Whether moving into their very first home or simply the latest of many, new homeowners always appreciate thoughtful housewarming gifts from their friends and neighbors. Coming up with the perfect combination of practical, attractive, and pleasing to the aesthetic of the homeowner is sometimes a challenge, but thankfully the holiday season provides an ideal opportunity for seasonally-appropriate gifts. Spread some holiday cheer as you welcome people to a new home with these delightful giving ideas; and remember to bring a piece of seasonal holiday decor with you to the party so they have something to add to the tree!
High-end countertops look absolutely gorgeous, with their glowing finishes, smooth texture, and all the rest, but there’s one thing about them that’s not so great: the price tag. Yee-ipes! Putting in marble, stone, and other fine materials is expensive from top to bottom, including the raw material and the labor costs required, because your remodeling crew needs some special skills to install it right. If something goes wrong, get ready for even more checks flying out of your wallet, because it might involve a costly fix.
So, how do you get the high-class look for your kitchen on a low budget? Luckily, this is exactly the kind of question Hometalk users specialize in, because their DIY home remodeling skills are focused on getting projects done beautifully and inexpensively; and all without needing to call in the experts, if possible.
Let’s take our first case study, from Stephanie. She wanted to turn her relatively bland (and inexpensive!) IKEA wood countertop into something that looked more sophisticated. Fortunately, her husband has a router, and together they came up with a plan. It started with routing the edges to create that beveled look, which makes this feel more like a piece of custom countertop and less like something you’d buy at the store. Then, they applied a food-grade stain to the counter to enrich the counter and make it match their kitchen. Continue reading “Q&A: Budget Countertops: How to Get the High End Look for Less” »
BRRRR! For those of us in the Northern Hemisphere, it is getting cold right now, and we are NOT enjoying the process of shuffling around our bedrooms in the morning in search of socks for our chilly feet. But every time we turn up the heater, we wince a little, thinking about the bill that’s going to land in the mailbox soon and the conflict between cranking on the heat and our green living ideals. It looks like many of you are concerned about heating costs too, judging from the number of you who are asking smart questions about the best energy choices. Thanks to the huge Hometalk user base, we’ve got you covered (and we mean that in more ways than one). Continue reading “Keeping Your House Warm and Heating Cost Down” »
Ho-ho-hometalk members are spreading holiday cheer nationwide this season! How, you ask? By sharing their holiday decoration ideas so that people everywhere can create their very own festive and budget-friendly holiday crafts and decorations that will instantly liven up their homes.
Don’t miss out on this awesome opportunity to share photos of YOUR holiday décor and spread holiday cheer on Hometalk! Just click on Share Holiday Cheer Photos to post.
You can find holiday projects by going to Hometalk.com and searching #HolidayCheer.
That’s not all! Stay tuned and you might see a Hometalk member spreading holiday cheer on your local TV station this month! Follow our Hometalk for the holidays Youtube channel to watch them after they air.
So what are you waiting for? Share your holiday decor photos now on Hometalk! We can’t to see what you’ve done.
You want your home to look its very best for the holidays, whether your guests are being ushered into your warm holiday living room or they’re settling in to the freshly refurbished guestroom. And one of the central points of the Christmas tradition is, of course, the tree, which you’re probably picking up in the very near future now that November is almost over (eek!). As you get ready to set up your holiday decor, what do you have in mind?
Sure, all those fancy home decor magazines have beautiful trees on display and usually tell you all about the swag adorning them, including hundreds and sometimes thousands of dollars worth of ornaments, lights, heirloom tree toppers, embroidered and hand-tatted tree skirts, and more. That’s nice, but what about the rest of us? We’re taking a look at some of the beautiful budget home craft ideas Hometalk users have come up with for making Christmas gorgeous, without having to take out a loan.
Although it pains my book-loving heart to admit it, this project from Organized Clutter is beautiful, clever, and fantastic. She saw the book page Christmas trees decorating retailer windows and high-end catalogs and decided to make her own, for a very low-cost project that looks great. Whether you want an off-beat Christmas tree or some additional holiday decor, this is definitely a project to consider! Continue reading “Budget, Creative Christmas Tree Decorating” »
You walk on them all day long, so why shouldn’t your floors be an important part of your home? DIY flooring ideas run quite a gamut from easy-peasy to advanced players only, which means there’s something for you somewhere in there if you want to refresh, renew, and restore the look of your house. Whether you’re working on a larger renovation project or you just want to change out the floor, you might want to consider our current source of inspiration: painted flooring.
