Home Improvement Tips and Ideas + HM #232

Find great home improvement tips and ideas. Plus, link up at Home Matters with recipes, diy, decor, and crafts. #HomeImprovement #HomeDIY #HomeMattersParty

Home Improvement Tips and Ideas + HM #232

Woot! The gals of Home Matters are exploring fabulous Home Improvement tips, ideas, hacks and more. Check out the amazing DIY projects and other ideas for your home, yard, and more.  Enjoy!


DIY Baseboards, Moldings, and Trim from KathyThe Budget Decorator


How to Plank a Popcorn Ceiling from Cindy @ Edith & Evelyn Vintage


21 Ways to Improve Your Home’s Curb Appeal from KateDIY Roundup


DIY Mantel Makeover – An Easy Home Improvement from LorelaiLife With Lorelai


Home Improvement Tips and Ideas Blog Hop

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A Home Matters Themed Roundup

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Check out this week’s features below.


DIY Flower Tower from Ashley @ Simply Designing

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Create Your Own Home Decorating Organizer from Jennifer @ Celebrating Everyday Life

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Decorative and Functional Clothes Line from Penny @ Penny’s Vintage Home

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DIY Faux Ming Vase Flower Pots from Claire @ Pillar Box Blue

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10-Minute Honey Garlic Shrimp Recipe from Love Keil @ Munchkin Time

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Paint – The Ultimate In Refreshing Your Home For Spring

Paint – The Ultimate In Refreshing Your Home For Spring

Up the ante on your Spring Cleaning with a fresh coat of paint, an accent wall, or new front door color. Get a FREE Color Consultation and a FREE 8-ounce SAMPLE! Live colorfully and beyond wild imagination.

Update Your Home with Paint

It’s the Ultimate in Spring Cleaning


Luke and I have been talking about painting our home for quite a while, and finally, the time is here! We are super excited for the refreshing update to our living spaces. At the moment, we have white walls everywhere — except Rory’s room, where we did a complete makeover about a year and a half ago using Dunn-Edwards Paints, Break of Day for the walls with Whisper trim.

Professional Color Consultation

We knew we wanted to add some color. So, we scheduled an appointment with the  Dunn-Edwards Professional Color Advisor. Debbie was amazing! She sat down with us for a little over an hour talking with us, looking through the sample fabrics, photos, and flooring we’d brought along. We discussed the gloss levels for the paints and if any primer was needed.

Debbie also helped us with the various sundries we would need for the job — tape, rollers, brushes, pans, dropcloths, putty, putty knife, sandpaper, caulk and caulking gun, etc. Dunn-Edwards has everything you could possibly need for painting and/or staining! Don’t be intimidated,  Dunn-Edwards is not just for contractors — they are for the average Joe Home Owner too! They make painting easy.

Debbie was very knowledgeable and helpful, which was extremely helpful in navigating the 1,996 colors in Dunn-Edwards Perfect Palette® color system. Having a Color Advisor made the difficult color choosing process much easier. We went home with a couple of sample colors to test in our space. It is so important to see how the colors actually look in the lighting of your home.

Sampling and Ordering the Paints

The entire staff at Dunn-Edwards is friendly, professional, and extremely helpful. Tim, the assistant manager, got my samples ready for me. He even cut down a box to protect my truck — just in case.

Once we had painted our sample colors onto poster boards, we placed them on the walls and decided that to really make our fireplace pop, we wanted to try a little darker shade on the one wall. So, I went back and sat down for a few minutes with Debbie again. She helped me find just the right color. Bringing home another sample, I couldn’t wait to get it on poster board and see how it looked around the fireplace and our new mantel.


The Paint Calculator on the Dunn-Edwards website was easy to use and helped us figure out how much paint we needed for our project. Finally, we were ready to order our paint. I was off to the paint store. I gave Debbie my paint order and supplies list, and a few minutes later, I was walking out the door  — eager to start our project.

Prepping and Painting

With our paints and supplies taken care of, we began prepping the project. This 50-year-old house that spent about a third of its life as a rental property, needed a LOT of work. We patched and re-patched previous repairs; pulled the windows sills out and sanded them down to the bare wood, and more, but the hard work was going to be worth it in the end.

The Before Photos

As you can see, the walls, the cabinets, the doors, everything is WHITE! We were desperate to Live Colorfully. And, so, the project begins. The ultimate in refreshing our home for spring. Check out this video!

Dunn-Edwards Paints and supplies are excellent high-quality products. Everest Ultra Premium paint is a self-primer and has great one coat coverage. Our walls needed so much repair, that we chose to use the Multi-Surface Primer Ultra Grip; it is fantastic too.

