Painting Tips for Your Home Remodeling Plans PDF Print E-mail
Nothing can change the appearance of a room quicker and easier than painting the walls and trim. It’s also one of the least expensive home improvement projects that you can undertake, especially for the impact that it creates. So here are the steps that you need to go through to prepare a room for painting.

First of all get everything that you can out of the room. The less furniture and decorative items that you have to work around, the better. After you have done that take off the electrical faceplates and heating register covers. They are usually only held on by a couple of screws anyway, so it shouldn’t be difficult to take them off. Also remove all knobs and handles that could be in close proximity to the paint. Then mask off all of the switches and receptacles in the room, and cover all the heavy furniture that is left in the room with dropcloths or bedsheets.

It’s a good idea to protect the floor by running a 2 in. piece of masking tape around the edge of the entire room and then bringing your dropcloths right up to the edge of the tape.

Now is the time to remove old wallpaper if necessary, as its usually not the best idea to paint over wallpaper instead. Very often wallpaper will begin to curl a way from the wall eventually and can run your beautiful paint job.

At this point you will need to remove any paint that is chipping or peeling by scraping or sanding it off. The most important thing to keep in mind at this point is to only remove the old paint and not part of the surface itself. If the previous surface was glossy, then be sure to rough it up with some sandpaper before applying the paint.

After you are finished with scraping and sanding the walls and trim, now is the time to make sure that all the painted surfaces are clean, by washing them down with a phosphate free degreaser or cleanser. If there are mildewed areas, include some chlorine bleach in your solution to help kill the mildew. After this, let everything dry out for the next 24 hours or so.

While the room is drying, you can be masking off any areas that need to be protected. For instance, masking off the doorway if it will be a different color from the wall. If you are using a brush for painting, the kind of masking tape that you choose can be important. Most home improvement stores sell what is called “painters tape” that prevents paint from seeping through to the surface underneath and yet is still easy to remove.

Once all of this is done, you can get started with your paint job. The best way to start is to cut in all of the edges of the room first. This usually means using a brush to paint the first 3 or 4 inches in from all edges of the walls. Once you have the wall outlined with the new paint color, you can then use a roller to finish off the wall easily and quickly.

Painting your own walls and trim is a simple home improvement task if you approach it in an organized way. It’s also well within the reach of almost all homeowners to be able to turn out an excellent, high-quality paint job. So why not pick a wall and get started right away?

Thad Pickering writes on many consumer related topics including home improvement. You can find out more about bathroom remodeling ideas and basement remodeling ideas by visiting our Home Improvement website.

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 25 April 2006 )

Decorative Wall Painting Techniques PDF Print E-mail
Do your walls seem dull and uninviting? Do you long for a cozy, welcoming room? Consider decorative wall painting techniques, such as sponging, ragging, stenciling or stamping. Even if you have no experience, you can brighten even the dullest room quickly and cheaply with one of these easy decorative wall painting techniques.

Before painting your room, pick out a color scheme for your walls. When you chose your paint, remember that many painting techniques use two shades of one color. If you are using one of the techniques that does use two shades of color, you can pick a darker color than you normally would chose for your base color, since the lighter top color will make the final result much lighter.

To sponge or rag a wall, paint on your base color and let it dry thoroughly. Then, dip your sponge or rag into the lighter paint color and sponge or drag the lighter color over the base coat until you are satisfied with the effect. If you are unhappy with your final result, you can repaint any areas that you don’t like with the base coat. Once the repainted area is dry, repeat the faux painting technique.
If you are considering using a decorative painting technique such as stenciling or stamping, you may just want to create a wallpaper effect by stamping or stenciling a simple design over your base coat. However, you may want to go a step further with your project and use stencils or stamps to create a faux brick or stone wall. You don’t need to be an artist to create one of these faux finishes. Just follow these simple steps. First, paint the walls with the color you chose for the mortar between the bricks or stones. Once the base coat is dry, stamp or stencil your bricks or stones over the base coat. Once the brick or stonework is dry, spatter a bit of the darker color over your faux art to give it depth and make it appear more realistic.

