ever-growing popularity of Do-It-Yourself projects, people have been saving money in places they never thought possible. Saving money is great, but don’t get stuck spending more time than is necessary on your project. Here are five ways that you can work smarter, not harder, on your DIY projects.

Prioritize and Make A Realistic Budget

Make a list of the projects that you want to complete and allot money for each of them. Put the high priority ones at the top of the list and work your way down. Having a realistic goal and budget in mind will ultimately keep you organized to ensure that you finish your project.

Set Up A Work Station

You don’t want you project to take up an entire room, nor do you want people destroying it when they continually walk by. Set up a station in your garage or a specific room in your house to ensure that your project won’t be disturbed when it’s in the beginning stages.

Read The Instructions

You can miss a lot of detail if you don’t read the instruction. Everyone thinks that they can figure it out on their own, but it ends up taking more time in the long run. Be efficient right from the beginning and read the instructions. That way you know what to do and what’s coming next.

Refurbish Instead of Replace

Buying an old table or shelves and sanding and painting them yourself can save you more time – and money – than completely re-making them. Scope out local garage sales or go antiquing to find what you’re looking for.

Know When to Ask For Help

Hiring a professional to get the job done sounds expensive. However, it could save you money in the long run if you’re not really sure what you’re doing. For example, if you’re trying to redo your bathroom on your own and you’re not familiar with plumbing, it might be time to ask for help. Hiring a professional from the beginning will ultimately prevent you from doing major damage to something that you’re not familiar with.

Do-It-Yourself projects are the best way to ensure that you’re getting exactly what you want for a price that fits in your budget. For projects that are just out of reach, hiring a professional is the next best option.

For more information on how to work smarter on your DIY projects, visit here.

 

 

Helpful Tips For Maintaining Your Home This Spring

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As you go about your annual spring cleaning rituals, take a few additional steps to save money on energy bills, improve your home’s appearance and ward off big-ticket repairs later.

Here are 10 tips for you to help prepare your home for warmer months and keep it in top shape..

  1. Inspect the AC: For about $75 to $200, a technician will tune up your cooling system and make sure you don’t spend the first hot weekend of the year with an out-of-commission air conditioner. Dirty filters make your air conditioner work harder, increasing energy costs and possibly damaging your equipment. Check them monthly and replace them as needed!
  2. Clean Out The Gutters: Gutter cleaning generally costs $90 to $225 for a 2,000 square-foot home.
  3. Repair Your Roof: An easy way to inspect the roof to find damage is to use a pair of binoculars. If need be, hire a handyman or a roofer to repair any missing shingles or other damages. Make sure to clean out roof drains to avoid damaging the roof and causing leaks.
  4. Pressure Wash Your Home: Clean your home’s exterior to remove accumulated dirt, mold and stains from the siding, deck, sidewalks, driveway, garage floor, fences, and lawn furniture. You can rent a pressure washer or hire someone to help.
  5. Wash The Windows
  6. Prepare To Mow: A dull lawn mower blade doesn’t slice, but instead tears grass leaving it vulnerable to disease, sun damage, and insects. A blade typically needs sharpening once or twice a year, or more often depending on how big your yard is.
  7. Lose The Lint: Make sure to clean your clothes dryer’s lint trap before every use. A clogged vent can reduce your dryer’s efficiency and create a fire hazard.
  8. Put The Temperature on Autopilot: For an initial investment of $50 to $150 dollars for a programmable thermostat, you can save about $180 annually on cooling and heating bills. Set the hold feature for a constant, efficient temperature when you’re away for the weekend or on vacation.
  9. Caulk The Cracks: If the gap around a door or a window is wider than a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. Add weatherstripping around doors, making sure that you cant see any daylight from the inside of your home.
  10. Repair Sidewalks and Driveways: Fix any breakdown in concrete or asphalt before it worsens. You can patch or fill surface cracks, chips or flaking concrete yourself using cement repair products. For deeper cracks, call a professional. To increase the longevity of your driveway, have asphalt resealed every two to five years, depending on climate and wear patterns. Have concrete resealed every one to three years.

For more tips to prepare your home for spring click here.
Jodi Goldberg
RE/MAX Central
(908) 770-2150
jodigoldberg@remax.net
www.JodiGoldberg.com
www.OldMillEstates.net

10 Tips For Home Improvement Safety

Home improvement projects often call for risky practices. We
always preach safety first, but we don’t always practice what we preach. Home Tips recently wrote an article passing along some tips for those of you tackling home improvement projects this Spring.

Accidents can happen. You need to be especially careful when you are working at heights; with power tools or sharp blades; with heavy, awkward, or toxic materials; or with electricity and natural gas. It isn’t worth it to do your own home improvements if you run a high risk of injuring yourself.

1. Tackle only those tasks that you feel safe handling.
2. Keep a tidy work area. Keeping a tidy work area helps you to avoid creating your own hazards. Don’t allow power cords to tangle. Pick up and properly store power tools, sharp tools. or dangerous materials that might cause injury. Pull all nails from old lumber.
3. Keep tools and supplies away from the reach of small children.
4. Dress for safety. Don’t work in flip-flops and shorts. Sturdy clothing, work boots, and gloves will protect you. Wear safety glasses when you use power tools, hammers, or other striking or cutting tools. If you are going to be working beneath construction, get a hard hat.
5. When using a ladder, position it on a flat, firm surface. As you climb or reach, keep your weight centered. Do not lean on one side, keep your hips between the rails and never stand on the top two rungs. When using the extension ladder to reach the roof, extend at least two rungs about the eaves this way you can hold on to the ladder as you step onto the roof.
6. Don’t go up on the roof in bad weather.
7. Equip your garage or workshop and your home with fire extinguishers. Every home should have two working fire extinguishers. Be sure they are large enough to handle home fires; they need to be rated a minimum size of “2A10BC” on the label. Periodically check them to make sure they are fully charged.
8. Protect yourself against exposure to hazardous chemicals and materials. Many varnishes, solvents, preservatives, adhesives, and other products used to accomplish projects contain hazardous ingredients. Pay attention to all label warnings, including instructions about proper ventilation.
9. Dust and fibers can be hazardous to breathe. When sanding wood, wear a dust mask. Never sand, scrape, or dislodge surfaces that you suspect contain asbestos; doing so can put highly hazardous fibers into the air.
10. Always keep a good first-aid kit on hand.

For more information and safety tips read the original article here.

Jodi Goldberg
RE/MAX Central
www.JodiGoldberg.com
jodigoldberg@remax.net
(908) 770-2150