3 Home Improvements Even a Beginner DIYer Can Tackle

New homeowners rapidly learn an expensive lesson: The handyman costs money – and that running list of home fix-its adds up quickly.

Fortunately for beginner do-it-yourselfers, you don’t have to invest in a trunk full of tools for basic upgrades and fixes; most require minimal investment in time and equipment.

Taking control and transforming your living space into a reflection of your own personal taste can be both simple and rewarding. Try it this weekend with any of these straightforward home projects that even beginning DIYers can master.

Create open storage with floating shelves

Sleek, open shelving is not only fashionable, but functional, too. Wall shelves are some of the trendiest additions in the homes of today’s DIY decorators, holding displays of cherished photos in the living room or bedroom and laden with dishes and bowls in the kitchen.

shelves

Courtesy of Fraley and Company.

The first step in installing this wall storage – or anything that hangs, for that matter- is to determine the composition of your walls. If the wall sounds hollow when you tap it with your fist, it’s likely drywall; if it sounds solid, it’s probably plaster.

For either, you’d ideally want to attach the shelf brackets securely to a wall stud, which can be located using a simple stud finder. If you can’t, affix it with anchors: hollow ones for plaster walls, butterfly or toggle varieties for drywall.

Now, measure and mark the spaces on the wall (on both ends) of where you want the shelf to go, and use a level to pencil a line across the wall where your shelf will sit.

Drill pilot holes into the wall for the anchors, and insert them following the manufacturer’s directions on the package. Then align your bracket with the anchor-filled pilot holes and mount using a regular screwdriver.

To finish, top your brackets with a simple shelf – glass, metal, or wood – and put your new storage spot to work.

Enhance energy efficiency and privacy with window film

While bright, sunny spaces can certainly be attractive, too much of a good thing can be bad. A flood of natural light fades rugs and upholstery over time, and causes air conditioning bills to skyrocket in the summer.

Fortunately, a compromise exists, and it’s stocked in the aisles at your home improvement store: window film. Applied directly to the glass, this thin polyester or vinyl layer can help shrink energy bills, enhance privacy, and even strengthen a window – all under the guise of a decorative touch.

window

Courtesy of Zillow Digs.

To adhere window film, spray both it and the inside surface of the window with a soapy solution. Stick the film to your window glass and then trim around the border, leaving about 1/16 inch between the film and the window frame. This will allow the window glass to expand and contract with changing temperatures.

Smooth out any bubbles in the film with a squeegee, and let it dry completely. After the few days it takes to cure, you can resume cleaning the tinted window once more – just stick to a soft cloth and non-abrasive cleanser to avoid scratching and prolong the film’s effectiveness.

Brighten with new light fixtures

Searching for a surefire way to dress up a room? Look up: Swapping out old, “builder’s special” light fixtures for something more stylish – a funky-modern chandelier or chic pendant lighting – can reinvent a space’s mood, all without the help of an electrician.

chandelier sm

Photo by Donna Dotan Photography, courtesy of Claire Paquin.

As with any electrical project, first flip off the lights and cut power to the room via the main breaker panel. Then, climb atop a sturdy ladder to detach the old fixture cover, remove wire connectors, and untwist the light’s wires from the main power wires. Finally, take down the remaining base or trim.

Next, new light fixture in hand, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for matching its wires to the main wires installed in your home. (Hint: Corresponding colors typically connect.)

Use a wire stripper to remove the protective coating from the ends of the light’s wires, then wrap each newly uncovered wire around the metal end of its match, and screw on the connectors. At the same time, attach the fixture’s grounding wire (often green) to the existing grounding screw.

Fold all wiring back into the electrical box, and use the new light’s included hardware to attach the fixture base or canopy over it.

Once you’ve screwed in the recommended bulbs, turn on the circuit at your electrical panel and flip the light switch to the fixture. When you’ve confirmed that it works properly, attach the trim and cover to your new ceiling light, and bask in the glow of your finished project.

See more home design inspiration for your next project.

Related:

Zillow Blog – Real Estate Market Stats, Celebrity Real Estate, and Zillow News » Home Improvement

Featured East Metro Atlanta Homes

3 Home Improvements Even a Beginner DIYer Can Tackle was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

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10 Spring Cleaning Projects to Tackle This Weekend 

Spring cleaning is all about getting our homes ready for a new season of sunshine, warmth, and time outdoors – and indoors, too! Now’s the time to wipe off the grime, clear out the cobwebs, and get those living spaces ready for the year ahead.

When you put together your spring cleaning checklist this year, consider adding the following tasks, if you aren’t already planning to do them. These projects will not only put the cherry on top of the clean-home sundae, but also make your home more functional.

Best of all, you can knock out most of these jobs in a weekend.

Wash windows, inside and out

Some say clean windows make your whole home look better, and we think it’s true.

For a DIY cleaning job that yields professional results, use a solution of water, ammonia, and white vinegar. Apply the solution to your windows with a large sponge, and remove it with a professional-grade squeegee.

Clean refrigerator and air conditioner coils

These appliances create a cooling effect by circulating air through the coils. Over time, dust builds up on the coils and decreases their efficiency, making your refrigerator or air conditioner work a lot harder.