Creating faux effects such as making your walls look like they are made of plaster or suede can also really make your room stand out. You can easily learn how to create these seemingly difficult finishes at your local paint store. Paint bases that automatically give a suede or textured effect to the walls are a shortcut that even artists use to create fun finishes.

Finally, no matter which decorative wall painting technique you choose, remember that it is just a few layers of paint.

You can always redo the finish on your walls as you learn more about the art of decorative painting.
This article was provided courtesy where you can find tons of information on faux painting and interior painting ideasand techniques.

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 25 April 2006 )

Designing Your Signature Life PDF Print E-mail

The Parts and Pieces:

Designing your signature life is not just about your home interiors but instead it is about the whole ball of wax . . . . the whole kit and caboodle. It is about truly designing your LIFE! That means interiors both at home and the office, career choices, entertaining and homemaking, relationships, travel and adventure, personal image and style, books, movies and media you enjoy and what you really want from it all. Designing a signature life shows you how to get what you want by making a plan, by establishing goals and creating a map to get there. It is about demonstrating flexibility and patience in each step to maximize the potential and the opportunities we each have. It is about creating a life as unique as your signature!


Designing your home interiors is a process of self discovery; each decision leads you closer to defining yourself where you are right now and where you are headed. The elements you bring into your home represent the experiences you have had and those you want to enjoy still. The artwork you include is not just filling space but is inspiration for everyday. The way you arrange furnishings indicates whether you are ready to invite others in or prefer to maintain a more solo existence. Your signature style at home can be read much like your signature on a piece of paper. Someone who doesn’t know you can learn a lot by looking around at the choice you have included. Those that do know you and pay attention will learn more and know how to contribute to your life at this point.

Your office interiors are of equal importance, reflecting your success, and future visions as well as providing an environment fostering productivity and accomplishment. An office is a significant statement about your career choice. Incorporating awards, recognition, and evidence of your successes reinforces your abilities and gives notice of your credibility. An inviting, comfortable space is something you can look forward to working in, rather than dreading the chaos and disorganization so many allow to occur.

Interior design and decorating makes a fundamental impact on the individuals both living, working and visiting a space. The impact is positive or negative based on the effectiveness of the design and sensitivity to its users. Design is a personal statement and as such needs to be a fair representation of the occupant.

Career Choices:

Designing your career path can be complicated and involve several moves, shifts in talents and experience, and even additional education. It is about finding your purpose and your passion and merging them into a rewarding path of doing. It is about being willing to explore a variety of interests and pursuits and expand your horizons beyond the site lines. It is about limitless thinking. It is about creating a life, not just a job. A career is also just a part of what we do and who we are, it does not define us or limit us, but instead allows us to give to others and make a positive impact on those around us.

Many people feel trapped by their work, unhappy they complain relentlessly, but are unwilling to make a change. Notice they are not unable, just unwilling. I am not suggesting that anyone randomly and irresponsibly quit their job; few of us can afford that. But we are all capable of making change, setting new goals, looking toward new horizons. Creating your signature life is all about the willingness to do this, and about knowing who to ask for guidance and direction.

Often a career or business coach is an invaluable investment when making a career transition or move up the ladder. Networking with other professionals and business associates is another important means of exploring new opportunities and paths. Being discreet but determined in your quest is often the real key. Don’t allow naysayers to discourage you, they are simply frustrated that they themselves are afraid to make a change.


There is a wonderful old adage that says we are each the sum total of those we surround ourselves with. Are you really surrounding yourself with people that are positive, successful, excited about life, and making a difference? Or instead do you find yourself bogged down by those complaining, whining, and absorbed in victim thinking? It is a choice of who you attract and allow in your life, it is not an accident.

