Remodeling. Renovating. Refreshing.

Thank you all for a great 2016. With a fresh year under way, last year’s trends behind us, and new ones on the horizon, it’s prime time for setting goals for 2017. Whatever you decide, we are here to help with carpentry, painting and handyman projects.

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We keep buildings maintained during Boston winter seasons

Boston Ma Christmas Lights

Boston Christmas lights are truly very special EVERY year!..

Buildings protect us from the elements but, like people, are not immune to seasonal change. Good property managers and home owners take action to help protect commercial and residential buildings from the effects of transitioning to winter. Your efforts will keep your family and customers comfortable.

Do you have someone reliable you can call for property maintenance? Boston’s Handy Giant property and repair services is here to help. To set up your account please email us.

 

How to Throw a Big Party in a Small Space (Like, Say, Your Apartment)

We all love a good party. Whether for housewarmings, holidays, or getting friends together for a home-cooked meal, it’s an easy way to connect with people and have a rockin’ time.

Well, “easy” might be subjective. How about a 10-person dinner party without a dishwasher? Or a pile of coats and zero closet space? Or a summer soiree with no air conditioning?

Don’t let a small apartment or the lack of a backyard deter you from hosting the merrymaking. There are easy set-up tricks, time-saving supplies, and (of course) new contributions from the sharing economy to make your party-planning fit to any setting.

Let’s get this party (planning) started!

Think outside the chair—pillows and blankets create a comfy seating area for guests.Think outside the chair—pillows and blankets create a comfy seating area for guests.

Get creative with seating.

The math isn’t looking promising: 50 RSVPs and only…5 chairs? It’s a little concerning, until you remember that this is a party, not a lecture. Provide additional “seating” with throw pillows or blankets on the ground, and make it comfortable to stand by clearing a main area in your living room or renting a few tall tables for the day.

People will naturally move around as time passes, so don’t worry about having structured seating areas.

Kick back in the kitchen to make use of more space (and be closer to snacks).Kick back in the kitchen to make use of more space (and be closer to snacks).

Use all the rooms in your apartment.

Ever been to a party where everyone’s packed in the living room like sardines, while the bedrooms and kitchen are completely empty? Encourage guests to spread out and make use of all your square footage (even if it’s limited).

Clean up your room, make the bed, and plug in your string lights to make it welcoming. Pop some snacks and coasters on a small table in the hallway (if you’re blessed with a hallway) so people can hang out in between the main rooms.

Each room will take on a different vibe, giving people more chances to mix and mingle.

Everyone’s a DJ when you open the playlist for collaboration.Everyone’s a DJ when you open the playlist for collaboration.

Crowdsource the tunes.

Music makes the party. Cue up a playlist before guests arrive, but use an app like Spotify that allows guests to easily add their favorites to the lineup. (Is there a way to block Rick Astley from being added?)

When you want something easy, delicious, and silverware-free, go for finger food platters.When you want something easy, delicious, and silverware-free, go for finger food platters.

Go full kid’s menu.

Sure, we’re all foodies at heart. But that won’t stop us from being happy with finger foods—and it’ll make your job as host much easier.

Serve up the quintessential platters (crackers, cheese, vegetables) and prep the oven for some appetizers (mini quiches, samosas, or pizzettes). Nix anything that requires utensils. Not only will it save you from washing endless forks, or putting plastic ones in the landfill, but it’ll prevent your guests from struggling with a flimsy paper plate and a slice of lasagna while standing over your carpet.

Skip a bin full of bottles and cans in favor of a pretty and crowd-pleasing pitcher.Skip a bin full of bottles and cans in favor of a pretty and crowd-pleasing pitcher.

Quench the thirst with party-sized pours.

People are usually happy with a BYOB policy, but a plethora of beverages can result in half-empty bottles, abandoned cans, and a boatload of recycling. Try making one or two signature drinks in big batches instead. Pitchers or punch bowls will go a long way and cut down on waste if everyone reuses their cups. (Tip: might wanna put a few Sharpies on the table for labeling if you’re using plastic.)

Plant-based utensils cover for when you only own four forks, but don’t want to buy plastic.Plant-based utensils cover for when you only own four forks, but don’t want to buy plastic.

Eat (with) plant-based ingredients.

For the stocked kitchens out there that have plenty of stainless steel and a dishwasher, we envy you. For the rest of us, we might need to enlist the aid of disposable utensils.

Fortunately, there are new options of eco-friendly forks that don’t taste like bark. You don’t even need to enter a co-op market to find sustainable or compostable flatware. Party City has forks made of plant starch and plates made of sugar cane.

