Replace or Reface: Do Your Kitchen Cabinets Need a Facelift?

If your cabinets have seen better days, updating them can give your kitchen a whole new look. To determine if you want to transform your cabinets with a facelift or replace them altogether, compare the advantages and disadvantages of refacing.

What is Refacing?

Refacing your kitchen cabinets entails keeping your existing cabinets and simply freshening them up. This is accomplished by removing the old fronts from the cabinets to expose the framework, which is then refaced with a veneer made from real wood, Rigid Thermofoil (RTF) or plastic laminate. New knobs, pulls, hinges and molding are installed on the cabinets at the time of refacing.
[Read more...]

20 Bathroom Storage Ideas Under $20

Bathroom Storage Ideas

Unless you live in a palace, your bathroom isn’t nearly as big as you need it to be. Sure, it serves its purpose, but even those of us who appreciate small-space living like to keep things organized!

Although square footage may be at a premium, you have lots of options to help you maximize your three-dimensional space. Here are 20 of our favorites that won’t bust your budget.
[Read more...]

The Great Divide: 5 Simple Ways to Split a Room Between Siblings

Siblings

In many families, separate bedrooms for siblings are simply not feasible. And yet, decorating a shared room can be a challenge, especially if you want to allow children to express their own personalities and interests. After all, how do you combine ponies and Transformers or Scooby Doo and The Incredible Hulk?

It sounds challenging. But with some out-of-the-box thinking and creative use of furniture, paint and dividers, you can create a shared space that reflects the individuality of each child.
[Read more...]

20 Little-Known Painting Tips & Tricks

Painting Tips

Few home improvement projects can make as big of an impact with so little money as a fresh coat of paint. Whether it’s a whole-room change of hue, a touch-up on the trim, or a punch of color on an accent wall, paint can make all things old start to feel new again.

We’ve gathered 20 of our favorite painting hacks, tips and tricks to get you started on your adventure into color. They’ll help you paint like a pro, rejuvenate your favorite room and save you time and money on prep, painting and post-project cleanup. If only choosing the right shade of green were so easy!
[Read more...]

10 Easy DIY Household Fixes

Remember the time you paid $200 for a repairman to “fix” your dishwasher only to find out it was just a Lego jamming the spray arm?

DIY Homeowner

Yes, home repairs can be costly, but there are many you can tackle on your own. After all, you’ve got nothing to lose if you try, and hard-earned cash if you don’t!

Here are a few do-it-yourself, money-saving tips to try next time before calling the repairman.

1. The Garbage Disposal Isn’t Working

If there’s no noise at all when you flip the switch on, it’s likely an electrical problem. To be sure, try pressing the reset button on the bottom of the unit and/or see if the circuit breaker has tripped.

If you hear a humming noise but the disposal doesn’t work, there’s likely something being lodged in the disposal. Lower the wooden handle of a broom into the disposal and rotate the flywheel until it turns freely.
[Read more...]

5 Warning Signs to ‘Listen’ for When Hiring a Contractor

Are you ready to remodel your kitchen, build an addition or make energy-saving improvements? You’re not alone. Millions of homeowners are gearing up for home improvement projects. In fact, between 2009 and 2011, 43.7 million homeowners made improvements to their homes, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

If you’re not handy with a hammer, you’ll probably need to call in some professional help. When you’re ready to get a few quotes from contractors, you’ll want to do your homework. Vetting a contractor is time consuming, but necessary. The most recent statistics compiled by the Better Business Bureau (BBB) show 6,000 complaints filed against general contractors in 2011; an 11 percent increase from the previous year.

To make sure you find the right contractor, we’ve compiled some phrases that should serve as warning signs. If a contractor says any of these comments, it’s in your best interest to keep looking. Here’s a list of red-flag comments:

Hiring A Contractor
[Read more...]

5 Tips to Choosing the Right Refrigerator for Your Living Space

There are a lot of choices out there when it comes to buying a refrigerator, and if you have not been in the market for one before, you might not know what you should be looking for to find the one that fits your lifestyle and the space you have available.

Avanti Refrigerator with Door Open

Let’s take a closer look at the options available to you, as well as five tips to help ensure that you pick the right fridge for your situation.

