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The Internet’s Broad Home Improvement Resources

The World Wide Web, commonly referred to as the internet, is one of the best home improvement resources. For home improvement ideas, simply search over your favorite internet browser and you will find thousands of sites dedicated to improvement and renovation projects. These web pages are rich with how-to information, step-by-step do-it-yourself guides, contacts for local contractors and reviews of house improvement services.

Using online mapping sites is very ideal in finding local contractors and hardware stores in your area. Conveniently in front of your computer, you can search and browse for home improvement shops. Usually, store reviews are also presented.

In addition to store reviews, the internet also provides lots of product reviews. If you are planning to buy a new home improvement item, take the time to check the product reviews from various resources online. By doing so, you can learn about the pros and cons of certain products which have been used and tested by customers like you. Information on price, durability, power and ease of use are the common concerns covered in these product reviews.

Online quotations are often provided by home improvement websites. With these quotations, you can easily have an idea regarding the project’s price and the estimated cost of materials. Online quotes are great tools to give you a fairly accurate idea of the expenses you would have.

How-to’s and do-it-yourself guides are to be found on many online home improvement resources. The internet offers tips on everything about home renovation projects, even about the smallest and simplest task of hanging a picture frame on the wall.

There are also many web communities where you can connect with other individuals engaged in home projects. These message boards, forums and web communities are filled with helpful tips and advices. By joining one, or by simply reading the online pages of these resources, you can have your questions answered without having to pay for professional help.

How to Choose the Right Paint Finish for Your Home Projects

Throughout the years, I have consulted with clients on how to choose the right finishes for their paint projects…here is a quick reference guideline:

Flat – good for ceilings throughout the house except for kitchens and bathrooms. Flat is NOT recommended for your walls because it is NOT very forgiving. I liken it to a chalkboard. If you accidentally rub furniture against the wall, touch the wall with dirty hands or worse, a child writes on the wall, you have every little to no recourse but to repaint.

Eggshell – highly recommended for walls throughout the house except for kitchens and bathrooms. It has a little bit of a sheen which allows you to wipe away any “accidents” as indicated above.

Satin – this is my recommendation for kitchen and bath areas. Most painters recommend semi-gloss, but semi-gloss is too shiny and tends to look very industrial (like a hospital). Satin offers ease of cleaning without the glossy overkill. It’s a lot more sophisticated and modern.

Semi-Gloss – perfect for doors and trim. It offers the ease of cleaning (you just wipe it down with a damp sponge or cloth) with just the right contrast against your eggshell walls to make your woodwork pop.

A few extra tips to keep in mind:

  • Be careful when doing touch-ups. Make sure it is the right finish. I have seen on more than one occasion when the wrong finish was used to do touch-ups and the walls end up looking like it has a skin condition. If the original paint finish is flat, make sure to touch up using the same flat paint. If the original paint finish is semi-gloss, make sure to touch up using the same semi-gloss paint. Paint finishes are not interchangeable. You will notice a difference, even between semi-gloss and high-gloss. Don’t try to cut corners because it will cost you more in time, effort and money in the long run!
  • If it’s been a few years since the walls have been painted, touch up is not the right solution. Wall colors tend to fade from the sun and dust and dirt will also change the wall color.
  • Avoid painting EVERYTHING (walls, doors, trim) the same finish). There is no contrast and it just looks bad!!! If you’re going to put forth the effort, do it right! The only time I recommend painting the wall and the baseboard the same color is when you have the builder’s grade 1 inch baseboards. It’s not worth highlighting those baseboards with a contrasting paint color. If the budget does not allow for upgrading the baseboards, painting the wall and the old baseboard the same color and finish allows it to blend together and bring less attention to the inferior trim.
  • Check the paint color in the room that you’ll be painting that color in…colors tend to look different in different light. Better yet, get a sample and paint a swatch on the wall for best results.
  • Remember, color is your friend. Don’t be afraid to add a little color to your home…it makes furnishings, paintings, everything look better!

Paint is the least expensive home improvement resource with the most return on investment. Choose wisely and enjoy the rewards!

Home Improvement: Landscaping Ideas for the Front Yard

Whether you are buying or selling a home, the front yard is the first thing that people look at. Without curb appeal, it is impossible to sell a home because buyers are often turned off by unkempt yards. Many home owners associations require you to keep up your yard or you could be fined. The unattractiveness of a yard can actually bring down property value, a quality your neighbors will not appreciate. Luckily, there are many things you can do to improve the look of your front yard.

Most homes of the year win because of their exceptional green grass. Some grasses have thick course blades, and others are more thin and smooth and grow thicker. However, different grass grows in different kinds of soil. Ask someone in your local home improvement store which grass grows best in your area.

Planting a flower garden is one of the easiest things you can do to improve your yard. It is important to find flowers with height and colors that complement each other. Just like the house required planning to build, a good garden requires planning. Researching types of flowers and whether or not they are perennial or annual will help you plant a better garden.

Trees also help to improve the look of a front yard. Palmetto trees often look nice at the edge of the curb. Two Dogwood trees, one at either side of the yard, bring color to your yard in the spring and summer and add curb appeal to your home. One Dogwood in the middle of the yard also adds color and style.

Regardless of what type of tree you decide to put in your yard, be sure to plant it so that it is at least 5 feet away from your home when fully grown. Homes need room to breathe; having a tree planted too close could eventually cause the home to rot where air is not coming through. Keep an eye on branches so that they do not tower over the roof of your home and become a potential hazard.

If your front yard is big enough, another idea that helps bring a look of tranquility to the yard is a small pond or fountain. If you decide to place a pond in your front yard, adding some stones and rocks to the outside and planting lily pads will bring a unique look and design to your front yard. Bird baths also help enhance the look of a yard, and the birds are entertaining to watch.

When landscaping your front yard, have fun with it. This is your yard, and your art project.