One-Weekend Painting Projects

Updating the decor in your home doesn’t have to be a long, laborious or expensive process. Instead, get a little instant gratification by using paint to easily refresh areas and items throughout the house. With a little cash and a free weekend, you can makeover your house right now.

Furniture facelift

Whether it’s an old pair of chairs in the attic or a desk that’s seen better days, it’s easy to breathe new life into pieces of forgotten furniture with a fresh coat of paint. You can add interest and a pop of color to any room. A semi-gloss finish works best when painting furniture because it’s easy to clean and hides any imperfections.

  • Make sure the surface is clean, dull and dry.
  • Prime with a stain blocking primer to ensure the surface is properly sealed. This will help the paint go on evenly and uniformly.
  • With a high-quality mini-roller, apply the paint of your choice to achieve the best finish. These tools are versatile, lightweight, and can quickly and easily deliver a perfect finish with smooth rolling action.
  • For extra protection, brush on two thin, even coats of water-based polyurethane.

Door do-over

Changing the color of an interior door can make a big impact in any room. The key to getting this update right: color selection. Choose a color similar to your walls for the door, because you don’t want the contrast to be jarring. Be sure to paint the frame too, so the door doesn’t seem to float in space, and use a gloss or semi-gloss finish.

  • Remove door and hinges from the wall.
  • Make sure the door is clean, dull and dry.
  • Prime bare, sanded woodwork; there’s no need to prime previously painted surfaces if they’re in good condition. However, if you are going over an existing oil-based paint with a latex paint, follow the instructions on the paint can on how to prime.
  • When applying paint or primer, work from the center of the door outwards in the following order: molding, inside panels, rails, stiles
  • Once paint is completely dry, re-hang door using existing hinges.

Step to it

For an unexpected update, paint an area of the house that doesn’t usually receive a lot of love – your stair risers. They can get nicked and scuffed easily, so a fresh finish – and color – can really perk up the staircase. If you’re unsure of which shade to choose, cut and paint cardboard pieces the same size of the risers and position them on the steps to get an idea of the effect.

  • Dust risers with a broom and cover steps with masking paper; secure with painter’s tape.
  • Apply latex primer to wooden risers or metal etching primer to metallic ones. Brush horizontally and let dry for at least two hours. Mini rollers are another tool to consider especially over metal.
  • Apply gloss, latex paint with a clean brush or mini roller. Let first coat dry two hours, then apply second coat.
  • Wait a day for the paint to cure and then add a third coat for the most durable finish.

Remember: Painting is the easiest way to make a dramatic and instant impact on a room and Handyman Matters is your one stop shop for making changes to your home for 2012! To find a location near you visit, or call 866-FIX-MY-HOME.

Painting Garage Doors Protects the Investment

 From being knocked into and dented, to going up and down all the time, to being exposed to nature’s elements, garage doors experience wear and tear on a daily basis. They are also the point through which many people enter their homes at the end of the day. But for all this, garage doors are often overlooked where maintenance and aesthetics are involved.

Most garage doors need a fresh coat of paint every few years to protect them from wind, rain, and sun. Metal doors can rust over time without the layer of protection that paint lends. Wood doors can dry out and split without protection. Even without peeling, paint layers break down over time and garage doors need to be repainted every few years. This also offers a convenient opportunity to change colors and create more curb appeal.

It is imperative that the door be cleaned and dried thoroughly before any painting begins. Using a hose, an abrasive cleaner, and a rough scrub brush, clean the entire side of the door that is to be painted. Make sure to get any oil or grease that has collected entirely cleaned off; otherwise the paint won’t stick and there will be bubbling and peeling problems. It is okay for the surface of the garage door to be slightly abraded during this process, as it will allow the paint to stick better.

Once the door is clean and dry, use an oil based exterior paint primer to prepare the door for the color coats. Follow the directions on the primer label carefully to avoid problems like tacky paint that never dries properly, peeling, or bubbling. The primer can be applied with a roller and brush that are designed for oil based paint.

Recent restrictions on ingredients in paint have limited the availability of oil based paint. Exterior latex paint may be used to paint garage doors, but is more prone to bubbling and peeling, especially on metal doors. If appropriate exterior oil based paint cannot be found, consult with the local hardware store to find the best alternative. Many garage door services also offer painting, and using such a service may ensure that the finished results will last for years and added beauty and garage door protection.


Neutral Color Palettes for your Home

 Whites, grays, creams, beige and brown are all timeless neutral colors used extensively as home paints. Over the years, these neutral colors have evolved and their modern avatars include olive green, jade, lilac, cool silver, organic grays, soft yellows and so on. Browns are considered ‘near-neutral’ colors.

