Three Simple Home Improvement Ideas to Improve Your Lifestyle

In recent years, Americans have become incredibly fascinated by several home improvement shows that appear on TV. TV personalities on networks like HGTV and on shows like Extreme Home Makeover have done an excellent job of getting Americans interested in various home improvement projects. People are not only watching those shows recreationally anymore, but they’re also getting inspired, and they’re coming up with their own ideas about various home repair projects they’d like to undertake on their own.

In the last few years, the construction industry has seen a real decline as Americans have started focusing more on putting time, effort and money into improving the houses that they already own, rather than on building new ones. Here are just a few easy home renovation projects that have become very common across the country and some tips on how you can start some of them.

3. Get new windows. If you live in an old and drafty house, then it’s time for you to consider a window replacement project. You can take out your old windows and then put some new ones in that are much more energy efficient. Since newer windows are thicker, they’ll do a much better job of keeping your house warm during the winter and cool during the summer. After you’ve made the switch, you can recycle your old windows, and you may be able to qualify for special tax credits if your new windows meet some energy efficiency standards set by the U.S. government. Even if the weather doesn’t get cold where you live, you’ll want to be able to utilize newer and better windows so you can help keep the heat out.

2. Install a central heating, venting and air-conditioning system. After your windows are no longer susceptible to large drafts, it’s a wise idea to install a central HVAC system so you can better regulate the temperatures inside your property. Instead of utilizing inefficient space heaters, ceiling or box fans and window air-conditioning units, you can save money by installing a central system. By utilizing a central system, you can keep the temperature of your whole house steady, instead of having to deal with hot or cold spots in various places of your home. Additionally, you’ll feel much more comfortable and you won’t have to look at ugly units that take up a lot of space in your home.

1. Replace the wood on the outside of your house with plastic siding. Surprisingly enough, siding really resembles wood, especially from a distance, and it is much easier to take care of. Instead of having to repaint the outside of your house every few years, you can simply wash your house if it gets dirty. The new plastic exterior will look a lot like wood, but it won’t chip or get moldy like real wood can. Additionally, plastic is much more durable than wood, so you’ll never have to deal with replacing broken boards either. With so many advantages to building with plastic, it’s surprising that anyone still continues to live with wood on the outside of their home.

Making Home Improvement Changes To The Bathroom Quick And Easy

If you have ever owned a home, you may plan to have some home improvement tasks for the bathroom after some time of stay. While a lot of us are unfamiliar with how to go about, that doesn’t mean we cannot start our very own DIY projects. Let us take a look at some of the ideas that to liven up that bathroom of yours.

If your bathroom looks old and lifeless, there are actually quick and easy fixes to liven the appearance of your home almost instantly. Consider replacing floor covering, throw on a new paint of coating, or getting new sets of bathroom towels and a new shower curtain. They simply give life to any bathroom instantly.

When getting bathroom towels, you can choose deeper colors or the ones with patterns. Even though white displays some form of elegance, the color is already too commonly used in most bathrooms. If you think out of the box, any bathroom accessories like bath towels, bath robes, bath mats and such can be used for decorative purposes. All you need to do is to match them correctly with the main bathroom decoration and importantly, choose colors that will not make you bored after a while.

If your bathroom is large enough, you can consider placing plants at some corners for a greener and natural look. Take note to get the ones which have higher tolerance to light and high humility. On top of that, install decorative lighting fixtures on the walls and ceiling, putting dimmer light switches and using some beautifully hand-crafted baskets for your bath accessories. Paint the walls or plaster with them with tiles to match your bathroom theme.

On the contrary, if the bathroom is not large enough for so many bathroom accessories, try to create some areas yourself. For example, installing shelves on the walls for larger storage and aesthetical bathroom displays or you could simply place a full-height cabinet at the side showcasing all your beautiful bath sets.

After all that has been completed, it is vital that you take the effort to maintain the bathroom’s cleanliness. After all, it is probably one of the easiest places at home to get dirty especially mold build-ups after a hot shower. Make an effort to clean at least once a week by scrubbing the walls and tiles, mirrors and such. Never reuse bath towels for more than 3 days as it can be very dirty very easily.