When you exhibit an upbeat attitude, optimism, and a generous spirit, typically you will attract the same into your life. This isn’t to say we don’t all have gray days and down moments but it is to say we have a choice in how we process the events in our lives and whether we consider something a failure or merely a lesson learned (however painful) and move on.

Often as with settling into our work and viewing as a job with a finite beginning and end, rather than the joy of a career of purpose and passion, we will settle in relationships. We stop trying; we guess it is better than nothing. The result is often two sides that are not working with each other, not healthy, and not happy. Relationships whether family, friends, coworkers, or acquaintances require continual care and feeding. When they are neglected they will wither. This applies even to our relationship with us and our spirituality. It is important for us to consistently feed ourselves kind words, good self talk, and a faith beyond our own abilities. When we forget to do this, we find our well running dry and our faith may falter. By keeping ourselves strong, our beliefs whole and active, we are there for ourselves and for others.

Entertaining and Homemaking:

Too often people want to entertain, but are afraid. They are waiting for something else, for the house to be decorated, for that next promotion, for the kids to be grown up and gone, for something. Entertaining is not about waiting! It is not about the perfect décor, your status at work, whether the kids are home or not; instead it is about sharing time and experiences with friends and family. If they are truly coming only to see your latest drapery or hear about your raise, consider getting new friends!

Entertaining is a chance to invite others to share in a bit of your life, a bit of your home, and a bit of you. It doesn’t have to be grand, expensive, or involve a caterer. Although that can be fun too! Think about having a potluck with a handful of friends. Or maybe a leftover surprise dinner where everyone brings leftovers or cooks up something from things they have had for awhile in the pantry. Better yet, have everyone chip in $5 and order a pizza. It can be that easy.

Entertaining can also be about hiring the experts. Get a caterer, develop a menu, hire a party planner, and let them take care of the details! It isn’t about the scale of the party, but about bringing people together, and mixing it up. I throw parties for every reason or no reason at all. Few of my friends are comfortable doing this. Yes, it can be work and a lot of it, if you let it. The choice is yours.

Travel and Adventure:

Where do you want to go?? Many of us want to travel, travel, travel! But we don’t seem to go anywhere because we don’t plan it. We are very routine oriented and can’t seem to break loose for that spontaneous road trip or weekend with the girls. Planned or unplanned, it won’t happen if you don’t just do it. Taking a trip used to require loads of time, a travel agent, and tons of money. Now it requires a few clicks of a mouse, no agent in the middle, and you can do it for pennies. Of course, if you can do it all out and want to, I say go for it. But don’t miss an opportunity to experience another country, city, state, neighborhood, or culture. Don’t wait until you are too old and physically unable, with all the resources, but no ability. It happens too often.

Travel is about exploring, about adventure, about newness and different, and exciting and sometimes scary. It is about tasting unfamiliar foods, smelling new smells, experiencing other customs, seeing different living environments, appreciating alternative architecture, touching novel textures, and hearing unique sounds. It is about taking a bite of life! It is about living bigger.

Often travel really makes us value home that much more. And sometimes we really need that extra dose of perspective to appreciate what had become ordinary to us but is really quite special. It can also make us realize how big the world really is and put our lives and our own challenges in a new light.

Personal Image and Style:

Renowned costume designer to the stars, Edith Head, once said, “You can have anything you want in life, if you dress for it.” This may well be true. The key is in making a personal statement and showing a sense of unique style. I always get a grin out of those that try to tell me to wear scarves. It won’t ever happen. It is not my style. It was my Mother’s and sister’s style and they did it with panache and grace. But not me. It would be comparable to making a man wear a bowtie that didn’t fit his own sense of style. Finding and defining your own sense of style is very important, it is tantamount to creating your personal image signature. I have a business associates who always wears a hat, it makes a big statement about her and gives her a unique importance. She also stands out from the crowd and wants to. Some gentlemen wear suspenders or a pocket handkerchief with same panache and are remembered for that.