Neutral palettes are a good base while giving your home a paint make-over for a classy, soothing, elegant ambience. The correct neutral colors go with everything, giving a beautiful canvas to work upon, making it possible to create extremely chic, versatile rooms. They can be spruced up with colorful accessories and are easy to match with furniture.

Keep in mind the following points when you opt for a neutral color palette:

• There has to be sufficient contrast so that the whole neutral look does not end up looking boring.

• A neutral color combination might look lifeless if the room does not have access to good natural light.

• Curtains, window draperies, slipcovers and pillows should all be in sync with the neutral theme.

• The undertones or second shades associated with neutral colors are gold, peach, tan, yellow etc.

A subtle neutral color palette is both an end in itself or provides an ideal backdrop for bold statements. They never go out of fashion and blend easily with the surroundings.

Subtle, neutral colors provide an excellent backdrop for walls and ceilings. White is the perfect backdrop for bold artwork and contemporary furniture. Colors look great against a background of white. Inject a bit of color by painting the doors and window frames in a contrasting color to enhance the white on the walls. Whites also contrast well with rich, dark furniture colors. Even off-white can convey a feel of richness and depth.

To give your home a warm, comfortable rustic feel, use dark neutral shades of brown, rust and black. While opting for browns and greens, choose a lighter or softer shade of these colors that have a touch of earth tone in them, for instance a more faded or antique olive green.

Gray is a neutral color that will work on the walls in most any decorating scheme. Even the palest shades of gray will shimmer when sunlight enters the room and give off a warm glow when offset with undertones of white or cream. Gray is associated with sophistication, offering opportunities to decorate in black and white.

As a standalone option, beige might look drab and uninspiring but it provides numerous options in terms of furnishings and decorative accents. When using beige, add a tinge of lighter or darker neutrals to make the room look lively.

Neutrals offer a comfortable alternative to jarring bright colors. They create a fabulous background for other colors to dominate. Neutral hues make hallways and other small areas appear more spacious than they really are; they are a good choice for living areas because they go with any color of furnishings. But remember to have small accents of color to break the monotony of a completely neutral pallet.

If you intend to sell your house in the future, then it’s better to opt for neutral colors for better resale value as you will find most prospective buyers prefer a neutral palette.


Great Ideas for Painting the Exterior of Your Home

Most likely, one of the primary goals you have for your home is to maintain the value of your investment. Exterior residential painting may well be high on the list of important things to do. If you are a do-it-yourself type person there are many steps to doing the job correctly. If you are not, you may want to hire a professional to do the job for you. Either way, the right preparation is essential.

Your primer should be of very high quality. This will hold true for both pre-painted or bare wood surfaces. The top coat will only look the way you want it to if you put a good primer in place. Depending on the type of siding and its condition, pressure washing your home is step number one. This will remove your old flaking paint and get rid of your dirt, wasps’ nests and mildew. You should then remove any remaining loose paint followed by sanding the house to prepare for the primer coat. Using a cleaning agent with bleach is a great option for removing the mildew. If you live in an area that has continual high humidity, or live near a body of water, a mildew inhibitor may well be in order. Exterior residential painting is effective only if done properly.

If there are any gaps between the siding boards or masonry, you should consider using caulk to seal the spaces. Be sure you use the correct caulking material on each surface.  Be sure to check your metal areas such as gutters, flashing, etc. for peeling paint. This should be removed with strong brush or metal brush. Primers are available for metal as well as siding. Acrylic paints mildew somewhat less than oils, but still will mildew. If this is an issue at your residence be sure to use a type that will slow the development of mildew.

Masonry can present other issues. If five years old or less, it may leach through your painted coating. This can be avoided by application of muriatic acid diluted according to directions on the container. This is a very strong acid and precautions must be taken. Rubber gloves and safety glasses are a must.

Masking tape applied to light fixtures, door knobs, door bells or other immovable objects will help considerably with the cleanup. It takes a little more time, but will be worth the effort in the long run.  Remember to protect shrubs, walkways and other common areas.

Using an expert exterior residential painting contractor may be the best option if you are under time or other restrictions. It is more than a one day job. Take your time. Do your prep work and remember primer must be high quality, or the topcoat will not look the way you would like it to and may ultimately peel and put you back to square one.


Home Decorating on a Budget

As the seasons change, many times your local thrift and consignment stores will have a change in inventory.  These can be great resources for decorating supplies, furnishings, accessories, paint, wallpaper, and fabrics. But before you go shopping, make a plan that incorporates items you already have into your decorating task. The best strategy in budget decorating is to always inventory and use what you have on hand before buying decorating supplies. Be sure to check out the garage, attic, and/or basement for useful materials or furnishings that can be recycled into a new decor.

