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DIY Home Improvements

Posted by Jen Walfoort

“If the women don’t find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.”
-Red Green

The great Canadian television personality Red Green certainly doesn’t mean to alienate anyone when he utters his famous catch phrase. He’d agree that everyone should be handy, even if they’re a lady or blessed with handsomeness. So the next time you plan on moping around the house, why not take a page from Red Green’s book and sharpen up your handiness with a little DIY project? It won’t cost you much, it will make your home that much more personal, and it’ll keep you from watching too much agonizing news on TV.

Install a Backsplash

Think of a backsplash as an extension of your sink counter, keeping stray jets of water from staining and gradually eating away at the wall. Installing a traditional backsplash is straightforward enough, with minimal time, thinset mortar, and tile cutting required. But if you’d like to skip bothering with adhesive and tile spacers, you can expedite the process with a peel-and-stick tile backsplash kit. It’s simpler yet to install affordable tin tile, which is reflective to brighten up a room, easy to clean, and available in a variety of styles and finishes to complement any kitchen or bathroom.

Paint Cabinets and Change Out Hardware

When you add up the time it will take to remove your cabinet doors and lay down blue tape, painting your kitchen cabinets becomes one of the more involved DIY projects. If you’ve got a weekend to spare, though, it’s an incredibly satisfying way to make your kitchen look sterling for very little money. Before the paint has dried, go out and get yourself a new set of knobs or handles for all your pretty new cabinet doors. Just make sure the new pieces are the same size as the old ones so you don’t have to drill unsightly holes.

Hang a Pot Rack

Real estate inside of kitchen cabinets is usually pretty limited. Couples married in the ’70s have an especially hard time accommodating all seven of their fondue sets. You can free up a lot of space while adding continental charm to your kitchen with a ceiling mounted pot rack. Be certain to mount your pot rack to a joist, because screwing it into bare drywall is going to turn into an unwanted lesson in gravity.

Install Under Cabinet Lighting

Electricity is the only household essential that doubles as a federally condoned method of execution. (Depending on your definition of “essential.”) Most DIY enthusiasts don’t want to mess around with potent elemental forces, but you don’t need to know AC from DC in order to install attractive under cabinet lighting. Battery-powered LED lights are lightweight and stick to the under surface of a cabinet in an instant, giving you the illumination you need to make hotdish without risk of getting zapped.

Frame the Bathroom Mirror

Many bathrooms are finished with a builder basic mirror, which is a sheet of glass and little else. With less than $20 worth of primed trim board you can turn that drab mirror into a pretty one. Once you have cut your boards to length (or had the nice clerk at the hardware store do it according to your measurements), just slather them with construction adhesive and hold them in place with tape until they’ve bonded to your wall. If the corners don’t meet exactly, don’t start writing an angry letter to the office of Shop.Dine.Live. — just work a little caulk in there. With paint you’ll have a bathroom mirror worthy of the Plaza Hotel!

Install Wainscoting

Wainscoting adds a lot of value to a bedroom, living room, or bathroom. The panels guard drywall against scrapes and other blemishes, split a wall up to create an eye-pleasing line, and give warmth and texture to taller rooms. Installing wainscoting was once an involved project, but with new peel-and-stick wood products you can tackle the project by yourself in half the time.

Replace Outlet Wall Plates

This is one of the fundamental low-cost home improvement tricks. Years of brushing your fingertips against wall outlet plates add up gradually, so you may not even notice when yours have become yellowed and worn. Basic plates are cheap as free and held in place by a single screw, so anyone can swap a whole home’s out in less than an hour. And if you’re feeling extra fancy, you can upgrade to decorative plates that will show the world what an exceptional human being you are.

Rake It In

For this project you want to pick up an old rake — specifically the kind that will wallop you in the face if you step on it the wrong way. Cut down the handle, sand off any grit and rust, and mount it on the wall to hang towels, wine glasses, keys, and anything else a rake can dangle. It’s an almost free way to add rustic ambiance to any space, and as a bonus you’ll be prepared for any emergency that calls for a rake.

 

By David Scheller

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