Clothing and image are inextricably tied together. What we wear, like it or not, makes a statement loud and clear about who we are, and what we are about. Are you flashy? Sexy? Elegant? Professional? All buttoned up? Bohemian? Tailored? Frumpy? Old Fashioned? Dated? Fresh? Do you have savoir faire? Do you vogue? Are you saying what you want and mean to say based on your wardrobe and personal presentation? Is it a consistent message? Or, are you all over the board?

Fashion and image also relate to your interiors. Typically when you have truly defined yourself at this moment in time, you are consistent in your appeal. Your interiors will suit you as your wardrobe suits you. You will appear as a cohesive whole and not a series of confused fragments. Working on one aspect leads to subconscious work on the other aspect, and there is professional expertise available at all levels for all aspects.

The Goals and Benefits – Getting Balance:

Often we think of balance as something that will eventually just happen or we will magically find it. The truth is that it is up to each of us to create it. What represents balance to one person may not to another. It is an individual definition but typically means that our life is flowing smoothly, our goals are on track, we feel on purpose and secure, and we are enjoying time for our priorities.

When out of balance we feel stressed, burned out, overloaded, and stretched too thin. It happens a lot but few realize that it is really a matter of evaluating priorities and delegating those that don’t mean as much. Yes, we can do it all, but we don’t have to and it isn’t healthy to. Achieving a healthy balance is about looking forward to each day, knowing that we can tackle the responsibilities at hand, that we have rewards to celebrate, and that we are truly living by our own design, not anyone else’s.

A Life of Legacy:

When we are living a life of our own design, when we are writing our signature on the world each and every day, we are making connections to a legacy. We are forming alliances and relationships with many that will feel a lasting impact. Very rarely do we get a chance to know how much we have influenced another’s path, but instead have to trust that each encounter is never coincidence but intentional and with reason. We have a great deal to learn and a great deal to teach while in this life. It is by crafting our legacy and our significance with purpose and passion that we will make the greatest difference.

A Life Plan:

Creating a life plan is not an exercise we will do once and forget, but instead it is about learning the tools and skills needed to continually shape and redefine our goals, priorities, and passions. As we grow and change, our priorities will shift, what was important in our twenties seems silly in our thirties, and different still in our forties and fifties. We cannot predict, but only be open and flexible to opportunities, directions, and experiences, always keeping in mind our personal core values and seeking a fit with those values in all we do.

Creating a signature life is about learning the interior of you and finding the happiest way to share and express that with the world. It is about feeling fulfilled and secure in all you are and do, despite the frequent hiccups in everyday living, and occasional disasters and thunderstorms of tragedy that invade every life. Find your signature, design your life. LIVE.

© 2006 Melissa Galt

Melissa Galt - EzineArticles Expert Author

Melissa Galt, Lifestyle Designer, Speaker, & Author, is nationally know as the Lifestyle Diva. Melissa is the owner of Melissa Galt, Inc., a full service interior design firm based in Atlanta. She has been decorating clients’ homes all over the Southeast for more than a decade, making their interior visions come true. She speaks to audiences nationally, on how to use design as the catalyst for “creating the life you’ve always dreamed of”. Melissa is the creator of Design Destinations, a free monthly guide to designing your signature life. To sign up for her FREE monthly newsletter, visit

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 25 April 2006 )

Top Five Home-Improvement Tips PDF Print E-mail
Tackling home-improvement projects that need to be done can be both exciting and rewarding. But going at it the wrong way can be a big disappointment and a source of a lot of stress. The best success is had when you plan ahead well and you pick the right time for doing the project. Here are some very important do it yourself home improvement tips to help every project be a success.

1. Almost any interior home-improvement project is going to make a mess, and that means that your home will be in disarray while the project is going on. For many, this is the most frustrating part of the entire project. So if you know that a particular room or area of the house is going to need some repairs, why not plan in advance and try to accomplish as much as you can in that area at one time?

