Category Archives: DIY

The worst things to DIY

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There are many do it yourself projects on Pinterest that may interest you. Some of which may look like it has been crafted by a fairy with magical dust. Not everyone is born with the DIY gene; some of us struggle with super glue and hammers, while others glue the hammer to the hand. Taking on a project is a fulfilling feeling, it provides us with a sense of responsibility and the feeling accomplishment compares to none other. However, there are a few tasks that can end up being a nightmare if not done by a professional.

 

The plumbing plump

 

Doing your own plumbing can end up being the biggest mistake cost-wise. Not only is taking on a plumbing project dangerous, it is also a nerve wracking business when sweat starts dropping from your forehead. You may end up doing more damage than initially thinking you are going to  solve the problem. Many homeowners believe that they can get crafty in the bathroom because it’s the place that is least visible.

 

The panting painter

 

Contrary to popular belief, this is not the easiest job of all. There is no doubt that it’s easy to splash paint to the walls, but you need to know a thing or two for the brush strokes not to be visible or avoiding crossing over barrier lines. Beginner painters will be up on the ladder, stroking the brush with magnificent grace and when the job is done they will get back down only to realise there are two toned colours instead of one. They start out with good intentions, but that is not to say the Elba gas stove will look good against the wall.

 

The brawler installer

 

Avoid trying to install your own kitchen cabinetry or you might end up with a skew cabinet or doors hanging from the wrong places not enabling them to open and close correctly. You could end up damaging the exterior of the walls that will at a later stage cause extensive damage. Built-in kitchen appliances like refrigerators, dishwashers and built-in microwaves can be quite costly and getting it wrong can end up leaving a bigger dent in your pocket. Leave this one for the professionals instead.

 

Safely removing stains from your lounge suites

lounge suitesWe have all thought about bright, white lounge suites that could become a new addition to the home, but then changed our mind because owning a white lounge suit is asking for trouble. A white lounge suit, or any light colour for that matter, is a risky move especially if you have little ones around. Spending thousands on a lounge suite, only to end up spending more on cleaning it, is not an ideal thought that crosses the mind of a homeowner.

However, if something tragic were to happen, like spilt red wine or chocolate stains on your sofa, you need to know how to get it out without breaking the bank first.

Identify the material of your lounge suite

Not all lounge suites are made from the same material. Check the tag to insure you are going about the right way of cleaning. The universal code for cleaning tag would be “S” for Solvent, “W” for Water, while some may indicate “SW” for Solvent and/or Water, and there are fabric sofa that can only be vacuumed. This way you will know if you can use any type of chemical or not.

Identify the type of stain

Next, you will need to identify the type of stain that caused this horrendous crime against your lounge suite. Different type of stain generally requires different stain removal solution. If you require professional help, they will have to to diagnose your sofa condition when you require their professional sofa cleaning service. If you can salvage your sofa then do so. As soon as the stain occurs, remove excess liquid or stain as quickly as you can to increase the chance of removing them. The sad part about any stain is that the longer the stain sits the more difficult, or impossible, to remove them.

When it’s up to DIY

Create your own solvent by doing the following: Mix 1 teaspoon of mild soap detergent like laundry or dishwashing detergent with a cup of warm water. Then mix the solution until it has formed foam. Once it has become foamy enough, use some of the suds using a clean damp cloth and start blotting the stain from the outer stain towards the centre. Once the stain is removed, rinse the stained area with clear water blot with new white cloth. For excellent results place piles of paper towel over the damp area and then put a heavy object on top of it.

Tech to help you rearrange the home

We all want our homes to be better, but accomplishing that can be difficult. This is especially the case when we don’t use all the resources available to us – with modern technology and apps, it is perfectly possible to be able to have a proper handle on how to make our homes better. This can be done through merely re-arranging where current items are or finding out if we new items are required.

For example, consider something as complicated as a closet. We normally think these are just necessary items and can be put, basically, anywhere. Yet, when you use an app like Sketch Arm, you can figure out just how much proper planning can benefit.

