Making Home Improvements? You have landed at the right place. Use our home improvement center to find the right home improvement idea and plans for your home. You will find a complete home improvement gallery to search by room - by area the right idea and design for your home improvement needs.
We have segmented your home improvement planning into six easy steps:
- Step 1: Start With a Home Improvement Idea
get ideas on what you want to do. View products and home improvement ideas from our gallery of home improvement companies and galleries. Also read about 4 ways to buy furniture.
- Step 2: Estimate Your Home Improvement Costs
Use the project estimator to calculate how much your home improvement plan may cost. Then use our tools to budget for home improvement, determine your home value, and learn how best to cut home improvement costs.
- Step 3: Develop the Spec Plan
Use our FREE home improvement specifications plan to put your ideas down on paper. You will use the spec plan to bid and budget the project to contractors.
- Step 4: Find a Home Improvement Contractor
Use our directory of contractors to find a pre-screened professional contractor for your project. We have guides for selecting your contractor, negotiating the contract, and managine your contractor relationship.
- Step 5: Arrange Financing
Will you need to borrow money to complete your home improvement project? First review our guides on how best to finance your project. See what you need to qualify for financing, calculate your LTV and loan positions, check your credit, and then make an application to our network of financing lenders.
- Step 6: Inspect the Work
Your final step is to inspect the work completed by the contractor to ensure the work was done according to specifications. Use our tools to help you make the right decision and inspection.
|Finishing A Basement Adds Value To A Home
Many homes are built with unfinished basements as this is the one area of the home least used by homeowners throughout the course of the day. Even the lowly garage, if not used to house vehicles, is often the place where stuff is stored. Basements are rarely considered to be an area where homeowners plan to spend much of their time.
Basements do have a purpose that some people fail to consider — if finished off, this room can add value to a home perhaps far more value than it would have had it remained unfinished. A finished basement can be used as a recreation room, as a play room for children, even used as a den. What a finished basement does do is add equity to a home.
Most home improvement projects can be get quite complicated, even expensive, but with a basement finishing project, the amount of work that needs to be done isn’t always that involved. Certainly, if you desire walls or partitioned areas then that will add to the cost of the project. Some basements aren’t tall enough to put in dropped ceilings, but for those which have the room, this isn’t an expensive job.
If your basement has some problems with water, you’ll want to coat the walls with water resistant paint. While you’re at it, head to the outside to make sure that the soil slopes away from the house and that the drainage is good. You may have to add in drain pipe extenders to help move water away from the house.
Heading back inside, consider using tiling for the flooring. Most kitchen style tiles will do, but if you elect to go with a raised floor, you’ll pay quite a bit more money. Add in wall to wall carpeting and your small project has mushroomed into a full-fledged home improvement job.
Likely, all of your electrical and plumbing hook ups are already in place, but be prepared to run some lines or piping in the event you need to heat, cool, or light a certain area. You want the room to remain as dry as possible so consider having a dehumidifier on stand by, ready to kick in as needed.
Once you have your plans established, you can tackle this job over several weekends or take a week off from work to get everything done. When completed you’ll have a room that everyone will love and that finished basement will add to the value of your home.
|Back Yard Sheds: An Excellent Space Manager
It is true that we Americans have an awful lot of stuff. We are true consumers, buying so many of the things that catch our eyes. Truly, do we need everything that can be found in our homes?
Garage, yard, and other types of sales are a great way to get rid of unneeded possessions. That is, if we have a mind to get rid of all of our clutter.
For some households, having too much stuff isn’t the issue — having the room to store what isn’t needed for the season is. Not all homes are 2500 square feet or larger — many people live in smaller homes or have larger families and they simply need the space.
Outdoor storage sheds are an important way to handle the overflow. Bicycles, lawn equipment and tools, sporting equipment, and outdoor furniture can easily be placed inside, freeing up needed space in the garage, under the deck, or on the porch. If you select a unit that is large enough, you can put up shelving and store files, boxes and other items you don’t want sitting on the ground.
When choosing a storage shed consider the following:
- Estimate the space you will need for storage. Plan for the future and allow for additional room as your family grows or your needs change.
- If ventilation and natural lighting is needed, choose a shed with windows or blinds.