Shop in your own home first! Consider moving items from one space to another. Sometimes pulling items from one room to another and simply re-organizing, fixing up, or just using an item in a different way can be enough to jazz up a room. Add a fresh coat of paint, different window dressings and rearrangement of furnishings, and you have transformed a room.

Need some paint? If you can be flexible about color, check the mis-mixed table at your local home improvement, hardware, or paint stores. You can find high quality paints for a fraction of the original retail cost when colors don’t turn out exactly as they should have. Sometimes you can find a slight variation of just the color you’ve already picked that will work just as well with your selected color scheme and save you lots of money.

Collecting fabrics for future use is also another great idea. Even unwanted clothing can be used to create small window dressings, pillow covers, and accessories. Many people give away scraps of fabrics or sell them at yard sales. Be sure to check clearance and end piece items at sewing and fabric shops.

Before you make your plans, check out several books at the library on home decorating. You will find no shortage of books on the subject. Glance through them and grab ideas to incorporate into your own decorating task. If you have a specific challenge to overcome, it’s likely that someone else has already encountered it, conquered it, and written a book or web page about it. Use their knowledge! It will save you time and frustration of figuring it out.

Make your own accessories. Learn to make swags and wreaths. Swags and wreaths bring texture and color into a space and can be fairly simple to create. A simple how-to book is all you need to create a few decorative pieces. Wreaths can easily be adapted to suit any theme or color scheme.

Don’t over-accessorize. If you have collections, group them together for the best displays. Your trinkets and treasures will look less like clutter and more like valued collections.

So, before opening your pocketbook to big-purchase items, look a little closer to home for decorating ideas that can give your house an entirely new look and feel!


Improving Walls and Ceilings

Improving walls and ceilings is an excellent way to bring back the life of your home and great for maintaining equity on one of the biggest investments in your life.

Many of the wall upgrades can be handled by an experienced do-it-yourselfer with a bit of know-how and the time to undertake the projects.

If you have dents in the walls or ceilings and/or holes, you will need to have scrapers, plaster, knife, spackle, cloth, sandpaper and paint.  You may also need the patches that come with plastering kits in the event some of the holes require additional attention.

Before you start with the spackling, make sure the area is clear of dust and other debris.  Apply a coat of spackle to the area and wait until it dries.  Then sandpaper the area and dust it again to remove any remaining particles.

If you are peeling off old paint, use a putty knife or paint-scraper to remove as much of the material as possible.  Spackle around the edge of the chipping paint and then sand down the area and dust it thoroughly before applying new paint.

Removing stains will require solvents; some require nothing more than a damp sponge; you can also try dish soap in small quantity.  Tougher stains will obviously require a stronger cleanser.  If mildew has collected, particularly mold spores, this should be cleansed with a bleach solution to prevent it from reappearing right away.

A larger quantity of nail holes or other more significant damage may require re-plastering an entire area.  Obviously, this is a much larger undertaking, not necessarily beyond your ability to do it, but it’s well worth considering if, at this time, you would be better served by engaging the services of a professional remodeler/repairman.

In any event, maintaining the upkeep and look of your walls and ceilings has more than just cosmetic value; it keeps the integrity of your home at its best, as well.


Color Schemes for Interior Decorations

interior-paintingRedecorating your home can be both fun and intimidating, particularly when you face all the options available to you. And when it comes to wall color schemes, things can also seem risky, indeed. But you don’t need to feel overwhelmed by the ordeal; just take things one step at a time.

Assess each room individually. Make notes as to the amount of natural light each receives, the kind of lighting you are using, and the colors that will best complement the natural architectural features of your home.

Take a close look at the carpeting, flooring and woodwork to help guide you in your choices. A particularly useful tool would be a color wheel, something you can pick up at any paint, interior design, or home improvement store. Color wheels are used to determine complementary colors for selecting the best combination of hues for a room.

When you have decided on the color palette that best suits the space, start with the lighter shades for walls, medium for furniture and windows (or contrasts).

Lighter shades like cream, whites, lemon and ivory can make a space look larger. Use lighter shades as the base or neutral color and play with contrast and bolder shades for the rest of the décor.

You should also have an “eye resting point,” where all of the colors break even. This shouldn’t be anything too big or too loud. A vase, bowl or painting that highlights the room’s accents and harmonizes the interiors will serve the purpose nicely.

People tend to prefer the boldest use of colors on fabrics like cushions, curtains and mats. Try to repeat colors in an equal proportion throughout the room, and in 3 or 4 places. As a general rule, a good color ratio is to go with 60% in lighter tones, 30% in mid-range, and just 10% in the brightest accent colors.

Play within the rules, but when it comes to creativity, don’t overlook your own power. Create a space that reflects your taste and individuality.

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Home Remodeling: Making the Best Interior Color Choices

interiorOne of the easiest and speediest ways to give the rooms in your home a fresh, remodeled look is with a new paint job. And knowing the best—as well as the worst—colors to use can help you make a more informed choice.