Paper towels might not mix with your decorations, but they will save the day if they’re at-hand.Paper towels might not mix with your decorations, but they will save the day if they’re at-hand.

Paper towels. Lots of paper towels.

This one’s simple but essential. Spills happen.

Opt for an app: They’re easy to play and don’t require guests to step around a Monopoly board.Opt for an app: They’re easy to play and don’t require guests to step around a Monopoly board.

Play virtual games.

It’s hard to get a big group around a board game, and let’s be honest, we’re not getting together to watch an hours-long round of Monopoly. Turn to that trusty favorite: your smartphone.

Apps like Heads Up and Evil Apples (think Apples to Apples, app-ified) can be played with as many or as few people as you want, and don’t take up an inch of space. Bonus: giving up phones for entertainment will keep you from being glued to your screen. Live in the moment, people!

Last, but not least: Enjoy the party! And don’t forget to take pictures.Last, but not least: Enjoy the party! And don’t forget to take pictures.

Be a guest at your own party.

The greatest buzzkill has nothing to do with an overcrowded space or angry neighbors—it’s a stressed-out host. Look around: you’ve got friends, tunes, and the perfect setting for a fun time.

So instead of anxiously checking for cups that need to be on coasters, or snacks that need to be refilled, press play on your favorite song and socialize away!

Master Move-In Day: Essential Dorm Room Gear to Start College Right

Across the country, millions of college-bound freshmen are making the big move away from home—with tons of boxes in tow. The tendency to over-pack for move-in day is strong, but don’t stress: we’re here to help lighten your load.

We’ve picked out some of our favorite appliances, housewares, decorations, and other essential dorm room gear to make campus feel like home. With that sorted out, you’ll have more time to devote to the important college questions. Like: How many bowls of cereal can you really eat during one cafeteria meal?

Never again struggle to fit your charger into the outlet behind your bed. Never again struggle to fit your charger into the outlet behind your bed.

YOUR BED

A comfy dorm bed is college priority number one (never underestimate the value of a power nap between classes). Since those standard-issue mattresses aren’t always the softest, begin by investing in a memory foam mattress topper. Top it off with some sustainable twin XL-sized bedding; if you want to keep it green, opt for sweatshop-free, organic hemp sheets.

Next, on to our fave bed hack: bed risers. Lifting your bed a good few inches off the ground won’t just give you a valuable underbed storage area (speaking of: these underbed organizers are your friend)—but if you opt for Bed Bath & Beyond’s USB Bed Lift Set, you’ve got a charging station right where you need it.

Dorm rooms are already minimalist, so work that to your advantage with some bold statement pieces. Dorm rooms are already minimalist, so work that to your advantage with some bold statement pieces.

YOUR DÉCOR

Cinder block walls and linoleum floors aren’t gonna show up on your favorite design blogs anytime soon. Time to do some decorating beyond the dorm room clichés (sorry, Christmas lights).

First things first: Scope these eight great online stores for budget-friendly, beautiful artwork. If you want an even more personal touch, you can also transform your own photos into wall-sized masterworks. CanvasPop can turn everything from Instagram shots to photo collages into large-scale pieces.

Once you’ve dealt with the walls, turn your attention to the floor. A statement rug is one of the best ways to add some comfiness and personality to your space. If you wanna go green and upcycle some older textiles, opt to make a colorful rag rug of your own—here’s a nifty tutorial.

Who needs a 52” flat screen when you can project Zoolander on the ceiling (or the bathroom wall, or the dining hall). Who needs a 52” flat screen when you can project Zoolander on the ceiling (or the bathroom wall, or the dining hall).

YOUR ENTERTAINMENT 

Not that we’re encouraging you to have any dorm room ragers, ahem, but you are gonna want to pack some fun stuff, too. Portable bluetooth speakers are one of the easiest ways to get a good vibe going. We like the UE ROLL 2, which is affordable, portable, sounds great, and is even waterproof. (That’s one way to make communal bathroom living more exciting.)

Want your dorm room hang sessions to be the talk of your floor? Add a projector to your routine and start screening movies (hey, those cinderblock walls can really come in handy after all!). Brookstone’s HDMI Pocket Projector, which hooks up to your smartphone, may be small, but it packs visual punch.

Cut some hassle out of your life and take advantage of all the cool new tech for students.  Cut some hassle out of your life and take advantage of all the cool new tech for students.

YOUR TECH 

This is 2016—and we can bet that you’re not gonna be using your dorm room’s landline phone. Instead, invest in your own essential tech. For starters: a desk lamp. But we’re talking a desk lamp that also wirelessly charges your phone—meet IKEA’s Varv lamp, a game-changing piece of dorm room gear.