- Select a unit with double hinged doors to move heavier equipment in and out.
- Plywood flooring should be sufficient, but do you need walling?
- Is your shed tall enough to walk around inside of without bending over?
- Is a shed made of galvanized steel sufficient or do you prefer wood? How about plastic?
There are many different accessories you can choose from for your storage shed including cedar siding, storm windows, electrical hook up, flower boxes, shingles, cupolas, and more.
Of course, when choosing a shed you need a flat surface and good drainage to ensure that water moves away from the shed. Building up the ground around the shed may be necessary in order to provide the right pitch away from the unit.
Now can be a great time to buy a shed as builders and retailers seek to move inventory. By shopping around, you can get the perfect storage unit for a price that cannot be beat.
|Allow ENERGY STAR To Make Your Home More Efficient
Prices for electricity, gas, and other fuel sources are at record levels, putting serious pressure on family budgets across the US. Add in higher prices at the pump, a weakened housing market, and a flat economy, and it becomes apparent that consumers are in need of some relief.
While the coming government rebates will offer temporary relief, homeowners can do their part to reduce their energy costs around the home. Thanks to the ENERGY STAR program, a joint effort by the U.S. Departments of Energy and the Environmental Protection Agency, real relief is at hand. Online tools, including an ENERGY STAR Home Energy Yardstick can help you get an accurate picture on costs and the steps you can take to reduce your expenses.
A Yardstick Measuring Energy Consumption
The ENERGY STAR Home Energy Yardstick compares your home’s energy efficiency to similar homes across the country and offers recommendations for energy-saving home improvements from ENERGY STAR. You’ll need to gather some information first before using this free online tool including:
- The last twelve months of your energy bills (electricity, natural gas, propane, kerosene, and/or fuel oil).
- Input your zip code.
- Input the number of people who live in your home.
- Input the square footage (living space) of your home.
- List the decade when your home was built.
Once you have entered that information, then you can choose either to put in monthly statement information or yearly information. Hitting the submit button will produce a report which will tell you just how well your home compares with the national average.
Your Energy Score
My score was 2.5 out of 10, meaning that 75% of the homes in the country are more efficient than mine. Ouch. But, I’m not left without some tips as the ENERGY STAR site offers four areas of recommendation to improve my home’s efficiency:
1. Replace your 5 most frequently used lights or the bulbs in them with ones that have earned the ENERGY STAR.
2. Look for ENERGY STAR Products. Available in more than 50 product categories, including lighting and home appliances.
3. Heat and cool efficiently. Have your heating and cooling equipment serviced annually and remember to replace air filters regularly. Use a programmable thermostat, and when it’s time to replace old equipment, choose an ENERGY STAR qualified model.
4. Seal up your home. Seal air leaks, add insulation and choose ENERGY STAR qualified windows when replacing.
Some of steps I can do right now including plugging air leaks and improving insulation. I change the air filters on a quarterly basis and we use a programmable thermostat. Most of our appliances are efficient, but I know that our heater/air conditioning unit is inefficient and will be replaced within a few years time with something that will be less of a drag on our electrical and natural gas usage.
Finally, when the report is all done you can email it to your inbox and review it again or download for later review.
Chances are you can improve your home’s efficiency without undertaking a major home improvement project. Then again, if you are preparing such a project consider incorporating various ENERGY STAR recommended methods to reduce your energy costs.
|Small Home Projects Which Add Value To Your Home
Not every homeowner has the deep pockets to carry out an extensive home improvement project, but there are several smaller jobs you can do which will add value to your home and bring you satisfaction. Especially if you are preparing your home for sale, you’ll want to make it look its best in order to attract buyers who are willing to pay your asking price.
Basic Projects Which Maximize Value
The front of the house is the first thing buyers see, so if your home’s street presence isn’t what it should be take an honest look at what needs to be done to spiff up your home.
Trim back overgrown brushes, plant flowers, and tidy up the lawn. Remove lawn clutter — i.e, lawn statues, bird baths and furniture — that could be overwhelming your yard. You may not have to paint the house, but touching up the garage and around the windows and doors can take you far. If window panes are rotted or the front door is broken, repairing the problem may not do. Consider replacing windows and doors in one project to save money.
