Remodeling Your Home Before You Sell

home-inspection1. ANALYZE THE SPACE

– Walk through your home and look at each room in the context of the overall property.

– Is your kitchen very dark and compartmentalized with an inefficient floor plan and layout?

– Are the cabinets just worn out and refuse to stay closed?

– Are all of the appliances in good working order?

– Is the décor outdated or tired-looking?

Now would be the time to remodel. Particularly if you’ve updated some rooms but not others, the contrast will be even more stark and call attention to itself. Refreshing now will present a more cohesive piece of property to show later.

2. IDENTIFY THE NEGATIVES – AND FIX THEM!

– Before you invest any time and money into any home renovation projects, first evaluate the structural elements of your home.

– Do a walk-through, and be honest with what you find. What weaknesses did you discover? If YOU can see the problems – so will the potential buyers!

– Be on the lookout for anything and everything from cracks in the foundation / rotting, bulging or splitting around doors and windows.

– Is the electrical wiring antiquated?

– Do you have a termite problem? These issues can’t be hidden or camouflaged.

– Be proactive and hire a home inspector before you sell. S/he will help you uncover problems and looming issues that you may have overlooked.

– A typical home inspection analyzes the home’s structural integrity, all major mechanical systems and provides you with a thorough assessment of your home’s structure and property.

– Use this information to repair the necessary areas of the home and give it the TLC it deserves.

– Set goals and decide what you NEED to do and the compromises you’ll willing to make to turn your home into someone else’s dream home.

3. ACCENTUATE THE POSITIVES – AND ENHANCE THEM

– Highlight your home’s best features: Every home has some, and who better than you to identify and spotlight them?

– Is it a canyon view from the hillside?

– The ocean view from the kitchen?

– The spectacular double-sided fireplace or the fabulous gourmet kitchen you’ve loved for years. Or the deck and outdoor kitchen off the family room?

– Whatever the asset – dress it, enhance it, show it – AND CREATE THAT WOW FACTOR!

How To Repair Drywall Cracks In Your Home

Getting rid of drywall cracksLike a squeaky floor or a loose lockset, even the smallest drywall crack or nail pop can be cause for concern for new homeowners or prospective buyers, triggering service callbacks or resulting in lost sales.

Sure, you can try to explain those blemishes away with talk of “normal settling,” which may in fact be true, but folks on the fence about buying a home at all look at those figures and dimples as red flags of poor construction quality and perhaps something more problematic and costly, and not worth the risk.

Drywall cracks and nail pops occur at framing joints, primarily around openings and corners.

What Causes Drywall Cracks?

Causes range from foundation or soil settling to lumber components reacting to seasonal climate changes and misaligned or improperly installed framing members, supports, fasteners or connectors.

Deep-seated reasons, often indicated by diagonal cracks (as opposed to straight along a framing joint) may indicate a failing (or failed) foundation, improperly engineered framing loads or truss uplift.

How To Fix Drywall Cracks

  • Use a utility knife to cut a narrow, V-shaped groove along the length of the crack.
  • Blow out debris and drywall dust to create a clean cavity.
  • If the crack is along a framing member, drill screws on either side of the crack into the solid wood behind it, about 6 inches along the crack, with the heads countersunk.
  • Bridge the entire groove with fiber-mesh joint tape and apply a hot-mud compound with a taping knife on either side of the tape, covering it and leaving a 20-inch “patch.”
  • Feather and sand/texture to match the surrounding finish.

How To Prevent Drywall Cracks

Cosmetic cracks and pops are almost inevitable, but you can go a long way toward reducing or even preventing them by using high-quality, straight-framing lumber that is allowed to acclimate before being installed.

This helps ensure that framing and drywall joints are aligned, tight and properly secured.

Redefine The Interior Of Your Home With Wall Lighting

wall-lightingDo you currently have wall lights in your home? If not, you may want to consider making a switch. Wall lights not only look great but they come in a whole range of styles, too. That means whatever your own taste and décor, you will be able to find fixtures that complement your home’s design.