If you don’t want dirt and debris flying all over your furniture in that area you will need to prepare your home in advance, usually by covering them with bedsheets or plastic sheeting. So it’s much easier to do this in one entire section of the house at a time, instead of having to recover everything over and over again.

2. Even if you plan on doing all the work yourself, it’s always a good idea to have the phone numbers of local professionals available in case you run into a major problem. When remodeling, there is just no telling what kind of problems you may encounter. Some of it you may be able to handle on your own, and some you may not. Butt having the phone numbers of experts in that field handy can keep the project moving forward even when difficult situations are encountered.

3. If you have a family, keep in mind that small children and power tools just don’t mix. Of course, they will probably want to be with you and maybe even join in and help you. But for safety’s sake, be sure to keep them completely away from any power tools or equipment that could cause harm.

4. It doesn’t matter what project you get involved in, or how organized you are in planning it, you are always going to find something that you need right away in order to finish. It’s just Murphy’s Law. So try not to start any major remodeling projects at a time when supply stores and tool rental shops are not open. When you need something for the project, and you definitely will, it’s a real relief to be able to just run down and get it right away without causing much work delay.

5. If you have to work around any of the home appliances or electrical and plumbing, be sure that you know for certain where and how to turn off all of the water, gas and electricity services to your home. If an emergency situation arises, you don’t want to have to find the shutoffs at the last minute.

Although improving your home can be a lot of fun, you need to be smart about how you do it as well. Following the tips given above should at least help you get your home improvement projects off to the right start.

Thad Pickering writes on many consumer related topics including home improvement. You can find out more about do it yourself home improvements and do it yourself home repair by visiting our Home Improvement website.

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 25 April 2006 )

Will Your Home Improvements Pay You Back? PDF Print E-mail
Spring seems the perfect time for renovations, both inside and outside. How do you know that the money you put into your home will come back to you?

While there are some things that you just have to do, like replace a leaky roof or inoperable hot water heater. These things decrease the value of your home, so you have to take care of them. But where do the visual improvements pay you back? Are they worth it?

First, I think you have to look at your home. Consider the age first of all. For example, my mother is holding on to the home her uncle built for her mother 60 years ago. He wasn’t a carpenter and didn’t know what he was doing. The home has had minimum major repairs and only slight upkeep over the years. It needs a new roof, new walls in some places, new ceiling, new piping, new electrical, new windows, new floorboards and so on. There isn’t anything that doesn’t need to be replaced. She wants to keep updating it, but her money isn’t doing anything. It needs $50,000 worth of repairs to raise it’s value. Several thousand aren’t going to do anything for it.

But if you have a home in good condition, chances are that by wisely improving it, you can increase the value of your home.

But you have to put your money in the right places. One of the most popular improvements is finishing a basement. This has one of the lowest rates of return. The average payback is less than 50% of your cost. So if you spend $10,000, expect an increase of less than $5,000.

Updates in the most frequently used areas, such as the kitchen and bathrooms, give you between 75% and 90% return. These are the areas that you should focus on. But be wise when making decisions. Stick with traditional styles and materials. Keep colors neutral and make moderate choices. You may want a high-end stove, but you may be better off with a mid-range if you are looking to get a good return on the investment.

Extras are nice in a home, but they really don’t pay you back either. Whirlpools, fireplaces and decks are nice, but they will only get you a return of around 10%. What is important to you may not be important to potential buyers.

But you may not be looking to sell.

If you are making remodeling choices for yourself and plan to live in the home for the next twenty years, go ahead and pick what you want. Remember that this is your home and if it is something you can afford, who says that you have to get all of your money back out of it? Just make wise choices and think about the future before you invest money into your home. It will pay you back in the long run.

Martin Lukac - EzineArticles Expert Author

Martin Lukac, represents, a finance web-company specializing in real estate/mortgage market. We specialize in daily updates, rate predictions, mortgage rates and more. Find low home loan mortgage interest rates from hundreds of mortgage companies! Visit today

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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 25 April 2006 )

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