Home Improvement Tips to Start the New Year Right

Every new year sparks the urge in most people to think about what they’d like to accomplish in the year. Some resolutions can be difficult to keep up with, and some are longer term goals that lose momentum over time. That doesn’t stop us from making them! When it comes to home projects and repair, there are many lofty goals you can strive for, as well as small accomplishments. We put together a list of ideas, big and small, of potential New Year’s goals for the home. Get started with your planning early and be ready to start the year off right. Let us know what your goals are in the comments!

Install a library ladder

Rolling library ladders are no longer strictly for rooms of books. If you have a home with high shelves, especially in the kitchen, a rolling ladder can be a great aesthetic and functional addition. Take advantage of a lofted space with a ladder, and use it for storage or another access point to a room. Rolling ladders can be set up with curved railing so that it can function throughout an entire room. From tall, walk-in closets to high shelves in the kitchen, rolling library ladders can be useful just about anywhere.

Update decorative hardware in kitchen and bath

Changing hardware is a great way to make a room look fresh. Crystal knobs will reflect the light in the kitchen. Antique bronze drawer pulls give a bit of a different look, and enhance the rustic appearance, especially if your cabinets are worn down. The bathroom and the kitchen are the two main rooms to update with new hardware given the cabinet doors and drawers. This can tie in with the next item below as well, if you have the time and money to update the cabinets or vanity further.

Newly made kitchen cabinets: refinish / paint

Depending on your budget, updating your kitchen through the cabinetry is a great way to do it. Pick out a new color or stain, and it’ll only take a few days to paint the cabinets, including preparation. The prep work for the cabinets will take the most time, including cleaning and taking apart the pieces to paint. Another choice is to reface the cabinet doors with new veneer panels. Cooking and heavy use can wear out cabinets, and choosing veneer panels to reface the cabinet doors cleans it up without too much cost or labor time.

Updating Your Home for Resale Value

Putting your home on the market goes far beyond just hiring an agent or listing your home for sale. You need to ensure that your home is attractive to potential buyers, and this will likely require some work. The idea of spending more money to sell a home sounds counter intuitive, the return on a few investments in or around the home can greatly increase the resale value.

Bathroom Renovations

A few small changes in the bathroom can greatly improve its appearance. (Check out our recent post on updates here!) Switch out old appliances or features for something modern and streamlined. Sometimes just going for a new piece, even at a modest price, will really enhance the look of a room without much else. Everyone likes to feel like they’re walking into a clean bathroom with a shiny sink and fresh looking ready to assemble vanity cabinets! Clean up the bathtub, consider a new shower head attachment, and make sure the flooring it clean. Even if you can’t upgrade the flooring, if it’s clean it’ll go a long way for impressing potential buyers.

Kitchen Update

The kitchen is a very important room to just about every home buyer. Even if someone doesn’t love to cook, the kitchen is often a gathering point for house guests. Creating an inviting, warm setting for your kitchen is important to the overall aesthetics and value of a home. Cabinets can be painted to easily refresh the look, as well as switching out knobs or pulls for a change. Basic fixtures like lighting and faucets should be cleaned or replaced. The kitchen is often the part of a home that stops a buyer from moving forward, so don’t skimp on making the necessary updates here!

Changes to the Home’s Exterior

Updating the exterior of your home can be expensive with full-scale improvements, but there are a few techniques that will spruce up the look of your home without breaking the bank. Instead of trying to paint the whole house, just go for the doors and trim, as well as any shutters. Stick to neutral colors to appeal to all potential buyers. This update often yields a full 300% return on your investment, so it’s definitely worth the time – especially since it’s the first visual representation any new buyer will see!

Outside of painting, make sure to take a serious look at the siding and trim of your home to see if they need replacing. You can use vinyl for the replacement pieces to keep costs down. Replacing windows and doors can also yield nearly 85% of a return if you choose energy efficient replacements. Most buyers these days are looking for energy efficiency in all aspects of a future home to save on waste and energy costs.