Classic Wall Lights

If you have a classic style then you will want to choose wall lights that fit in with this scheme. What about antique brass lights? Maybe a ceramic uplighter is more the style you are looking for? Either way, wall lights add a great deal of warmth and style to a room that is classically designed. There are wall lights available in a range of materials and colors, too. If you really want to make your lights stand out, select multi-colored glass lights. These offer an antique or vintage feel that really makes a statement.

Contemporary Wall Lights

If you prefer the more contemporary look, there are plenty of wall lights to choose from. The minimalist look can easily be applied to wall lights with stylish designs made from metal and glass. Stainless steel is another popular type of contemporary fixture. These look good and function well in offices, too. If your house has a home office then you may well want to consider this arrangement there. All budgets can be catered to in the contemporary wall light range.

Crystal and Glass Wall Lights

Crystal and glass wall lights are currently very popular. They can bring a great deal of elegance and style into a room. There are chandelier type wall lights that are as effective at creating a look that is both elegant and decadent. There are also vintage varieties available that can do a lot to enhance the look of the room.

Picture and Mirror Lights

When you have beautiful pictures or mirrors that adorn the walls of your home, you want them to stand out. The best way of doing this is by choosing some picture and mirror lights. These sit on the top of the pictures and the mirrors and shine down onto them. It is a great way of bringing some accent lighting into the room. Having a light shining on a mirror will also create an illusion that the room is bigger than it actually is.

Whatever your style or budget, there are wall lights available to transform your home. You can do some online research or check with your local home improvement store to help you decide what kind of fixtures will best complement your home and vision.

(with information from Kathryn Dawson, interior lighting design expert)

Cozy Up To Winter With These Tips From Handyman Matters

cozy-up-to-winterWith summer in full swing, it’s difficult to imagine that colder months are just around the corner. But the bitter truth is that now is a good time to turn your attention to some decorating tips designed to give your house a cozy, comfortable feel, far from winter’s chill.

Furniture Layout. If you’re lucky enough to gather around your living room or family room fireplace this winter you may want to consider a quick change to the furniture layout or floor plan – cozying things up a bit. If your fireplace is centrally located within a wall and is flanked by windows or bookcases that are the same dimensions on each side, then you’re dealing with a more traditional space and personality – which speaks to a more traditional furniture layout. Pairs are important here. To take advantage of the roaring fire flank a pair of comfortable and inviting chairs on either side of the fireplace which will keep you and your guests warm and cozy. Place your sofa directly facing the fireplace for a comfortable conversation area and a great view of that crackling fire. After all it’s the focal point of the room.

Flooring. Whether your home has carpeting, hardwood, stone or tiled flooring there are some quick and easy solutions to cozy up your space. Add more layers for warmth, right on top of your existing flooring material. Don’t be afraid to layer one or even two area rugs for texture and color. Relax the formality and potential stiffness with some colorful patterns and textures.

Draperies. Again it’s all about layering and adding weight to the walls.. If your window coverings are sheer or simple blinds, add heavier fabrics over those thinner ones for an entirely new treatment. Find some ready made panels to attach over top your windows in a velvet or brocade fabric. If you love the look of winter white, install some off-white or cream velvet panels for the ultimate in winter chic.

Accessories. This is a simple quick fix. Remove all your existing accessories, store them and re-visit them again for another season. Look for vintage blankets, throws and pillows and blend textures. Mix and match your blankets from plaids to knits, and even faux fur, and drape them over sofas, chairs and ottomans throughout your home. They will keep you all warm and cozy during those frigid nights. Replace your old sofa pillows with knit sweater pillows, tea towels and even printed burlaps for added interesting patterns and texture. Natural elements are all around us. Bring the outdoors in – even now by incorporating, birch trunks, light green foliage, pine cones and candles and sprinkle these elements in with family photos, framed in metals or whites for that monochromatic sophistication.

