Category Archives: Home Improvement

Keep Small Rodents Out Of Your Home

There’s nothing worse than sharing your home with an unwelcomed guest, especially when they can cause so much damage to your home. Small rodents can cause problems both in and out of your home, with a mess left for you to take care of.

The discovery of small rodents in the home is certainly a surprise to both you and the animal. The process of safely eliminating can be a challenge for all. It’s important to make every effort as humane as possible too. However, the first step to eliminating small rodents from your home is prevention. Here are a few tips to do so.

 

Small Rodent List

You may be wondering what qualifies as a small rodent. It could be any mammal, from a hamster to a rat. But for this article, we’ll be focusing on the animals we don’t typically take in as pets. Here are a few of the small rodents you don’t want in or around your house:

  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Squirrels
  • Rabbits
  • Opossums
  • Raccoons

 

Pest Control Costs

While there are many humane DIY options available for pest control, it’s a good idea to prepare for any costs that might be associated before purchasing materials or deciding to call a pro. The average cost to hire an animal control is $291, with most homeowners spending between $206 and $313.

 

Ultimate Guide To Adding Value To Your Home

Whether you’re a senior looking to sell your house in the near future or are looking for practical updates that will make it more appealing to buyers later on, there are all kinds of ways to increase your home’s value. Some changes can be made quite easily by homeowners themselves, and certain projects will take no more than a weekend to complete. Other updates are better left to a professional, be it due to safety precautions or special training that’s required to do the job. This guide will discuss the best value-boosting modifications to consider for your home so that when the time comes to sell, you’ll get the highest return on your investment.

Keep in mind that every homeowner’s needs will be different, and you may want to ask a real estate agent or local interior designer to evaluate your home. They can offer valuable insight on the areas of your house that would best benefit from an update, as well as when to preserve the integrity of a particular style of home, some modern renovations may detract from a colonial home’s appeal, for instance. Getting personalized advice about how to best add value to your home is never a bad idea!

 

Kitchen

An updated kitchen is the number one wish list item for young buyers and an excellent place to start when boosting your home’s value. The best part is that your budget doesn’t have to be a limiting factor. Even small changes can make a world of difference in giving an outdated kitchen a facelift. Of course, if you do have a large budget to work with, you may want to consider investing a good amount in your cooking space.

 

Cabinets

Consider your basic kitchen hardware: cabinet door knobs and drawer handles. If they’re the same as when you moved in, and especially if there’s visible wear and tear, it’s likely time to switch them out for a fresh, modern look. Changing them is simple and often low-cost. This small change can completely transform the look of your cabinets and create cohesion in the space, particularly if you opt to match the hardware to your appliances.

If your cabinets are in need of more than just a minor update, you can still make alterations to update them without breaking the bank. A good scrubbing is a great first step! Sanding out rough or worn spots, new contact paper lining, and a fresh coat of paint are all simple ways to elevate old cabinets. If the cabinet boxes are in good shape, you can remove and refinish the doors and drawers for a brand new look without the overhaul of a total remodel.

Replacing your cabinets completely might end up being the best option for a particularly worn-out kitchen. Most home improvement stores come with entire units you can install yourself, but it does require significant time and skill, after all, you have to rip the old ones out first! Keep in mind, however, that if your home is on its way to market, it’s wise to be conservative with brand new cabinets. New homebuyers will certainly appreciate seeing an updated kitchen, but they still may opt to make their own changes. Shanty cabinets can be a major distraction to would-be buyers and prevent them from seeing the space’s potential, but you shouldn’t devote your entire budget to new cupboards that may ultimately get altered.

 

Sink

Sink hardware is another easy update to consider. Does your kitchen have:

  • A modern faucet?
  • A spray nozzle for easy dishwashing?
  • A garbage disposal?

Even new drain traps can make an important difference. No one wants to think about years of grime and buildup in their “new” kitchen sink!

If the sink is porcelain or acrylic, consider switching it out for a more durable material like stainless steel for both a practicality boost and an updated look. You also might want to consider the depth and division: if yours is a shallow, single sink, then a deep, double unit is a more modern alternative. Sink installation can be more complicated, so unless you have experience with home contracting it might be best to hire a professional for installation.