Extras

A few straggler items to consider are certain tacky or outdated items in your home. That wacky light fixture or ill-suited bookshelf you may have become immune to over time would best be removed before trying to sell. Additionally, unsightly wallpaper or bold room colors should be removed or updated.

Barn Door Hardware – Indoor vs. Outdoor Uses

Barn door hardware is gaining steam in the home design market as a great way to add a new look to your home. Often you'll see it pictured as an aesthetic new way to add a door or division inside your home. However, other people are installing heavy duty rolling doors that can work outside as well as inside. With a large selection of finishes and roller strap designs, you can create a rustic, medieval, classic, or other theme look to your space. Conceal a closet, customize the look of your room, or open up your space with a rolling barn door. Here we explore the ways you can use them inside your home or outdoors.

Inside

There are a variety places you can install rolling barn door hardware in your home. Create a seamless divide between your living room and dining room with a rolling door. This way you can leave the door open or closed depending on your mood, leaving the option for an open flow without a swung open door in the way. Rolling doors are also commonly chosen for bathroom doors. This saves space if you have a small bathroom. It can also make other rooms in your home feel more open or stylized. Conceal your laundry room with a rolling door, or use it to conceal a closet where your washer and dryer are stacked.

Outside

Heavy duty barn doors are meant to withstand elements or heavy use. Perhaps you have an actual barn, and you want to replace the current door with a more stylish yet functional model. In choosing a barn door hardware you can select unique and colorful roller straps to install along with your heavy duty rolling door. On the other hand, installing a rolling door to replace a traditional door will add character to your property. A new door for your pool room or guest house allows for easy access to high traffic areas. If you have larger property that boasts a boathouse or beach house, adding a rolling barn door provides unique styling and an opportunity for freshening up the look of an outdated structure.

Bring Spring Into Your Home

Now that we are officially into spring, it's time to update the look and feel of your home to match the season. There are variety of ways to bring spring into your home without spending a fortune or using up all of your free time. Here are a few of our tips- what do you do to bring spring into your home?

One way to bring spring into your home- literally- is with fresh flowers and plants. Place fresh flowers from your garden in a nice vase and place them on your dining table as a lovely centerpiece. Flowers also look lovely in the bathroom on the vanity top, especially if you have guests coming over.



If fresh flowers or plants aren't your thing, you can still bring those elements into your home in the form of items such as decorative hardware. Floral knobs or leaf pulls can easily be taken off and replaced seasonally if you prefer- although leaving them up year-round will make every day feel like spring.



Spring decor is typically related to brighter and bolder colors. You don't need to paint your walls or furniture each time the season changes- that would be a bit excessive. By simply changing up the rugs, pillows, paintings and other items, you can give your home a new, spring look. Eliminate darker colors from winter and opt for whites with touches of brighter colors such as yellows, greens and blues.



If you can, allow for natural lighting during the daytime. Make the most of the extra hour of light by opening your blinds and curtains. This not only brightens your space, but also will let you save on your electricity bill.




Although many homeowners dread this time of the year for this reason, spring cleaning is a must. Work on de-cluttering each room, eliminating dust, washing fabrics and organizing your closets. Items such as shoe storage, closet storage pullouts, hampers and pant racks all let you easily organize your closet. You should also give your RTA cabinets a thorough cleaning to restore their shine and color.

All About Hidden Doors

hidden door bookshelf

One of the most popular ways to update the look and functionality of your home is to install a hidden door. There are a wide variety of uses for a hidden door in your home. These doors can conceal a room that you rarely use, create a room that you want to keep hidden from guests, or turn the door into a functional storage or display area.

Since storage space is a top complaint among homeowners, these doors provide a simple solution. Common storage uses include a pantry or linen closet, your own private wine cellar or an entryway to an attic. Hidden doors can conceal something that would otherwise make your home look cluttered or messy. Examples of this include a hidden mechanical room, a room for the furnace, a laundry room or gun storage. There's no need to worry about keeping this storage area extra organized or clean, since it will be hidden by the door.