And because you can never get enough charge these days: Pick up a BirkSun, a backpack with a built-in solar panel that charges your phone as you walk between classes. For full connectivity, add in an Evernote Smart Notebook. The classic Moleskin notebook is linked with Evernote, so you can transform you handwritten notes from class to the Cloud in a matter of moments.

Until we develop literal caffeine injectors, AeroPress may be the next best thing. Until we develop literal caffeine injectors, AeroPress may be the next best thing.

YOUR APPLIANCES

You already know the standard dorm room gear: it isn’t college without a mini-fridge, microwave, and sandwich toaster (whaddup, George Foreman). But don’t stop there. You may not realize it now, but a portable coffee maker is gonna be a life (and money) saver during your time in college. The super-portable AeroPress is a one-shot wonder, while the French press travel mug lets you take your freshly made joe to class and back. Ahh—you’re halfway to an A+ already.

Donate, Sell, Recycle: Easy, Trash-Free Ways to Clear Your Clutter

So, you missed out on that whole “spring cleaning” thing, or maybe you’re cutting down to prep for a big move. Looking around, you see unworn clothing in your closet, tons of cables for devices you no longer use, and the guitar you just never got around to learning how to play.

If you’re compelled to throw everything in a trash bag and never see it again, we feel you. But there are so many easy ways to get those goods to a better place.

You have a few sustainable options: donating, selling, and recycling. You could even get a tax write-off (cha-ching). Here’s a quick guide to organizing and making the most of your unwanted clothes, furniture, and…stuff.

WHAT TO GIVE

Someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure. Like that Panic at the Disco CD you’re still hanging on to.Someone’s trash is someone else’s treasure. Like that Panic at the Disco CD you’re still hanging on to.

Clothes. Anything from t-shirts, to formal wear, to shoes can be easily donated or sold. But first, if you’re looking at something that’s torn, stained, or otherwise damaged, resist the urge to donate it and let someone else handle the fix. Take salvageable items to the tailor, cobbler, or bust out your own needle and thread. When in good condition, these things are perfect for donation or sale, but keep in mind that most places do not accept undergarments or swimwear.

Furniture. There is always a thriving market for furniture on Craigslist, so if you’re flexible on time and pick-up, try posting anything from bed frames to floor lamps. When it comes to these posts, there’s nothing too big or too small. While many thrift stores do accept furniture, they may need notice beforehand to ensure that they have the space or assistance required.

Bedding. When you’ve upgraded to a snooze-tastic mattress, it can be tricky to find a way to donate your old one. Due to sanitation guidelines, some organizations do not accept bedding, so be sure to check before you donate. Some will happily take sheets and comforters, but cannot accept mattresses or box springs. You can also check women’s shelters and animal shelters, which may have different guidelines (and will surely put your pre-loved threads to good use).

Unless you are weaving the world’s most uncomfortable sweater, heave ho all those rando cords and cables.Unless you are weaving the world’s most uncomfortable sweater, heave ho all those rando cords and cables.

Electronics. Laptops, music players, and batteries do not belong in the landfill. (Toxins could leach into the water supply.) If you have an old iPod, MacBook, or Apple product, you can work with their e-recycle partner, with many devices scoring you free shipping, packaging, and an Apple gift card. Best Buy accepts a wide range of electronics for recycling at no cost, and will take away your old appliances for a small fee when you buy new ones. Regardless of where you’re sending your appliances, just be sure to clear your data first.

Sports gear. If your bike has been sitting, unused, for months and will never be taken for a ride again, go ahead and donate it. However, if you want to keep it around and make some cash, post it on Spinlister. Think of it as the Zipcar for bikes, surfboards, and snow gear, where people can rent by the hour, day, or week.

WHERE TO GIVE

Donating old household items and furniture so someone else can use them = good karma.Donating old household items and furniture so someone else can use them = good karma.

Donation bins. They’re conveniently located at gas stations and city sidewalks, requiring a simple drop-off of your clothes—no appointment or paperwork. While all donation bins should handle your clothing, be aware that some are for nonprofits and some are run by for-profit organizations that simply resell the clothing. Companies like Planet Aid and Thrift Land USAresell clothing for a profit, while Goodwill and Big Brother Big Sister bins benefit charity. (While it’s entirely legal to sell the clothes, it is illegal for these organizations to present themselves as charities.)

That bright orange fleece seemed like such a good idea at the time….That bright orange fleece seemed like such a good idea at the time….