How To Make Your Bathroom Smell Great

At the end of the day, where do you go to unwind? A spa-like bathroom can be the remedy for a stressful day. Your bathroom is beautiful, so it should smell beautiful too! Mold, mildew and waste can make this a daily challenge. With use and over time, these smells seem to grow stronger.

Majority of unpleasant bathroom scents grow stronger with time. So it’s important to take care of them as soon as you recognize it. Never fear, there are solutions to create a great smelling bathroom. Eliminate odors and freshen up with these bathroom tips.

 

Clean It Up

Bathrooms tend to have a lot going on that can easily cause a mess. If you don’t have one already, create a cleaning routine for the bathroom. Clean the shower, bathtub, sink, toilet and floors thoroughly. Using a daily shower spray can help.

Fabrics in the bathroom like towels and shower curtains tend to hold the moisture and can create a musty smell. Be sure to wash these regularly to keep the bathroom smelling fresh.

Once a year, it’s a good idea to get a professional cleaning. This is a great way to scrub all the corners and small areas you may not be able to clean on your own. The average cost to hire a maid service is $157, with most homeowners spending between $122 and $167.

Organized Kitchen Countertop

As a prominent feature in your kitchen, the countertops see a lot of traffic. For most of us, the counter is a place for more than just food prep. Children may sit here during homework time or it can be a gathering place for weekend entertaining. With so many daily functions, it’s important to guarantee a clean kitchen countertop for your health and aethstetics.

Finding what works to keep your countertop clean might be a challenge. But we’re here to share solutions to ensure a clean and functional kitchen countertop for all to enjoy.

 

1. Refinish Your Countertops

In some cases, your countertops can look old and worn. No amount of cleaning product can bring your countertop back to life again. Many homeowners worry they must replace their entire countertop, but refinishing can make it look new again for a lower price. The price largely depends on the type of finish you choose. Here’s what you can budget for:

  • Epoxy Finish: $2.92 to $7.17/sf
  • Laminate: $1.67 to $4.18/sf
  • Paint & Sealant: $1.17 to $2.33/sf

 

2. Know Your Countertop Material

Before you start cleaning the countertop, know what material it is and what solutions will work best. From butcher block wood to ceramic tile, a cleaning solution that works on one may not work on another. Here are a few tips for your specific kitchen countertop:

 

Ceramic Tile Countertops

One of the biggest issues when it comes to cleaning ceramic tiles is the grout. While day-to-day maintenance will help with aesthetics, most of the bacteria and staining can be found in the grout. Using grout cleaner two to three times per year for a deep clean will help keep your countertops in the best shape

 

Glass Countertops

While most cleaning solutions will work on glass countertops, be sure to not use a scouring pad or any other rough cleaning tools. This can cause scratches in the surface.

 

Laminate Countertops

Similarly to glass, laminate countertops also can’t withstand rough cleaning tools. A simple rag with soap and water will do the trick. Always wipe up spills as soon as they happen on laminate countertops, as they are more likely to stain this surface.

 

Natural Stone Countertops

While natural stone countertops look great, they can be sensitive to staining based on how absorbent they are. Natural stone countertops should be sealed regularly depending on the stone to prevent stains. Additionally, never use citrus cleaners on natural stone.

 

Quartz Countertops

Engineered stone, or quartz, countertops might be the easiest to clean and keep stain-free. Spills wipe up easily with a damp cloth and cleaner.

 

Stainless Steel Countertops

While stainless steel countertops are making a comeback, it can be harder to keep this material from streaks. While clean-up tends to be easier than most, to get a streak-free shine, buff with an olive or mineral oil regularly to maintain a beautiful shine.

Alternative Uses For A Paint Brush

For those who love to DIY, it’s likely you have plenty of paint brushes in your home. Instead of letting them sit in the corner, waiting for your next project, try a few alternative ways to use a paint brush in your home.

From cleaning up a small home improvement task to spring cleaning, you can get these jobs done more efficiently with the help of a paint brush. Our friends at MyFixItUpLife are here to share with you three ways you may have not considered using a paint brush before.

 

Alternative Ways To Use A Paint Brush

  • Removing debris from computer keyboards
  • Dusting fabric lampshades
  • Removing cobwebs
  • Cleaning up dry food spills in the kitchen

 

Conclusion

Paint brushes aren’t the only item you can start to utilize differently. Consider what other things you have around your house that can be used for a different purpose to get a second life out of them.

