GIVING THAT SMALL ROOM A BIGGER LOOK

The longer you live in a home, the more possessions you acquire, say nothing of how your family itself may have grown through the years.  Whether you live in a small place, to begin with, or a larger one that somehow seems “more full” than it did once upon a time, there are ways to open up those cramped rooms. These options do not require actually having to expand the walls, and many can be accomplished without spending a fortune in the process.

Dark flooring, walls, and paneling can give a room a cozy appearance that feels great on a chilly winter’s evening but creates a claustrophobic atmosphere the rest of the time.  Consider taking advantage of our Accent Wall package by adding a decorative accent wall using reclaimed wood, similar to the one shown in the image below, or painting one wall in a cooling shade of blue or green, or simply changing out curtains, fabrics, and a piece or two of furnishing for ones with lighter tones.

Reclaimed Wood Accent Wall
Reclaimed Wood Accent Wall

Mirrors are an excellent way to create a comfortable illusion of added space, particularly if your room’s configuration allows for mirrors that can face each other from opposite walls.  In tiny kitchens, reflective surfaces such as stainless steel appliances serve the same purpose.

Too many decorative elements “shrink” a room, as well.  As an experiment, remove a third of the knick-knacks that occupy shelf and table space to see how much of a difference their absence makes, and whether you can—or you want to—live with the difference.  Inspect your furnishings, as well.  Is there a chair that remains unoccupied most of the time, or an end table or lamp that don’t really need to be there?  Or you can always trade these out for taller, narrowing furnishings which tend to give the illusion of added volume.

If the budget allows, there are other options.  Could small paneled windows be traded out for a larger single pane which will bring more light into the space?  How about installing a bay window to add square footage to a room?  Could shelving be narrowed or recessed without taking space away from adjoining areas?  Can you “go more vertical,” installing double-height cabinetry, which allows for more display areas without sacrificing already-limited space?

These are some of the more straightforward options for “expanding” a room.  Your local Handyman Matters office can assist you with any of these types of alterations. Or, if you have bigger ideas in mind for enlarging your living space (like, combining two smaller rooms into a larger one) they are happy—and qualified—to help you with those options, as well.

Book Online Today!

A FEW HOME IMPROVEMENT PROJECTS TO CONSIDER DURING THE WINTER MONTHS

When the snow begins to fall and temperatures take a nosedive, it’s tempting to just hunker down inside your house in front of a hearty fire and wait for spring before you contemplate any more home improvement projects.

But winter is actually an ideal time to accomplish and handful of those smaller indoor projects that tend to get overlooked in the rush to fix the bigger, more demanding items.

For starters, now is the ideal time to install a programmable thermostat. It’s one of the easiest and least expensive home improvements you can make, and it will make an immediate difference in the size of your fuel bills.

Another easy task to accomplish without putting on gloves, galoshes or a coat would be to replace lighting fixtures and light bulbs. Installing new fixtures is an easy and simple way to update the style of any room. You might also want to contemplate adding dimmers, which allow you to adjust the mood of a room by increasing or decreasing light as needed.

What about new window treatments? Is it time to trade out curtains for blinds, or simply trade one fabric and color for another?

Or take it a step further and consider replacing your windows themselves. You can find some great deals on quality replacement windows because this is the time of year when prices are greatly reduced. Additionally, home repair and maintenance business tends to slow in the colder months, and it’s much easier to schedule a handyman to come in and do the job for you.

Take a few minutes to walk through your home and see if any of these—or larger tasks—are projects that could perk up your home during the dreary, dark days of winter!

Exterior Painting Mistakes To Avoid

If you are a veteran of painting projects in the past, you already have a pretty good idea of some of the pitfalls to avoid.  But here are a few of the less familiar things to keep in mind when undertaking that next paint job:

Pay close attention to the condition of the surface

Is loose paint cracking, or forming blisters?  Is the finish peeling only as deep as the previous film?  This could be an adhesion problem, or something that goes deeper.  In the places that appear dirty, is it actually mold?  A closer inspection will provide clues as to whether you might be dealing with leaks, condensation, or simply poor surface-preparation in the past.

Power washing prior to painting

When washing vertical surfaces, start from the bottom and work up.  This will help prevent streaks from drips.  Be sure you complete an entire plane/wall in one session, and then, before the surface dries, rinse from the top down.  Of course, once the plane/wall is dry and it’s time to paint, then start at the top and work down to brush out any drips.