Get Organized For Your Home Improvement

Get your home improvement projects off to a better start and finish with good organization – from the get-go. With organization, you can have everything you need for your project at your finger tips, all in one central location. Plus you’ll be able to work from start to finish without wasting precious time, energy and funds looking for and replacing things (instructions, tools, nails, blueprints, measuring tape, etc.) for your projects. So get ready, here are some helpful tips on how to get organized with your home improvement projects.

Basic Organizing for Your Tools & Projects

Your mission here, should you decide to accept it, is to set up a central information and storage where you have everything all in one place. This system does not need to be expensive and fancy; it just needs to work – for you.

Start by looking around your home environment for a place to set up your organizational headquarters; a shed, basement area, garage area, barn or other out building, for example. And in no particular order, begin working on your organization there with the following main points of focus:

- Establish an information center for all of your documents: work orders, project plans and blueprints, receipts, equipment instructions, etc. If can be an old metal file cabinet or toolbox with drawers, sturdy wipe-down plastic carrying containers that you can stack, an old chest of drawers or some odds and ends shelving units.

- Then using the storage space, insert files and folders for your project materials brochures, instructions, receipts, bids, etc. The results will be all your info in one main place for handy, convenient access round the clock.

- Set up an area for your continuing training and other educational materials: books, how-to videos, audio cassettes, home improvement magazines, helpful articles copied off the Internet, guides, reports and other learning materials.

- Insert some small boxes or other types of storage containers to hold small tools like pencils, pens, note tablets, rulers, tape, glue, tape measures, etc.

- Then arrange your equipment in larger surrounding storage units, shelves, cabinets, bins, and on wall hooks. Check out organizational aids at local hardware stores and stores like Wal-Mart or Target or wholesale / discount centers for good buys.

By planning ahead, you’ll be ready for your projects from start to finish. The time you save looking for things and the money you save on buying duplicate items (because you can’t find them), can them be invested in your projects – or more fun tools and storage equipment!

What to Do If You Have a Poorly Done Home Improvement Remodeling Project in a Home You Buy

Many people like to buy “fixer-upper” homes to save money on their house purchase. Others think they are getting a well-built house only to find out after they move in that there was a home improvement remodeling attempt that went awry. If you know that you are facing the disastrous results of someone else’s shoddy work, you have to take the problems one step at a time.

1. Foundation Problems

If there has been an addition put onto your house, check the foundation to make sure it is level. Drop a marble on the floor and see if it rolls quickly to one side of the room, indicating a slope in that direction. Check outside to see if the new part of the foundation is intact, without crumbling or cracks.

If the foundation on the new section is not up to par, it may need some rework. For a foundation that is settling faster than the main house foundation is settling, you might have to use hydraulic jacks to level it. You might have to bring in a backhoe and fill in dirt under the foundation if it has washed away. Mud-jacking is one solution for sinking foundations. You may need to use epoxy or cement if you have cracks in the foundation. These are home improvement remodeling tasks that are hard work, are very important, but are not immediately noticed by many people.

2. Water Damage

Look for water damage in places where moisture accumulates. Check the bathroom to make sure that the home improvement remodeling do-it-yourselfer used the correct materials to create a moisture barrier. Check newly installed windows to ensure that they were put in properly, with no room for water to leak into the room or into the wall.

If you find water coming into the house anywhere, you might need to do a corrective home improvement remodeling project to fix the problem. You might need to reinstall the windows, or have new ones put in if those are damaged by the water leakage. You might need to have an entire bathroom remodeling job done. Whatever you do, make sure you find out exactly where the previous remodeler went wrong and make the necessary changes. You will find that a home remodeling company has all the information needed to overcome all these water-related problems.

3. Faulty Wiring

The person who had the home before you did may have started an ambitious home improvement remodeling rewiring project without the necessary skills to pull it off. If you see sparks, bare wires, missing outlet covers, outlets that do not work, or have breakers that are constantly tripping, you might have a wiring problem.

