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Archive for the ‘Do It Yourself’ Category

Inexpensive Do It Yourself Projects

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On January 26, 2011 No Comments

There are a number of ways you can update or redecorate any room in your home for just a few hundred dollars. By doing the work yourself, you can save money.

Challenge yourself , but be smart about what you can and can’t tackle.  You won’t save money if you have to pay a professional to clean up after you.

Here are a few inexpensive do-it-yourself project ideas for any room in your house along with some personal cautions and lessons learned.

My Very Own Handyman

My Very Own Handyman

#1 Paint - Painting, while it is a bit of work, can cost less than a hundred dollars. And the changes a fresh coat of paint can make are astounding. You can turn a dull room into a room that looks like it’s been designed by a professional interior decorator. Use the paint-theme ideas found in free brochures at your local hardware store. Surf online for inspiration too.  Lessons Learned: Painting is a test of patience (not my strongest suit) and it’s best to take your time and do it right.  Mistakes, a.k.a. globs of paint stick out like a sore thumb.  Always wear safety goggles – they aren’t stylin, but it keeps the paint out of your eye.

That's Me

That's Me

#2 New window treatments – Your window treatments can say a lot about your home. Finding treatments that are the right length and width is the first step. Then, take a look at the fabrics and textures you want.

A soft fabric like cotton, linen or silk can add a nice touch to a family room. Canvas, corduroy, or even leather offers a completely different feel. And if you don’t like curtains, take a look at the variety of blinds, shutters, or shades. Make sure you measure correctly, order the correct hardware and take time installing the window treatments.  Lessons Learned:  When tackling D.I.Y. projects, play to your strengths!  I found some beautiful paneled curtains at Pier 1 for 75% off and ‘my’ handyman did the measuring and hanging.

#3 Lighting - Simply changing out your lamps is a fast way to update a family room. However, you can add fixtures to your room to enhance the décor. For example, you can install pot lights in the ceiling to give the room a bright and open feel. You can carefully position accent lights to focus on a piece of art or a display cabinet. You can even change the color of your light bulbs.

Take care when working with electricity. Make sure you turn the power off at the circuit breaker before installing any new fixtures or switches.

Hawaii 622

#4 Flooring - You’d be surprised how easy it is to install carpet or even to put in a new laminate floor. Installing carpet is hard work, but you can do it yourself. You’ll need to buy the tacking strip, the pad and the carpet. You’ll also need a hammer and you can rent the kicker to stretch the carpet over the tacking strip.

Installing laminate floors is pretty easy too. There are many types of laminate. Some require an adhesive while others simply click into place like puzzle pieces.  Lesson Learned:  Adhesive sticks the second it touches the floor.  Be sure to place pieces carefully before dropping in or you’ll be pulling it up for hours!

Tile is another option. You can rent a tile cutter and install the tile yourself. Make sure to purchase a few extra pieces of tile for those inevitable mistakes. I haven’t tried this one yet and I think I’d go with peel and stick on my first go round.

#5 Fireplace - While installing a full fireplace and chimney isn’t likely to be something you want to tackle yourself, you can install a fireplace. If you have a gas line, you can install a gas fireplace. You’ll also need to install venting through your outside wall.

You can also purchase and install a vent-free gas fireplace. Make sure you purchase one that fits your needs. If you’re not interested in the having to vent your fireplace or buy gas or wood for it, consider an electric fireplace which can be installed in an hour or less.

While we didn’t install a fireplace, we did pull out some tile flooring in front of the fireplace.  Believe it or not, that was one of the hardest things we have tackled to date.  Lesson Learned:  Sometimes what you think will be easy turns out to be more than you bargained for.  Be prepared to stop, take a breath and figure out how best to continue. 

My SO has also cut countertop and we replaced and installed several new appliances.  We also had to demolish and remove a huge built in bunk bed which turned out to be really fun and a great stress reliever.  D.I.Y. projects are like that – lots of hard work and usually some stress.  Be sure to have a realistic timeline and take breaks when you need to. 

There are a number of inexpensive do-it-yourself projects you can tackle. My SO and I have painted walls and cabinets, cut and laid countertop, removed and put in flooring, and I’ve used tools I had never even heard of before.  It can be done.

Again, be prepared and realistic about what you can do and call in a professional when/if needed. Take a look at your budget, your design needs and your available time (most projects can be completed in a weekend), and get busy.

Frugally yours, Mary

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Do-It-Yourself the Frugal Way

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On March 25, 2010 No Comments

We go the do-it-yourself route to save money, and when the results take us where we want to go, we feel pretty smart. When the results don’t go where we thought they would, we can end up costing ourselves time and more money than we thought we would save. We have another sadder-but-wiser tale of woe to add to the do-it-yourselfer’s lament.

Asking yourself a few questions before venturing onto the do-it-yourself path can help determine whether the path will lead you to success or whether a professional should take you there.

Home Improvement Projects

One important question to ask is: Do you really know enough about what is required for your project to produce professional results? Reading a book may or may not be enough.

If you have never worked with power saws, but you want to build a bookcase, consider having the pieces pre-cut to the size you need at your lumberyard or home improvement store. Be satisfied with putting the hammer to the nail, and sand the wood by hand before applying your chosen shade of paint or finish. If you didn’t know that you need to sand the wood before applying the finish, read more how-to books on carpentry, and settle for a bookcase kit with predrilled holes this time.

If you have tried assemble-it-yourself furniture kits before and found if difficult to turn the screws into the holes, buy a chunk of beeswax at your home improvement store or at a fabric store, and apply the beeswax to the screw threads.

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Saving Money with Do It Yourself (DIY)

Brought to you by: The Frugal Buzz On February 12, 2010 No Comments

There are always a lot of things to do around the house: walls to paint, faucets to fix and light fixtures to change.  In this day and age the amount of people who can actually complete these jobs themselves is dwindling rapidly. At the same time, the cost to ‘fix up’ your home is rising dramatically. For those who are on a strict or limited budget the ability to hire a handyperson to make small repairs may be impossible, therefore you will have to become handy yourself.

While there are those that shudder at the idea of getting down and dirty, the fact is that you either choose to learn how to do these things yourself or watch your home slowly fall into ruin. Becoming a handyman is not hard, and as long as you can read instructions and follow illustrations you shouldn’t have any problems.

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