Get the timing right

Factory-primed doors and siding must be painted within 30 to 180 days, depending on the product.  Be sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

Stain or prime and paint bare wood immediately after installation.  Pressure-treated wood should be finished when drips of water don’t bead on the surface.

Don’t paint too early in the morning; a good guide is to wait until the grass is dry.  Don’t coat while direct sunlight is beaming on the surface.  This can cause wrinkles in the finish or premature fading of the color.  Paint west-facing walls in the morning and east-facing ones in the afternoon.

Allow time between coats for complete drying.  And don’t wait too long before the next refinishing, or you’ll have more surface prep work to do.

Pay attention to the temperature and elements

Believe the label’s instructions which prescribe limits on humidity and on the surface and air temperatures.  Liquids may crystallize on an uncured finish during frigid temperatures.  Be wary of painting if it’s particularly windy.  Not only can wind deposit debris on the wet surface, but it can also create blistering.

Be safe!

When working in high places, use reliable ladders, scaffolding or lifts.  Don’t trust the rickety ladder you’ve had around forever.  And just as contractors must now deal with stiff requirements while working on older homes, do-it-yourselfers should likewise exercise caution when it comes to removing old paint, which may be lead-based.

Common Painting Mistakes To Avoid

Common painting mistakes

Avoid some of the most common painting mistakes! Here’s what you will need to know…

Too Much Tape

While painters tape can be a huge help in keeping the paint inside the lines, when used in excess, it can also have the opposite effect.  Lining every edge of the wall can cause paint to seep under the tape, leading to erratic smudges when it’s peeled off.  Avoid this by taping only what’s necessary and using an angled brush for the rest.

Outlets

We’ve all been in the home where the outlets look fused into the walls.  This is the result of not properly prepping for paint.  Before you begin, it’s important to remove all covers and tape the remaining outlet to keep paint from staining it.

Holes

Don’t paint over problems.  Before painting, you want to make sure you fill in any dents or holes in the wall.  Caulk the edge of the wall where it meets molding, spackle smaller holes, and repair larger holes.  After everything is dry, sand off the excess filler, and then with a damp cloth or sponge, wipe off the dust.

Sand & Primer

Get the most vibrant color possible! Both sanding and priming your wall will prepare it to take in more color.  Sanding helps open the pores of the wall so the paint is absorbed as much as possible.  This will especially help improve the pigment of the color you chose and potentially limit the number of coats you will need to apply.

Similar to sanding, primer makes it so you get the most out of your chosen wall color.  These steps are especially essential if you plan on going from a light color to a dark color or vice versa.

Painting large areas or textured walls can be a large undertaking.  Don’t get overwhelmed.  Handyman Matters is here to assist in the process of any home improvement or repair project.  Give us a call 866-FIX-MY-HOME or check out our half-day room upgrade package.

Staying Informed About Lead-Based Paint

We’ve heard about the dangers of lead-based paint in older homes and office buildings, but not everyone is familiar with the appropriate procedures for dealing with it.

If you live in an older home and you are preparing to undertake some renovations, there are a number of important things to keep in mind.  For starters, people living in homes built before 1978 should obtain a copy of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Small Entity Compliance Guide to Renovate Right.

The handbook summarizes the requirements of the EPA’s 2008 Lead-Based Paint Renovation, Repair and Painting Program Rule. It will enable you to ask the appropriate questions of any contractor or repairman.  It’s important to make certain that anyone you engage to work in an older home is certified in lead-based paint removal.

All firms that engage in home repair and renovation should ensure that their employees are trained in the use of lead-safe work practices.  “Renovation” is defined as any activity that disturbs painted surfaces.  This is not confined to just the removal of old paint, but also a broad array of repair and maintenance activities.  Window replacement, electrical work and plumbing all fall into this category if your home, apartment or any child-occupied facility was built prior to 1978.

Ask your contractor to provide you proof of his certification, as well as a lead pamphlet prior to starting any work.  If he cannot, you should not allow him to begin any renovations on your property.

You should understand, too, that in addition to the very strict guidelines put in place by the EPA, individual state or local agencies may have added additional restrictions and that may go well beyond federal requirements.  To obtain information relating to your local community, call the National Lead Information Center at 1(800)424-5323.

As always, Handyman Matters stands ready to assist you with your home repair, renovation and remodeling needs.  Call 1(866)FIX-MY-HOME or go to www.handymanmatters.com to enter your zip code and find the phone number of the location that services your area.

