Beautiful Kitchen Makeovers On A Budget

(NAPSI)-Having a brighter, more beautiful kitchen doesn’t have to break your budget. The following tips can provide a recipe for inexpensive, kitchen makeover success.

  • You can update cabinets without replacing them. The easiest update is to refinish or paint them. New knobs and hinges can help pull together a new look. Replacing just the door is less expensive than replacing the whole cabinet. Or you can remove the doors and go for a “country kitchen” shelving look.
  • Freshen up your walls with a new coat of paint. A painted or wallpapered border can define your kitchen’s look or you might want to add some molding to give a bland kitchen more detail.
  • Not ready to replace appliances? You may be able to replace the fronts of some dishwashers and refrigerators to match your cabinets. Or you may be able to paint your appliances with appliance paint.
  • A color theme is an important part of making kitchen elements seem less haphazard. If you’re handy with a sewing machine you can start by making curtains in an appealing fabric and use the same fabric to make other accessories. Keep decorative elements and cookware-from your tea kettle to your tea towels-in the same color theme.
  • An inexpensive do-it-yourself flooring option is self-adhesive tiles. They’re easy to install and come in a wide range of colors.
  • For less than $10, you can get burner covers in a dozen patterns and colors. You can even change your burner covers to reflect the changing seasons.

Range Kleen Mfg., Inc. recently enhanced its offering of more than a dozen decorative burner covers and hot pads by adding a spring pattern, a fall pattern, two holiday patterns and three everyday patterns licensed from well-known and increasingly popular textile designer Travis Spencer.

Range Kleen products include chrome and porcelain drip bowls and pans for gas and electric ranges, replacement knobs and elements, decorative burner covers, stove/counter mats, canister sets, metal dustpans and other kitchen gadgets.

For more information, visit www.rangekleen.com.

Burner covers are one simple, inexpensive way to make your kitchen more attractive.

Home Improvements: Little Things Can Mean A Lot

(NAPSI)-Not all home improvement projects need to be a significant investment of time and resources. No matter how old your home is, a few little updates can result in a new and improved appearance. Whether you opt to do it yourself or hire a handyman, paying attention to a couple of details around the house can make a difference.

“Sprucing up your home, even in seemingly small ways, can add significant value to your property,” says Jim Rocchetta, vice president of marketing for the nationwide home improvement contracting network Handyman Connection. “Even if you’re not putting your home on the market, little projects that can be completed in less than a day can improve the look of your home and give you tremendous satisfaction.”

Rocchetta offers some suggestions for places to look for relatively quick updates.

What’s up? Check out the overhead lighting fixtures around the house. Many styles and options are available to put the room in a new light. Old, worn-out ceiling fans can be replaced with newer, more efficient models.

Noticeable accents: Interior design elements such as crown molding, trim, or a chair rail can add decorative accents to a room with a minimal amount of effort and investment. Small shelves can provide space to display items and complement the décor in the rest of the room.

Bathroom options: Replacing the sink or faucet can provide a completely new look for a bathroom. Even simple changes such as a new showerhead or cabinet hardware can give you a sense of satisfaction.

Look out: The outside of your home may need some attention. A new front door or storm door can increase energy efficiency and provide an upgraded look. Replacement windows are a more expensive consideration, but many products can offer significant energy savings to counter balance the cost.

These kinds of projects are a good fit for homeowners who have to do their home repairs over the weekend. Once you’ve done some planning and obtained the materials, projects such as these can often be finished in a day or less. Or consult with a local, professionally licensed handyman to discuss details and receive a cost estimate.

“The benefits of these ‘little things’ are psychological as well as financial,” adds Rocchetta. “You’ll be justifiably proud of the improvements to your home, and you’ll gain a sense of satisfaction from the successful completion of a project.”

 

Jim Rocchetta is vice president of marketing for Handyman Connection, a nationwide network of home improvement and repair contractors. For more information, call (800) 88-HANDY or visit Handyman Connection online at www.handymanconnection.com.