Naturally, you’ll want to select hues and tones that you like the best; after all, you’ll be looking at these walls and ceilings every day! But design and renovation experts always advise caution and restraint when making your choices. A certain color may appeal to you on a small swatch, but translating that same tone onto a larger area, like an entire wall—or walls—may present an entirely different picture. It can overwhelm the room, or seem like an entirely different hue, depending on the flow of light and the layout. Proceed with caution, painting just a small section to begin with and then living with it for a day or so before committing an entire room to that color.

Considerable studies have been conducted to analyze the effects various colors have on moods; it’s interesting to note that people react to color without even knowing quite why. You may find yourself avoiding a room, or spending less time there, simply because its palette “speaks” to you in a negative way, or in a way that is in conflict with the function of that particular area of your house.

Colors intrinsically evoke emotions from people and set the mood for an interior space. They can energize, depress, elate or motivate. Before undertaking a remodeling task, first identify what kinds of activities typically take place in the room facing renovation.
Shades of blues and greens are excellent choices for bedrooms as they evoke feelings of sleepiness and relaxation, while bright and primary colors would be more attractive for both children and the elderly. Choose lighter and pastel shades to present that relaxed atmosphere in your bedrooms. For bathrooms however, you would be better off choosing a brighter shade of these same colors. You want to relax in the bathroom, but perhaps not so much that you find yourself nodding off!

Reds are great shades to choose for kitchens, as they evoke the appetite and keep people more sociable, lively and wide awake. However, you should consider people in your household who may find their blood pressures rising whenever they are inside an area with a great deal of red. To avoid such scenarios, choose other shades of red like a darker wine or burgundy color. Blue is a less desirable selection for the dining room or kitchen, as it has been shown to suppress the appetite.

The living area may do well with various shades of orange to induce warm and friendly feelings. However, avoid using bright shades as these can be overwhelming and counteractive to the effect you are striving to achieve. Browns and earth colors are great for exterior finishes, but not so in living rooms, where they can give people a sensation of being enclosed or trapped.

You have as many choices to select from as there are available shades of paint available on the market. Let your instincts guide you; ultimately, it’s a sense of comfort you are seeking. If you can stand in the middle of a room and feel relaxed and at peace, you’ve probably achieved precisely the correct result!

Transform Your Space With An Interior Paint Job

interior-paintUpdating the look of the rooms in your home can become a pretty pricey investment. To dramatically change the tone of any room in your home, for a small cost, interior painting is the answer. When the walls of a room are painted, the look of the entire space is transformed into what feels like a totally different place.

The task of transforming a room with a coat of paint can seem deceptively simple. It is a project that can be undertaken with a minimum of fuss and confusion so long as the appropriate preparations are lined up ahead of time. This begins, of course, with protecting everything in the vicinity that you wish to keep paint-free: Carpet, furniture, electronics, trim, and so forth. Shield larger objects with dropcloths and plastic sheets. Mask trim and fixtures with tape.

The surface to be painted will require prep, as well, to require the flawless application of paint. Holes and cracks will require repair; other surface damage or previous application of paint (particularly if the job was poorly done) will need attention, or those flaws will remain apparent even after the new paint job is completed.

With proper attention and care, repainting a room can be a manageable do-it-yourself project, but if the scope seems beyond your experience level, or to assure an expert job, you may wish to engage the services of a professional handyman service.

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Tips For Bringing Your Home Up To Date

Tips for updating your homeIt’s amazing how quickly our homes can start to look dated. Even if they were once the height of fashion, they can easily start to feel stuck in the past, and for many people it is enough to make them consider moving, unaware that it is simply the fact that things feel stale that is giving them such wanderlust.

There is plenty that can be done, easily and cheaply, to make a house feel more modern though. A change of paint is always a great way to start. Finding out the colors that are currently in vogue is a great way to instantly transform a room. On top that, interesting and modern artwork and contemporary knick knacks will also instantly bring a room up to date.

Home lighting is also a surprisingly date-specific kind of thing. Older light fittings will instantly date any room, and changing glaring halogens to more subtle accent lighting can instantly change the feel of a room without anything else being needed. Altering home lighting is also easy to research and cheap to achieve, making it one of the perfect places to start if a house is starting to feel jaded.

Wooden floors are also a great way to say modern. Utilizing a wooden floor gives you great scope to include underfloor heating, an investment that will almost certainly pay for itself in terms of how much money can be saved on energy bills. Underfloor heating also helps you remove what are usually unsightly radiators and give rooms more space – another way to make any room feel more modern.

If you can, make as much space as possible, knocking down walls to create more space if it is appropriate. Space and lighting combined will make even the dullest room feel fresh and new.