Best of the Internet: Paint Colors for your Home!

One of the best and most affordable ways to update your home is to add a fresh coat of paint.  Whether you tackle just one wall, or a room, or your entire house, switching up the paint in your home will go a long way.  What color do you pick?  Not just any color will complement your home so Handyman Matters has pulled together some of our favorite neutral and bold colored rooms from across the internet…

NEUTRAL

Eggshell and yellow are a thing of the past when it comes to neutrals this season.  If you go neutral, think grey.

And the wonderful thing about grey is it has a variety of undertones, so your home’s grey could be referencing a pale blue, green, or even purple.

BOLD

If you go bold, do it in a jewel tone.  Rich colors, as opposed to neons, can calm a large room or add a point of interest to a more minimally designed space. This year blue, green, and black paint are ruling the bold spectrum.

  • Green

Talk about luxury.  Royal and deep greens have the ability to invoke both warm and cooling properties.

  • Blue

It may be bold, but a good navy blue is still a fairly understated color.  It’s the cousin to the neutral tones, so if you’re looking to go bold without making too much of a statement, blue is for you.

  • The In-Between

Turquoise, teal, and cyan to name a few.  These are some of the most common colors found in nature.  These blue-green in-betweens will add an earthy feel to your home.

  • Black

If you’re really looking to go bold, go black.  Black paint done right will add a high contrast element to your home, making the brighter whites stand out like nothing before.  This color of paint will also draw your eye to the smaller details of a room; just make sure you have a little extra natural light, so that the room doesn’t end up becoming a cave.

Worried your room will be overwhelmed with color? Wainscoting is the perfect way to offset a bold paint choice.

Find more wall paint inspiration on our Pinterest board! Ready to start your next paint or wainscoting project? Handyman Matters is here to help, just call 866-FIX-MY-HOME!

Benefits of Choosing Non-Toxic Paints

The benefits of non-toxic paints are found in a quick look at what is in “traditional” paints.

Many commercial paints contain up to 10,000 chemicals, over 300 of which are known toxins; 150 of those are known to cause cancer.

There is a dangerous subcategory of these chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOC) that can leech out of paint for years. VOCs have been shown to cause breathing problems, headaches, eye irritation and nausea.  Some have even been linked to higher incidents of cancer.

VOCs are unstable carbon-based compounds that vaporize into the air easily. This process can last for years. Most people don’t realize it, but they may be surrounded by the very chemicals that are making them sick.

Fortunately, there are alternatives to paints with VOCs. These paints are identified as low-VOC or no-VOC paints. In fact, most major paint manufacturers have begun making paints that have very little or no harmful chemicals.

Finding these types of paints is as easy as asking your paint retailer, or checking labels closely. There are several companies that now have a green seal on their paints. These seals are designed to tell consumers that this is a healthier paint than the traditional types. In addition to paint, there are also natural, oil-based wood finishes that can be used to stain and seal wood without bringing toxins into the home.

In Europe, the move toward low or no VOC paints has been going on for some time. In the United States, many companies have begun selling “nursery” paints. These are paints that have few VOCs, specifically designed for childrens’ rooms.

Because all of these paints are water-based, they clean up more easily and are better for the environment. There is little or no odor while painting and no odor afterward.

There are several companies that specialize in only healthier paint alternatives.  Many produce paints made from natural ingredients that don’t contain any VOCs and are entirely non-toxic. In fact, many of them also have essential oils in them that give them a pleasant scent.

Some of the larger paints companies offer zero-VOC paints. A paint that has less than 5 grams per liter of VOCs can be called zero-VOC. While these paints are not made from natural ingredients, they don’t leech out toxins into the environment. Because these companies’ products are easy to find, you can simply visit your paint retailer and ask them for paints in the zero-VOC lines.

Using healthier paints is easy. All you have to do is take the extra moment to find them. You, your family and the planet will be a healthier for it.

And for assistance with all of your home’s painting needs, Handyman Matters stands ready to help.  Contact them by calling 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to find a location in your area.

 

Choosing the Right Paint Color for Your Kitchen

There are many great ways to update and change the look of your kitchen, and one of the best and least expensive ways is to paint it. In doing so, you will want to consider the color and style of your flooring and the other features in the room.

A good way to compare and contrast a number of ideas is to obtain color swatches or sample colors from your local paint or home improvement store to put on a small portion of the wall.

Consider which features of the kitchen will stay the same. You want to stick with a compatible motif as much as possible when choosing a new color, unless you are going to change it all up.  Make sure that you choose the colors that will blend well with your entire decor.

