DIY Home Improvement: How to Apply Paint to Your Walls

Painting is the one job that the home handy person is more likely to tackle than any other job around the home. It ís the one where the least amount of things can go wrong, right?

Before You Get Started

But there are some things that can go wrong and you won’t know it until a few months have passed. Imagine your shock and horror when those layers of paint come flaking off, just a few months after all that hard work. How could this be? It ís simple; you didn’t wash the wall down properly first. There is mostly a layer of grease or scum that builds up on walls, particularly kitchen and bathroom, so paint will not adhere properly to the wall unless it is removed. Washing down with the proper ingredients may seem unnecessary, especially if the walls look clean, but it is one of the most important tasks.

But wait! First you must buy the proper paint. External paint for all outside painting including the covered-in veranda or deck and windowsills that get lots of sunlight; special paint for wet/steamy areas like bathrooms and kitchens. Ceiling paint for ceilings that is thicker and won’t splatter as much. Keep away from cheap paints. This is hard work and you want it to last as long as possible.

So scrub, then rinse if necessary. Allow to dry, and then fill any cracks or holes with putty. Sand the putty smooth when it is dry. Also sand back where there is any loose paint. If there are patches where there is no paint, dab those spots with a sealer/undercoat combo along with the putty spots. Place masking tape along edges where the paint is to finish and along light switches and window/door frames. If this takes all day, don’t sweat it, just do it. Many people prefer to remove the light fixtures and doorknobs completely.

Starting to Paint

Only when everything is properly prepared can you start to paint. Make sure there is plenty of air in the room; leave the doors and window open. Set the can of paint and the tray on layers of newspaper. Of course, you will have removed all the adornments such as pictures before you started. Cover all furniture that cannot be removed from the room with plastic or cotton sheets. Cover the flooring with plastic sheets. Bring in the ladder if you need it. Use a roller for large areas and a brush for the edges. Buy a good quality brush or you’ll end up with brush hairs throughout your paint. Leave the first coat to dry. If you are using a water-based paint this will only be a couple of hours, but an oil-based paint requires longer drying time.

If the original paint was in fairly good condition, you may only need one or two coats of paint, depending on the color. If you are changing the color scheme from dark to light, you may need more. Allow the paint to dry before removing the tape and replacing furniture and bric-a-brac.

Tip: If you’ve used the ladder for outside jobs, the feet may have a build-up of dried mud or dirt. Clean it off before you take it inside.

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DIY Home Improvement: How To Apply Wallpaper

Before You Start

Wallpaper application is not that hard, but it requires some specific preparation just like painting does. The job is made harder if you have to remove old wallpaper. Before you start, switch off the electricity and unscrew electrical plates. Tape over anything else. Buy a good quality wallpaper removal product and apply it with a sponge or garden-sprayer. Some wallpaper may be waterproof and so the substance won’t be able to penetrate, so go over the surface lightly with a perforating tool. The paste softener should work in about 15 minutes, and then you can start scraping.

You May Not Need To Remove the Old Wallpaper

If the wallpaper is in good condition and firmly attached to the wall, you may not need to remove it. In this case, paint over the surface. Use paint that is about the same shade as the background of the new wallpaper. All cracks and bumps need to be patched and sanded before you start. So – clean, patch, sand and prime using wallpaper primer which prevents paste and waste from being absorbed by the wall.

If You Are Removing the Old Wallpaper

Or if you are removing the original wallpaper, spray or sponge on two coats of remover and then pull off strips of paper in small or large sections, using a plastic and not metal putty knife as an aid. Then wash, putty, sand and prime the wall with special primer. It should be oil-based, since water will be used for the wallpaper paste.

Of course you will have measured the room so you know how much wallpaper you need. Now remove any head or base boards and cut the wallpaper into appropriate strips. Using a level and a pencil, mark the position of each strip lightly. Make sure you cut it so that the pattern matches up.

Two Types of Wallpaper

There are two types of wallpaper. One you must wet with water to activate the paste, the other you just pull a backing strip off gradually. For both sorts, start at the top of the wall, making sure you get it level. When doing subsequent strips, match, but don’t overlap the edges. For the wet one, lay each strip on the floor after wetting with the paste side up and wait for the paper to expand before hanging it.