Since April is Earth Month, I want to point out Dunn-Edwards mission to provide the best performing paint while being environmentally sound to protect the health and well-being of their customers. Their LEED Gold-certified paint manufacturing facility, eco-efficient products, ingredients, and labeling are all part of the green legacy that makes Dunn-Edwards a leader in their field.

Our Final Colors from the Perfect Palette® Color System

  • Graham Cracker – DE6144
  • High Noon – DEC743
  • Inside Passage – DEC764
  • Whisper Gray – DEC785
  • Whisper – DEW340

We chose the Velvet Gloss for these walls. It really adds a depth of color that is warm and welcoming. We will use a Semi-Gloss for the doors, trim, kitchen, and cabinets.

This is just the first post of our home makeover. So keep an eye out for updates coming soon.







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Air Conditioning – 5 Tips On Choosing The Right One For Your Home

Get 5 Tips on choosing the right Air Conditioning System for your home. Find out the best Air conditioner features for your lifestyle and needs.


5 Tips on Choosing an Air Conditioning System

Get the Right One for Your Home


Air conditioning systems have become almost vital in our times with the changing weather conditions. If you do not have one, you are probably looking to get one installed. And, If you have a system already, you may be in the market to replace or maintain your existing unit. Of course, with the wide range options, this could be a challenging decision. Here are a few pointers to help you along the way to the right system for you home.


Air conditioner system

Purchasing an air conditioning system is an investment well-worth the cost. Prices will vary according to the size of your home or office and your specific needs. You will receive a good return with cooling and comfort provided by the AC unit. On hot summer days, the cooling system not only removes the heat, but will add a lovely freshness to your rooms.


Tips on choosing the right system for your needs


Do not allow the varying sizes, models, and features through you for a loop. Check out these tips that will give you an edge in making the right choice in AC systems for your house.


Air conditioner installation

  1. Size

You need to know the size of the space you are looking to cool and purchase an air conditioning unit that can handle the job. If the system is too small for the space, it will never sufficiently cool the space. This will result in the system overworking and lead to damage of the compressor and other parts. Purchasing an over-sized unit will only cost you more money than necessary in the cost of the unit itself. Both scenarios will cost you more money in the long run by increased energy costs and consumption. So, it is important to purchase an appropriately sized air conditioning system that is suitable for your space requirements. Do some research and get help from knowledgeable professionals.


  1. Energy Efficiency

Another primary concern should be the energy efficiency of your air conditioning system. You will want to check out the energy efficiency rating, known as the SEER or Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating. This rating will give you an idea of how efficient the unit is in terms of energy expenditure. The higher the rating the more efficient and better the equipment, which will save you a lot of money on electric bills.


Air conditioner installed

  1. Features

Get to know what features are available in air conditioning systems. Find out what they do, and what their purpose is. That way, you can make a good decision on the best features for your needs. Manufacturers offer devices with many advanced features such as; easy filter removal, sleep timer, energy efficiency, human activity sensing, anti-bacterial filters, and many more.


  1. Service and Warranty Period

Warranties and service policies are important to consider. Look for reputable brands with long warranties including a replacement guarantee. You will also want to have the option of extending the warranty period. This will save on maintenance costs if any problems arise.


Air conditioner

  1. Budget

Be budget conscious. Looking at air conditioning systems that are out of your price range will not benefit you or your home or office. Buy the best product that fits within your budget. If the unit you truly want is above your financial range, do a little more saving before you purchase. Then, you can get the unit that best fits your requirements.


I hope you have found these tips helpful and informative. Good luck in finding the perfect air conditioning system for your home.








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Renewable Energy – Make The Switch Over Winter

Interested in switching to renewable energy? Learn more about the different types, and if they will work for you. Find out how to make the switch, get tips from Megan.

How to Make the Switch to Renewable Energy

Over the Winter and Save


If you’re like many homeowners out there, you know the importance of transitioning your household to renewable energy, but you’re really not sure where to begin. All the information out there can is a little overwhelming. What kind of system should you change to?

Do you want wind power? Solar Power? Would they even work in your area? How much will the installation cost? With all these questions running through your head, it’s understandable that you wonder if renewable energy is even worth the time and effort.

You’ll be relieved to find out that transitioning to renewable energy really isn’t as difficult as it may seem, and won’t cost you an arm and a leg. All it takes is a few small changes within your home, and you’ll be on the way to reducing your carbon footprint — and simultaneously saving some dollars in the process.

Here are some small and large changes you can undertake to get your household on track to 100% clean energy.

Easy Changes

Not all improvements for your home have to be major changes. Some of the quickest and most efficient ways to save on your energy bill are done with the simplest of transitions.


