Simple Ways to Give Your Home’s Exterior a Face Lift

FIXING UP YOUR CURB APPEAL

The exterior of your home is the first thing that any visitors see when they arrive. That makes it crucial to have a beautiful home exterior if you want to give off a great first impression. It always seems like an expensive plan when you think about sprucing up the outside of your home, but there are actually a lot of simple things you can do to improve your home’s exterior without breaking the bank!

BEST SIMPLE HOME EXTERIOR IMPROVEMENT IDEAS

  1. Get New Simple Hardware

You might be surprised to find that small things like the hardware around the front of your home make a big impact on the overall look. According to Better Homes and Gardens, getting new house numbers, light fixtures, door knockers, and other small hardware pieces can add a whole new life to your house.

  1. Focus on the Front Door

With most houses, the front door is the focal point and everything else revolves around it. It is what most people pay attention to when they are arriving at your property. As such, you should make sure it’s looking good at all times. A fresh coat of paint on the door, some new trim, a nice wreath, and other small changes will do a lot to improve the door itself.

  1. Check Out Outdoor Lighting

Small outdoor lights not only improve the look of your home, they can actually make it safer at night and increase the value of your home. Many solar-powered lights are available as well as lights that automatically detect when it is dark and turn themselves back off when it is bright outside again.

  1. Look into a Paint Job

Nothing can make your house look new faster than a fresh coat of paint. Look at the paint currently on your home and see if you need to get it re-done. Sometimes you can get away with re-painting the accents of the house first for a fresh look and doing the main bulk of the siding later on.

  1. Look at Landscaping

The plants and grass around your home will draw a lot of attention. That attention can be negative if they are not well kept or it could be positive if you maintain your landscaping well and plant attractive plants around the yard. Trim the bushes, keep the lawn mowed and edged, and weed your garden area regularly to keep your landscaping looking great. You can also look at adding some plants to the garden if you’re feeling a bit more ambitious.

  1. Give Your Exterior a Scrub-down

One of the easiest and cheapest ways to make your house look years newer is to clean anything and everything that you usually neglect. That’s right, it’s time to wash and clear the gutters, pressure wash the siding or bricks, thoroughly clean the windows, get rid of unsightly cobwebs, and scrub your front walkway and porch. A clean home looks finitely better than a home with hidden, tucked away dirt and grime built up.

  1. Seal the Driveway

Over time your driveway is going to collect some cracks. This is a fact of life that is unavoidable. However, if you want an easy way to improve the look of a cracked driveway without having to replace the whole thing, you can reseal it on your own. Driveway sealant is relatively cheap and you can have the driveway fixed and usable again within around 24 hours.

  1. Set Up Potted Plants

Potted greenery adds a lot of curb appeal without taking too much maintenance or money. Hang some plants around your front porch, especially near the door, for a fresh look for any home.

THE VALUE OF A GREAT OUTSIDE LOOK

The outside of your home has to look great if you want to impress visitors, sell the house, or even if you just want to smile every time you come home and see how good it looks. Try out these 8 easy ways to improve the outside of your home and see how much more you enjoy coming back and seeing your house afterwards!

SOURCES

http://www.bhg.com/home-improvement/exteriors/curb-appeal/ways-to-add-curb-appeal/

http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/photos/0,,20569946_21119712,00.html

Inexpensive Ways to Give Your Bathroom Makeover

When purchasing a new home or updating your current one, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all of the changes you want to make. A good way to give your wallet a break is by focusing the renovations on the larger living spaces of your home, like the kitchen and family room, and making inexpensive, incremental updates to smaller spaces, like the bathroom. Typically, a bathroom remodel requires less materials, time, and money due to the room’s size. Therefore, small changes can have a big impact. Here are steps to renovating bathrooms on a budget.

Bathromm makeover

Paint

Paint is the easiest way to change the appearance of a room. From light to dark, adding color to the walls can affect how big or small the room feels, plus it changes the aesthetic. Paint is also relatively affordable, especially for smaller spaces. Just one can covers approximately 400 square feet, which is enough for a bathroom. Popular paint company Glidden even offers a paint calculator so you don’t buy too much or too little for your project. It’s common for most bathrooms to be painted a light color in order to make the room appear larger, especially in the absence of windows and other natural lighting.