How To Create A Designer Kitchen

How do you create an attention-grabbing, designer kitchen on a reasonable budget? How do builders and remodelers design kitchens that sizzle? They’ve figured out the secret to creating kitchens that sell. They hire a kitchen designer! So, if builders think kitchen design is a smart idea, do you think it might be worth the investment?

Today’s remodeled kitchen can easily cost $25,000 – $50,000 or more. If you are going make a sizeable investment upgrading your kitchen, you may want to allocate a portion of your budget to kitchen design. Why? Because a good designer comes up with great ideas. You pay for a trained eye to see what you can’t see. A good designer suggests design elements that won’t blow the budget. They know which details are relatively inexpensive, but add significant “punch” to your project.

Once you’ve budgeted money for design (generally 3-5%), now what do you do? Well, before looking for a kitchen designer, start thinking about what want in your kitchen. A kitchen designer will ask you what you have in mind so they can narrow the focus of your design. Is there a specific appliance that you want to make the focal point of your kitchen? Do you like exotic wood cabinets? Or do you just want a kitchen where everything coordinates and flows together?

Before you contact a kitchen designer, you may also want to visit a kitchen appliance dealer. A designer vent hood or an oversized range can serve as a great focal point for your new kitchen. Then you may want to start looking in design magazines, a great source for design ideas. Find the kitchen or the design elements you like in a magazine and simply replicate those ideas that appeal to you. Finally, after you’ve gathered some general ideas of what you want in your kitchen, start looking for a kitchen designer.

Where do you find a good kitchen designer? And once you’ve settled on a designer and come up with a design, how do you know what your design will cost to build? How do you avoid designing a kitchen you can’t afford? Wouldn’t it be helpful if you had some guidance throughout the design process to determine construction costs?

That’s where a “design-build” firm can help. Design-build remodelers offer both design and construction services. When working with a design-build contractor, the designer creates the beauty (the floor plan, the cabinet elevations, the finished material selections, etc.) and the contractor creates the estimate. There’s no more guesswork. When you hire a design-build contractor you know exactly what the design will cost.

Today, there are number of professional remodelers offering design services. Some design-build remodelers provide in-house design services. Other contractors outsource design to kitchen-designer, business partners. The best design-build contractors couple top design talent with professional construction services.

So how do you create a designer kitchen? Since they appreciate the value of good design, you may want to start by looking for a good design-build contractor. Check their work, check their trade associations, look at their project pictures and talk to their designers. A reputable design-build remodeler can be a valuable partner for creating your new designer kitchen!

Author Bio
Stephen Haver is the owner of design-build firm Update Construction, serving Houston, TX since 1992.

www.updateconstruction.com

Article Source: http://www.ArticleGeek.com – Free Website Content

Glass Opens Up Small Bathroom Spaces

The solution to a cramped bathroom is clear. Open the space visually with a clear glass shower enclosure.

(NAPSI)-Creativity makes a big difference when coping with small spaces. Whether in urban areas where space is at a premium or in older homes where the emphasis is purely on the functional use of space, people want to improve appearance and style without knocking down walls. Have no fear: What you lack in square footage can be made up in ingenuity.

If home renovation is on your to-do list, a bathroom remodel is one of the smartest investments you can make. According to the 2006 Cost vs. Value report from Remodeling magazine, the average return on investment for a mid-range bathroom remodel is nearly 85 percent, second only to kitchens when it comes to room remodels. One way to enhance a cramped bathroom is to open the space visually by creating an “invisible wall” with a clear glass shower enclosure. Removing visual barriers, such as opaque shower enclosures and bulky shower curtains, can open the space dramatically and add depth. Clear glass enclosures will also showcase rich materials such as granite, marble and travertine selected for the shower surround.

Custom shower enclosure shops report that unless homeowners have had clear glass enclosures before, they don’t know they can face a challenge in keeping up the appearance of their new investment. In a shower’s high-heat, high-humidity environment, cleaning chemicals, soap and shampoo can cause corrosion and staining of the glass over time. Some homeowners will attempt to protect the glass by applying spray-on or wipe-on treatments, but these coatings eventually wear off.

