Home & Garden

August 14, 2014

Summer DIY tips for the home

Don’t wait until spring to make your home more beautiful and liveable.

We typically think of spring as the season for a good deep-cleaning of the house and the time to start on all those home-improvement projects we didn’t get around to all winter.

But why wait? Whether you’re looking for an excuse to stay indoors on a sweltering August day or just want to feel ahead at home as the kids go back to school, here are some short-term and longer-term tips for making your home feel more organized and look more beautiful, no matter how long your family plans to live there.

Come spring, you’ll be able to head outdoors to enjoy the wildflowers.

DIY ideas for every room

From simple storage solutions that freshen up messy rooms to projects that enliven a space, do-it-yourself options are a popular choice among many homeowners. Try out some of these ideas to make every room in your home feel new again, without having to empty your pocketbook or call a handyman.

Organize your living, work spaces

When it comes to your living room, do you long for a space to stash toys, books and all the other random trinkets that pile up? Try a product designed to be versatile, such as ClosetMaid Premium Cubes (available at The Home Depot). With a full back panel, these six- or nine-cube organizers are offered in two distinct looks.

Choose the style that complements your decor, from traditional mahogany to the contemporary styling of weathered teak.

Premium Cubes are also a great addition for those who want to add sleek, upscale elements to a work space or office. These stylish storage options offer a professional look and feel, and can keep any work environment properly organized.

Bedroom closets

While many homes have bedroom closets to keep the clutter from view, it’s what’s inside those helpful storage areas that counts. When looking for organizational solutions to keep clothing and accessories tidy, look for those that offer flexibility, such as ClosetMaid’s ShelfTrack. These wire shelving units are available in kits and open stock, which can be cut to size, with shelves available in a variety of depths and finishes, including options like white and nickel.

De-clutter the kitchen

From spices to coffee filters and cooking oils, those kitchen cabinets have a way of filling up fast, and keeping these culinary tools in order can be a daunting task. Use these five tips to get your pantry and kitchen cabinets in order:

1. Empty each shelf. Go through each shelf to properly wipe out dust and crumbs, and to sort through outdated food. Before you put the items back on the shelves, clean the base thoroughly and line each one with a nonadhesive shelf liner (such as Duck brand Smooth Top Easy Liner), which will create a protective, cushioned barrier on your surfaces.

2. Survey food items. Go through food items and donate or dispose of those you won’t use.

3. Group similar items. Move common items together to help you keep track of your inventory. For further organization, sort based on expiration so you can use up food while it’s still fresh.

4. Create user-friendly spaces. Make your pantry more ergonomic and easier to access by placing commonly used items on eye-level shelves.

5. Utilize organization tools. Maximize the space in a pantry and cabinets with turntables for spices and other storage solutions. Add a pop of personality to these areas with a lining product in a color and pattern to complement any design.

Finishing touches

Here are a few other ways to enhance the rooms in your home with stylish and useful updates:

Dim the lights: Install light dimmers throughout your home for an extra touch of ambiance and improved energy efficiency. The dimming function is especially perfect for living rooms, dining rooms and bedrooms.

Add a pop of color: Perk up a neutral room by giving an old chair, mirror or side table a new paint job. Simply spray your decorative item with quality paint (such as Krylon Dual Superbond Paint + Primer, which sticks to virtually any material), bringing life to your favorite household items. For information, visit www.krylon.com.

Hang it up: Add a row of hooks to your walls for extra function. Perfect for use in the bathroom or kitchen for hanging towels or pot holders. A hook installed in an entryway or mudroom is a great spot for keys, jackets and backpacks.

Give your kitchen a facelift

Whether you’re considering putting your house on the market or investing in your home for personal long-term enjoyment, an upgraded and attractive kitchen can make your home irresistible. While a well-designed kitchen incorporates elements of luxury and style, it’s also important to focus on kitchen updates that will make everyday life easier — so you can spend less time doing chores and more time making memories with the family.

A simple way to give your kitchen an instant facelift is to replace old, outdated or mismatched appliances with newer models. They are not only aesthetically appealing but they can simplify the cooking and cleanup process. Here are some key points to consider when purchasing:

Maintenance-free stainless steel appliances

When potential home buyers walk into a kitchen, the first thing they will look for are updated and matching appliances. An appealing kitchen is one with a complete set of matching appliances for a modern and inviting appearance.

