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50 Expert Home Improvement Tips, Quotes and Ideas

50 Expert Home Improvement Tips, Quotes and Ideas

If you’re a homeowner, you know that work around the house is never done. There’s always some project that needs completed, and just when you feel like you’ve finally finished, it’s time to start all over again. We’ve rounded up 50 expert home improvement tips and tricks to help make this task a little easier.

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1. Get advice from a professional. “Spend an hour with a pro. Invite a realtor or interior designer over to check out your home. Many realtors will do this as a courtesy, but you will probably have to pay a consultation fee to a designer. Check with several designers in your area; a standard hourly fee is normally less than $100, and in an hour they can give you lots of ideas for needed improvements. Even small suggested improvements, such as paint colors or furniture placement, can go a long way toward improving the look and feel of your home.” — 30 Tips for Increasing Your Home’s Value, DIY Network; Twitter: @DIYNetwork

2. Pick a project that has return value. “If you were offered $100,000, no strings attached, what home improvements would you do? Chances are, a long laundry list of changes come to mind, from refinishing the hardwood floors to adding a new bathroom. Some home improvements, however, are more likely to increase your home’s value than others. Although you shouldn’t think of your home as an investment, with limited home improvement funds, it’s good to consider whether a project has a decent return on investment.” — Melanie Pinola, Top 10 Home Improvement Tips Every Homeowner Should Know, Lifehacker; Twitter: @lifehacker

3. Upgrade and increase your kitchen storage. “Whether your kitchen is large or small, ample storage is always a selling point. Take advantage of unclaimed wall or corner space with open shelves to keep dishes, spices, and cookware within easy reach. Embellish plain shelves with decorative brackets to add personality. If you frequently entertain, consider mounting a wine rack next to cabinetry.” — Allison Maze, 25 Home Improvement Ideas Under $150, Better Homes & Gardens; Twitter: @BHG

4. Consider painting your ceiling. “A.k.a. the fifth wall. Blue is as calming as the sky, silver reflects light, jewel tones are bravely bold — and just might work.” —  Kathryn O’Shea-Evans, 75 Small Upgrades You Should Spoil Your Home With This Year, House Beautiful; Twitter: @HouseBeautiful

5. Swap out your front door. “Your faithful front door works tirelessly — day in and day out — to usher in you and your guests, and to seal your house up tight. But when Old Faithful gets tired and worn out, don’t hesitate to call in a replacement. Year in and year out, replacing your old front door with a new steel door is a project that kicks up curb appeal and yields the best payback.” — John Riha, Home Remodeling: 6 Improvements to Increase Home Value, House Logic; Twitter: @HouseLogic

6. Keep your HVAC system tuned up. “Stay ahead of the curve with a yearly furnace inspection. It costs less than $100 and lends longer life to your HVAC. Keep a record of your tune-ups to give to potential buyers, says Hebeler.” — Caren Baginski, 8 Easy Ways to Boost Your Home’s Value, HGTV; Twitter: @hgtv

7. Plan your project well in advance. “Most building trades have busy seasons and slow seasons. Plan ahead, and you’ll get more competitive bids during the slow seasons.” — Affordable Home Improvement Tips, The Family Handyman; Twitter: @Family_Handyman

8. Use plants and flowers to hide unattractive features. “A house’s foundation is one of its least attractive elements. If your home’s foundation is visible, camouflage it with flowering hydrangeas, azaleas, rhododendrons, knockout roses or large-leafed, flowering plants that have a generous, leafy spread. The best choices for this purpose grow 3 to 4 feet in height and offer a touch of color. Plant them at least 2 feet from the house. Ask your nursery person for recommendations that will thrive in your region.” — Don Vandervort, 9 Quick Ways to Boost Your Home’s Curb Appeal, Home Tips; Twitter: @HomeTipscom

9. Lubricate squeaky door hinges. “Spray a little WD-40 onto the hinges, moving the door back and forth to work in the lubricant. Or try rubbing the hinges with petroleum jelly. If these tricks don’t work, lift the hinge pins about halfway and lubricate them with three-in-one oil, using a rag to catch drips.” — 15 Quick Fixes to Make Around Your House, Real Simple; Twitter: @RealSimple

