DIY: Warm Your Home Up This Winter

do it yourself (diy) tips

Moving into a new home during the winter can be difficult. Maybe you are moving to Connecticut from somewhere much warmer, and this is your first New England winter. Or maybe you are already an experienced New Englander, but struggling to make your new home warm and inviting for the winter. Here are a few do it yourself tips to help you create a cozy place to share with your loved ones this winter:

1. Reading nook.

There is something warm and inviting about tiny spaces brimming with light and a comfortable seat to cozy up with a good book. Create a spot where you can curl up with a good read while the snow is flurrying by outside your windows. A corner by the fireplace, a niche under the stairs, or a bright window seat are all fabulous choices for a winter reading nook. A cozy reading nook will keep you from wasting the winter away on the couch in front of the TV!

2. Family game spot.

Another alternative to binge-watching ten seasons of your favorite TV show over the winter is a lot of family game time. Even the most reluctant kids are sure to have fun engaging in a family game if you make a great spot dedicated to this purpose. Get all those board games out of the dusty depths of whatever closet they are in and bring them out into the light. Store these games and other project materials in open shelving in a common area of the house, and add a small table where everyone can sit and enjoy some family fun.

3. Brighten up.

Nothing warms a home better than light. It has to be the right kind of light, of course-no harsh fluorescent bulbs that make your home feel like a supermarket. Keep plenty of floor and table lamps handy, and add three-way bulbs to control the amount of light. Dimmers come in handy for recessed lighting, and white twinkle lights are a great addition all winter (not just during Christmas!). Adding white twinkle lights to bedrooms around windows or behind sheer white curtains gives the room a soft, magical glow.

4. Warmth of the fire.

If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace in your new home (which are fairly common in CT), light it up. Take advantage of this beautiful spot to build your own warm, roaring fire on a cold winter day. Decorate your fireplace mantle with your favorite photos and mementos, and relax while you enjoy the warmth and crackle of the fire. If your fireplace is located in a large open area, bring a candle-lit table in for a special winter dinner.

5. Pile on the blankets (and rugs!).

Cover the backs of chairs and sofas with soft, snug blankets – they warm up the decor in the room plus they come in handy when you need to warm up yourself. Cover cold tile and wood floors with area rugs-your feet will thank you, and your home will feel much cozier.

Please feel free to contact us for more ways to warm up your new home this winter!

Holiday Home Helper: 12 DIY tips for a fresh New Year

Nothing inspires a week long cleaning marathon quite like the impending threat of holiday houseguests. Everything from polishing the silver to vacuuming the curtains to dusting the light fixtures is on the to-do list, along with groceries, homework and an ever-expanding mound of laundry. The last thing we want to think about is costly, time-consuming home renovations. But what about not-so-costly, quick and easy living improvements that give your home a new look and great feel?

Give your home a holiday boost with these DIY tips and home improvements.

Replace old light fixtures with unique new chandeliers. It will brighten up your living space and make it feel more personal and complete.

New hardware is an inexpensive and easy upgrade for kitchen and bathroom cabinetry. Don’t forget the towel hangers and hooks!

Decorative window film adds a soft elegance to dining room windows in addition to subtle privacy.

Mount a row of hooks over your kitchen counter or inside cabinet doors to store hand towels, cooking utensils and other regularly used items out of eyesight but within easy reach.

Install new house numbers outside your front door, fence, or curb by the road to make you easier to find.

Hang a shelf above a doorway. Paint a shelf and two brackets the same color as your trim, then attach at the studs flanking the door. Use it to display decorative dishes, knickknacks or travel souvenirs.

Fix battery powered LED lighting to the underside of your kitchen cabinets to instantly illuminate your counter space.

Doorways aren’t the only place for shelves. Empty walls and cubbyholes will benefit from a slab or two, adding storage and making the blank space more visually pleasing.

Add finials to your staircase for a more elegant and finished look.

Repaint your front door a fresh, lively color to create an upbeat entry way.

Old and outdated backsplash can be given new life with a fresh coat of paint too. Just scuff up the tiles with a bit of medium grain sand paper and roll on one to two coats of paint.