Many buyers love the look of stainless-steel appliances but are reluctant to purchase because of fingerprints and watermarks. According to an EMA-NA Refrigeration Attitude & Usage Consumer Study 2011 conducted by Equation Research, 50 percent of consumers report a key pain point is that their stainless-steel refrigerators show fingerprints. To alleviate that concern, look for new technologies that resist streaks and smudges. Frigidaire Gallery makes a line of smudge-proof stainless-steel appliances that resist fingerprints and clean easily, keeping your appliances looking great while cutting down on cleanup time.

Maximizing time and space in the kitchen

When trying to maximize space in your kitchen, built-in and counter depth appliances are the way to go. In fact, counter depth appliances, like refrigerators, give you back over four inches of kitchen space. Built-in wall ovens and cooktops increase countertop space as well as cooking capacity, not to mention provide a sleek-looking kitchen and entertaining space.

Consider the different types of cooktops available, too — gas, electric or induction. Induction cooktops are in high demand because they offer more precise and efficient cooking methods.

The oven you select can also have a big impact on cutting down cooking and prep time in the kitchen. According to the EMA-NA study, 67 percent of consumers think their ovens take too long to preheat and 40 percent are dissatisfied because their food does not cook evenly. A new trend to help alleviate these concerns is a double wall oven, which provides the timesaving benefit by cooking multiple dishes at once.

Flexible storage options that can save you money

When it comes to purchasing refrigerators and freezers, it’s important to find something that allows for adjustable storage to meet personal needs. According to the 2013 Frigidaire Freezer Savings Study conducted by Phoenix Marketing International, approximately 60 percent of consumers indicate they don’t have enough storage capacity in their refrigerator’s freezer, causing them to make multiple trips to the grocery store each week.

Owning a secondary freezer saves an average of 60 hours per year at the grocery store, according to Frigidaire research. Overall, those who own a secondary freezer say it allows them to stock up on favorite family foods, and the extra storage space lets them take advantage of sales and buying in bulk.

Additional kitchen upgrades to consider

Here are a few other simple, yet worthwhile, upgrades to improve the kitchen.

Pendant lighting: Add visual interest with a beautiful set of pendant lights. Ideally place them above a kitchen island so they don’t interfere with foot traffic.

Hardware: This is also an easy fix with a big payoff. Replace cabinet knobs and pulls with a fresh, modern set for a fast visual update and to help tie in the new appliances.

Kitchen faucet: As one of the most-used items in the house, this fixture has its fair share of wear and tear. Replacing the faucet is an easy and quick project that will make an impact.

Pull out trays: To eliminate the need to dig for pots and pans, install rolling trays in your cabinets.

Smart kids’ rooms that grow with time

Costs for decorating and redecorating a child’s room as they grow can mount quickly, but with careful planning and a few smart purchases, the decisions you make for that nursery or toddler’s room can create a functional and clutter-free space that grows with your child well into the teen years.

From convertible furniture to neutral walls, you can establish a framework that evolves as little ones’ interests change, significantly extending the life of those early investments.

Lorie Marrero, a certified professional organizer and author of The Clutter Diet, has partnered with the experts at ClosetMaid to offer these tips for creating a room that transitions with your youngster as childhood gives way to adolescence.

Invest wisely. Select furniture that will adapt to your child’s needs in the highest quality your budget allows. For example, if you’re starting with a nursery, choose a crib that converts to a toddler bed and even a twin or double bed years down the road. Choose a dresser that can double as a changing table during the early years, with pulls that a toddler or young child can easily manage when the time arrives.

Keep flexibility first. With each purchase, consider how the item will serve your child’s needs over a span of several years. This is true even in the closet, where space once allocated for tiny garments must eventually give way to larger and bulkier attire.

One solution is a multi-functional closet organization system (such as ClosetMaid’s ShelfTrack), which can be altered as children grow and their needs change. For younger children, maximize closet space by utilizing three levels of wire shelving for clothing. As they get older, it’s easy to reconfigure the design by adjusting shelving or adding accessories such as baskets and shoe racks.

Make the most of accessories. Establish a neutral palette that can change to reflect your child’s personality as they grow. Change up bedding and other decorative items. Dress up cubbies and storage spaces with pops of color using fabric drawers, which can be easily removed to encourage to help out at cleaning time. On the walls, avoid the cost and work of repainting to match each new look by using temporary adornments, such as decals that peel away, leaving no sticky residue.

“You’re doing yourself a big favor by establishing a solid foundation of furniture and storage in a child’s room from the start,” Marrero said. “Strategic purchases that last for years will let you focus on helping to make your child’s personality shine in the bedroom, starting with an adaptable storage system that helps set an early standard for keeping clutter under control.”

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