Thrift stores. Speaking of Goodwill, for a giveaway with a mission, donate your goods at thrift stores. Two of the most common? Goodwill helps people find employment through education and training, while The Salvation Army is an evangelical Christian organization funding homeless shelters and disaster relief. Plus, you could be eligible for a tax write-off based on weight or number of items. See a common list of accepted items here.

Consignment stores. For-profit stores like Buffalo Exchange buy clothing selectively and only during the appropriate season (meaning they’re unlikely to take your winter gear in July). While it’s great to make a buck off your unwanted wardrobe, there’s a chance you’ll leave the store only one item lighter.

Animal shelters. Sheets, pillows, and towels can be a huge help to pets in shelters. Find a shelter near you and call ahead to confirm what types of bedding or linens they’re able to accept.

Right at your door. Some organizations will schedule monthly or on-demand pick-ups in residential areas. Simply pack up a box or two and put them at your door or curb at the designated date and time. Give Back Box provides free shipping labels so you can pack any unwanted clothes or household items into any cardboard box, attach the label, and it’ll get sent to the nearest Goodwill. Big Brother Big Sister offers curbside pick-up. Simply find the dates when BBBS will be in your area and prepare boxes for pick-up at your curb or front entrance.

Farewell party favors. If you’re reducing your load in advance of a move, you’re gonna have one last hurrah before you go, so give it a second purpose. Put a (kind of dull, but super practical) spin on party favors with all the random odds and ends that you don’t want to move, but aren’t worth selling: Tupperware, cleaning supplies, and that random drawer full of pens and Post-it notes. Tell everyone to take as much as they want and it’s a win-win—they score freebies and the landfill is spared some usable items. You’ll end up as the host or hostess with the leastest…in a good way.

Home and Business Repairs by Handy Giant Services

Boston Construction Renovation Company Handy Giant Handyman Services

Handy Giant Commercial Services

Handy Giant is a fast growing service for residential and commercial repairs, remodeling, handyman, installs, carpentry, painting and renovations. We are based in Boston, Massachusetts with a geographical reach of the Greater Boston.

Residential

Handy Giant team is on call for repairs, scheduled maintenance, painting, carpentry, handyman projects and installations.

Handy Giant team is on call for repairs, scheduled maintenance, painting, carpentry, handyman projects and installations. Smooth workflow, high standards and excellent customer service are guaranteed. Commercial Handyman Services by Handy Giant: building maintenance and repair tailored for your business and evolving alongside your changing commercial needs. Learn more about handyman services by Handy Giant.

  • Handy Giant has no middle man. While many apps and websites (such as handy.com) offer handyman services provided by random folks that do not work for Handy.com, here at Handy Giant we do the actual work.
  • In fancy terms we are a centralized multiple project management team you can reach with just one phone call.
  • We will ensure work is performed professionally, timely, accurately and to your satisfaction — guaranteed
  • Quality control managers monitor and inspect work ensuring consistency and performance. Will Handy.com phone operators do the same for you? Ask them!

Commercial Services

We have earned a recognition for making a difference for our clients as a repair and maintenance services provider to individual residences, businesses and multi unit properties.

National retail repairs and facilities maintenance services. On-demand response for emergency repairs. Skilled and local self-performing technicians.

Handy Giant’s vision: to become the highest value provider of commercial repair services and retail maintenance. Above: a partial list of companies we are extremely honored to work for.

Handy Giant operates as a self-performing subcontractor locally and for national facility management companies.

Handy Giant Commercial Handyman Services Building Maintenance and Repair Tailored for Your Business

Commercial Handyman Services Building Maintenance and Repair Tailored for Your Business

NEW! Service Request Form

_____________

Need a Handyman? Call Handy Giant

BENEFITS

  • We are a centralized multiple project management team you can reach with just one phone call.
  • No middle man. While many apps and websites (such as handy.com) offer handyman services by random folks that do not work for Handy.com, our company does not have a middle man – we do the actual work.
  • Dedicated Handy Giant team will ensure work is performed professionally, timely, accurately and to your satisfaction — guaranteed
  • Customized service to fit your budget.
  • Save you time and money
  • Quality control managers monitor and inspect work ensuring consistency and performance
  • Screened and trained handymen to ensure you receive the best service by highly skilled and trusted professionals

Handy Giant handyman services

Handy Giant is a fast growing service for residential and commercial repairs, remodeling, handyman, installs, carpentry, painting and renovations. We are  based in Boston, Massachusetts.

Residential

Handy Giant team is on call for repairs, scheduled maintenance, painting, carpentry, handyman projects and installations.