10. Consider installing artificial grass. “Have kids? Or pets? Don’t be afraid to give artificial grass a shot. Artificial grass is the best way to make a yard dog-proof and kid-proof because there’s no way they’re going to run around and tear up your grass. Plus, it requires zero upkeep on the weekends.” — Timothy Dahl, 11 Landscaping Ideas That Will Transform Your Yard, Popular Mechanics; Twitter: @PopMech

11. Add another closet for increased storage space. “Closets can be extremely useful in hiding unsightly possessions or to reserve space for new items. A new closet cannot only improve the size of your living space but it can also become an essential part of decor.” — Building a Simple Closet,

12. Know that not all contractors are created equal. “If your handyperson says they can “do it all,” watch out; electrical, plumbing and structural fixes require a licensed professional. A sure sign that contractors can be trusted is if they tell you they’re not the best person to do a particular job and recommend someone else instead.” — Michelle Crouch, 13 Helpful Hints from Canadian Contractors, Reader’s Digest; Twitter: @ReadersDigestCA

13. Make a budget and stick to it. “A thorough budget is a critical part of any successful remodel. Be sure your budget includes products, materials, labor and an extra cushion for unforeseen costs. Presenting contractors with your own established budget will help you communicate your goals and find the right fit for your project.” — 5 Tips to Prep for a Remodel, Home Advisor; Twitter: @HomeAdvisor

14. Use paint to refresh a room. “You can give your drab, washed-out walls a burst of brilliant depth (or wash away your decorating sins with virgin white) just by picking up a paint can and having at them. That’s the power of a coat of paint: It rearranges your reality. Which is why painting is the most oft-tackled DIY home-improvement upgrade.” — 21 Quick and Easy Budget Upgrades, This Old House; Twitter: @ThisOldHouse

15. Avoid changing plans on the fly. “A large project taken in its entirety can seem overwhelming. The temptation is to make each decision as it comes up instead of articulating a clear vision of what you want at the beginning. According to professionals in the home-renovation business, however, the piecemeal approach is a sure recipe for wasting time and money.” — Anna Rohleder, Ten Home-Improvement Tips, Forbes; Twitter: @Forbes

16. Add a signature piece to every room. “Enhance a room by adding a signature piece of furniture. This is an item that—because of its color, shape, style size, element of surprise, or striking presence—offers a wow factor. Multiple signature pieces in a room will make you and your guests dizzy, but one well-chosen piece will draw the eye, spark conversation, and infuse your space with energy.” — Melissa Michaels, 8 No-Cost Ways to Update Every Room in Your Home,; Twitter: @O_Magazine

17. Start an inspiration collection. “From magazines, to color swatches from your favorite paint store, seek out inspiration ideas now. Don’t wait until the DIY nudge strikes, and then you are trying to get ideas, pay for materials, and complete the project. The more you do ahead of time, the more stress free your project will be.” — Ronique Gibson, Top 10 Home Improvement Tips for the New Year, Freshome; Twitter: @freshome

18. Consider adding an extra bathroom. “When it comes to finding room in your house for an extra bathroom, take a look at any extra rooms or underutilized spaces. Consider other spaces, such as closets or areas under the stairs, too. If you want a half-bath you need at least 18 square feet. For a full bath, including a stand-up shower, you need at least 30 square feet. If you want a bathtub, make sure you have at least 35 square feet to work with for a bathroom addition.” — Heather Levin, 7 Home Improvement & Remodeling Ideas that Increase Home Value (And What to Avoid), Money Crashers; Twitter: @MoneyCrashers

19. Create an outdoor seating area. “Seating can be added to your backyard in a variety of ways, from a beautiful set of table and chairs to a backyard gazebo. Gazebos can be a great addition to your outdoor space and a rather easy DIY idea. They are attractive and have a variety of design and utility merits. Seating areas can be used for dining, socializing or simply relaxing. For extra appeal, add a beautiful winding path of decorated gravel or marble that leads to your seating area.” — 5 Backyard Ideas to Improve Your Outdoor Space, Great Day Improvements; Facebook: @GreatDayImprovements