Replace your old, worn out light switch and outlet covers with clean new ones. These can also be painted for a unique and more personal look.

Just a few of these small upgrades will make a noticeable difference in your day-to-day life, and add to the ease and joy of living and working inside your home.

Wishing you a cozy holiday season!

Don’t forget to contact us with questions or comments!

DIY Tips: Eight Clever Bathroom Remodeling Ideas When You Are on a Budget and Want to Sell Your Home (Part II)

“We need to have our bathroom remodeled so we can put this house on the market,” you say to your significant other. But a bathroom remodel doesn’t come cheap when you’re on a budget; the cost ranges between $10,000 and $15,000—and that’s just an ordinary renovation. That’s money you don’t currently have, but it’s okay. Last week we checked out the first four of the eight DIY tips for updating your bathroom when you’re on a budget. Now, let’s look over the last fabulous four ideas.

Use Less Tile

Let’s face it, tile is really expensive—particularly if you employ a contractor to put it in for you. To save the green stuff, use tile sparingly. Apply a horizontal strip of tile on one wall and paint the other walls. You could also only install tile on your floor which is a high-impact area.

But if you have to have that expensive, artistic tile you’ve had your eye on for months, then just purchase a few of them and use them as an accent piece beside less expensive tile. You’ll save plenty of money and the artistic tile will really pop.

Paint to Your Heart’s Content

You don’t have a pile of money to spend? That’s okay, painting is a terrific way to give your bathroom a fresh look and it’s the least expensive. Buy a satin finish, top-quality paint because a bathroom can become humid and mildew and mold like to grow there. Applying a special bathroom ceiling paint is a good investment as it aids in resisting mold growth.

Keep in mind, though, that this won’t be a quick paint job—even if your bathroom is the smallest room in your home. You’re going to need a healthy supply of painter’s tape and patience as you paint gently and slowly around the tub or shower, mirror, switch plates, floor, window, sink, toilet and wall corners.

Renew Grout and Caulk

This is a great—and often neglected—way to update your bathroom at a low cost. When grout and caulk gets dirty, it looks disgusting. For just a few bucks you can make your bathroom glisten by applying clean, straight lines of caulk around your sink and tub and washing the grout

Upgrade to “Green”

When creating an up-to-date bathroom, remember the environment. By purchasing repurposing materials you can look for good ideas. A brilliant idea is to make soap dispensers out of mason canning jars.

Low-flow shower heads, toilets and sinks will save money in addition to saving water. Additionally, traditional faucets and shower heads are priced less than or the same as water-saving ones.

Would you like another awesome idea? Search for three antique, cool-looking tin cans. Grab an old, 2-foot plank and drill the tin cans beside one another into the plank. Next, drill the plank into the bathroom wall. Now you’ve got really neat storage for your bathroom amenities such as toothpaste, Q-tips, toothbrushes and combs and brushes. Likewise, you can utilize old barn wood for shelves.

Whenever you use something old, you’ll decrease your consumption and will most likely save money. But remember to give back; donate any items that you remove from your bathroom to Habitat for Humanity ReStore or your neighborhood Goodwill store.

In addition to these wonderful ideas, there’s more good news! When you want to sell your home, the bathroom upgrade will add value. You could receive a good amount of money that you put into the remodel.

So, you see, you don’t need to take out a second loan on your house just to pay for a bathroom upgrade. These eight fantastic ideas will spruce up your bath and make it look like you went all out with renovations. Please contact us when you’re ready to sell your home.

Pumpkins and Apples and Leaves-Oh My! 5 Warm and Cozy Autumn DIY Decorating Tips For Your Home

Any New Englander knows that autumn is hands down the best time of year. The air has turned crisp, cool, and comfortable, football season is in full swing, and the breeze always seems to carry the smell of warm apple pies. So whether you are new to the area, or a veteran of the quintessential New England autumn, embrace the season and have some fun by dressing up your house. Check out these awesome autumn DIY decorating tips for outside your home:

1. Pumpkin Wreath Chandelier

Who knows decorating better than Martha Stewart? This rustic decoration is a charming way to light your porch and welcome guests on a cool fall evening. The warm colors from fallen leaves and miniature pumpkins casts a cozy glow over your home. Make several and hang them from ceiling hooks in front of your windows for an inviting atmosphere. This project is fairly simple and uses easy-to-find materials like miniature pumpkins, leaves from your lawn, and a grapevine wreath. Get the simple directions here.