So light that fire, grab some hot chocolate and enjoy cozying up in your winter chic home.

Keep Your Hard Floors Looking as Good as New

Oak-Hardwood-FlooringIf you are one of the many American homeowners who recently have replaced the carpeting in your home with hard flooring, you’re probably already looking for ways to keep it as beautiful and fresh as it was the day it was installed.

One of the reasons people are drawn to hard flooring is that it opens up the look of rooms and brings an air of polish and order to the home environment. Whether your floors are wood, marble, tile, or linoleum, you want them to stay clean – especially when those unexpected visitors arrive at your front door.

Many people can surely remember watching mom scrubbing and mopping the kitchen floor with a bucket full of cleaning solution, but those days are long gone. Now, there are plenty of effective and affordable solutions for keeping hard floors clean and fresh.”

Handyman Matters suggests following  these tips for caring for hard floors:

* Clean your bare floors frequently, especially wood floors. Grit tracked into your house from outside can easily grind into the flooring as your family walks around. With frequent cleaning, your floors should keep their shine much longer.

* When spills occur, clean them up immediately. This prevents substances from staining the floor or grout in between the tiles.

* Don’t clean wood or laminate wood floors with a wet mop, because it can cause swelling of the wood. If your wood floors are sealed, steam cleaners are a better option. Cut floor cleaning time in half with an all-in-one tool like the a steam and sweep which picks up dry debris and cleans hard floors in one pass, using the natural power of steam which can kill many germs and bacteria lingering on your floors as well.

* When vacuuming wood floors, use a vacuum with straight suction or turn off the carpet-beater brush if possible. Find a vacuum that uses straight suction and a unique V-shaped foot to capture dirt along the edges and baseboards of your floor without the help of brooms or attachments. And if you have pets in your home, find a vacuum that has special rubber wipers to attract pet hair along edges of the flooring and under cabinets.

* To restore shine to wood floors with a wax finish, try buffing the floor instead of immediately applying another coat of wax. But if that doesn’t bring back the shine, you may need to apply a liquid wax made specifically for wood floors. Let it dry after applying and buff the area again. Contact your local Handyman Matters Franchise to request a craftsman to assist you for a beautiful, professional wax finish.

With the help the Handyman Matters craftsman and these modern cleaning solutions, homeowners can kick that old-fashioned broom, mop and bucket routine to the curb, and tackle even the trickiest hard floor messes with efficiency and ease. The professionals at Handyman Matters can help take care of all of your interior projects – no matter how small! Click here to find a location near you or call 866-FIX MY HOME, today.

Creative Uses Of Ceramic Tile In The Bedroom

Use ceramic tile in the bedroomCeramic tiles are one great option for adding color and style to your home.  The variety of styles and types give them greater versatility for all kinds of applications.

Ceramic tiles are among the most durable flooring options available.  A ceramic tile is a mixture of natural clays that have been molded and fired at high temperature.  Tiles are also now made from such recycle materials as auto windshields, fluorescent bulbs and ground glass.

Tile offers advantages over other flooring options such as marble and wood, including durability, resistance to fire and moisture, resistance to tread wear and abrasion, easy maintenance, slip resistance, thermal shock and color permanence. They are easy to clean and provide an upscale look to your living space.

Ceramic wall tiles are considered an ideal choice for counter top and wall applications.  These are glazed with a matte or semi-gloss surface.  They are available in designer styles, featuring luster painting, transfer painting and carving.  Sometimes they are inlaid with white pipe clay or mosaic in diverse patterns including seashells, leaves, flowers and even Asian mythological figurines.

They arrive in myriad sizes, shapes and colors.  The biggest challenge you may face will be whittling down the number of choices to a manageable few.  Take time to consider not just  the style that appeals most to you, but determine which are the easiest to clean and maintain.

Ceramic tile has held a hallowed place in bathroom renovations for generations. Durable, easy to clean, and available in a wide range of color, format and design, tile just makes sense in a bath. But some enterprising designers and homeowners are finding a new spot in the home where tile not only works well, but can take center stage – the master bedroom.