20. Clean out clutter from your basement. “Getting rid of useless clutter (mold- and mildew-covered items, broken things you’ll never fix, old mattresses or furniture in unsalvageable condition, boxes and bags of “mystery clutter”, etc) liberates your storage spaces and makes your property both more functional, and, if you plan to put it on the market in the future, more open-house friendly.” — Yuki Hayashi, Easy Around-The-House Projects on a Budget, Style at Home; Twitter: @StyleAtHome

21. Don’t take on more than you can chew. “If you’re not 100 percent confident about using power tools or going up a ladder, then don’t! Accidents happen when people are nervous or intimidated by an unfamiliar or uncomfortable task. Luckily, there are many local workshops offered at home improvement centres that can help DIY-ers gain the hands-on experience and knowledge to successfully execute their next DIY project with confidence.” — Leigh-Ann Allaire Perrault, 10 smart tips for a stress-free DIY reno, Chatelaine; Twitter: @Chatelaine

22. Begin improving the outside first. “To launch your home makeover, start at the front door; repaint in a color that contrasts with the trim. Give the front of your home a good cleaning and replace any dated house numbers, light fixtures and handle sets. Stain or paint porches or steps to make the house appear more polished.” — Kathryn Weber, Adding instant value to your home, Newsday; Twitter: @Newsday

23. Try unclogging a faucet or tap before replacing. “Mineral salts can build up in faucet heads, aerators and showerheads, leading to reduced water flow. The way to correct this problem is to take a plastic baggie full of white vinegar and tie it up around the showerhead or drop your aerators in it. The vinegar will melt all the mineral salts causing the clog.” — Thomas Kraeutler, Easy Tip to Cure Clogged Faucets and Showerheads, The Money Pit; Twitter: @moneypit

24. Consider getting an energy audit performed. “The best way to get your home operating at its maximum efficiency is to hire a professional BPI certified energy rater to evaluate your spaces. This person will conduct what’s called an “energy audit” and he or she will test your home for energy losses and safety issues, and generate a detailed report highlighting what your home’s issues are. With a report in hand you can easily target and prioritize exactly what you need to do, and what you can afford to do.” — Andrew Michler, 7 Winter home improvement tips to save you money and energy in the cold season, Inhabitat; Twitter: @inhabitat

25. Ensure any professional you hire is licensed. “Many states, but not all, require contractors to be licensed and/or bonded. Check with your local building department or consumer protection agency to find out about licensing requirements in your area. Licensing can range from simple registration to a detailed qualification process. If your state or locality has licensing laws, make sure the contractor’s license is current.” — Hiring a Contractor, Federal Trade Commission; Twitter: @FTC

26. Have a contingency fund in place. “If you find out that the work you wanted to do costs more than you expected or budgeted, you’re in good company. It’s almost unheard of that a person sets a realistic budget for a project. But don’t eat into your contingency to stretch the budget. If you follow rule number one and make every decision ahead of time, you can probably get away with a 5 percent contingency if you have a good general contractor.” — Kenny Grono, Contractor Tips: Top 10 Home Remodeling Don’ts, Houzz; Twitter: @houzz

27. Identify your must-haves. “Both the bathroom and kitchen are frequently used spaces and therefore it’s critical the fittings are both functional and practical but also visually appealing. Ensure you have accounted for those items you can’t live without and build from there.” — Shaynna Blaze, 5 Tips to Consider when Renovating, Lifestyle Home; Twitter: @LifeStyleHOME

28. Look for a contractor that you can trust. “Consult with friends, coworkers, and people in your neighborhood who have completed work that you like. You should also check with your local building department, the Better Business Bureau, and other building associations in your state and county. Make sure you obtain a Certificate of Insurance from your contractor and that you sign a defined contract with your contractor before you start any work.” — Planning Your Kitchen Renovation, Martha Stewart; Twitter: @MS_Living