Decorate Your Stair Risers

Depending on their placement in your home, your stairs can be a prominent decorative feature that shouldn’t be overlooked. The stair risers present a unique opportunity to decorate your space and give your stairwell a fresh, new look.

If you’re feeling stuck on how to decorate your stair rises, don’t worry, there are plenty of options. From traditional and timeless to bright and colorful, see a few decorative stair riser ideas.

 

What Is A Stair Riser?

While you may think about your stairs as one complete set, there are many parts that make up your stairs. The stair riser and tread are the two major parts that make up a staircase. The stair tread is what your foot lands on as you walk up the stairs and the riser is the vertical support that fills the space between each tread.  According to the International Association Of Certified Home Inspectors, the average height of a stair riser should be between 4” and 7 ¾”.

Before you consider your stair riser décor, you should inspect your steps to be sure they’re in good shape. With average wear and tear, creaks and squeaks can occur due to gaps occurring between the tread and riser.  With older stairs, you may find a crack or two. These should be repaired as soon as possible so the damage does not worsen and become a safety hazard. The average cost to repair stairs is $597, with most homeowners spending between $361 and $678.

 

1. Wallpaper Stair Risers

If there’s a pattern you love and want to incorporate it into your home, wallpaper is a great option to incorporate a seamless look into your home. This is also a great project to DIY. For those looking for a less permanent option, temporary wallpaper is a great choice to see if it’s truly the wallpaper pattern for you.

 

2. Painted Stair Risers

Paint is what most homeowners turn to when it comes to painted stair risers. Paint allows you to get creative and find the exact match to your home’s décor. It can also be an easy and fun weekend DIY project. Here are a few popular ideas in painted stair risers:

 

Multicolor Painted Stair Risers

Can’t decide on a painted stair color? Mix it up! Utilize a blend of your favorite hues to create a unique look for your stair riser décor. Paint each riser a different color. I love the look of various pastel colors for a pop of color. Or, contrast a neutral to a bright color to really make your stair décor stand out.

 

Solid Color Painted Stair Risers

For one cohesive look in your room, solid color painted stairs are the way to go.  If you have a color that matches perfectly, paint each riser for a uniform look.

 

Ombre Painted Stair Risers

The hottest look in painted stairs right now is the ombre style. This takes a lighter color and transitions it to a darker shade with each step. Blue, red and green make great choices for ombre painted stairs.

Tree Maintenance Tips On Your Home

From old to new, the trees in your yard need proper care to thrive and look their best. Trees can be beneficial to any yard. Not only do they help the environment by reducing pollution, they also improve the value of your home and cut utility costs.

The benefits of trees in your yard are truly endless, but an unhealthy tree can cause problems for you that cost you money and curb appeal. See seven tree maintenance tips that will help keep the trees in your yard healthy and happy.

 

1. Regular Tree Maintenance

Regular tree maintenance can mean a variety of things. From tree trimming to regular watering, entrusting your trees to a pro can mean a longer and healthier life for them. It also has the benefit of taking that landscaping project off your plate. The average cost of tree maintenance is $425, with most homeowners spending between $247 and $470.

 

2. Tree Trimming

Much like we all need a haircut every few weeks, trees need to be trimmed to maintain their beautiful, healthy appearance. Tree trimming is a task you can do yourself or with the help of a landscaping pro. Regular tree trimming is important to remove dead branches and leaves so new ones can grow. You may also find that your tree needs some trimming if it’s getting a bit too close to the house. High winds, storms and loose branches can cause serious damage to your home, if not taken care of properly.

 

3. Soil Testing

If you’re finding that your trees are looking less than their best, soil may be the culprit. This is especially important if your tree is a seedling or you’ve recently replanted a tree. Soil testing can help you determine the pH levels and minerals already in your soil, and how you can improve it to see your trees truly thrive.

The average cost of soil testing is $1,142, with most homeowners paying between $947 and $1,515. Keep in mind, this is the cost for professional services. There are plenty of DIY services available at your local home garden store, however, they may not reveal all the details about your soil that could be important to tree growth.

Paint Projects That Boost Curb Appeal

As the weather gets warmer, you may start to think about how you can improve the look of your home’s exterior. Weathering and age can make your home look bland and uninteresting. If you’re considering selling your home this year, your curb appeal should be top of mind.