2. Repurposed Porch Decor

As those of us living in Connecticut know, the state is an antiques hot spot. If you love finding incredible old treasures and turning them into something new, check out the Connecticut Antiques Trail. You can find some of the materials to make a beautiful autumn porch display. A delightful old wagon filled with gourds, an antique frame turned chalkboard (with a welcoming message!), a rustic basket overflowing with mums, and a warm, fuzzy plaid blanket create a porch decoration that makes your home look warm and fuzzy.

3. Apples, Apples, Apples!

Don’t restrict your use of apples this autumn to pies and cider-in addition to being supremely tasty, they also make excellent decorations! This adorable rustic apple porch decor will make people want to stop in off the street for a seat at your charming home. Your porch will exude homespun warmth with a hand-painted, apple-green table adorned with a red and white plaid tablecloth. Top your table with mason jars full of cider and autumn tableware. Add large hay bales for seats, wooden crates topped with yellow mums, and a wooden wheelbarrow brimming with fresh apples.

4. Mailbox Magic

Why stop at the front door? Bring your autumn decorations all the way to the street by sprucing up your mailbox. Dried cornstalks are a perfect decoration for mailboxes because they are tall and eye-catching. In addition to your cornstalks, arrange some hay bales around your mailbox and top them with potted mums and pumpkins for a quick, easy, and colorful mailbox decoration.

5. Painted Pumpkins

Pumpkins are a versatile fall decoration. Carve them, paint them, leave them in all their orange glory-any way you look at it, they make beautiful decor. Try giving your pumpkins a magical look with a shimmery metallic silver paint, or create different patterns by wrapping rubber bands around your pumpkin before painting. Pair painted pumpkins with rustic lanterns-you could even put a miniature pumpkin inside some of your lanterns for a different effect!

Living in Connecticut is all about embracing the changing seasons. New England offers the chance to appreciate cool, brightly colored autumn days, and sparkling snowy winters. Dressing up your home for each season is all part of the fun of living here. Please contact us for more DIY tips for your home.

Do It Yourself Tips: Emboss Your Switch Plates to Match The Light Fittings

Have you ever moved to a new home, installed the perfect light fittings but were taken aback by how they looked next to your room’s existing switch plates? If so, you’ll appreciate what we found out about modifying and replacing switch plates. Surprisingly, converting a ho-um, contemporary switch plate into a fantastic, vintage one is actually pretty easy. For instance, you could purchase metal plates and then emboss or tin stamp them. Embossing is the easier of the two, do it yourself options.

All you need to emboss your old switch plates and make them match your vintage light fittings are the following:

  • Aluminum Foil Tape
  • X-Acto Knife
  • Scissors
  • Plastic or Metal Spoon
  • Cutting Board
  • Design Template
  • Pencil or Stylus

Begin by cutting a piece of aluminum foil tape that is big enough to cover the front of the switch plate and wrap around the sides. Next, peel off the sticky backing and affix the tape to the switch plate taking care to completely cover all edges. Do not cover the entire back portion of the switch plate as no one will see it and it may interfere with the wiring later on down the road. Proceed by using the back of the plastic or metal spoon to carefully smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles that may be present. Once the switch plate’s surface is smooth again, it will be time to start decorating.

Place the design template you’ve chosen to use and place it over top of the covered switch plate. Continue by using your pencil or stylus to trace the desired pattern on to the plate. Although aluminum foil tape is traditionally tear resistant, use a good deal of caution and an even hand when tracing your design. Otherwise, you might end up breaking through the tape, thereby exposing the underlying plastic. When you’re done embossing the design on to your switch plate, simply remove the template. Finally, affix your DIY vintage switch plate on to the wall and enjoy!

To discover more ways to light up those switch plates and other areas of a new home, please contact us.

Listing information is deemed reliable, but not guaranteed. This IDX solution is (c) Diverse Solutions 2013.
Each Keller Williams Realty office is independently owned and operated