29. Get everything in writing. “Get a written contract detailing all the work to be done. Make sure it spells out the quality of materials to be used, the total price for labor and materials, any warranties or guarantees. It should also include the start and finish dates, and who will be responsible for clean-up and trash removal.” — Building a Home, North Carolina Department of Justice; Twitter: @NCAGO

30. Increase your home’s insulation to save money. “Seal and insulate your home to improve comfort and reduce heating and cooling costs. EPA recommends Home Sealing to improve your home’s “envelope” or the outer walls, ceiling, windows and floors. To improve the envelope of your home: Add insulation, seal air-leaks, and choose an ENERGY STAR labeled window if you’re in the market for new windows.” — Home Improvement Tips, Energy Star; Twitter: @ENERGYSTAR

31. Clean out your dryer ducts and vents. “If your dryer doesn’t work as quickly as it used to, lint could be the culprit. Buildup not only affects efficiency, it also increases your risk of fire. To clean your ducts, first you’ll need some muscle to move your dryer away from the wall. Then you just need a vacuum. Unplug the dryer, disconnect the ductwork, and vacuum out the ducts as well as you can.” — Cynthia Ramnarace, 20 Insanely Easy 60-Minute Home Improvements, Bob Vila; Twitter: @BobVila

32. Finish the basement. “Whether you want an additional space or a personal mancave, turning the basement into a finished living area allows you to get more use out of your home.” — The 9 Most Common Home Improvements, By Carrier; Facebook: @ByCarrier

33. Find (and fill) any insulation gaps. “The general rule when you are looking for any insulation gap is to look for areas where you have something that penetrates through the wall such as outside faucets, air vents and plumbing. The penetration areas are prone to having air leaks that will cause temperature fluctuations. You can fill these gaps with expanding foam, making sure that they are sealed properly. It is very important that you never seal next to a gas flue, as that would be a fire hazard.” — 5 Home Improvement Tips to Save You Money in Winter, Peak Installations; LinkedIn

34. Improve your exterior. “A new garage door, paint, vinyl siding or an updated entry can make a huge difference to the appearance of your home. And the average resale can be up to 95 percent. Additional updates can include lighting, pergolas, columns and fencing.” — Top Home Improvement Tips for Spring, Family Horizons Credit Union; Facebook: @familyhorizons

35. Install gutter guards to prevent clogged gutters. “Install gutter guards to prevent clogs from happening altogether. Added Bonus: You can also protect the foundation of the home by diverting water away from it, possibly preventing flooding (and mold) as well.” — Madison Engle, 5 Home Improvement Tips for Caregivers, Lotsa Helping Hands; Twitter: @LotsaHelping

36. Think of improving efficiency. “When replacing your furnace or air conditioner; consider energy-efficient models, as they can be upwards of 15% more efficient, saving you on energy bills.” — The 10 Home Improvement Tips that Will Reduce Costs, Youngs Insurance Brokers; Twitter: @youngsinsurance

37. Don’t skimp on the details. “The architect you use should create a detailed, to-scale floor plan, down to where the electrical outlets will be. You can even use a virtual planning tool from the National Kitchen and Bath Association to outline exactly what you’re looking for.” — Remodeling and Home Improvement Tips, Regions Bank; Twitter: @askRegions

38. Check your kitchen plumbing. “Replace broken hoses, repair faulty disposals, and make any other small fixes, even if they don’t directly affect your way of life right now. It’s better to nip problems in the bud to avoid their escalation, especially in a room you’ll always use.” — Andrea Davis, The Boomer’s Ultimate Guide To Adding Value To Your Home, ImproveNet; Twitter: @ImproveNet_

39. Don’t forget about your attic. “Check for signs of water entry, and inspect the seals around venting and pipes. You should also take note of how much insulation is in your attic, as adding even a little insulation can have a big impact on your home’s energy efficiency.” — Home Improvement Projects for Spring, S&K Roofing; Twitter: @skroofing

40. Use plants for a pop of color. “If you thought houseplants only came in dark green, think again! With a rainbow of foliage colors at your disposal, you’re sure to find the right houseplant to make an impression. Grow chartreuse-colored plants like ‘Limelight’ Dracaena and ‘Neon’ pothos for the perfect pop of color against dark backgrounds, or grow bromeliads. You can find hybrids with foliage and flowers in just about every color or pattern imaginable and they’re even easy to water.” — 7 Reasons to Give Houseplants Another Chance, Zillow; Twitter: @zillow