Handy Giant team is on call for repairs, scheduled maintenance, painting, carpentry, handyman projects and installations. Smooth workflow, high standards and excellent customer service are guaranteed. Commercial Handyman Services by Handy Giant: building maintenance and repair tailored for your business and evolving alongside your changing commercial needs. Learn more about handyman services by Handy Giant.

Commercial

We have earned a recognition for making a difference for our clients as a repair and maintenance services provider to individual residences, businesses and multi unit properties.

National retail repairs and facilities maintenance services. On-demand response for emergency repairs. Skilled and local self-performing technicians.

Handy Giant’s vision: to become the highest value provider of commercial repair services and retail maintenance. Above: a partial list of companies we are extremely honored to work for.

Handy Giant operates as a self-performing subcontractor locally and for national facility management companies.

Handy Giant Commercial Handyman Services Building Maintenance and Repair Tailored for Your Business

Commercial Handyman Services Building Maintenance and Repair Tailored for Your Business

NEW! Service Request Form

_____________

Summer 2016!

These projects will enhance your yard, beautify your exterior, and give everyone in the family something easy, but exciting to do on summer weekends!

1) Make a Herb Planter From a Wagon

How to Make an Herb Planter From a Wagon

How to Make an Herb Planter From a Wagon

Looking to spice up your container garden? Dig out Junior’s rusty old Radio Flyer and turn it into a mobile planter that can go from a sun-steeped corner right to your kitchen door.

2) Build a Tree Bench

Easy Summer Weekend House Projects

Easy Summer Weekend House Project: Tree Bench

This comfy, stay-cool spot has room for the entire family and practically looks like it’s a part of the tree itself. Put your bench together, and you’ll enjoy lounging on it with a favorite book all summer long.

3)  Give the Garden a Pretty Arbor

Garden a Pretty Arbor

Garden a Pretty Arbor

A well-placed arbor is your garden’s ultimate multi-tasker: It can serve as an entryway to an outdoor spot; frame a focal point, like a flowering shrub or garden shed; and, of course, take your beloved climbers to new heights.

4) Add a Sitting Wall

Add a little taste of New England to your landscape by marking off your patios and flower beds

Add a little taste of New England to your landscape!

Add a little taste of New England to your landscape by marking off your patios and flower beds with a border that doubles as a place to sit down and relax. Using cast concrete blocks made to look like stone is makes this landscape feature much easier to build.

5) Gather Around a Fire Pit

how to build a Fire Pit

Build a Fire Pit

Outdoor fires are so hot right now. Seriously. Mankind has called the hearth home for the centuries, it’s true, but these days people are going ultra-retro and getting their heat from stone-walled pits set into the earth. If you really want to light up right, do it in style.

 

Tips for Increasing Your Home’s Value from $100

home-painting

Home Improvements: Under $100

Tip 1: 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 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.

Tip 2: Inspect it.
Not every home improvement is cosmetic. Deteriorating roofs, termite infestation or outdated electrical systems — you can’t fix it if you don’t know it’s broken. Hire an inspector to check out the areas of your home that you don’t normally see. They may discover hidden problems that could negatively impact your home’s value. Small problems (such as a hidden water leak) can become big, expensive problems quickly; the longer you put off repairs, the more expensive those repairs will be.

Tip 3: Paint, paint, paint.
One of the simplest, most cost-effective improvements of all is paint! Freshly painted rooms look clean and updated — and that spells value. When selecting paint colors, keep in mind that neutrals appeal to the greatest number of people, therefore making your home more desirable. On average, a gallon of paint costs around $25, leaving you plenty of money to buy rollers, painter’s tape, drop cloths and brushes. So buy a few gallons and get busy!

Read 2016 home improvement projects

Tip 4: Find inspiration.
An alternative to hiring a designer is to search for remodeling and decorating inspiration in design-oriented magazines, books, TV shows and websites. Simply tear out or print off the ideas you want to try and start your to-do list. Keep it simple — when remodeling on a tight budget, do-it-yourself projects are best.

Tip 5: Cut energy costs.
The amount of money you spend each month on energy costs may seem like a fixed amount, but many local utility companies provide free energy audits of their customers’ homes. They can show you how to maximize the energy efficiency of your home. An energy-efficient home will save you money now, which can be applied to other updates, and is a more valuable and marketable asset in the long run.

Home Improvements: $100-$200

Tip 1: Plant a tree.
If you aren’t planning to sell your house today, plan for the future with a landscaping improvement that will mature over time. Plant shade trees — not only will mature trees make your home more desirable but a fully grown, properly placed tree can cut your cooling costs by as much as 40 percent. Mature landscaping is also good for the environment, providing a necessary habitat for wildlife while adding valuable curb appeal to your home.