Once each strip is up, smooth it gently with a damp sponge to get out any air-bubbles. A razor knife will come in handy to trim the edges. Some wallpaper must have the glue mixed and applied separately. It should be laid as above; making sure that the glue is spread as evenly as possible and has set slightly before you lift it up. Two people working together is helpful.

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Home Improvement: Structural vs. Cosmetic Improvements

Improvements or additions to your home come under two headings; structural and cosmetic. What is the difference?

Structural Changes

As the name might imply, structural changes include changes that are done to the deep structure of the house. This includes a new roof, electrical wiring or plumbing, and work on the foundations. If you decide to tear out a wall, that will be structural because it affects the internal structure. Consultation with a building professional should be sought to ensure there is no loss of strength to the rest of the house. You will also need to know if there is electrical wiring or plumbing behind the plaster. Damaging things unnecessarily is foolish and can lead to cost blowouts.

Structural work is often done to bring a dwelling up to local building standards. It could be that the flooring is not stable, or vermin have chewed through the wiring. The roof could leak and cause damage, so structural improvements are necessary. The trouble is, although it is necessary, it doesnít add that much to the actual look of the place, so if you are upgrading to resell it is not a money-spinner like cosmetic renovations often are. The buyer has a right to expect that structural conditions of the house are adequate and up to code, therefore you cannot offer that feature as a selling point to any great extent.

When planning structural work, you need to factor in the weather equation. You donít want to have the roof off in the blizzard season. If snow or wet weather is imminent, donít plan on reconstructing the flooring or pouring concrete.

Cosmetic Changes

Cosmetic changes, on the other hand, are what affects the look of the place and gives the property a wow factor. They include fresh paint or wall-paper, new carpet and window fittings, light-fitting and faucet replacements, light alterations such as new kitchen cupboards and landscaping. In general, they donít cost quite as much as structural changes, yet they add a great deal of value to the property. This is because they can be seen, and everyone wants the chance to rent or own a house that looks great.

One of the best ways to add perceived value to your property is with cosmetic changes. Often you can do them yourself, thus cutting costs even further. You donít usually need any permits or permission to do cosmetic changes. They can be done without regard to the weather in most cases, though painting requires a certain temperature range to be effective. Cosmetic changes will modernize your house and give it a good resale value, or just allow you to enjoy it more.

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Easy DIY Projects That Will Make a BIG Difference in How Your Decor Looks

Easy DIY Home Improvements ANYONE Can Do

You don’t have to spend big bucks and haul in the experts for all home improvements. Some of the easiest are not only the cheapest but also the most eye-catching. One of these is to simply rejuvenate your front porch area. Re-paint the front door and trim, get a new doormat and add a fancy flowerpot, complete with flowers. Two may look even better, then you can have one on each side of the door or steps. If you have a handrail, paint that too, but don’t forget to do the right preparation that is required and use the right paint, e.g. metal or wood.

Kitchen Cupboard Doors

The kitchen is probably the most used room in most homes, so it will wear out more quickly. You could easily give the cupboard doors a new coat of paint and new knobs. When replacing knobs, line up the screw holes or you’ll have to drill new ones, then cover and paint the old holes. But it might be just as easy to replace the doors altogether. Make sure the new ones match up with your color scheme or go with the rich look natural wood. All you’ll need to do is screw in about four screws per door. Quicker than painting!

Floor Covering

Floor covering is another easy home improvement. Take out the ratty carpet and install new, or polish those old floorboards up and toss some new scatter rugs around instead. New carpet or linoleum are other options. Some like seagrass matting, but it can be hard to clean if you have toddlers.

The Bathroom

The bathroom is a small room that can benefit from some easy home improvements. Add a full-length mirror to give the appearance of more room. Changing the knobs on the cupboards will make a dramatic difference. An area of mirror tiles above the hand basin could be great. Or how about a line of fancy wallpaper along the top of the walls?