Another problem homeowners may have is a lack of privacy. A hidden door conceals a private space from the rest of the house. This private retreat can be a home office, a room for your hobbies, a panic room, a place to safely store your pricey valuables, a home gym or even a secret playroom for your children.

Hidden doors also simply provide a nice aesthetic to your home. These doors also can create a beautiful space in your home to display your trinkets, prized possessions or collections. Even if you don’t have a secret room to conceal, these doors will add a designer’s touch to your home.

Hidden doors can be customized to your liking with a variety of details. Doors can be hinged on the left or right as an inswing or outswing. You can choose the wood type and color or stain to match with your home's decor. You can add decorative molding, cabinet doors and customize the shelving units if you'd like as well. With the advancements in the construction of the doors, most are easy to install with basic directions and diagrams.

All About Murphy Beds

murphy bed

One of the most underrated ways to save space in your home is to install a Murphy Bed. These beds, also commonly referred to as fold-down beds or wall bed, are a great way to save space in your home.

Murphy Beds are built into the wall and fold down when in use. When you are done sleeping, you simply lift them up and they hide in the wall, providing you with a few extra feet of space. The beds are easy enough to fold up by yourself, although fancier versions may include a remote-control device to lift the bed up and down.

Murphy Beds are typically seen in small apartments (usually lofts or studio apartments in urban areas) where space is limited. They are versatile enough to be used in any room in your home, since they instantly turn any space into a bedroom. If you have an extra room in your house but can't decide whether to use it as an office, storage room or a bedroom, why not install a Murphy bed? When guests come over, pull the bed down for them to use. When guests aren't over, the bed is hidden in the wall and you can use the space for whatever purpose you would like.

You can customize the look of your wall beds in a variety of ways. If you hate the plain, boring look of the bed when it is hidden in the wall, you can paint it, move a bookshelf in front of it to hide it, or even conceal it with a rolling door or hidden door. Guests will be surprised to know that a fold-down bed is actually hidden behind there. In addition to this, you can find Murphy Bed kits that work with any size bed. More modern versions now include add-ons such as lighting, cabinets and nightstands.

A variety of retailers offer Murphy Bed hardware kits that allow you to easily install them yourself. This saves money you would typically spend hiring a contractor to install the bed. Due to their inexpensive cost and easy, DIY installation, these wall beds have become increasingly popular over the past few years.

Unique Rolling Door Hardware

If you're looking for a stylish addition to your home, installing a rolling door is a popular option. Rolling doors not only are an attractive addition to your home, but they also save space. Since these rolling barn doors have no door swing, this saves you a few feet of space that typical doors use when opening and closing.

In addition to saving space and adding a new look to your home, these doors are useful in hiding certain rooms. For example, a laundry nook, personal office or kid's playroom can benefit from being hidden by a rolling door. Larger rooms can be separated in half with a rolling barn door, creating two separate functional spaces. These doors are also a great option for a pantry or closet, since they attractively conceal your storage in small spaces.

These interior barn-style doors can be customized in a variety of ways to match your home's style and decor. Between the variety of rolling door hardware (including roller straps), type of finishes and your door thickness, you can easily customize  the look of your door.

One of the easiest ways to customize your rolling door is with the roller strap. There are a wide variety of styles available ranging from a basic rectangle shape to a fancy Fleur-de-Lis style. If you're looking for a unique roller strap, here are a few fun options.

 horse roller strap

Since it is sometimes referred to as a “barn door” this double-horse roller strap is a perfect hardware option. Bring a touch of the outdoors inside with this handsome horse detail.



wolf roller strap

This Kaminski wolf roller strap would make a great addition in a home of those who love the outdoors. Log cabins, hunting lodges and more are great spaces to install this rolling door hardware.



gingerbread man rolling strap

This gingerbread man roller strap is another fun type of hardware for your rolling door. Install it in the family room you spend the holidays in- guests will love the fun, seasonal touch. This particular roller strap style is very versatile, so it can be used year-round as a fun, decorative accent.



ice cream cone roller strap

What better way to personalize a kid's bedroom or playroom than with this ice cream cone roller strap? This fun hardware is sure to receive compliments from any guest who enters your home.