Tip 2: Low-maintenance landscaping saves you money now, adds value when you sell.
No question that shrubs and colorful plants will add curb appeal to any home, but when shopping at your local garden center, make sure that you “think green.” Purchase plants that are native to your region or plants that are drought-tolerant; these require less water and maintenance, which means more savings to you and more green in your wallet.

Tip 3: Add a money-saving luxury.
Speaking of water, here’s another way to tap into extra savings; install a water filtration system in your kitchen. Not only do these systems purify your water, they will also lower your grocery bills — no more bottled water. A water filtration system is an inexpensive addition, but it’s the sort of small luxury that homebuyers love.

Tip 4: Improve the air quality inside your home.
Air quality isn’t just about the conditions outdoors. If you have older carpets in your home, they might be hiding contaminants and allergens. The first step to determine if these need replacing is to hire a professional company to test your indoor air quality. If the results prove that your carpets should be replaced, choose environmentally friendly natural products like tile or laminate floors. Hard-surface floors are much easier to keep clean, don’t hold odors, give your home an updated look and, in general, are more appealing to buyers.

Tip 5: Save the popcorn for the movies.
Finally, what’s on your ceiling? Few structural elements date a house more than popcorn ceilings. So dedicate a weekend to ditching the dated look and adding dollar signs to the value of your home. This is a project you can tackle yourself. First, visit your local hardware store for a solution to soften the texture, then simply scrape the popcorn away. Removing a popcorn ceiling may not seem like a big change but one of the keys for adding value to your home is to repair, replace or remove anything that could turn buyers away.

Home Improvements: $200-$400

Tip 1: A messy lawn creates a bad first impression.
Overgrown or patchy lawns and outsized bushes will cause your home to stand out — in a bad way. The good news is that taming your jungle is an easy fix. For a few hundred dollars, hire a lawn service company to trim your lawn and shape your hedges. Your curb appeal will go from messy to maintained without blowing your budget.

Tip 2: Cleanliness counts.
The old adage that you only get one shot at a first impression is true. So, make the interior of you home shine from the moment someone walks through the door. For less than $400, hire a cleaning service for a thorough top-to-bottom scrubbing. Even if you clean your home regularly, there are nooks and crannies that you may miss or overlook. Let a cleaning service do the dirty work to really make your home sparkle.

Tip 3: Visually increase your home’s square footage.
The size of your home dramatically affects the value, but square footage isn’t the only space that counts. Visual space or how large a home feels also counts. The key is to make each room in your house feel larger. Replace heavy closed draperies with vertical blinds or shutters to let light in — a sunny room feels larger and more open. Also, try adding a single large mirror to a room to visually double the space. Finally, clear the clutter. The more clutter, furniture and plain old stuff you have in a room, the more cramped it will feel. For less than $400, add an attractive shelving unit to an underused space and store your clutter out of sight.

Tip 4: Small bathroom updates equal a big return.
Bathroom updates are always a smart move. Even if you can’t afford a full remodel, small changes such as replacing dated wallpaper with a faux or textured finish and replacing old lighting will update the room without denting your wallet.

Tip 5: Add new energy-efficient fixtures.
A functional, decorative ceiling fan is a beautiful thing. It provides necessary light and, in warm months, creates a soft breeze reducing the need for expensive air conditioning. But, an outdated, wobbly, loud or broken ceiling fan is a useless eyesore. Replace old fixtures with new ones to make your home more enjoyable for you now and to increase the bottom line should you decide to sell.

Home Improvements: $400-$750

Tip 1: Even small changes in the bathroom equal a big return.
A great room to update for less than $750 is the bathroom. The two rooms that benefit most from even small renovations are the kitchen and bathroom. One cost-effective change — like replacing an outdated vanity, old plumbing and lighting fixtures or adding a new tile floor — will guarantee a lot of bang for your buck and give your bath an updated, modern look.

Tip 2: Any kitchen update equals added value.
The same rule applies in the kitchen. You don’t have to start from scratch to create a winning recipe. For maximizing your home’s value, kitchen updates are key. Start by swapping out just one item, such as a stained sink or ancient microwave for shiny new stainless models. Even small kitchen updates will add big value to your home.

Tip 3: Replace any worn carpets or area rugs.
Take a look at your home’s soft flooring. Are your carpets and area rugs stained or worn? Nothing turns buyers off more than the thought that they will immediately need to replace all of the flooring in a home. Ideally, you may want to replace them all, but if a limited budget puts a snag in that plan, start by replacing the carpet in the room that shows the most wear and tear and replace the others as your finances allow.

