Finding the perfect paint color can be difficult, time consuming, and frustrating. Here's a site to help make it easier. And they sell pint size samples so you can try it out in your own home. My Perfect Color.
The slump in housing starts and sales has flooded the news reports in the last month or so. While this may not be the best time to sell a home, it's a great time to buy and an excellent time to remodel. Get your house ready for the turnaround - it will come - and save money. How? Contractors are slow. That means they're more willing to negotiate and offer better pricing than when they have so many jobs that they're turning them away.
Here's a few tips:
1) Do your homework. Ideally you should get five bids for each trade (plumbing, electrical, carpentry, etc.) The theory is that you throw out the highest and lowest (either the trade is trying to trick you or they forget something) and negotiate the three in the middle. However, that multiplies really fast to many bids, meetings, etc. Instead try to get three. See how they fall. If they're all in the ball park, work it out. If not, question the outliers. Make sure you have all of the key trades lined up BEFORE you start. If you don't, you're asking for delays. Other key trades may include concrete, HVAC (heating and air conditioning). Drywall and trim carpenters can be found a bit later.
2) Negotiate. Don't hesitate to try and negotiate for a better price. The worst they can say is no, but in a slow market, you'll be surprised what contractors may come back with.
3) Ask for references. You wouldn't hire a babysitter, go to a doctor, or get an attorney without a reference. This is no different. You'll be surprised what you may learn. Even if all the references are glowing, you've learned two things: 1) some people like the contractor and 2) at least he wasn't dumb enough to give you the bad ones. Again, you'd be surprised.
4) Check out website recommendations. See Angie's List. Here's is unique in that tradespeople are graded and have profiles that include previous customers' comments.
It's a great time to invest in your current home and to negotiate good deals on the work.
Buying the right ceiling fan is more than picking up a stylish fan that suits your eye or selecting the one with the lowest price. Size, motor, blade angles are all important features to consider. Here are some helpful hints when buying a fan:
1) Ideally the angle on the fan blades should be 14 degrees. This allows for maximum air movement. I have used fans with a 12 degree angle, and they do seem to work just fine.
2) Make sure the motor is strong enough to move the blades with no noise or hum. A stacked motor is considered the most powerful but a good compromise is a one that's a 188x20 pancake motor. Some really heavy fans (Casablanca and the original Hunter fans) may require additional bracing in your ceiling. Additionally, choose a larger, stronger motor if you want to run your fan for longer periods of time.
3) Be sure to check if your fan is suitable for damp locations such as bathrooms or outdoors.
4) Choose a fan with a span across the blades and motor of the following sizes for rooms: - 225 square feet and greater, select 50", 52", 54", 56" - 144 square feet and greater, select 42", 44" - 64 square feet and greater, select 32"
5) Ideally a fan should be at least 7 feet above the floor and preferably 8 - 9 feet above the floor for the most efficient movement of air. You may need to use a pole drop for very high or cathedral ceilings.
6) Consider a remote for very high fans or a wall control including dimmer switches.
7) If you want a light unit, pick one with sufficient lights for your room size. In general, a 32" fan can use one bulb. A 42" or 44" fan can use a three light unit while fans in the 50-56" range should have 4 lights.
8) Finally, consider a fan with reversible motor. In the summer, you want the fan to turn to bring the cool air up from the floor. In winter, reverse the blade direction to bring the warm down from the ceiling. Changing blade direction by season will help improve your heating and cooling efficiency.
I have found Emerson to be an excellent and quiet fan. I ordered it online and save considerably over the local retailer that had it. When I quoted the price, the sales manager told me to get it online as there was no way he could match that price. I've also had good luck with Minka Aire fans in my children's room. Check out the buying guide here from Lamp Depot as well as their fans.
Having bathroom cabinets and fixtures that look more like fine furniture is becoming increasingly popular. Cabinets are made to look like fine furniture. An extension of this trend is to frame your mirrors so they look like a dresser mirror than just a mirror on the wall. Many cabinet manufacturers can do this, especially custom cabinet makers (including my favorite Amish handcrafter). Although this is not a well lit photo, you can see what I mean by this example. Mirrors such as these make a very finished, rich look. So remember this idea when you go to update your bathroom.
Ever need an idea. Take a look at a bunch of photos. Read magazines. Look at the ads. Go online. Or check out these galleries of room photos. You won't like all of them. But there's bound to be one idea that you can pick up from pictures that you can use. So browse through these rooms to jump start your decorating ideas.
Many of the same tips I recommend for updating a living or family room work well for giving a bedroom a new look. Throw pillows, paint, window treatments. Here are some other ideas to give your bedroom some pizazz without breaking the bank. Take a look.
Painting cabinets has long been an easy and inexpensive to update cabinets. The color of choice has always been white. But not any longer. Today you can use a variety of colors: black, barn red, green, purple. The good thing about painting cabinets is that you can always change it.
My favorite for painting cabinets has been Benjamin Moore oil-based Impervo for a hard, easily cleaned surface. Use high-gloss for a shiny, wet look, semi-gloss for a lustrous shine, or satin for a smooth finish. Tint to the color of your choice.
Stainless steel appliances are extraordinarily popular right now. But just like the old days when every fingerprint showed on your appliances, especially the refridgerator, so does EVERYTHING show on stainless steel. (An aside, I worked for a steel company first out of college. The leather-patterned steel used on refridgerators was specifically created to prevent this fingerprint problem.) But here's a product to try to help stainless steel look like new - a cleaner kit from Scotch-Brite. Check it out here; there's also a coupon on the page if you want to try it yourself.
Quartz countertops are predicted to be the next big thing. (See my post below.) What exactly is a quartz countertop and why should you consider that over granite (the previous big thing)? Read on to learn the unique benefits of this beautiful engineered material in this article.
See what's hot and what's not in home design trends. I recently talked about glass tiles (hot). And inspired by this article, I'll add a post to an article about quartz countertops. But see what else makes the list. Read the article here.