The Kitchen Work Triangle

kitchen work triangle(source)

The kitchen is one of the most frequently-used rooms in any home. Therefore, it's important that your kitchen is set up for maximum efficiency and ease of use. Having the right furniture, kitchen cabinets and accessories– and placing them in close proximity to each other- can change the entire workflow of your kitchen. This is commonly referred to as the “kitchen work triangle”.

The concept of the kitchen work triangle was established in the 1940s and is still used in many houses today. It focuses on the three main tasks performed in the kitchen (cooking, preparing and storage) and the appliances that help us get them done (the stove, sink and refrigerator). If these three items are in close proximity to one another, and form a triangle shape when connected with imaginary lines, it is easier to be more efficient in your kitchen.

There are a few others rules that the kitchen work triangle should have. These include each leg of the triangle being between 4 and 9 feet, no obstructions (including kitchen cabinets and islands) coming between a leg of the work triangle and that household foot traffic shouldn't interfere between the triangle. However, these don't need to be strictly enforced to have a successful kitchen working space.

Today's kitchens are fairly larger and more complex than those in the 1940s. Microwaves, coffee makers, dishwashers and other appliances all perform specific duties that take place in the kitchen. There are now spots in the kitchen for socializing, working on homework, watching TV and more. If you connected all of these new “areas”, you'd have more of a star shape than a triangle. Still, the main 3 functions listed earlier are crucial to a functioning kitchen, so the triangle concept still holds up to serve as a guideline. With all of your leftover space, you can focus more on decorations and extra appliances without everything being too crowded.

In larger kitchens, it's usually best to keep the work triangle to one section of the kitchen. From there on, you can use the rest of the space for seating or entertaining. This separates the kitchen into “work” and “play” sections, allowing everyone to make the most of the space.

If you're planning on remodeling your kitchen or starting from scratch, it is the

perfect time to try to incorporate the kitchen work triangle into your space. The extra planning and money you spend will save you time and energy in the long run. Placing your appliances too close together can make your kitchen feel cramped, while spacing them too far apart makes preparing food a hassle. Keeping the kitchen work triangle in mind when remodeling will make a large difference.

If you have a small kitchen, like a 1-wall kitchen in an apartment for example, the kitchen work triangle may not be feasible. In this case, it's best to do everything else you can to make your kitchen work for you. Keep important appliances and frequently-used accessories and utensils close to one another for easy reach and use. Make the most of your cabinets by maximizing their storage space with pull-outs or door racks.

What is Edgebanding?

edgebanding

Whether you are a carpentry pro and want to tackle making your own furniture or just a homeowner looking to enhance the appearance of your existing furniture, edgebanding can help get the job done.

Edgebanding can come in a variety of formats, including the popular peel-and-stick kind. This is especially easy for those who are doing a woodworking project themselves and want to get the project done quickly and easily. Other types require primer, glue, hot melt adhesives or a household iron.

Edgebanding comes in a variety of sizes and finishes to match with your existing furniture or carpentry needs. It is available in a variety of materials as well, with popular options including wood, wood veneer, PVC and acrylic. It typically is sold in rolls at hardware stores and is available in different thicknesses to match your home project. You can find edgebanding to match perfectly with your furniture's color, grain and wood type. It's easy to change the entire look of your furniture by applying edgebanding to it- you can take a simple plywood table and turn it into a rich maple with the help of this product.

Edgebanding is often used to cover the exposed sides of lower quality materials like plywood, PVC or particle board. By replacing these surfaces with wood edgebanding, it gives the piece of furniture or item a higher quality appearance. People who make their own furniture also often use this product.