Lighting

Small windows or frosted glass typically placed in bathrooms don’t offer functional lighting. Therefore, ambient lighting overhead or alongside a vanity ensures added visibility for daily tasks like applying makeup or shaving. Vertical sidelights on either side of the mirror are ideal for eliminating unflattering shadows. Aside from placement, choose the right fixture can have a big impact on your space. Pay attention to the trends, but choose a shape and finish that is timeless to get the best bang for your buck. Brushed nickel and oil rubbed bronze are both on par with today’s style, but are still understated and classic.

Hardware, Knobs, and Pulls

Whichever finish you choose for lighting fixtures should be carried over to smaller metal accessories throughout your bathroom. This includes the shower curtain rod, towel rod, faucets and handles, and cabinet pulls. Simply switching out dated brass fixtures or rusted metals can bring your bathroom back to life. Just make sure to use the same finish throughout for a cohesive look and to match the fixtures to the new paint color. Popular options available at your local hardware store include the two mentioned above, plus stainless steel, chrome, matte black, and brushed brass.

Mirror

Mirrors are often focal points in the bathroom. We stare into them everyday, yet we don’t consider how they affect the aesthetic of the bathroom. Framing a mirror makes it a lot more appealing to the eye, almost picturesque, you could say. Framing is essentially adding a decorative trim made from baseboard around the edges of a plate glass mirror. If framing a mirror isn’t an option for your bathroom, consider updating it altogether. Look into unique shapes that draw the eye to a focal point or a larger mirror that helps the bathroom appear bigger. Plus, you can purchase many mirrors that are already framed so you can achieve the same desired affect.

Layers

Layers in the bathroom are all the additional pieces that you add after the foundation has been laid. Layers typically bring in patterns, prints, or pops of color. They also add texture and comfort that help bathrooms feel homier and less sterile. The layer that makes the biggest difference is the shower curtain. It takes up quite a bit of visible space in the bathroom and the best part about them is that they’re inexpensive. Choose one with a modern pattern or color scheme to freshen up the bathroom. Once you’ve selected a shower curtain, move on to coordinating bath rugs and towels, which add small pops of personality. Layers are especially important for small master bathroom ideas because you don’t want the design to clash with the adjoining mater bedroom.

The best thing about these bathroom improvements is that they can be done over time as you find pieces on sale or save up more money. Plus, they’re all very simple and require no previous construction experience. The key is to purchase items you can keep for a long time or that will be appreciated by the next homeowner.

How to Prepare Your Garden for Spring

Spring is the best time to get started on your summer garden plans, especially because preparing your soil correctly can ensure a successful turnout from

Prepare garden for spring

your garden.

Even if you have been

gardening for years, it’s smart to take a look at new ideas that can add to your growth potential. Below are our tips for preparing your garden for Spring.

Cultivate your soil

Make sure you tend to the soil when it is dry, so that you can loosen it up and ready it for planting. If your garden beds are new, plan on taking time to remove rocks, twigs, and weeds. It’s a good idea to test your soil to learn about its nutrient content. You can buy a cheap soil testing kit at your local home store, or get a free test done by your local state cooperative extension (links here: http://www.almanac.com/content/cooperative-extension-services).

Layer on the Compost

Compost help give the soil nourishment it needs to produce great crops, and it also increases the workability of the soil. It helps the soil handle water and distribute nutrients to the crops. It is one of the easiest ways to get healthy, abundant crops and keep your soil in good growing condition. You can create your own compost by using organic materials (like leaves, vegetable scraps, and shredded paper) or buy mix in your local area. Plant Natural has a great guide for beginning composters here: http://www.planetnatural.com/composting-101/.

Fertilize

Choose the right fertilizer based on the crops you intend to plant. All fertilizers will be labeled with information about the nutrient ratios they contain. This is often referred to as N-P-K (or nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium). If a fertilizer contains all three, it is known as a complete fertilizer. Similarly, a fertilizer that is void of one or more of these nutrients is considered incomplete. The right ratio for you depends on the nutrient content of your soil, and the kinds of plants you are intending to grow. You also have the choice of organic or synthetic fertilizers, the first of which is derived from natural sources, and the second which is manufactured. Different types of fertilizers boast different benefits for use, and it is best to determine your specific needs before deciding.

As you’ve seen, the best way to prepare a successful garden is by focusing on the quality of the soil. If you focus your spring efforts on turning out the best soil mixture possible you will be setting yourself up for strong and healthy crops.