Painting and Wallpapering

Painting is probably the most popular improvement that homeowners do. It’s quick, easy and has a great wow factor.  Wallpapering is popular too, though it’s a bit more difficult, especially if you are working alone. But what about putting up shelves and changing light fixtures? Not sure how? Learning to use hand tools or simple power tools is not hard. If you would like to do more home improvements but lack the confidence to use tools, take a course or get someone to show you, then practice using them in places that are more unobtrusive like the laundry or a garden shed.

In short, you don’t have to spend much money to do some simple DIY projects that will make a world difference in how your home looks!


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How to Hire a Home Decorator on a Budget

So many of us would love to be financially free enough to not only redecorate our homes on whim and spend whatever we want, but also to hire a professional decorator. The reality for most of us is, though, that we have limited financial resources. But that doesn’t mean we can’t get some professional decorating help, if we are savvy about it.

Ask Questions in a Home Decorating Store

There are many interior design stores with professional designers who are just waiting for a customer to pop in with their decorating questions. Take a look around the store and find something that you’d like to use.

When assistance arrives, make sure to ask all the questions that you have in mind before making a purchase (if any). Remember that designers, like real estate agents, get paid on commission. So don’t go for all of their suggestions or you may end up paying a higher price than you planned for.

Browse and Ask Questions on Interior Design Websites and Internet Forums

Another way to get insight from a professional designer at a low price is to pop by an interior design website that offers advice and will answer to your questions. There are many of these sites out there with forms you can fill out with your decorating plans, measurements, and perhaps some photos, to which designers will reply with their suggestions for your decor.

Save By Doing the Easy Jobs Yourself

You can also save some money on your remodeling by tackling jobs yourself. Is there a duvet that you need to buy or get custom made? If you sew it yourself, you’ll be saving money that you could be investing in an interior designer in exchange for valuable tips. You can also do tile work, demo, or save cash by designing your own accessories or pillow covers.

Try to hire a decorator that charges per hour instead of per project (and make sure they have good reviews!). With just a few hours of their time they can give you several ideas and resources that you can later employ on your own or with the help of other professionals.

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Home Decor Styles: Beach Cottage and Tropical Decor Ideas

Everybody loves the beach and everyone loves tropical island vacations. But since most of us don’t really have the option to live there, many choose do the next best thing, which is to make their home feel like a beach cottage with Beach Cottage and Tropical Decor.

Tropical Beach Views

The most common item purchased in this category is the view of a tropical beach.  These beach views can be a painting, a print, or a photograph and come in many styles and hues.  One individual may prefer a painting of a beach at sunset while another may prefer a view of the water at noon.  Some beach pictures focus on the scene beneath the water while others focus on the sky above.  There are many different ways of looking at a single beach and the artists that specialize in beach views have captured them all.

Tropical Fish

Another popular item of tropical decor is images of tropical fish.  These fish vary in hue, style, and size.  They can be created out of glass, metal, wood, or ceramic.  They can be direct reflections of creatures that live in the sea or pure products of the artist’s imagination.  Some individuals choose to house tropical fish in an aquarium in their home, but salt water aquariums require a lot of work to keep them in the perfect condition that enables the fish to survive and thrive. So make sure that you thoroughly research all that’s involved before committing to an actual salt water aquarium.


Another element of beach cottage decorating is the use of seashells as a decorating item.  Seashells come in a variety of shapes, colors, and sizes and can be used in many ways.  Some individuals use the seashells strictly as display objects, while others put their seashells to use as key holders or candy dishes.  Some shells are large enough to use as a centerpiece for a coffee table or kitchen table and others are combined to enhance a painting or other object on display.


The most abundant item on tropical beaches, sand, is rarely used as an item for tropical decor.  The main reason is that there is a good chance that it will spill eventually, not only destroying the decor item but also creating a mess that would be a large hassle to clean up.  Items containing sand are usually made of heavy glass or plastic that will not break easily if dropped and are sealed with no openings to allow the sand to leak out.  Sand comes in very few colors, limited to brown, white, and, in rare cases, black.

