Thursday, April 10, 2008

Home Improvements on a Budget

Home improvements are often costly and time consuming. However, there are some simple and easy ways to update the look of your home while still staying friendly to your wallet.
Paint. Paint is an inexpensive and easy way to make changes to the look of your home. You can completely change the look of your kitchen by using paint to turn your tired, worn-out cabinets into a new and colorful kitchen you will love. Also, consider painting furniture pieces. Instead of purchasing a new entertainment center or coffee table, use paint. This can also help with bringing in accent colors.

Whether it's changing lamp shades or hanging a new chandelier over your dining room table, changing a room's lighting is an easy and inexpensive way to add instant drama. When shopping for new light fixtures, look in the clearance or discontinued bins. This is a great way to save extra cash. If you like the style of your lighting, but are tired of the finish, consider spray paint to update the color. Be sure to purchase the appropriate type and work in a well ventilated area.

Slip Covers.
Buying new furniture is one of the most expensive purchases you can make when redesigning a room. Remedy this by purchasing slip covers, which can be used for sofas, chairs and more. Also, consider reupholstering the seats of dining room chairs or barstools. All it takes is a staple gun and a few yards of fabric.


Another great and easy way to update the look of a room is to change the artwork on your walls. If you really want to save money, consider using existing frames, but changing the artwork inside.

Before you begin your home improvement projects, create your budget and stick to it. Think of key features you want to improve and which areas will require more or less money. Keep in mind that home improvements on a budget doesn't mean skimping on style!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Spring Cleaning Checklist

With spring selling season arriving, take the time now to help polish your home to perfection.

Let the sun in.
Make any room look brighter with clean blinds and windows. Mix a solution of one part white vinegar to eight parts water, plus a drop or two of liquid dishwashing liquid, for a green window cleaner. Spray on and wipe with newspaper to avoid streaks. Washing on a cloudy day also reduces streaking.

Sniff out smells.
Check the drip tray underneath your refrigerator and wash out any standing water from defrosting. Remove inside odors by washing the inside of the fridge with a baking soda and water solution. Boil lemon juice in your microwave and add it to your dishwasher to eliminate bad smells. Also, put the lemon rinds down the disposal. Add activated charcoal in the fridge to keep odors at bay.

Make your bed better.
Vacuum mattresses and box springs, and then rotate and flip over. Do the same for removable furniture cushions. This is also a great time to wash or dry-clean the dust ruffle and mattress pad.

Clean those coils.
Improve energy efficiency by vacuuming grates, coils, and condensers in your furnace, stove, and refrigerator (either underneath or in back). If a vacuum won’t reach, try a rag tied to a yardstick.

Wash the walls.
Grease, smoke, and dust can adhere to walls and make even the best decorating look dingy. Wash walls using a general-purpose cleaner with hot water. Start at the top of the wall to avoid drips and in a corner so that you wash one wall at a time. Rinse the mop head frequently in clean water. And don’t press too hard, because flat latex paint won’t absorb much water.