A permanent solution to the problem of keeping your shower glass looking like new is now available. ShowerGuard™ glass from Guardian Industries is sealed through a patented ion beam process during manufacturing. ShowerGuard glass resists the corrosion that makes enclosures impossible to clean-making it an excellent option for any bathroom remodel.

To learn more about glass shower enclosures and to locate a dealer in your area, visit www.ShowerGuardGlass.com.

Five Easy Furniture Fixes

You can party hearty and still have fine looking furniture if you heed a few hints.

by Bruce Johnson

(NAPSI)-If your home is everyone’s favorite gathering place, you may appreciate some handy hints to keep your furniture in tip-top shape:

  1. Remove white rings. Thanks to all those guests who didn’t put a coaster down under their wine glass, you now have white rings on your coffee table. These white rings are moisture trapped in the finish. To remove them, use ordinary lemon oil and lightly rub on top of the white ring with fine #0000 steel wool.
  2. Conceal scratches. For those pesky little scratches on the finish of your dining table, you don’t necessarily have to refinish the whole surface. Take a Minwax Stain Marker, match the right color marker to the wood and fill in the scratch. You may want to blend more than one color to get the best effect. Then take a clean rag and wipe off excess stain.
  3. Lift candle wax. Candles are great for special occasions but can drip onto furniture. Don’t try to wipe off the wax. This will only drive it further into the finish. Wait until the wax dries and then place an ice cube on top of the wax. This will make the wax brittle so you can scrape it off gently with a plastic scraper or credit card.
  4. Fill in holes. Furniture may get holes from nails or small gouges from wear and tear. For minor nail holes, use a touch of Minwax Wood Putty, that comes in different wood colors to match your furniture. Apply putty into hole and wipe off the excess.
  5. Perk up the finish and add an overall luster to your furniture with a thin coat of Minwax Wipe-On Poly finish. Using a clean rag and a clean surface, apply the finish, working it into the wood and wiping off the excess. This can bring back shine and protect the wood.

For more helpful tips on wood finishing and wood care, visit minwax.com.

 

Bruce Johnson is a noted author, craftsman and expert on wood finishing and antiques restoration.

Faux Fireplace, on the Cheap!

Ideas on making faux fireplaces for the budget impaired!

By Kathleen Wilson

Does the coming winter chill remind you how much you miss the basic element of fire to warm those long nights? Unfortunately, your home’s builder wasn’t the romantic you are, and you have no fireplace. Never fear, The Budget Decorator is here! Ok, so that’s corny, but this project sure isn’t!

The first thing to do is to determine what element you want your fireplace to be made of. A lot of this depends on the formality of your room, and the style of fireplace you choose to make. Paint, tiles, faux bricks, wood molding and plywood, scrap beadboard, it goes on as far as your creativity.

Next, you’ll need to determine how much labor you want to put into the construction. The options range from a flat front “tromp loeil” style fireplace, to a wooden construction of an actual fireplace box and mantle.

Suggestions to get you started:

Faux Stone Fireplace

Mask off the entire area of the fireplace, and paint it a background color-this will be your grout color. Mask off an area that will be the firebox, paint it a matte black color. Take an ordinary household sponge and tear it into several different size irregular pieces, simulating pieces of rock or stone. In a paper plate, pour three earth tone colors of craft paint. Dab the sponge into the paint colors, dont worry about them mixing some, dab off the extra paint so it doesn’t run, then “stamp”stones onto the fireplace background. Continue to alternate sponge sizes, leaving some space between stones for a natural masonry look. Alternatively, if you have access to many smaller stones, how about glueing the stones right to the painted background! Add a mantle;a simple pine shelf will do.Be sure to accessorize the mantle with personal photos, and most importantly, candles! Candles give the impression of fire, and the mantle and firebox complete the illusion. This would be a great choice for an informal rustic space.