If you aren’t selling your home, the newer windows will reduce your home’s energy costs, giving you back some of the money you spent on the work. Inside the home, there are several projects you can handle yourself:
- Paint whatever walls need painting and repair carpeting that is ripped or worn.
- You may not have the skills to re-tile your bath, but grouting the tile can brighten the bath’s appearance while preserving the tile.
- Your kitchen flooring can be ripped up or you can place a fresh layer of new tile over the existing tile.
- Instead of refacing the kitchen cabinets, add a fresh coat to them. Visit your local hardware store to obtain the latest tips and color choices.
- If you have wood floors in the home, apply polish. If the floors are heavily stained or showing a lot of wear, consider renting a sander to strip it free of imperfections, applying a durable and long lasting stain finish when done.
When done, your home can look like a million bucks without you having busted your budget in the process. Whether choosing to sell it or enjoy it, your basic projects can add value and enjoyment to your home.
|Winter Time Is Home Improvement Time
That cold wind blowing down out of the north can have you longing for the balmy days of summer. Ice, snow and cloudy skies can put a real damper on your outdoor activity, forcing you to stay inside for days at a time. Not everyone can escape to the Caribbean to avoid winter’s cold and as a homeowner you probably have a project or two that needs to be undertaken.
On the other hand, winter time is the perfect season to tackle home improvement projects, particularly indoor jobs that you won’t want to do when the weather outside is delightful. Setting aside the months of February and March for painting rooms, laying tile, and remodeling the bathroom means that come July and August you can kick back and enjoy your leisurely pursuits. With that in mind, let’s explore some options to help you spend your indoor time productively.
Prices Are Lower — Check your Sunday paper or simply stop by your home improvement or hardware store and you’ll find that prices on paint and related supplies are at their lowest for the year. Even bathroom fixtures, cabinetry and sinks/tubs are on sale as merchants seek to bring in consumers. Lots of people put off home improvement projects until warmer weather settles in,but if your work is indoors why not take advantage of the savings and buy what you need now? Even if you cannot tackle the job until Spring, you can save on supplies before the Spring rush begins.
Contractors Are Available — Home improvement contractors like to stay busy and the winter months are some of the slowest months for them. Many are not only looking for work, but they’re willing to offer a good price in order to do the work. DIY (do it yourself) may not be for you, so finding a qualified contractor who can offer a good price to you is one option.
Interest Rates Have Dropped — The recent cut in the fed rate means that home financing rates are also coming down. This can be especially helpful if you need to take out a home equity loan or home equity line of credit to finance a bathroom renovation, kitchen update or other interior home improvement project. Lock in your low rate now before rates start to climb as many expect will happen before the year comes to an end. Consider this: when the new presidential administration takes office next January, taxes are likely to go up, driving up other expenses too.
Time For A Facelift — Even in homes where the interior is in pristine order, there can a desire on the part of some homeowners to make changes. New bathroom fixtures, fresh wallpaper, a new area rug, or new kitchen furniture can bring the change that you want. Search online to find out what’s new in home interiors to develop a plan that reflects your tastes and is within your budget.
Yes, the groundhog may or may not see his shadow tomorrow, but that shouldn’t stop you from tacking winter home improvement projects today. Get them done now and you’ll be able to devote the warm weather months to outdoor activities including your favorite landscaping improvement projects!
floor home improvement plan
tips and home improvement ideas for the kitchen, entry way, rec
room, living room, family room, den, and more:
the upstairs home improvement plan
tips and home improvement ideas for the master bedroom, bathroom,
child bedroom, teen bedroom nursery room, and more:
tips and home improvement ideas for flooring, walls, doors and
windows, lighting, home decor, and more:
home improvement plan
tips and home remodeling ideas for insulation, heating and cooling,
water heating, air ventilation, and more:
home improvement plan
tips and home remodeling ideas for basement repair, basement
HVAC, darkroom, laundry, and more:
home improvement plan
tips and home remodeling ideas for home siding, roofing, driveways,
entry way, and more:
home improvement plan
tips and home remodeling ideas for garage doors, garage storage,
workbench, garden tools and more:
gardening and landscaping
tips and home gardening ideas for garden design, garden care,
decks, garden buildings, garden furniture and more:
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