Where To Find Beach Cottage and Tropical Decor

Aside from actually traveling to the beach or the tropics to purchase or collect your decor items, objects related to beach cottage decor may be purchased in almost any neighborhood home decor store. Beach cottage decor is more muted than tropical decor and does not use many vibrant colors in the designs.  In some stores, both types of decor may be intermixed due to many consumers treating the items as one design scheme.

There are also many online retailers that specialize in beach cottage decor.  These retailers make it easy to compare different styles and offer many items that may not be available in your neighborhood home decorating store.  Their prices are comparable to buying from the physical locations, but you must factor in the cost of shipping.  When purchasing large beach cottage decor items, the cost of shipping can be as much as 25% of the price of the object.


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Home Decor Styles: French Country

One of the home decor styles that has been popular world-wide for centuries, really since home decorative practices began, is the French Country decor style. It is a simple style, but so warm, cozy and inviting. It gives you the mindset of sitting in a countryside in the south of France with all the peacefulness of nature nestled around you.

The Elements of French Country Decor

Several aspects influence the French Country decorating style. Although rustic, the style is also very elegant.

The French Country style encompasses a large array of colors. You can use soft yellows and blues, bright reds, blue and greens, as well as rust.

These same colors are used to decorate the fabrics to accentuate the already dramatic effect of the bright color scheme. In order to define accessory pieces, use bright black or a dim shade for your walls. Natural vines are often used to adorn doorways and windows.

Natural Materials

Natural materials are preferably used in French Country Decor. Rustic floors are commonly made from natural stone, brick, or clay. Dark beams of wood that contrast well with the light tone of the walls are often present.

Traditional countryside themes include roosters, sunflowers, and olives, as well as grapes and lavender. Toile, a French design for fabrics, becomes a white or light background linen or cotton that has a large themed design.

Who Favors the French Country Style?

The French country style is wonderful for anyone who prefers a cozy, comfortable, and rustic look. It is easy to achieve a decor of this type if you follow the tips above. Remember that this style emphasizes the use of color and texture as a way to contrast the individual elements in the room and achieve balance and harmony.

The French country style inspires thoughts of prairies, wildflowers, bright, warm sunlight, and the outdoors. If you use these design components in combination with your own personal touch, you will find this style to be familiar and comforting.


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Finding New Home Decor Ideas

If you have undertaken a few home decor remodeling jobs in the past, you may think your creativity tank is running a bit dry of new ideas. They say that everything changes, nothing stays the same. That’s certainly true of home decorating trends. But the good news is, there are countless places that you can look to get new decorating ideas!

Magazines and Catalogs

Next time you’re in a waiting room, pick up a magazine. Both catalogs and magazines are filled with home decor ideas that are just waiting to be applied. They offer fully decorated rooms, decor styles, furniture, accessories, and feasible layouts.

If you’d like to try a more classic decor style, subscribe to Pottery Barn. If you want to go for a more modern look, an IKEA catalog would give you tons of ideas.

Magazines and catalogs feature not only individual furniture and accessories, but also the concept of a room as a whole with the use of those elements.

Dropping By Furniture and Home Stores

You can also get a glimpse of decor elements in action by visiting a furniture store or walking by a window display. Home decor stores will always have the latest trends in home decor, so if you’re looking for something new, this is definitely the way to go.

Browsing the Internet

Of course, the Internet is another excellent resource of home decor information, and you can sit in your favorite easy chair with your laptop and a cup of coffee as you browse through any of thousands of choices of online stores and magazines. Here you’ll find free tips on home decor, do’s and don’ts, blogs, and articles. Many websites even feature step-by-step articles on DIY home decor, which are a good source of information if you are looking to save some money.

Decorating your home is an exciting, rewarding process. With just a little research and your own unique visions, you can get the house that you’ve always wanted – without ever moving! While home decoration requires work and effort, the results are often satisfying, and in many cases, life changing.


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Home Decor Styles: Unique / DIY

Are you ready to start a home decorating or re-decorating project, but you aren’t interested in getting what everybody else has? Well as you know, when it comes to decorating your home, there are many choices available.  It seems like there is a store selling home decor items on every corner.  But what if you are interested in more unique home decor items?  Fear not – there are many avenues available to find unique items for your home, you just need to know what those avenues are.