Faux Tile Fireplace

Seen those cool contemporary ceramic or stone tiled fireplaces? Easy to do. Same concept as above, except slightly more formal. You could either mask off the tiles with ¼ inch masking tape,and paint them, or if you can get some castoff tiles, you can glue on the real thing. I did mine with leftover faux marble self stick tiles from a floor project, and plain white ceramic tiles are pretty cheap.Hint: If you use self stick tiles, reinforce the adhesive with a glue gun! A flooring store might even have some discontinued tiles they would let you have for free.
Looseends.com sells paper mache stones and brick, although I don’t find them particularly cheap, they are excellent quality, and might be worth it. Or, you could try your hand at making your own. Finish off the fireplace edge and firebox with some cheap wood molding, even lathing strip, and add a mantle!

Classic Faux Fireplace

For the labor loving decorator, you could even construct an actual wood box, the most realistic of the choices! Since I don’t pretend to be even a weekend woodworker, try the plans on discovery daytime (www.discovery.com) from The Christopher Lowell Show.

So, now, I know what I’m doing for the cold nights this coming winter!

Kathy Wilson is an author, columnist, and editor of The Budget Decorator. For hundreds of free budget decorating ideas and to sign up for her free newsletter and ebook, visit her at http://www.TheBudgetDecorator.com

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/

Refresh Your Home With Simple And Small Touches: Elegant Additions Instantly Add Character and Charm to Your Home

(NAPSI)-Selecting home décor is never an easy process, especially for those hard-to-decorate rooms and spaces. From finding the right wall color to selecting the best flooring, furniture and accessories, homeowners are often at a loss.

Trends in home décor quickly come and go, but by following a few simple guidelines, homeowners can make decorating easy instead of frightening. It’s all about finding and matching the perfect pieces to complement your space and your personality. There is no “one size fits all” in home decorating, but lifestyle designer Kathy Ireland has found some ways to universalize décor basics for homeowners. As CEO and chief designer of Kathy Ireland Worldwide, Kathy’s mission statement is “…finding solutions for families, especially busy moms.”

“When taking on home décor projects, following a few guidelines helps make my life as a working mom-and all moms work whether they get paid or not-fun and easy,” said Kathy. “Having elegant and functional pieces with bold and beautiful colors has really added to the style and personality of my home and it can with yours, too.”

Kathy, in her home design work, finds the following solutions most helpful:

  1. Color makes any room come alive. Every color in the rainbow is accessible and can quickly give a room a new look. Hues and intensity can make a difference in the feeling and tone you bring to a room when refreshing its look. Changing the space with color adds spirit and dictates how the color palette will grow as you start to bring in accessories.
  2. Accessories add personality to a home. Your accessories tell a story about you to visitors. They also make your home more inviting and comfortable for you and your family. Families can always rely on Kathy Ireland Home by Franz to bring elegance and personality to any room in their home. The seasonal pieces as well as the everyday collections from the Franz Collection complement existing décor and really bring new elements into the room. The Franz Collection designs hand-painted, hand-sculpted porcelain pieces ranging from functional serving trays and teapots to gorgeous vases and bowls for every room, and the Kathy Ireland Home for Pacific Coast accessories feature designs of different textures and materials.
  3. Grouping and mixing accessories is a key element in making a room or space reflect your style. It is important to use all possible decorative space without making the space look awkward. The Franz Collection lends itself nicely to this, as the pieces are part of specific lines but can be used in different areas of the home and can be grouped with other-sized pieces, making a great aesthetic. Displaying objects, such as two Luminescence teacups and teapot together, is a great addition to a glass-front cupboard or hutch. Grouping items in odd numbers is most appealing to the eye while showing off your beautiful, usable pieces of art for the home.
  4. Another easy way to brighten a space is to accessorize with flowers. Vases can really add to a room and a bold vase really makes a difference as a focal point. To put together a special arrangement, bring a bright and colorful vase, such as the Luminescence Vase from Kathy Ireland Home by Franz, to your local florist for a special occasion. Professionals can help design a custom arrangement that complements the vase and incorporates style and quality into any room in the house, and help you feel confident in your own designs because flowers from your supermarket or garden also work beautifully with this vase. Homeowners can find retailers in their area who carry Kathy Ireland Home accessories at www.kathyireland.com or more items from The Franz Collection at www.franzcollection.com.