Homeowners are choosing to incorporate ceramic tiles into master bedrooms for many of the same reasons the material has been popular in bathrooms and kitchens:

  • Tile is more durable than other materials, lasting up to four times longer than carpet or wood. Unlike wood, it will never need refinishing, re-staining or sanding. It holds its luster better than vinyl, and requires no special chemical treatments, the way many natural stone products do. Because of this easy maintenance and durability, consumers can realize lower costs over the life of the product.
  • It’s naturally hypoallergenic and releases no volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the atmosphere. It doesn’t collect dust, dust mites, pet dander or other irritants and microbes.
  • Tile is readily available in a wide range of colors, sizes, shapes and design themes. In fact, you can now find ceramic tile that even mimics the look of other popular, more costly or less durable materials like wood, glass or even metal.

So how can you use tile in your master bedroom? Here are some ideas from the professionals at Handyman Matters:

Creating a headboard

Fabric, wood or metal headboards can make a powerful design statement, and solidify a bed’s stance as the centerpiece of a room. Ceramic tile, now available in large formats and in designs that mimic the look of other materials, is a sensible, cost-effective and healthier alternative to some popular headboard materials. Creating a fabric headboard, for example, can be a costly, time-consuming process, yet you can get virtually the same look with ceramic tile made to look like fabric. And this is fabric that won’t harbor germs and microbes.

General design touches

If you love the look of wainscoting, wood paneling or bead board, but prefer a more durable, hypoallergenic material, ceramic tile can offer the same look without the disadvantages of wood decorator touches. Some manufacturers produce tiles that look like wood design elements.

Extending the life of a paint job

Paint is one of the easiest things to change in a room and can be one of the most difficult to clean and preserve. One way to extend the life of a paint job is to tile walls to the level of the chair rail – the portion of the walls that gets the most exposure to unsightly dirt, dings and scuffs. While some paints may require special cleaning solvents to remove dirt without damaging the finish, tile requires nothing more than hot water and some elbow grease.

Creating cohesion between rooms

In master suites with large, open floor plans, using tile in the bedroom portion of the suite can help create a seamless transition between the sleeping and bathing areas. Or it can help create cohesion between indoor and outdoor spaces – tile is one of the few interior design materials that can flow from inside to out.

Achieving a look with added durability

You may love the look of hardwood, but know that wood doesn’t hold up well in rooms where it’s exposed to a lot of moisture on a daily basis – such as in a bathroom – or to a lot of wear and tear, such as in a bedroom. While wood that’s exposed to water will eventually warp and wear, ceramic tile designed to look like prized hardwoods will stand up to moisture and water – even if the bathtub overflows. And ceramic tile that looks like wood will never develop the “worn path” appearance of wood that bears heavy foot traffic.

When it comes to interior design, sometimes the unexpected makes perfect sense – such as finding creative ways to use ceramic tile in the master bedroom. If you’re contemplating tile installation anywhere in your home, your local Handyman Matters location would be happy to assist you with your remodel.

DIY From Handyman Matters: Update Your Kitchen With a New Tile Backsplash

backsplash-over-sinkIf you want to give your kitchen a facelift, consider replacing or adding a new tile backsplash. This can give your kitchen a bright modern appearance without a lot of effort. The nice thing about adding a new backsplash is that it is not very hard to do. If your existing backsplash is painted drywall, it’s quite straightforward. Even if you have an old tile backsplash, it is still not difficult – just messier in the beginning.