Tip 4: Keep up with regular maintenance and repairs.
Walk around your home and make a list of all the little things that are broken or in need of repair. Individually, small repairs might not seem important, but if every room has just one thing wrong, those small things will add up to create the impression that your home has been neglected. If you don’t feel comfortable tackling the repairs yourself, hire a handyman for a day and watch your “to do” list disappear. Staying on top of maintenance today eliminates problems down the road should you decide to sell.

Tip 5: Get help with getting organized.
Hire a professional organizer for a day. They will show you how to organize various rooms in your home and teach you tricks for keeping it organized. How does this increase your home’s value? Simple — a clutter-free home appears cleaner and larger, which is more attractive to homebuyers and therefore more valuable.

Home Improvements: $750-$1,000

Tip 1: Go tankless.
Upgrade your standard water heater for a tankless model. Most old-fashioned water heaters keep 50 or so gallons of water hot, seven days a week, 24 hours a day, whether you use the water or not. Tankless water heaters heat only the water you need as you need it. Not only will they save you money now, but they’re an eco-friendly and cost-effective update that today’s homebuyers are looking for.

Tip 2: Upgrade your appliances.
Eighty-six the old-school appliances for sleek new energy-efficient ones. An appliance with an Energy Star label has been certified by the government to use 10-50 percent less energy and water than conventional appliances. Matching stainless appliances will not only look great now, but will make your home shine brighter than the competition should you decide to sell.

Tip 3: Go for the green.
Everyone loves a yard with thick, green grass. For less than $1000, in a weekend’s time, you can replace your existing patchy mix of weeds and grass with fresh new sod. You’ll be amazed at the difference this one change will make in your home’s curb appeal and value.

Home Improvements: $1,000-$1,500

Tip 1: Spruce up your ceilings.
One of a room’s most neglected spaces, the ceiling, makes up one-sixth of a room’s total area. Updating your home’s ceilings will net a lot of bang for the buck while adding architectural interest. First, if you still have popcorn ceilings, hire a contractor to scrape them smooth. To add a sophisticated custom look to a smooth ceiling, install crown molding or box beams for a coffered look. Ceiling millwork, an attractive feature prevalent in older homes, is rarely found in newer construction. Adding small touches like these will help your home stand out from the pack.

Tip 2: Update your home’s entrance.
The look of your front door and entrance play heavily into the overall curb appeal of your home. As visitors enter, the front door serves as the transition into your home and is part of their first impression. Entry doors are architectural components that should complement your home’s overall design, not detract from it. If your existing front door isn’t up to par, head down to your local home improvement store for a more energy-efficient and attractive replacement. Whether you choose a solid wood door or one with decorative stained or cut glass panels, a welcoming entrance will definitely increase your home’s bottom line.

Tip 3: Consult a design pro.
If you’re unsure of which design style or paint color to use, hire a designer. They’ll use discriminating taste and a trained eye to help with making the big decisions. Also, remodeling your home with a cohesive plan in mind makes all of your choices easier and ensures a pulled-together finished look. So, when you get the right mix of time or money, you’ll know exactly which project to take on next.

Home Improvements: $1,500-$2,000

Tip 1: Save on air conditioning costs.
Consider installing a whole-house fan. They’re a great alternative to air conditioning because they use only one-tenth the electricity of air conditioners, saving you money. Whole-house fans are considered a “green” home improvement, which is a popular selling feature with today’s homebuyers. As the cost of electricity continues to skyrocket, green energy alternatives will only gain in popularity.

Tip 2: Brighten up.
A “bright” way to increase the value of your home is to lighten up. Adequate lighting in a home makes a big difference. Not only does a bright, well-lit room feel more cheerful but it also makes spaces feel larger and cleaner. A well-lit room also shows that you have nothing to hide, so should you decide to sell, prospective buyers will feel at ease when touring your home. Hire an electrician to add recessed lights to a dim kitchen or family room or to brighten up a formal dining or living room with elegant sconces. You’ll enjoy the bright effect now and your home will feel warmer and more welcoming to homebuyers.

Tip 3: Add the right landscaping and watch your home’s value grow.
For less than $2,000, hire a landscape designer to create a plan that will make your home’s exterior really shine. For maximum impact, plant mature trees or fast growing varieties; these can be pricy but they will instantly make your home feel more established. As your landscaping grows, so will your home’s curb appeal and value.