Dress Up Your Walls With These Simple Weekend Projects

(ARA) – You’ve bought new furniture, rugs and window treatments. But what about the walls? Before rushing to purchase overpriced framed art, consider making your walls the masterpiece of the room. If you would like to make a considerable alteration to a room without undertaking a complete renovation, wainscoting and crown molding are efficient and beautiful solutions.

The rich look of wood wainscoting can dramatically transform any room into a warm and inviting space, while crown molding accentuates with elegance. These accents will frame the walls, much like a frame embellishes a work of art, and there are many styles available to suit any décor.

Wainscoting

The first decision to make when approaching this project is whether to use traditional tongue-and-groove wainscoting or beadboard panels. Often sold in a kit, tongue-and-groove wainscoting is installed by adding it to the wall in individual planks. A more time-efficient option is beadboard. Beadboard panels are crafted with rounded profiles, or beads, making the individual planks undetectable to the eye. Either approach will render a beautiful result without noticeable seams and are easy to install with an advanced, non-staining construction adhesive such as Liquid Nails Paneling & Molding formula.

Crown Molding

Crown molding is typically sold in eight-foot lengths, and comes in a wide variety of styles, from traditional to contemporary. Cutting and sawing crown molding is not complicated, but it does take some preparation. For best results, build in time to practice cutting and fitting the molding for fewer mistakes.

When installing crown molding, construction adhesive can provide a virtual “extra pair of hands.” Apply the appropriate construction adhesive for added durability and to reduce the number of overall nails needed for the project.

Your local home improvement store can assist you in selecting the right wainscoting and crown molding for the project, and give you helpful tips and tricks to make them beautiful additions to your home. For product information and instructions, log on to www.liquidnails.com.

Courtesy of ARA Content

Choosing Colors For Your Home

Choosing colors for your home is a very personal experience. It’s all about you: your interests and your senses

(NAPSI)-Did you know that there are more than 200 shades of blue and more than 100 shades of white? Choosing a paint color can be overwhelming. Fortunately, finding just the right colors for your home can be easy if you follow four tips from the experts:

1. Find your inspiration. Just because you haven’t thought about wall colors before doesn’t mean you don’t have favorites. Start with something you love–a fabric, a pillow or a piece of artwork that you are truly drawn to can serve as the inspiration for decorating.

If you still have no ideas, try the Color Sense Game, an engaging mix of psychology and color science that can help identify and communicate your tastes. It’s available from Pittsburgh Paints at www.voiceofcolor.com.

2. It’s never just about one color. What you want is a color harmony family that includes a range of colors.

Do you prefer colors that remind you of the sea, the forest or do you want bold contrast? Decorating requires the interplay of colors and light to be appealing.

3. Choose a collection. Good paint manufacturers have harmonious collections of colors to choose from.

Pittsburgh Paints offers innovative five-color color swatches that provide color opportunities for not only paint, but all the decorating elements in your space.

Use the 60:30:10 ratio of color. Chose a dominant color that will be used on 60 percent of the room (walls, floors, fabric, furniture). Then choose an intermediate color for ceilings, cabinets and smaller furniture. Finally, incorporate one or two accents of the third color (trim and molding, pillows, rugs, accessories).

To create a room of interest and warmth, your decorating palette should appear intentional. To achieve this, each key color must appear at least twice in a decor.

4. Try it on. You wouldn’t buy clothing without trying it on so why go out and buy a whole gallon of paint?

Paint manufacturers offer two-ounce trial-size paint samples. That way, you can see what the paint looks like on the wall. These samples can be purchased at retail paint stores or online at www.voiceofcolor.com.

When applying, make sure the test area is clean and dry and remember that some colors may need two coats.

Semigloss paint is very forgiving for stains, and highly reflective gloss is the toughest and most durable.

For more tips and information, visit www.voiceofcolor.com.