Unplug the appliance, then vacuum out the coils with your vacuum’s crevice tool. You can also use a special refrigerator-coil cleaning brush, available at most hardware stores.

Check ceiling fans

Clean your ceiling-fan blades to remove winter dust build up.

And if you reversed your ceiling fan’s direction to clockwise for the winter, turn it back to counterclockwise for the warmer months. This sends the air straight down, creating a cooling effect.

Clean dryer vent

Cleaning a dryer vent is easier than you might imagine. First, unplug the dryer from the power source. Next, clean out the vent with a special dryer-vent cleaning brush or a vacuum.

Deep-clean carpets

Even if you vacuum regularly, a thorough carpet cleaning once a year will reach deep down into the fibers to clean out debris, dust, and food particles.

You can hire a professional to do the job, or rent a professional-grade carpet cleaner from a home improvement store.

Inspect roof, gutters, and chimneys

Spring is the perfect time to check your roof for damage that may have occurred over the winter. If you can’t use a ladder to get up on the roof, try inspecting it with binoculars.

Check decks and patios

If the finish on your wooden deck still looks good, that’s great! You might just need to clean the deck to get it ready for summer.

If the finish appears to be worn, then you’ll want to consider both cleaning and resealing the deck. For decks made of composite material, follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and preserving the deck.

Prep lawn equipment

Get those lawn mowers, weed whackers, and pressure washers out of storage, turn them on, and make sure they are running properly. If they’re not, now is the time to take them to a shop for repairs.

Clean outside furniture

Use Murphy Oil Soap for wood furniture. For most other types of outdoor furniture, a solution of dishwashing liquid and water should do the trick.

Freshen up your front entrance

Sweep and/or wash the front porch and steps. Put out a new welcome mat. Add a pot or two of brightly colored annuals, and your home will be ready for spring!

Related:

Home Improvement – Zillow Porchlight

Featured East Metro Atlanta Homes

10 Spring Cleaning Projects to Tackle This Weekend  was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home

Tackle These Projects Now For Curb Appeal Through Winter

With winter approaching, long days of sunshine, colorful fall foliage, and green lawns are coming to an end. So too are the hours spent outside, raking up leaves and washing your windows. But don’t fully retreat into your humble abode to hibernate quite yet — especially if your home is on the market.

There are projects you can start now, when it’s just starting to get cooler outside, to ensure your home will look gorgeous, warm, and inviting throughout the upcoming winter months — whether you have a home for sale in Burlington, VT, or Seattle.

Plant flowers that bloom in the winter

Fall is the time to plant early-blooming bulbs such as crocuses, which will flower in late winter, even if they’re covered in snow. Other bulb flowers such as daffodils and tulips are hardy enough to survive cold winter temperatures below ground and bloom beautifully in early spring/late winter. Perennials, shrubs, and trees also do well with a fall planting.

According to the National Association of Landscape Professionals (NALP), the warm fall soil is great for root development, and plants have several months to establish themselves before the stress of the summer heat. Get your early planting done and enjoy a little taste of spring curb appeal while you’re still cuddled up in your flannel pajamas and slippers.

Install landscape lighting

Lighting is often overlooked but can make such a huge difference when strategically placed and tinted correctly. Consider sticking a few vintage lanterns along your driveway, or installing a soft-hued light bulb in your porch light. You could also light up your walking path with solar lights and finish off the look with some statuary or tree up-lighting.

Pro tip: Less is usually more for path lighting; too many lights, and you may create a runway effect.

Lawn and garden maintenance

Now is the time to make sure you’re helping your lawn make it through the winter, so your grass and other plants survive the harsh weather. NALP recommends applying 2 to 3 inches of mulch to protect plant roots from extreme temperatures.

The mulch barrier will also preserve moisture if your region doesn’t receive enough winter precipitation. Bonus: A thick layer of woodsy mulch lends a nice aesthetic touch to an otherwise barren landscape.

There’s not much you can do about brown, unsightly-looking grass during the winter months. But you can rake and remove the leaves that build up from falling foliage and winter storms. The raking work will pay off big time in the spring for lawn health and also keep it looking its best this season and into spring. A tidy lawn is the key for curb appeal in the long winter months.

Small upgrades and holiday decor

Alone, a new mailbox, doorknob, or set of address numbers on your house can seem inconsequential. But when replaced together as a set, these little details can make all the difference in the world — particularly from a distance. Now is the time to make a weekend project out of replacing all the small stuff for a big aesthetic reward.

From lights and greenery to candles in the windows, you can really get creative for the holidays with embellishments that won’t die off when the snow starts. There’s no need to get all Clark Griswold with the front yard, but tasteful, minimalist decor can really beautify your home.

There’s plenty to be done this fall to enhance your curb appeal through the winter months. Work to extend the interior’s cozy, well-kept feeling to the exterior of your home. Not only will you save yourself some maintenance in the spring, but also your home will shine all winter long.

Trulia’s Blog

Featured East Metro Atlanta Homes

Tackle These Projects Now For Curb Appeal Through Winter was originally published on Southern Classic Realtors – Nivla Calcinore – Bringing You Home