Home Improvements: $2,000-$3,000

Tip 1: Kitchen or bath remodels are always a safe bet.
Improving your home is a solid investment at any level — but if you have up to three thousand dollars to spend, a great place to start is by upgrading either the kitchen or bath. Either room is a good choice and you don’t have to do a complete floor-to-ceiling remodel to reap financial benefits. In fact, modest kitchen or bath updates can be your best bet for a big return, netting, on average, an 80-85 percent return.

Tip 2: Protect your investment.
For most people, their home is their single largest investment, so treat it that way. Hire a financial planner to work out a strategy for protecting your investment by analyzing all of the financing options that are available. A financial whiz can tell you if you should refinance to lower your monthly payments or pull out some equity to pay for value-adding improvements.

Tip 3: Bring the outdoors in.
Consider turning two standard windows into an opening for beautiful French or sliding glass doors. Full-view glass doors really brighten up the space and a light and airy room is always more attractive. Also, with a view of the outdoors, the room will feel much larger. Another bonus is that modern doors are energy-efficient, cutting down on heating and cooling costs. That means more cash in your pocket now and a financial bonus should you decide to sell.

Home Improvements: $3,000-$5,000

Tip 1: Add closet or garage storage.
Realtors agree that top on most homeownes’ list of wants is ample storage space. For less than $5,000, consider upgrading your home’s storage by adding custom shelving systems to a closet or garage. The first step to really getting organized is de-cluttering. Start by sorting your belongings, then stash them away in your new organized closet or garage to really maximize your home’s value.

Tip 2: Green flooring choices equal more green in your wallet.
Worn, tired carpet will not only turn off homebuyers, but it can make you feel worn and tired too. Replace it with the hottest trend in flooring: renewable, environmentally friendly bamboo. Solid-surface floors are easy to keep clean and give your home an upscale look and feel. Green flooring choices, like bamboo, minimally impact the environment and are a big selling point to today’s environmentally conscious homebuyers.

Tip 3: Resurface concrete.
Replacing the cracked concrete surfaces around your home can cost a small fortune. But for a fraction of that cost, concrete can be resurfaced in a multitude of colors and finishes. Consider adding a cobblestone finish to your driveway, a brick look to an old walkway or a slate finish around the pool or patio. Whichever texture you choose, it will be a huge improvement over standard concrete and potential homebuyers will really take notice.

Home Improvements: $5,000 and up

Tip 1: Refresh the exterior paint.
The condition of your home’s exterior is key to the overall curb appeal, so refresh that facade with a coat of paint. Fresh exterior paint will not only preserve and protect your home’s exterior siding — the right paint color can make a dull home dazzling. By the same token, a house painted with an overly bright or overly bland color will make a house less appealing and hurt the value, so choose your colors wisely. Should you decide to put your house on the market and the exterior paint looks bad, a buyer will assume that the interior of the home has been neglected too and drive right past.

Tip 2: Go solar to save some green.
Save energy bill greenbacks by going green with a solar water heater. The installed price can cost up to $5,000, but these systems can slash your hot water bills by as much as 80 percent and attract energy-conscious homebuyers should you decide to sell. Install a solar water heater where there’s unobstructed southern exposure and you’ll have savings made in the shade.

Tip 3: Kitchen remodels are king.
Hands down, one of the biggest returns on investment comes from a kitchen remodel. Most experts agree that if you plan on updating only one room in your home, it should be the kitchen. Large, open kitchens have become the social hub of the modern home. High-end touches like granite countertops, richly stained custom cabinets and energy-efficient stainless appliances are the gold standard in modern kitchens. Experts agree that kitchen remodels return an average of 80 to 85 percent of every dollar spent. You can expect an even higher return if you are remodeling a really outdated kitchen.

 

Home Improvement Tips by Handy Giant

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Handy Giant wants you to become a more successful do-it-yourselfer that’s why we post articles and helpful tips right here on our website and carefully explain the common trouble spots and real-world problems. So go ahead, enjoy the satisfaction (and the saving!) from successful do-it-yourself home improvement.

Handy Giant content creators are working hard to show you how to succeed at your projects with step-by-step photos and simple, non-technical language. If you want to do a project yourself, review our articles and learn to do it right. You’ll enjoy the savings, the confidence and the satisfaction of DIY success. And if you decide to hire a pro, you’ll be a smarter customer and more likely to get a good deal and a job well done. And we hope your phone call will be to Handy Giant.

Some of the subjects we cover regularly are home repairs, storage and organizing projects, simple weekend improvements, kitchen and bath upgrades, woodworking, garage storage, and of course how to buy and use the tools you need!

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