41. Don’t forget about Fido. “Our pets don’t always operate on our schedule. Sometimes they want to go outside and lie in the sun while you’re trying to rush out the door so you’re not late for work. Giving your dog the power to let himself out when he wants to can be a real luxury, which is a big part of the reason why dog and cat doors were invented in the first place.” — James Rhys Clarke, 5 Home Improvement Projects for Dog Owners, Top Dog Tips; Twitter: @TopDogTipsMag

42. Don’t pay for work that isn’t complete. “Some contractors may require a down payment before work begins, but it should not be a significant portion of the total cost. This could be a red flag of a shady contractor. Instead, make payments that align with the progress of the work completed, and final payment when the work is finished to your satisfaction.” — Heather Massey, BBB: Tips for hiring a contractor during National Home Improvement Month, OA Online; Twitter: @OdessaAmerican

43. Upgrade or replace kitchen cabinets. “Replacing old kitchen cabinets with solid wood whether oak, cherry, or even something less expensive like pine, and kitchen countertops is a great way to increase the kitchen’s appearance and usability, as well as the market value of your home.” — Home Improvement Tips to Increase the Market Value of your Home, Trusted Pros; Twitter: @TrustedPros

44. Bring the garden indoors. “Creating an indoor window garden can add life and color to your home during the winter. Your garden can be set up simply with some potted plants on a sill or you can build a window planter for your plants. Whether you want to plant flowers, herbs or vegetables, this project will help get you on your way to successfully growing a cheerful window plot.” — Build a Window Garden, Garner Building Supply; Facebook: @GarnerBuildingSupply

45. Don’t fall for trends. “Remember trends come and go with décor just like they do with fashion. Avoid expensive, trendy accessories and furniture that might not be popular in a few years. Instead, opt for stylish, practical pieces which will withstand the test of time. If you do want to add some current trends to your décor do it with smaller, less expensive pieces like throws, cushion covers, and other small accessories.” — Top Tips for Redecorating Your Home, 2Luxury2; Twitter: @2LUXURY2

46. Burglar-proof windows with locks. “It is vital to fit any lock correctly and in a position that will maximise its effect and strength. A burglar with the right tools will break through a window lock eventually, but fitting one correctly will force the burglar to take more time and make more noise.” — Rachel Halliwell, How to protect your home from the undesirables, The Telegraph; Twitter: @TeleProperty

47. Invest in pieces you truly love. “There’s a saying that rings true: “Buy right or buy twice.” If you have to wait a while to save for what you really want, then wait. Don’t buy an inexpensive piece of furniture just because it’s cheaper—you’ll most likely be buying that piece again in a year or two.” — Julie Ryan Evans, Paralyzed by Home Decor Decisions? You’re Not Alone,; Twitter: @realtordotcom

48. Protect yourself from construction dust. “Demolition dust is a potentially hazardous chemical cocktail. It doesn’t even have to contain toxic materials to be dangerous; exposure to tiny dust particles have been linked to irregular heartbeat, asthma, decreased lung function, and other respiratory issues.” — Gigi Lee Chang, Tips for a Happier (And Safer!) Home Improvement Project, Healthy Child; Twitter: @Healthy_Child

49. Don’t let fireplace ashes go to waste. “If you use your wood burning fireplace, the ashes are a good source of nutrients for your lawn. Just let them cool, clean the ashes out the fire place and sprinkle them on the lawn. The rain will wash them into the soil. It’s a good way to recycle.” — Home Improvement Tips, Helpful Handyman; Twitter: @he1pfulhandyman

50. Keep your yard clean. “The care and maintenance you invest here will give a favorable impression for the level of maintenance in the rest of your home. A good rule of thumb: keep your yard as clean as if it was another room in your house.” — Top 20 Tips To Increase Your Home’s Curb Appeal, Zagpad; Twitter: @ZagPadROC