Budget Home Décor Designed with Lace

Unique and Elegant Decorating Ideas

The detail of fine lace fabric is extraordinarily beautiful. The unique designs and intricate features are interesting and highly ornamental. Lace fabric has many creative uses that go far beyond tablecloths and curtains. If you love the look of lace, you can easily decorate with old lace fabric in many unique and creative ways. Worn lace curtains or an old lace tablecloth can be used to add a great deal of beauty and appeal to home decor.

Consider the following budget ways to decorate using old lace fabric. You can turn ordinary home decor and furnishings into extraordinary works of art while recycling old lace fabric that might have otherwise been thrown away. Artistic talent is not required for these simple and budget-friendly home decorating ideas.

Give a Table a Budget Facelift with Lace

Lace material from an old curtain or tablecloth makes a fantastic stencil. If you have an end table or a nightstand that could use a facelift, instead of redoing the entire piece with costly refinishing products, consider giving it a completely new look using lace fabric and paint. This is a great way to redo a wood tabletop without spending a lot of time or money, and the results are outstanding.

Begin by protecting the edges of the table with painter’s tape. Next, prepare the tabletop with primer and a base coat of paint in a color of your choice according to product label instructions. After the paint has dried, cover the tabletop with a piece of wrinkle-free lace fabric. Lightly spray paint over the fabric, and allow the paint to dry for several minutes before removing the fabric. The fabric stencil will create a beautiful pattern that will be ideal for furnishing a bedroom or any other room that would look lovely with uniquely embellished and lacy decor.

Easy Budget-Friendly Placemats

To add a touch of lace to kitchen or dining room decor, consider making simple laminated lace placemats using clear adhesive vinyl and old lace fabric. These budget placemats are easy to make, and better yet, they are easy to wipe clean. They add a touch of elegance and class to any decor.

Consider practicing with scraps of clear vinyl adhesive and small pieces of lace fabric before making the placemats. They also make unique and beautiful little bookmarks that make great gifts. This is a great way to use scraps of lace material that might otherwise end up in the trash.

To make the first placemat, cut two sheets of clear adhesive vinyl to the appropriate size, and carefully lay the first piece, adhesive side up, on a clean flat surface. Cut a section of lace to fit the center of the clear vinyl while leaving at least one inch around the edges. Carefully center the fabric over the clear adhesive vinyl. Smooth it into place, and carefully place the second clear adhesive sheet over the fabric. Smooth it into place, and use a needle to pop any air bubbles. Use pinking shears or decorative-edge scissors and a ruler to complete the edges of these easy yet elegant budget placemats.

Inexpensive Lace Mated Photos

Framed mated photos and works of art add a great deal of style and interest to home decor, but a photo or work of art mated and framed by lace looks exceptionally lovely. Consider wrapping an ordinary mat with old lace fabric for elegant romantic appeal. Lace framed photos and works of art look beautiful when placed in a bedroom or any room with old-fashioned charm.

Simply coat a precut mat with high-quality spray adhesive, and wrap the mat as you would wrap a gift. Cut off excess fabric as necessary, and fold the corners over the back of the mat for a neat and seamless appearance. Complete the project by framing the piece as usual. Hang it on a wall or place it in any location that could use a little elegance and unique decorative appeal.

Budget Candle Holders

If you have ordinary glass candleholders that lack style and design, give them a completely new look with a little leftover lace. For an elegant and exceptionally stylish candle display, wrap ordinary glass votive cups with section of pretty lace. Attach it with self-adhesive strips or a little double-sided clear tape. Add a colorful candle, and when the candle is lit, the light will shine through the intricate designs and create a beautiful display unlike any other.

Anytime you have leftover lace from window treatments or an old table covering, keep it for these and many other unique uses around the home. With a little imagination and creativity, you can turn ordinary furnishings and accessories into unique and stunning budget home decor. Besides recycling fabric that might otherwise end up in a landfill, you will add a great deal of beauty and designer appeal to your home without spending a lot of money.

For more unique ideas offered by senior staff writer Jessica Ackerman, visit Wall Decor and Home Accents.com. There you will find countless creative ideas on decorating walls with breathtaking architectural pieces, metal wall hangings, impressive wall art, wrought iron wall decor, iron wall wine racks, and much, much more.