Do It Yourself Home Decor – And Do It On A Budget!



One choice for obtaining unique home decor items is to create them yourself.  This is an option for the more adventurous at heart and individuals with a large amount of patience.  There are many home decoration items that can be created by the home owner with a small amount of instruction and a large amount of practice.  Almost anything can be created with a DIY project, but the most popular are blankets, rugs, wind chimes, and bird houses.

Finding instructions on how to create unique home decor items is easy.  Many craft stores carry kits that can be customized by color or fabric while adhering to a basic design.  The best thing about buying these kits is that if you encounter a problem or have a question, you will be able to call a help line number provided with the instructions for the kit.

Other options include finding the directions for a particular project on the internet.  These directions are quite comprehensive and provide step by step instructions on how to manufacture your personal project.  Whether purchasing from a store that carries unique home decor items or crafting them yourself, you are certain to have a great item that will be a conversation piece for many years to come.

Finding Unique Home Decor Items

If purchasing your home decor items at a national chain store where all of your neighbors have frequented does not appeal to you, try using some less conventional shopping options to find unique home decorating items.  One of these lesser known options is to try a local store that sells handmade crafts. Many of these items are the personal work of an individual artist and the items will only be available at that one particular store.

The items sold could be ceramic figurines, hand woven baskets, or unique blankets, throws, and rugs.  There is no predicting what you will find when searching one of these locally owned stores and the prices are comparable to most items found at national chain stores. To be even more sure that your decorations are unique from what your neighbors have, go to out-of-town locally owned stores.

Another option for finding unique decor items is to frequent arts and crafts shows, usually held in the summer.  These art shows bring together up and coming artists from all over the state.  The larger art shows include artist from all areas of the country.  These shows display unique works of arts and crafts created by individual artists that reflect their personal visions.

Because many of the pieces displayed at art shows are hand crafted, there will be only one or two of the items in existence in the entire world.  These items also have a free-ness of form and structure not found in items offered in stores, as these pieces were never designed to appeal to the masses.  The prices for these items may be more expensive than purchasing from a store, due to the uniqueness of the product and the amount of time it took the artist to hand-craft the piece.


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Home Decorating Styles: Modern

Modern home decor is one of the most popular decor styles, in part, because of it’s simplicity. It actually can take on a little bit of the minimalist decorating style in that modern decor does not rely on a large volume of decorations. Rather, the modern decor style focuses on clean lines, modern (even futuristic) looking configurations, sparse decorations, recessed lighting and a planned contrast of color.

The color used in this style of decorating can be dark, bright, rich, colorful and/or bold. Often the walls will contrast with each other and not all the walls will necessarily have the same color when it comes to the modern style. Colors are frequently chosen, in fact, because they contrast well with each other, whether they vary by wall or by room.

Additionally, modern decor will be thought out and chosen carefully in advance. Few pieces of furniture will be selected and often shelves will be mounted on the walls rather than the on the floors because clean space is important with this decor style.. Clean lines are key and furniture is only placed on the floor when absolutely necessary. Often times the only essential furniture that is placed on the floor are the chairs and couches and perhaps a coffee or end table – often made of glass to keep the intended more spacious feeling of the room.

Planning In Advance

When it comes to selecting artwork for your walls, modern home decor will have very particular and well chosen pieces. The artwork should have colors that help reflect the color chosen for the walls. You should only have a few pieces of artwork and they should be of adequate and proper size. There will often only be one or two pieces of artwork on alternate walls since you don’t want a cluttered appearance when it comes to this style of decor.

As with everything else, it is best to select furniture that is simple. Often furniture will have leather or micro fiber since smooth fabrics are important to modern home decor. You won’t frequently find ornate furniture as a part of modern homes. Furniture is often a simple place to sit and nothing else. Coffee or end tables, as mentioned, are often made of glass and simple in design, many times just round or square.

While modern home decor is simple it still provides an air of class to a room or space. People who fancy this decor style go to great lengths to pick out just the right pieces of furniture and decoration in advance to make sure everything contrasts nicely and provides the modern appearance they want. The home will have clean lines and without a lot of knickknacks cluttering up the space.


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