Planning the Project

If your existing backsplash is painted drywall, you can install your new tiles right over the top. Just sand the area to rough up the surface and get ready to install. If you have an existing tile backsplash, your best bet is to remove it totally. This will involve actually cutting the existing backer (usually drywall) and getting rid of both it and the attached tiles. For the best results consult with a professional to determine if you need to replace the drywall before installing the new tile. Handyman Matters can help answer all of your questions. Determine the length of your backsplash, and then measure the distance from the top of the counter to the bottom of the wall cabinet to calculate the area you’ll need to cover with your tiles (length x width = area). Now that you know how much space you have, figure out your tile pattern. Use graph paper and draw a scale outline. The most common tiles used for backsplashes are 4 x 4, 6 x 6 or 3 x 4 subway tiles. You could also use 1 x 1 tiles attached to a back mesh if you like the appearance better–the choice is yours.  Find the one that best fits your style. Just be sure that the tiles are glazed when you get them; this will help prevent stains, moisture and grease from ruining your tile. When you calculate your tile quantities, don’t forget to add about 10 percent for cutting and waste.

Installing the Backsplash

  1. Remove the stove and range hood and anything else that will be in your way when you are working on the backsplash. Shut off the power to any outlets or switches and remove the cover plates.
  2. If your tiles are going to be running over any gaps (like where the range will be), install a temporary ledger board along the base of your tile line to help hold them in place during installation.
  3. Mark the visual focal point of your layout and use a level to draw a starting line through it. You’ll use this to line up your tiles vertically. Now, lay out your tiles on the countertop or the kitchen floor so you can follow the pattern.
  4. Starting at the center, begin the bottom row by applying tile mastic (a ready to use tile adhesive) or thinset mortar to a small section of the wall using a grooved trowel. Put the edge of the first tile on the vertical line leaving a gap of about 1/8″ on the bottom – this leaves space for a bead of caulk later in the process. Press and wiggle the first tile into place, then put in a temporary 1/8″ spacer (vertically for easy removal when the mastic dries).
  5. Install the second tile using the same process. Continue installing tiles working away from the centerline, wiggling them into place and putting spacers between each. Follow your pattern and install any decorative/highlight tiles as part of the field.
  6. When you get to a place where you need to cut or trim a tile (under a countertop, end of a row, around an electrical outlet), cut the tile as part of the installation – don’t leave an opening and plan to come back.
  7. Cutting a Tile

Cutting tile can be a hard task; the easiest way to cut a tile is using a tool called a scoring cutter. Using one is a two-step process – mark the tile where you want to cut it, then place the tile in the tool and score a mark in the tile surface. Then, using a sharp motion of the tool handle, the cutter will break the tile along the scored line. Cutting openings for an electrical outlet can be more challenging. Depending on where an electrical outlet fits into your pattern, you may be need to cut two tiles using the scoring cutter, and then use tile nippers to cut out the opening and put them on each side of the outlet.

Grouting

After the tiles are installed and the mastic has been allowed to set up overnight, it’s time to grout. Use a sandless grout (to avoid scratching the tile surface) and mix it according to manufacturer’s directions. Apply the grout using a rubber float. Push it well down into the gaps between the tiles, then holding the float at a 45-degree angle remove the excess.

Finishing Up

Allow the grout to set up for about an hour and then clean off the hazy surface on the tiles. Use wet sponges, rinsing them often in clean water to wipe away the film. Buff the tiles with a clean dry cloth to bring out their natural beauty. You will likely need to install box extenders to your electrical outlets before you can reattach the cover plates.  Finally, apply a bead of tub and tile caulk (the same color as the grout) all along the bottom seam where the backsplash meets the countertop. Following the steps above will help you install a new backsplash into your kitchen. Make sure you pay attention to details and follow each step, but if you happen to come across a problem, the professional craftsmen at Handyman Matters can finish the project for you, or help you along the way. Click here or call 866-FIX-MY-HOME (866-349-6946) to find a location near you.

Deluxe Looks for Less

interior-designWhen summer’s over it means back to spending more time indoors. But don’t let the dropping temperatures take you down with them. Instead, spruce up your space with easy projects. With a little time – and even less money – you can transform your home with simple and luxurious looks … for less.