Refrigerator Size Options

There are several different refrigerator sizes available for people with all different space considerations. These appliances generally fall into the following categories:

  • Compact Cube:
    These “office-style” refrigerators are small and provide only a little bit of space to store food and drinks. They range in size from about 1.5 to 3 cubic feet, and generally have room for a few cans of soda or water, today’s lunch, and maybe some condiments.
  • Compact Midsize:
    The next size up is a compact mini fridge, sometimes known as a dorm-style mini fridge. These appliances are designed to be very small and inexpensive, but have enough space to store enough groceries for a few days. These refrigerators generally have a very small amount of freezer space, but with between 3 and 5.5 cubic feet of total storage space they are often small enough to fit under a standard height countertop.
  • Combo Microwave/Fridge:
    For people who are looking for convenience and ease in small spaces, the combination microwave and fridge can be a great option. Combo fridges come in a variety of sizes, with fridges that range from 2 to 9 cubic feet of space, and microwaves that include everything from the basics or more advanced options.
  • Apartment Size:
    If you have a little bit more space, the next step up is the apartment-sized fridge, which offers slim style but is similar in height to more standard refrigerators. They generally range from about 7 to 15 cubic feet (about half the size of traditional refrigerators), but offer similar features to their full-size counterparts, such as drawers, dual-cooling air systems, temperature control, adjustable shelving, and more freezer space than compact models.
  • Full Size & Commercial:
    Of course, if you have the space for it, you can also choose from a wide range of full size and/ or commercial refrigerators. If you have a slightly smaller space but want the functionality of a full size fridge, many brands today offer extra narrow models of popular designs (24 to 28 inches instead of the standard 32 to 36 inches). There are a myriad of features, styles, and configurations to choose from, so it’s important to shop around before you decide on which full-size fridge is right for you.

[Read more...]

Garage Air Conditioning: What’s the Best Cooling Method?

Your garage is an important extension of your home, especially if you use it as space to work on hobbies, keep your cars in good repair, or do other activities. But many people find that the most difficult part of working in the garage is keeping the space cool enough to be comfortable.

A frequently asked question is whether or not portable air conditioning units are an effective solution for garage air conditioning. Let’s explore this scenario a bit further, so you can make the best decision for your garage cooling needs.

[Read more...]

4 Common Freezer Types and Their Benefits

Freezers have become a household necessity since they were first introduced to consumers in the late 1940s. Not only do freezers have the ability to keep foods from developing bacteria or mold and from rotting, but they allow consumers to buy items in bulk so that they can shop less frequently.

Freezers are also the perfect solution for keeping ice cream and other favorite treats frozen and on hand. While there are thousands of makes and models of different kinds of freezers, they can all be separated into the following four basic styles, each with its own unique advantages. Let’s take a closer look at each type of freezer.
[Read more...]

The Dangers of Summer Heat and Humidity

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) approximately 175 Americans die during an average year due to extreme heat conditions. While high temperatures can be especially dangerous for the elderly, children, infants, overweight individuals, and those with underlying medical conditions, even the young and healthy can become susceptible to heat related illness when proper precautions are not taken.

Summer Sun

Summer heat can be particularly deadly when combined with high levels of humidity, since these conditions make it difficult for the body to naturally cool itself—creating a much higher risk of heat-related conditions.

How Humidity Affects the Body’s Natural Cooling Processes

The human body uses a combination of the circulatory system and sweat glands to drive out excess heat. When temperatures rise, blood is forced more quickly through the tiny vessels nearest the skin’s surface — exposing it to the cooling effect of the ambient air. Sweating also occurs, which provides an extra cooling effect as it is evaporated into the atmosphere.

These two processes, increased circulatory movement and perspiration, account for nearly all of the body’s ability to naturally cool itself. This means that when ambient air is warmer than internal body temperatures and high humidity prevents the evaporation of sweat, there is very little that the body can do to cool itself. This can lead to the body storing excess heat, causing core temperatures to rise and the heart rate to increase — which may lead to loss of concentration, irritability, nausea, and eventually heat exhaustion, stroke, or in extreme cases, even death.
[Read more...]