Available on the iTunes store, the app is a tool for conceptual 3D design letting users create fully customized and personalised closet in a few minutes. As the site itself says: “Make a whole amazing design in just four simple steps and share it with your friends.”

As it states, you can:

“Place the closet in the room

Distribute the interior easily

Create and customize the doors

Check out the result in 3D”

The app has tutorial videos on its website and allows you to figure out precisely what to do with and to your closet spaces.

At the other end of the spectrum is Home Design 3D (Freemium). This is a lot more complicated, despite its functionality and free availability, on the Google Store. As the page says: “With Home Design 3D, designing and changing your home has never been so intuitive and quick […] Whether you want to redecorate, redesign or create…”

This gives users great versatility, but, as indicated, it obviously requires more time and effort and knowledge. Of course, no project on the home or office is easy – and being able to figure out how such a tool works could put the power in your hands, since you are best placed to know and keep your budget low. Relying too much on others could mean you end up paying more – either unnecessarily or for aspects that, if you did it yourself, you would find unnecessary.

When we were remodelling or renovating, we have to keep a close eye on how to arrange rooms. For example, if you’re working on  lounge suites, you don’t want to end up creating a space where your design falls flat.

This is why something like Virtual Plan 3D can give you, literally, a new dimension to work in to test out your home’s space. As the app pages indicates:

“run the application Virtual Plan 3D, point your smartphone to the plan present on the screen. The virtual plan and its interior design will appear on your smartphone.

“Alternatively, you can also print the available plans and point your smartphone on the printed plan.”

This provides you with more detail and info to work from.

And, in the end, that’s the point of all these and other apps. To give you more tools to do the things you want more efficiently.

DIY projects for your garden

garden-moss-stone-settDo have a little too much time on your hands? Are you looking for a fun project or two? Perhaps you even just want to give your garden some love and attention. Here are a few DIY projects specifically for the outdoor area that you can tackle. Good luck and have fun!

A vertical garden

A vertical garden is a novel approach to gardening. Do you have a bare wall that could be livened up a bit? Or perhaps you are limited for space and need to think outside the box. Creating your own vertical garden is not nearly as intimidating as it sounds. There are so many different ways to go about this project that we have decided to rather link to a couple good sources than try explain them all. Here are 19 creative ways to plant a vertical garden from Country Living and here is a step-by-step guide on how to start a vertical garden from Popular Mechanics.

Build a fence

Whether you want to protect a veggie patch from curious pets or better define a boundary with your neighbor, a fencing project could be a good DIY task for a weekend. All you need is the right tools and a little elbow grease. Here is a good post on how to build a fence and what factors to take into account in deciding what kind of fence to build.

Create a walkway or bridge

Having a walkway or bridge in your garden could be legitimately practical, but it can also be done solely to add character and enhance the appeal of your outdoor area. A bridge can add a touch of whimsy to a garden and a walkway can help contour the landscape and guide the eye. If you are not an experienced DIY-er you might want to rather make a walkway because that will be a lot more easier than tackling a bridge, unless you just buy it whole and entire and place it yourself

Make a veggie patch

Wouldn’t you love a constant source of cheap, fresh, organic vegetables? Sure you can buy vegetables in shop but they will never be as satisfying as the ones grown on your own property. All your favourite vegetables – carrots, spinach, tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli –can all be grown in your very own garden and you could even have enough to give to your friends and neighbours.

Why not set aside a weekend or even a month where you make it your goal to revamp your garden. These few DIY projects are just the place to start at.

There’s more to choosing a wall colour than you’d think

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Choosing a colour for your walls is one of the important decorating tips you can make. Is there any other décor choice that will have such a profound effect on the look and feel of a room?

You might think the simplest thing to do is just default to plain white. While you generally can’t go wrong with white, are you aware of all the ways you can manipulate space with your wall colour?

If you want to create a bright, spacious room

If you want a bright and spacious-feeling room, then sticking to white is probably a good choice, especially if you have a lot of natural light. White walls reflect light and make rooms feel airy. You can multiply this effect by using a lot of mirrors.