When applying edgebanding, there are a few things to take into consideration. First, you should make sure that the surface you are applying it to is clean and smooth. Any dust, moisture or residue needs to be cleaned off so that the strips will stick properly. Next, always start with a larger piece- this way, you can cut it down to fit perfectly as needed. Lastly, after the edgebanding is applied, carefully trim or sand the surface. The material is very delicate, so be careful to use a fine sandpaper and to not be too rough to damage the material.

If you are going to be using edgebanding often (especially at the professional level), it may be smart to invest in some proper machinery. Edgebanding machines and edge trimmers are just two examples of products that can speed up the process and make it easier as well.

Shoe Storage Ideas

In every home, storage is a large concern. This concern becomes even larger in terms of bedrooms and closets, where the items typically outweigh the amount of space designed to store them. In addition to clothes, shoes take up a large area of space in homes. In order to make the most of the space you have, you must learn how to organize and store your shoes in the most effective way.

First, you should go through your shoe collection and decide which items should be saved. Try to get rid of anything you don't wear at least a few times a year, things that don't fit anymore, and anything that is starting to look discolored or has tears or holes. After this, your inventory should be a little smaller and it will be easier to work with.

After you've gotten rid of unwanted shoes, try to organize the rest of your space (whether it be your closet, bedroom area or mudroom) to make room for the shoes. You'd be amazed at how moving around furniture or locating your T-shirts to a new dresser can make a huge difference. Then it's time to find the best types of shoe storage for your space. Here are some great ideas for how to store your shoes.


shoe shelves(source)

Floating shelves– These attractive shelves are great for showing off shoes that are interesting to look at or a designer brand. Displaying them higher up on a shelf not only makes them the focal point of the room, but it also prevents them from getting dirty or marked up from being next to other shoes.



door shoe storage(source)

Over-the-door organizers- Make use of every inch of your home by hanging your shoe collection on the back of your door with one of these organizers. This not only hides the shoes when the door is open, but keeps them protected and organized in their own separate pockets.



shoe bookcase(source)

Bookcase– Instead of displaying your favorite reads, why not display your favorite shoes? Bookcases are usually the perfect height and width to store your typical heels, flats, sneakers and sandals. You can also group them by shoe type, season or color to create an organized area and make choosing a pair easier. Make your shoe collection look like a prized piece of art!




Regular shelves– Organize your closet so that the old sweaters or purses that took up your shelf space reside in a new home, like a dresser or hanging racks. Then use the new shelf space to store your shoes. Since shoes are shaped differently than clothing that can be laid flat, it's best to store oddly-shaped items where they will fit. The sweaters and tees can fit just about anywhere, so simply rearrange where each item goes to make more room for your shoes.



wire shoe rack(source)

Wire railsWire shoe rails can be installed to any existing drawer or shelf to keep shoes organized and stay in place.



pullout shoe drawer(source)

Pullout organizers– Drawers or shelves that pull out from a cabinet or closet help save a ton of space. They also make your closet look much less cluttered, since the shoes are hidden away when not in use. Pullout organizers and their hardware are available at many hardware stores and are fairly easy to install yourself.



shoe lazy susan (source)

Lazy Susan- Much like the version you'd see in your kitchen cabinets or pantries, a shoe lazy Susan holds your favorite footwear on all areas of the product. Simply spin the organizer to see all the pairs- it's quick, easy and fun.



shoe box storage(source)

Re-use old shoe boxes– Most of us probably throw away the cardboard boxes that our shoes come in, but you can reuse them to store some of your favorite pairs. Stack them up in a bare section of your closet or room. To keep track of which shoes are in which box, photograph each pair of shoes and tape the photograph to the side of the box. There's no need to rummage through your closet trying to find your favorite pair- you can just find the picture and open the box. If the old boxes seem too ugly, you can always wrap them in attractive paper to match your home.



shoe ladder(source)

Ladder- Storing shoes is probably one of the last things you would think of when it comes to rolling library ladders. However, you'd be surprised how easily your high heels hang over the rails. The vertical height of the ladder allows it to easily fit in a room without taking up too much space. Try fitting a few pairs of your favorite heels on an old ladder for a chic way to keep them organized.