Thankfully, a fresh coat of paint could be just what your home needs. If you’re ready to improve your curb appeal, consider trying one of these outdoor paint projects.

 

Popular Exterior House Paint Colors

One of the most difficult parts of a paint job isn’t usually the painting itself, but rather choosing the color. Unlike interior rooms, exterior home paint can’t always be changed as easily. Depending on the size, it could take up to four days to complete an entire home painting project. Smaller projects, such as garage or deck painting, could take less time.

While neutrals will never go out of style, a colorful look will make your curb appeal stand out from the rest. Here are a few popular exterior paint color ideas:

  • Dark Gray
  • Beige
  • Brown
  • Red
  • Navy Blue
  • Light Green

Don’t forget about any exterior trim as well. Here are some colors that will be the perfect accent:

  • Ivory White
  • Cream
  • Light Gray
  • Aqua
  • Black

Bathroom Decor Ideas

For most of us, the bathroom of our dreams is matched with a budget we can only imagine. However, that doesn’t have to hold you back from falling in love with the bathroom you have right now.

If you love to DIY, there’s no reason you can’t create the perfect bathroom. There are many DIY bathroom décor ideas that can fit in budgets of any size and still look great. See a few DIY bathroom ideas that will inspire your next project.

 

DIY Safety

DIY is a fun way to truly customize your home while saving money. However, many projects use power tools and products that could be harmful to you or others if used incorrectly. Never take on a DIY project you don’t have the right tools for or that you may not have the experience to do. Review a few basic DIY safety tips before beginning your next bathroom DIY project.

 

1. DIY Bathroom Mirror

Regardless of its current style, your bathroom mirror can be a focal point of the room. Therefore, it should be a feature that you love! Of all the DIY bathroom projects available, framing a bathroom mirror can be the most versatile to your current style. This project will take a bit of DIY experience, as cutting at an angle is required. See the tutorial on Cherished Bliss.

 

2. DIY Bathroom Storage Ideas

No matter the size of your bathroom, storage is always an issue. After all, the bathroom contains many items we use on a daily basis. But the storage you choose can be a part of your bathroom décor. For elegant bathrooms, consider repurposing an old cake tray to hold basic toiletries. Or, a wine rack can be repurposed as a towel holder.

Another popular DIY look for bathrooms is a farmhouse style. Mason jars add the perfect touch to your bathroom storage without losing the rustic style You can either simply have them out to hold items like cotton balls, Q-tips and more, or hang them to keep small toiletries in reach. This tutorial from the DIY playbook will show you just how to do so.

 

3. DIY Bathroom Rug

Bathmats are usually drab and boring. What if I told you that you can make your own DIY rug for less than you can buy in the store and add a unique look to your bathroom? Leftover towels are a great way to do so and is what makes this project so eco-friendly. You will need about two to four old bath towels depending on size cut into strips about 6’ long. Next, get some grid matting and begin to tie them in each row.

 

4. DIY Bathroom Shelves

If you’re looking for a trendy idea for your bathroom, floating shelves are just what you need. Not only do they provide storage, they also add a unique look to your bathroom. For a timeless look with added storage, floating shelves are hot right now. Though you can get some floating shelf units from the store, consider buying the materials yourself to create your own style. Create your own with this how-to from Thrifty & Chic.

Creating An Organized Kitchen

While we know that the kitchen is the heart of the home, we also know that it can easily become one of the most disorganized areas in the house. With many moving in and out, it can quickly become quite a mess.

If you’re finding more things misplaced in your kitchen when you need them, it might be time to rethink your kitchen’s organizational system. See a few organizational tips that will help you transform your kitchen into a functional cooking and entertainment area.

 

Professional Home Organizer Costs

From container lids to random silverware, your kitchen is home to many small supplies. Sometimes, kitchens can be so out of control you may not know where to start. If this sounds like you, it might be time to call in a pro. They can help you sort through the kitchen clutter and find a system that will work best for you. The average cost to hire a professional organizer is $478, with most homeowners spending between $314 and $512.

 

Create Systems

When you have many people using various aspects of the kitchen, items will get misplaced and cluttered. The first step in creating an organized kitchen is finding a system that all can follow. Clearly communicate with everyone using the kitchen where in the cabinets, refrigerator, pantry and drawers and other items will go. When everyone is on the same page, it makes organization a smooth process.