The Power of Paint

Painting – Best DIY Do Over Job

When we moved into our first house, a small duplex, almost 50 years ago we didn’t know any better. It never occurred to us that we couldn’t paint the rooms, we just assumed we could do it. We were young, poor and fearless and made every mistake in the book. As a matter of fact, that led to a career of writing about home improvements including several of the Dummies© books, one of which is Painting and Wallpapering for Dummies ©. Painting was and remains one of the most popular DIY projects because it is so forgiving. What other projects let you do over your mistake with a swipe of a paint roller or brush?

Decorating with paint is also one of the least expensive ways to transform a room. The living and dining room in our little fixer up had a true personality change with a simple coat of paint which encouraged us to continue painting every room in the house. And painting doesn’t require a large outlay of cash for tools and equipment. Despite the aisle-long wall of painting gadgets and gizmos you can get the job done with the basics of brush, roller and pan, drop cloths and masking tape. Since a gallon of paint goes for about $30 you get a big bang for your buck. At we analyze the cost of home improvement, repair and decorating projects like painting. For example, to paint a 15×20-foot room (900 square feet) with two windows and two doors, a contractor will charge $1,842. A homeowner can do the job for $205, the cost of the paint and materials and save 88 percent. If you’re interested in saving money and upgrading your house, painting is the best DIY job you can do.

Visit whenever you’re considering a home improvement job and compare the cost of doing it yourself with hiring a contractor. You’ll find cost data for more than 350 projects and learn what’s involved.

kitchen remodeling

A Total Kitchen Makeover Takes Time

12 in floor tiles

I always laugh when I think of a woman I met on AOL years ago when we ran HouseNet, their home improvement channel. We were chatting on one of our message boards about the agony and ecstasy of remodeling a kitchen. I remember her saying it was a lot like childbirth – the pain and struggle seemed to last forever, but all was forgotten when it was over.

Living through a kitchen remodel involves adjustments for everyone in the house but the result is a wonderful new space with things just where you want them. But I can’t say enough about the importance of planning and defining and then refining what you want.

Spend a lot of time doing preliminary footwork. Go to home centers and kitchen design shops and take pictures of what you like with your phone or camera. Keep a digital or paper list of features that are “nice to have” and “need to have.” Keep notes in your smartphone or a notebook of the room with dimensions of your walls and where windows and doors are located. Talk to salespeople about the cost of different materials to keep you within your budget. Tear out pictures in magazines with cabinets you like. Print out Web site pages with the kind of appliances you want. Collect samples of wallpaper, cabinets, countertop and flooring materials and store them in one place – a folder, a box, a crate in your car – whatever works for you. Then over time take a second look and review what you have. Keep what you like and toss what you don’t.

This doesn’t happen overnight. Plan to spend a few months absorbing all these ideas and somewhere along the line you’ll be able to focus on exactly what you want and how much you can afford. It’s not easy, but all your preliminary work will help you create the kitchen you want within the budget that you have.

For a quick overview of what should be on your planning radar go to an article on DIYORNOT Kitchen Design Basics and pick up some pointers on creating a floorplan with all the elements to make a perfect new kitchen. And for specific costs of all the projects involved in remodeling visit us at



Remodeling and Renovations on the Rise

diy053aA new survey of remodelers from NAHB Remodelers tells us that whole house remodels and additions are regaining market share. That means more homeowners are investing in major updates to their home according to the remodeling arm of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

“While bathroom and kitchen remodels remain the most common renovations, basements, whole house remodels and both large and small scale additions are returning to levels not seen since prior to the downturn,” said 2016 NAHB Remodelers Chair Tim Shigley, a remodeler from Wichita, Kansas.

In the survey, remodelers reported that the following projects were more common than in 2013:

• Whole house remodels increased by 10 percent
• Room additions increased by 12 percent
• Finished basements increased by 8 percent
• Bathroom additions increased by 7 percent

Bathrooms topped the list of most common remodeling projects for the fifth time since 2010. Eighty-one percent of remodelers reported that bathrooms were a common remodeling job for their company while 79 percent of remodelers reported the same for kitchen remodels. Window and door replacements decreased to 36 percent from 45 percent in 2014.

For more information about remodeling, visit To find the cost of hundreds of improvement projects visit us at to compare the cost of doing it yourself with hiring a contractor.