If you are very experienced at working with electrical systems, you may be able to fix the problem yourself. You will just need to set aside a time when the household will be able to be without electricity while you work. Then, use your skills to restring wiring, rewire plugs, reorganize junction boxes and make sure there are no splices, and reapportion the circuits on the breaker box so that it is at its safest and most productive. If you do not have these skills, it is better to leave this home improvement remodeling job to an experienced remodeling company.

Low Cost Home Improvements That Add Value and Sell Your House Quicker

Whether you are thinking of selling your home or just wanting to improve it, when money is so tight, it is a good idea to spend wisely to hopefully increase the value of your home. Improving the right areas of your home makes it more attractive to prospective buyers and saves you making costly mistakes. Even though you are on a budget you first need to look at other similar homes in your area to see ‘the competition’. With a critical eye, work out where you house falls short of the competition. If it helps, ask a friend, one who will be honest with you, so they can give an independent opinion.

You should have a list of what your competition has and what areas around the house your home needs to make improvement. Now it’s time to take action.

Before you even get the DIY tools out… declutter. Time spent here can be your biggest and best home improvement investment.

When people buy a house they are wanting to see light and airy properties, they are buying space, so give them space. Tidy up, throw things away you don’t use, and store what’s left properly.

Nothing puts viewers off more, than a mess. Don’t just take my word for it. An ING Direct survey (Aug 2012) found that 41% of prospective buyers would put in a lower offer, if the house they were viewing had untidy kids bedrooms. What you want to do is show off each room to its best and you can’t do this if there’s too much clutter everywhere. They want to see how the property’s space can work for them, with their own stuff. If they see it not working for you, ie not enough living space and not enough storage space, then it will be a turn off.

First Impressions
First impressions count, so you should consider the ‘curb appeal’ of your property. It might seem ‘corny’ but adding hanging baskets or even window boxes improves the appearance of a house and gives the impression of it being cared for.

Hall & Living Room
Consider how people view a property. The Hall and Living room are usually what people see first, so these rooms should be welcoming and create a good impression. Some simple home interior decorating can make the hall feel inviting, light and bright. Add pictures and an interesting mirror to reflect some light.

Worn out seating? You don’t need to buy new ones you just need to recover the old ones, or use throws in neutral colours with colour statemented cushions which all goes to improve the look for a lounge. Check the storage in a living room. If the kids use it as a play room then make sure there’s a storage box to keep everything tidy when they aren’t there. Put some sets of shelves up, perhaps in an alcove area.

Kitchen & Bathroom
The other most looked at rooms are the kitchen and bathroom. In the kitchen food is prepared and perhaps a place for entertaining so it should be giving the impression of being clean. The bathroom should have a relaxing feel and give the impression that you would be happy to unwind there in a relaxing bath.

When viewings take place people want to see at least a standard well maintained bathroom suite, so replace any discoloured bathroom fittings like a toilet bowl.

Landscaping
Where there is a garden but it’s either unkept or paved, consider some landscaping. It doesn’t need to be over the top and you don’t need to spend a fortune at the garden centre, but just bring it up to the standard of what would be considered the norm for the area.

Décor
OK so you’ve seen all the property makeover shows where they make neutral coloured interiors. It’s for a reason. Outdated or highly personal décor can put buyers off, so get rid of the purple walls, please. The ING Direct survey found that 1 in 6 buyers would be put off by ‘clashing’ colour schemes.

Standard of maintenance
If there’s something that needs fixing, then get it fixed. You might have lived with it, but what will buyers think? I’ll tell you, they will probably think “Oh look this is broken, cracked or flaky paint, what else is unkept or badly maintained?” If there’s a list of things that need doing and you don’t get them fixed, then at best expect offers to come in lower than you had hoped, or at worst expect far fewer offers and longer for them to be made. People want to move in straight away and perhaps make their own mark by painting a wall purple but at least they know everywhere is clean and well kept and it only needs a lick of paint to make it their home.