  1. Switch the Light Bulbs

One of the easiest things you can do to cutting down on energy costs and make your house more energy efficient is switching out traditional light bulbs for energy-saving ones. These could be LED lights, CFLs or halogen incandescent lighting, which last years longer than traditional light bulbs, saving you money.

If you’re unsure of what type of light bulb you should look for, make sure that it has the ENERGY STAR label given by the EPA.

  1. Inspect Your Home

Whether you have a newer or older home, an easy way to reduce energy waste during the winter months is to check the caulking on all your windows, doors and weather stripping and look for any weak spots and air leaks. It’s an easy fix that has a big impact on how hard your heating system runs during the winter. Besides, who wouldn’t want to eliminate those chilly drafts? Cozy is so much better for you and the environment.

  1. Track Your Carbon Footprint

Tracking your carbon footprint is a great way to get the whole family involved in making smarter choices about energy use. The EPA has even made it super simple by developing a calculator specifically for the home. Knowing your current CO2 emissions level is exactly what you need to begin making changes, which could be as simple as having a family checklist for turning off devices at night or committing to using less electricity.

Ambitious Changes

By slightly more ambitious, this means that you will want to look at some changes that might require a bit of a larger investment or implementation, but will still ultimately save your household money and be eco-friendly.

  1. Switch to Energy Efficient Appliances

Heating your home during the cold winter months can have a huge impact on your energy bill — and ultimately your bank account. Use the same ENERGY STAR method to find heating and cooling systems, washer/dryers and even dishwashers that are more energy efficient. This will be the most effective in driving down the cost of your monthly energy bill.

However, if replacing all of those units at once isn’t in the cards, you can also take simple steps to maintain your existing units by investing in a programmable thermostat, changing out air filters regularly or just having an expert out for regular maintenance.

  1. Switching to Battery Power

One of the great innovations from Tesla is a home battery, which you can power your home from to be more energy efficient. It sounds a bit too good to be true, but it’s actually rather easy to install and can help your home become almost 100% energy efficient. The Tesla Powerwall is a rechargeable battery that can take itself off the power grid periodically to save on energy costs and also cut down on your household energy use. The newest model can run a two-bedroom household for an entire day.

Large-Scale Changes

Even though these choices are the most ambitious of the lot, doesn’t mean they’re extremely difficult. Switching completely to clean energy will just be a larger investment than the previous options, but will have a huge payoff for your pocket and the planet.

Invest in Solar Power

Solar energy is one of the easiest ways to convert your home to 100% clean energy. Installing a full solar panel system can even transition how your heating and cooling system run. In fact, if you invest in solar energy, you can receive a 30% tax deduction from the government. You can even couple your efforts together with the Tesla Powerwall. The battery will store the energy taken from the solar panels, and use it when on days when energy production is lower.

Harness the Wind

Energy generated from the wind doesn’t always have to come from the huge wind farms you see across the US. There are also at-home options for you to incorporate into your household. Wind power is actually more stable than solar power, so if reliability is one of your concerns, wind energy might be a better choice.

Whatever additions or changes you decide to make to make your home more eco-friendly, it’s important that you try. Not only is it beneficial to your monthly budget, but you‘ll also do your part to help reduce CO2 emissions across the country, which is a very achievable goal. Everyone just needs to do their part.



Visit Megan at her blog, Your Wild Home!







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Mantel Makeover – An Easy DIY Home Improvement

Mantel Makeover – An Easy DIY Home Improvement

This post, Mantel Makeover – An Easy DIY Home Improvement, has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #Prep4Gathering #CollectiveBias

Hello! I am super excited about today’s post. Finally, I’m crossing off a long-awaited project from my wish list. And it is all part of my preparation for the family gatherings over the holidays. I know you have all heard of spring cleaning, but I dig even deeper in the fall.

I love to decorate for the holidays and have a home that is festive and cozy for family and friends to stop in for a visit or a party. Before I start decorating, a clean house is a must.  But it is not just my living spaces that need to be in tip-top shape, it is my kitchen and bathrooms too. With a house filled to the brim with family, you can’t leave a nook or cranny uncleaned, because you just know that great-aunt Bessie will point out the spot you missed. So, I make sure I stock up on great cleaning supplies like Pledge® Spray products, Scrubbing Bubbles® products, and Windex® Outdoor Cleaner. They get the job done and make easy work of it too.

Another way I ready my home for holiday parties, is with some sort of project to freshen up the decor, or make a home improvement. Last year it was new valances; this year, it is my mantel makeover.

We have a pretty stone-faced fireplace in our home, but for some reason, it has (or had) a tiny little mantel that was good for almost nothing. So, today, I am going to show you how we transformed that ugly hunk of wood into a mantel that makes a statement.