Gorgeous great rooms

You don’t need to buy new furniture to give your living room an expensive-looking update. The secret to scoring an entirely new look is refreshing the small details. Make your couch seem new with accent pillows in lavish fabrics like silk or velvet. By adding different textures and colors, you’ll create depth and the focus will be on the new accessories, not the old sofa.  Take a cue from today’s leading interior designers and add candles in varying shapes, sizes and heights; it’s another easy (and inexpensive) way to make an impact. Arrange them on the mantel or coffee table to add a lush and romantic feel to the area.

Another easy way to make over the entire room is with a fresh coat of paint. Look for a shade that enhances the items already in the space, like the wood tones in the coffee table or the pattern of the window treatments. Highlight your new coat of paint by drawing the eye up with a new piece of wall art or a mirror. With a few updates, your living area will look like a million bucks, when you really spent much less.

Chic kitchens

Would you love to incorporate the stainless steel appliances found in luxury kitchens into your own home, but aren’t in love with the price tag? Get the same look by spending a few dollars – instead of thousands – with a can of spray paint.  There are a number of varieties of paint that provide the appearance of a stainless steel finish, and these can be applied to your existing refrigerator or dishwasher, allowing you to achieve the deluxe look of stainless steel without the cost. The new stainless steel finish is a great way to update accent pieces with a cool and contemporary look since it can be used on a number of substrates, from metal and wood, to glass and ceramics. Handyman Matters professional craftsman can help paint anything around your home! Refresh an old light fixture, transform register covers or switch plates or make over picture frames.

Instead of installing a brand new floor, liven up the room with a new area rug. Discount stores are amazing places to find the same products that are in department stores, at a fraction of the cost. And the best part is, no one will have to know what a steal it was (unless you want them to).

If your dining set looks a little worse for wear, spray painting is a really easy way to make it look brand new. Building on your new contemporary look, embrace a black-and-white palette that complements your stainless accents.  With paint, you’ll hide any nicks or imperfections in the wood while protecting your table and chairs from future damage. Add a new table runner and placemats, and you’ll have a swanky and stylish dining area.

With a few inexpensive updates to your home, you’ll have your home looking like it’s full of expensive pieces in no time at all. Spending time indoors has never felt so luxurious! Call Handyman Matters today to have the professionals come in and take care of your honey do list. Click here to find a location near you or call 866-FIX MY HOME.

Courtesy of ARAcontent

Ten Simple Ways To Make Your Home Safe For Every Generation Who Lives In It

Most of us start life depending on our parents to take care of us. But as they age, chances are the roles will reverse. And, whether you provide additional help in their own homes – or move aging parents into your home – how do you prepare to meet the new needs of aging adults? Luckily many simple, quick, affordable – and even stylish and savvy – updates can  make homes safer and more enjoyable for you, your family and your parents. Here are some tips from Handyman Matters:

De-clutter: Both kids and older adults have reduced reflexes and balance. Spruce up the look of your home – and avoid tripping hazards – by removing clutter and items you no longer use (especially obstacles in walkways).

safe shower for seniorsSafe shower: Showers can be an enjoyable and luxurious part of anyone’s day – if they are safe. While you probably don’t want to renovate the shower, simple additions of bath safety products can make it safer and more enjoyable. Start by adding rubber grips to the bottom of the shower to avoid slick surfaces. Next, take a seat with a comfortable shower chair and enjoy a shower massage with a multi-function hand held shower head. You might also want to consider adding some grab bars around the shower to ensure entry and exit from the shower are safe.

Save resources, save money: Eco-friendly adjustments not only can make you feel good about preserving natural resources for your family, they can also help lower energy costs (ideal for tight budgets). Simple steps can include replacing standard light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs, insulating doors and windows and swapping faucets and shower heads with new water-saving models.

Handy handles: In the course of a day, you grip many objects – from cups and pens, to door knobs and faucet handles. Swapping out door knobs or faucets with knobs for lever-handle models can make these everyday tasks a bit easier – especially for smaller or arthritic hands.

