woman with paint chips
SAFETY Making your home as safe as possible is at the top of the home improvement list for many parents. Here are some low cost and easy improvements that you can do to make sure your house safer:
Safety Tip #1: Set your water heater’s thermostat to 120 degrees to avoid burns. (It can take just three seconds for a child to sustain third degree burns with the typical tap water temperature of 140 degrees).
Safety Tip #2: Install tub and shower valves with built-in scald protection if your home doesn’t already have these safety measures in place. (Changes in water pressure can cause an unexpected spray of hot or cold water from the faucet. Pressure balancing valves start at less than $100).
Safety Tip #3: The electrical outlet in the bathroom should have a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). This is a tool that protects you from a dangerous shock when water and electricity come together. If you don’t already have one, an electrician can install one for you.
Safety Tip #4: Shim freestanding storage units (such as bookcases, armoirs) so they stand level and use L-brackets to secure them to the wall and prevent toppling.
Safety Tip #5: Install specially designed window guards on upper windows to keep children from falling out. Buy window guards that have a quick release mechanism inside the window. This will let you quickly open the window in the event of a fire.
STORAGE: Once you’ve finished your spring cleaning and have cleared out the clutter, it’s time to find an organizational system to help you keep things that way. Finding a suitable storage solution will eliminate wasted space in your home, increase your storage space and free up the amount of time you spend every week managing clutter. With countless storage solutions to choose from, you can buy or build your own storage needs that will be a perfect fit.
Storage Tip #1: Find an organizational system to stop clutter where it begins–the entryway. A seated organization system with hooked storage above and lidded closed storage below is ideal. The seating is convenient for putting shoes on/ taking shoes off, sweaters can be neatly hung on the hooks and the lidded storage area below keeps frequently used items hidden from sight. If you don’t have a separate entryway, you can use the available wall space around the door. Use shelves, baskets or hooks to make your home’s first impression a pleasant one.
Storage Tip #2: Utilize freestanding units such as armoires, hutches, trunks and modular systems to house items such as books or t.v. and hide items that might be a visual distraction. Update an older armoir with decorative mirrors or use paint and stencils to create your personal touch.
Storage Tip #3: Retrofit your existing cabinets by installing sliding shelves. If your kitchen has lots of base cabinets (lower level cabinets) you can optimize your storage space and have everything at arm’s length by installing pullout shelves behind the cabinet doors. They are easy to install and can it can be done in as little as five minutes.
Storage Tip #4: Make laundry storage easier by installing a pullout or built-in laundry hamper. Put a pullout in the vanity or reduce the width of the drawers in an existing built-in cabinet, reframe them and install a built in hamper in the empty space.
Storage Tip #5: Mix space and style by inserting shelf bottom hangers. Regain unused shelf space by screwing goblet racks or cups hooks into a shelf bottom.
DECORATING: If you want your home to be pleasing to the eye as well as safe and functional, maybe it’s time to redecorate. Get inspired-read decorating books, peruse before/after pictures of decorating projects on the internet or go window shopping at The Home Depot or Lowes. Even making minor changes to your home’s décor can add a new flair of style and ambience.
Decorating Tip #1: Give your bathroom a modern touch by replacing your window treatments with shutters. Vinyl shutters cost less than wood shutters and can endure the bathroom’s humidity better.
Decorating Tip #2: Decorate one bathroom wall with attention grabbing mosaic tiles. Your mosaic featured wall will accent bathroom features and add color to the room. (Sheets of mosaic tile attached to backing will help you complete this job quicker than you think).
Decorating Tip #3: Use mirrors to make your home more visually appealing. Position the mirror to reflect a nice view or an interesting architectural element. Or, use a large mirror to visually expand a smaller room (the mirror should be at least three-fourths as tall as the wall). For an extra elegant touch, frame the mirror in crown molding (for how to frame your mirror with crown molding go to www.hgtv.com)
Decorating Tip #4: Paint one wall a different color that coordinates with your room and accentuates your personal style (an accent wall. Hang some interesting art/pictures on that wall and move a nice piece of furniture there.
Decorating Tip #5: Give a little life to the one wall in your child’s room that often goes ignored but remains a focal point from a child’s view- the ceiling. Paint a relaxing mural (like a cloudy sky) and create a private sanctuary for your child’s imagination to soar.
Taking the time to make sure your home is safe, organized and attractive will help you create a home environment that your family can’t wait to come home to. It might even motivate you to begin more weekend home improvement projects!