When it comes to painting projects, you might not have put floors high on your list, but there’s a whole lot you can do with a can (or two) of paint and your flooring. Intrigued? Read on!
This week, Becca Baroody Bertotti of Adventures in Decorating is in the Bloglight! I need to be careful not to get too gushy here, as Becca is one of my favorite decorators ever and is such a lovely and beautiful person —inside and out! If you haven’t seen her house tour yet, you’re in for a treat! I’ve committed those pictures to memory. Thank you for sharing your story, Becca! Read her Bloglight post here.
When Robert A in Georgia shared his creative solution to the ugly builder grade bathroom mirror in his home, he had no idea he was presenting the DIY home renovation project that launched a thousand ships. Since 2010, his post and tutorial have become some of the most widely shared on Hometalk, with numerous users coming up with their own creative takes on the basic idea, which involves adding trim to the mirror to soften the harsh edges, and splitting it in two with a center shelving unit to add storage and create two separate vanity areas — all without taking the mirror off the wall or making major structural changes to the bathroom.
Chalk paint is everywhere these days, am I right? It seems like the new hot thing in DIY for refinishing furniture, color correcting cabinets, and more; and it’s a great way to refresh the look and feel of the house, without having to break the bank.
And we’ve noticed that you’re sure interested in it, judging on the numbers of you who are searching for it right now. So we decided it was time for a little demystifying — and some great DIY tips — on how to use this great paint product for its fullest effect. Because we’re always thinking with home improvement in mind, and chalk paint is a super-hot home improvement trend right now: great for projects in kids’ rooms, fantastic for kitchens, and useful for the resale value of your home if you’re thinking about selling in the near future.
First off, what is chalk paint? It’s a specialized paint product made with chalk and minerals, available from several sources including Annie Sloan and CeCe Caldwell; Hometalk users report that they’ve also successfully made their own. It comes in a range of colors, and it’s designed as a highly flexible paint product which allows the user to control the evenness of the coating, visibility of brush strokes, and level of distress in the finished product. People often use it for making distressed and antiqued furniture, as well as coating other paint jobs like cabinets, window frames, and more. The texture is velvety and soft, and it’s eco-friendly with a very low VOC content.
What are the advantages of chalk paint? Well, it goes on directly over existing paints, so you don’t have to sand and do other prep work to use it (although it helps if you’re covering glossy materials). In addition, because the product is specifically designed for giving furniture a distressed look, it’s much easier to manipulate it to get the desired appearance. While it goes on with a matte finish, it can be waxed (to seal it and prevent damage) and then buffed to increase the degree of shine, creating even more flexibility.
What’s the coverage like? A one quart can covers 140 square feet, which is pretty substantial! And remember that while this product is more expensive than conventional paints, you’re skipping sanding, priming, and other prep tasks, which cuts down on expenses in the long run.
Okay, great, so how do you use it?
Well, that’s a two-part question.
If you mean “how do I apply it,” the first thing to know is that you can put it on practically anything. Yes, really. Chalk paint adheres to wood, fabrics, metal, glass, plastic, leather, and more. You may need to use multiple coats, but once the paint dries and is sealed with wax, it’s staying right where it is. You can thin chalk paint to create a wash, use it straight out of the can, or use it thickened (leave the lid off the can for a few hours) for a chunkier feel. When the paint is totally dry, apply a finishing wax to totally seal it. You can vary the thickness and buffing level depending on whether you want a smooth or high-gloss finish.
If you mean “where do I apply it,” well. The world is your oyster, my friend. Hometalk users have been hard at work with some amazing chalk paint projects, and here are just a few of my personal favorites:
What’s the difference between milk paint and chalk paint? Both are used to refinish furniture to give it a distressed look, although both can also offer a much smoother, cleaner look depending on how they are applied. Milk paint, however, is made from all organic materials (like the name would suggest) and it doesn’t have the long shelf life chalk point offers; once you mix it, you need to use it. It also can’t be applied to as many items, can be more prone to cracking and crackling, and it behaves less predictably.
Check out a few milk paint projects to get an idea of the differences:
Want some advice from the pros? We talked to Annie Sloan and other experts this summer and the archive of the talk is handily available for posterity. Trust me: you’ll want to check it out.
This week, Becky of Organizing Made Fun is in the Bloglight! It’s no fluke that Becky’s blog is one of the most popular organizing blogs out there! Having gotten to know her through Bogtalk, it’s pretty clear that she is one smart business woman who really knows her stuff! Read her Bloglight post to get the inside scoop on how she started and how she organizes her own schedule and don’t forget to follow her on Hometalk! Thank you for sharing your story, Becky!