Get a grip: For any age, stairs are a falling hazard in homes – whether it’s one step or 20. To increase safety, add hand rails or decorative hand grips in high-traffic doorways where there may be a step, such as the garage or front entry.

Let there be light: Did you also know that by age 60 the average person requires 15 times more lighting than when they were 10 years old? Brighten up the home with additional reading lamps in bedrooms and family rooms, under-cabinet task lighting in the kitchen, motion-sensor lights near entrances and night lights in hallways.

Safe and secure: Your home is your safe haven … so make sure it is protected. In the bathroom where slick surfaces can be falling hazards, add functional – yet fashionable – grab bars. And, in case of unforeseen falls or other home accidents, home security systems can give you peace of mind to know that fire-, medical- or emergency-response is available for you and your loved ones at the touch of a button.

Flat flooring: According to the Home Safety Council, falls are the leading cause (66 percent) of all nonfatal home injuries. To help you – or your loved ones – avoid becoming a statistic, remove throw rugs or ensure that they have a non-slip backing to provide more firm footing.

Low-maintenance lawns: With busy lifestyles, it’s tough to keep up landscaping. Making a few modifications to the yard can help ease the burden. Replace large grassy areas that require frequent mowing with rock gardens or mulch beds. Additionally, choose drought-resistant perennial plants and shrubs to save time and money on watering – and ensure you don’t have to plant new each spring.

Be prepared: Are the washer and dryer in the basement? Are the bedroom and bathroom upstairs? Since stairs can be difficult to navigate for children or aging parents, having all the necessities on one floor is ideal. While it may not be in the budget to move everything to the main floor now, gradually start getting ready by wiring a closet or small room for the laundry – or planning to expand a half bath to a full bath.

With a few minor updates, you can breathe easier knowing your home is safer for your loved ones – both young and old. For more information on safety products and other helpful tips or assistance in  “safe-proofing” your home, contact your local Handyman Matters location today. Click here to find a location near you or call 866-FIX-MY-HOME (866-349-6946).

Affordable Ways To Make Your New House Feel Like Home

Affordable ideas for moving into a new homeYou know that moving into a new home can be one of life’s biggest stressors – the packing, the paperwork, the unpacking, and finding the nearest coffee shop! Even though numbers are down, tens of millions of Americans still changed residences in 2010, according to a report by the U.S. Census Bureau. Yet there are many ways to make your new house feel like home sooner than later.

One of the easier and inexpensive ways to create your own sense of space is to bring items from your previous residence to your new home, but adapt them for a different or a new use in the process. This has come to be known as “adaptive re-use.”

This “adaptive re-use” can be something as simple as placing a coffee table or end table that previously was a part of your living room in the old location into the family room in your new dwelling.

On a slightly more involved level, you can use the fabric from a window treatment in your original home to upholster the dining room chairs in the new place.

Adaptive re-use also involves using items from local design consignment shops or thrift stores. Shops such as these often carry high-quality, gently-used items, available at a fraction of their original cost. Not only are you finding affordable ways to claim your new space as your own, but you are doing so in a “green,” ecologically responsible way.

There’s a subtle “comfort level” that comes with bringing items from your previous residence; it helps ease the psychological stress you and your family may not even realize has begun affecting you as you settle into a new and unfamiliar place.

There’s an additional concept called “biophilic design,” which recognizes the inherent need of humans to interact and affiliate with nature. This helps individuals to maintain optimum health and well-being. Bring a bit of the outdoors inside; don’t neglect a good view you may have to the outdoors. In fact, find a way to accentuate it, perhaps by placing a couch or chair near a window that affords a comforting look at your favorite section of yard or garden.

This may seem overwhelming, but making your house feel like a home sooner rather than later will help you enjoy time in your new home instead of worrying about it. Your local Handyman Matters can help you hang pictures, mirrors, paint or anything else to make your new house feel like a home. Contact Handyman Matters today to start enjoying your home. Find a location near you or call 866-FIX-MY-HOME (866-349-6946).