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HomeHomes
Published: Friday, 5/15/2009

Family and Friends Can Stretch Home Improvement Dollars

(ARA) - Homeowners today want big home improvement results, but without big costs they may not recoup. Got a handy hubby or a bro that's a pro? Enlisting the help of handy family and friends can be a cost-effective way to achieve your goals.

Many are latching on to the do-it-yourself trend. During recent research by Moen Incorporated, 45 percent of shoppers in the faucet aisle planned to install the faucet themselves, while 28 percent said they would have a family member install. Thirteen percent planned to hire a plumber, and only 6 percent would hire a contractor.

Since time may be limited for your "free laborers," find quick projects that can provide the biggest impact for both aesthetics and functionality.

Kitchen Equipped

A full kitchen remodel can be time-consuming and expensive, but several quick updates achieve impressive results. Upgrade basic laminate countertops to a solid-surface material to dramatically update the look of your kitchen. Instead of the traditional drop-in sink, upgrade to an undermount stainless steel sink. Add the finishing touch with a beautiful and functional faucet.

Research shows 65 percent of retail faucet shoppers preferred mid- or high-arc faucets and 74 percent preferred lever handles. Research shows 65 percent of retail faucet shoppers preferred mid- or high-arc faucets and 74 percent preferred lever handles.
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Bathroom Basics

A few basic elements can completely change the look of the bathroom: the vanity, walls and flooring. The furniture look in bathroom vanities continues to be popular, with dresser-like vanities complete with undermount sinks. Home improvement retailers have a variety of styles to choose from, or you can save even more by recycling an old dresser. Be sure to finish off the high-style area with a beautiful high-arc faucet.

Once the vanity is in place, it's time to paint. Painting is easy enough for even the most novice DIYer; however, choosing the color can sometimes be the most difficult part. Cool, light colors can help make a smaller room look larger or create a serene feeling, while darker colors can create a warm, cozy environment.

Finally, finish the room with flooring. Depending on your helpers' skill levels, large ceramic tiles are extremely popular for an upscale look. However, laminate flooring options may be easier to install. And, luckily today's laminates are available in a variety of designs -- some which even replicate the look of ceramic tile.

Patio Pleasures

Nothing makes a backyard more enjoyable than a beautiful patio area to sit and relax with friends and family. With a bit of sweat equity, a beautiful stone patio is easily attainable. Like most projects, prep work is key. You'll need to dig out and compact the dirt under your new patio area to accommodate four to six inches of crushed stone to put beneath your pavers. Once you have a level surface, begin laying the pavers. Finally, sweep sand over the pavers to fill the gaps and secure your patio into place.

By enlisting the help of some friends and family, in no time at all, you'll have a new and improved home that didn't cost you an arm and a leg -- just an I.O.U. to your handy helpers. Courtesy of ARAcontent



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