Also consider your kitchen lighting.  Many people are now using CFL bulbs to reduce costs and conserve energy.  In any event, remember that all colors will look different, based upon the type of illumination in the room.  It might be prudent to update your lighting before making a final decision on color selections.

Finally, consider how well the color will flow with the rest of the house.  In so many homes these days, kitchens open directly onto other areas, and a color scheme that looks good on its own may be jarring when it bumps up against the conflicting design of an adjacent room.  Utilize tones that complement those in other areas.

And remember that you can always contact Handyman Matters at 1-866-FIX-MY-HOME  for assistance with any home renovation projects.  Our craftsmen stand ready to offer tips or to implement your design ideas.  To locate a Handyman Matters business near you, simply enter your zip code above to find the location closest to you.

 

How to Decorate Your Home for Less

Here are a handful of tips to consider before you open your wallet—or substantially reduce the amount of money in your bank account—to “change up” your home.

Furniture, lighting and pictures can all be moved to offer a new perspective on an old living space.  A simple re-arrangement of the items you already possess can have a dramatic effect.

Installing curtains or shades is another way to give a room a new appearance.

Shopping for raw materials and creating something from these is less expensive than purchasing ready-made items. These include such things as pillowcases or simple wooden shelves. Shop at discount stores for reasonably priced accessories. Custom-made things are certainly a nice luxury, but they aren’t always necessary or worth the high price tag.

Painting an accent wall is a task easily within the reach of even the most tentative do-it-yourselfer.  Keep in mind that the prep work will be the most challenging step you face—take time to prepare the surface of the wall you will be updating so that the new paint job looks its best.

Walls should be clean, smooth and dry. Wash off all dirt and grease with a powdered household cleaner and water. Stick to colors in the neutral range, white or cream, say, as a clean backdrop for the rich textures and shades of furniture pieces and accessories.

When it comes to new purchases, begin with inexpensive basics, like environmentally friendly shower heads and lights, then consider the benefits of ceiling insulation and whether you can save on electricity costs by installing solar panels.

A few strategically placed items can change a room from dull to dramatic! Change out cabinet handles, or add a houseplant.  A new frame on a cherished photo or painting can create a compelling new point of focus.

Once you’ve made a handful of economical changes and updates, take a step back and consider the overall effect.  Has this given you the breath of fresh air you are seeking from a makeover?  If not, then it’s time to consider larger—and more expensive—renovations.

Source

Painting Can Polish a Sale

A good paint job can turn an otherwise drab, dark looking home into a bright, and airy mansion that would be the envy of the neighborhood. Even the most aged and dreary homes can be given a new lease on life with a paint job.

However, a bad paint job can spell doom for home selling hopefuls. Instead of making magic and turning your home into a dream house, a bad coat of pain can scare away potential buyers.   This is easily avoidable with just a few tips, a good brush and roller and the nerve to start painting your house armed with the following information:

Choosing The Right Color

Make sure the color combination you choose fits the existing furnishings in your home.

Remember that the most attractive homes to purchase are the ones that have a light, spacious, and cozy feel. The way your furnishings contrast and complement the color combination you choose will be critical in the success of your paint job.

Paint Considerations

Consider the lighting in the room you will paint. As a general rule, you will want to purchase paint that is one or two shades lighter than the shade you want, since paint generally seems darker when spread over a large area. It would also be safer if you tested the paint on a small area to see how the color plays out.

To control the illusion you want your room to project, you will need to understand how colors affect people’s perception of space. There are what’s called advancing colors–these are the striking, warm toned colors such as orange, red, and yellow that have the effect of making the closed spaces of the room more pronounced. To improve the perception of space in your room, it would be nice to use cooler-toned, receding colors such as blue, green, and violet.

It is not only the color that affects the perception of size; the saturation and intensity of these colors also play a part in the room’s ambience. If the paint you choose is too dark or saturated, the room will still seem cramped. To achieve a spacious effect, you might want to stick to light, or neutral colors – white, pearl, or beige will do fine for this job.

You should also paint your ceilings a light color to give the impression of additional height.

The finish of the paint will also have a great deal of effect on the overall ambience of the room. Flat finishes are good for hiding minor imperfections on the walls. Eggshell finishes are great for adding a warm glow to the room, and are easy to clean and maintain. Glossy paint is good for emphasizing details and is the easiest to clean.

Source