Mantel Makeover

An Easy DIY Home Improvement Project

The old so-called-mantel looked like somebody shoved a 2″ x 4″ atop the stones and gave it excessively thick coats of paint. It certainly did not become the crowning glory of the fireplace. But, with a few supplies from The Home Depot, some simple tools, and a minimal budget, my dreams came true. And just in time to decorate for the holidays too!

Tools and Supplies:

  • Lumber
  • Crown Moulding (or another type of moulding or trim)
  • Miter Box and Miter Saw
  • Utility Knife
  • Drill
  • Level
  • Scraper
  • Measuring  Tape
  • Moulding Adhesive
  • Screws and Finish Nails (or a type of liquid nails)
  • Painter’s Tape
  • Paper Towels
  • Sand Paper
  • Putty
  • Paint or Stain

DIY Mantel Makeover How-To:

  • Remove old trim and get down to the mantel wood that you will use as your base.
  • Check the level of your starting mantel, so you know what you need to do to make your new mantel square and level.

  • Attach spacer boards if needed to make the mantel wider or deeper.
  • You can see above, we used a 2″ x 4″ as a spacer, and also 3/4″ x 3-1/2″ milled common pine pieces as the backer. These boards made our mantel larger and were the width size of the moulding we chose.
  • Attach the backer to the spacer. We drilled pilot holes and used screws to keep the wood from splitting. We also floated those boards to make our mantel level and square, since the old mantel was not. Squaring these pieces is easier for moulding placement.
  • Attach the top mantel board using three counter-sunk screws and some finish nails into the old mantel wood. Be sure to use a nail set to push them down below the surface, so you do not dimple your mantel shelf.

  • Carefully measure and cut moulding, one piece at a time. Test fit. Make sure you measure EACH individual piece, as dimensions will most likely differ due to wavy walls, etc. Our mouldings all fit square, so we cut 45-degree angles to make a square corner.
  • Once satisfied with the fit, we used a 10-minute moulding adhesive to glue our moulding pieces to the backer boards and top mantel board. We chose a water-based adhesive for easy clean-up. Use Painter’s Tape to hold mouldings in place while they dry.
  • Clean excess adhesive with a scraper and a damp paper towel. If you do this right away it is easier than trying to do it after it dries.
  • We had two separate mouldings, a 3-1/2″ moulding on the lower part of the mantle covering the backer boards, and a 3/4″ moulding trim to edge the top mantel board. If you have access to a router, you could always route your own details.

  • Putty the screw and nail holes, so there are no divots in the shelf surface.
  • Once putty and moulding adhesive are dry, sand smooth.
  • Prime and paint, or stain.

A Few Tips:

  • Buy DRY wood, not wet. It will help prevent warping and twisting. You can tell the difference between wet and dry wood by color and weight. Dry wood will be lighter in color and lighter in weight. Wet wood is darker and heavier.

  • Cut the pieces to an approximate length and sand all pieces before putting it together. Try your best to avoid cutting through any knots in the wood.
  • Moulding adhesive allows you wiggle room to adjust placement before it sets.
  • You could use a type of liquid nails to float the entire mantel to level instead of screws or nails if your starting base has the dimensions you want.

If you have a larger size mantel, you may not want or need the 2″ x 4″ spacer that we used. The contractor for our mantel must have gnawed out the wood using a beaver and an ax, and apparently didn’t own a level either.

Now, onto the really fun part, the decorating! Since I am preparing for the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays and all the family gatherings that go along with them, I wanted something festive with a seasonal scent — the Glade® Apple Cinnamon Candle is perfect. It smells like hot apple cider on the stovetop, and the color is gorgeous too.

I picked up my candle at The Home Depot while we were gathering our supplies for the mantel project. I also grabbed the Pledge® Multisurface – Antibacterial. Won’t that come in handy for turkey day! It gently cleans your kitchen countertops. You can never be too safe with those raw turkey juices and the messes you know will happen. I use Windex® Original Glass Cleaner all the time for mirrors, windows, and vinyl blinds, and I was excited to try the Windex® Outdoor Cleaner — amazing! The outside windows are always so much harder to clean, and this product is made specifically for this grimy job. The Home Depot and SC Johnson have made prepping for the holidays a snap. With the right supplies, it is always easier to get your sense of humor on and be prepared to entertain your family and friends.

I know my guest will be comfortable in my clean home, and I am excited for them to see my beautiful fireplace. Just look how pretty my new mantel turned out, and it cost me less than $50. I am so pleased!

So here’s to family gatherings for the holidays! Remember to feel joy, laugh a lot, and be prepared for life’s little messes. #Prep4Gathering







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