If this is the effect you want in your room, you can also draw attention to your windows, perhaps with potted plants. Make sure you don’t block your windows with heavy drapes.

You don’t have to stick to white though. Don’t be afraid of experimenting with bright colours to achieve a similar effect. Sure white can play up natural lighting, but it could also make some rooms look sterile. White is great for open airy spaces, but a colourful wall will brighten up a dark room.

Just remember that if you going to use colour on your walls, keep your ceiling white so you don’t feel “boxed in.”

If you want a warm, cosy room

If you want a cost space then use rich, warm, darker colours. Again, however, keep the ceiling white, otherwise you will feel like you’re in a cave.

If the room is already on the dark side, whether because of its location in the house or because of a lack of natural lighting, then you might want to think twice about using a dark colour. What you could do though is paint one wall a dark colour and leave the rest white.

To make dark walls work well in a room, try not to have too many colours vying for attention. A crowded room always feels smaller.

If the room feels too small

You can change how “big” a room feels with the clever application of paint. No need to knock down any walls! For instance, you can paint the mouldings a lighter colour to make the walls look further back. This gives the impression that the room is bigger than it actually is.

You could also just paint one wall only a deep colour, thus creating an accent wall, which gives the illusion of depth.

Make wall colour and furniture work together

There are great effects you can achieve simply with paint, but remember to take into account the rest of the room as well, particularly the furniture. Together, the walls and furniture make the contour of a room, so it is good to think of them together.

For instance, if you want to create the sensation of space, keep your furniture and walls the same colour to make the room look wider than it is.

If you have white walls, it is a good idea to create a focal point in the room. In a bedroom that would usually be the bed, so have fun with the colour and texture of your blankets and pillows, while keeping the rest of the decor simple.

As you can see, choosing a wall colour isn’t just about what colour you like. It’s also about the affect you want to create in a room and how to best use the space you have to work with.

Secret tips for your home chores

We all want ways to reduce the times doing menial tasks takes. Thus we should consider some ways to reduce the time it takes to do tasks, so that we can get on with those things we want to do. This is particularly the case with spending time with loved ones, with office jobs.

Consider, for example, the microwave. It is often the bane of many people’s existence to clean. But why not try a technique that can do wonders.  Take a cup of water, then bring it to boil in the microwave. Once it starts boiling, the steam should help loosen dried particles to make them easy to wipe away.

About.com aslo recommends using baking soda, too, in the microwave.

“Mix a few tablespoons of baking soda with water in a microwave safe cup. Boil in the microwave for a few minutes. The insides of the microwave will be damp and easy to clean with a paper towel or dishcloth. This has the added benefit of removing odors that may be clinging to your microwave oven.”

Many of us hate having to deal with comforters and duvet covers; but there’s a quick and easy solution from Real Simple magazine’s Sarah Humphreys.

“Stuffing that comforter back in the duvet cover after washing bedding is one of life’s more frustrating moments, but it doesn’t have to be when you follow these steps:

  1. Turn the duvet cover inside out. Lay it on top of your bed with the cover’s opening facing away from where you stand.
  1. Place your comforter on top of the duvet. Make sure all of the corners are aligned. If you have corner ties, tie them together.
  1. Stand opposite of the opening. Begin to roll the comforter and duvet together like a burrito.
  1. Once everything is rolled up, grab one end of the roll and, using the enclosure of the duvet cover, stuff the comforter roll inside, similar to a sandwich bag.
  1. Button or zip the duvet cover closed. Position the burrito/roll on the bed so that the enclosure is aligned with the bottom of the bed.
  1. Begin unrolling and you are done!”

Consider too the tedium of laundry. One key piece of advice is to reduce it. As FastCompany’s Laura Vanderkam writes:

“I’m not advocating bad hygiene. But playing offense on the laundry is often more smart than smelly. Towels can be re-used, jeans and pajamas can be re-worn, kids can wear sandals (without socks) in the summer. Exercise clothes may not smell proportionally worse after two workouts than after one, but re-wearing them during a solo jog will cut your laundry burden a lot.”

Using these simple exercises, we can and should do better in our homes and chores.