Best DIY and How-To Tutorials To Improve Your Home of February 2020

Home Painting Ideas | DIY House Painting

Best DIY and How-To Tutorials To Improve Your Home of February 2020

Nostalgia is comforting. It reminds me of the less complicated days when I just watched Tagalog-dubbed anime, Wansapanataym, and old movie reruns on TV.

My only problem was the dreaded lunchtime when I was required to eat vegetables, which I successfully evaded by promising my lola that I will pluck her growing white hair strands. A fair trade, I must say.

  A lot of things have changed since then— I don’t have a TV anymore, I love vegetables, my lola has passed on. What remains unchanged is my habit of turning to nostalgic films for comfort.

Here, I list down some films that are to me a warm bowl of sopas (a clever way to make children eat veggies cabbage and carrots). Every movie in this list features great music. If you’re in the mood for some feel-good and nostalgic films, you can go to Studio B to…

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40 Ways to Improve Your Home for Under $100

Best DIY and How-To Tutorials To Improve Your Home of February 2020

How stir crazy are y’all right now? Because it has hit mega-level over here. I was already thankful for home before, but in the midst of the state of the world right now, I’m even more grateful for the roof over our heads and the people under it.

And I hope you are able to find blessings all around you despite our current chaos.

I try not to let fear get the best of me while I see friends and family lose their jobs and the economy declining, because this WILL get better. And today’s page does not determine the rest of the story still ahead of us.


Since I know so many of us are feeling unsure in this trying financial time, but a lot of us are also getting stir-crazy at home, I rounded up 40 fantastic ways to improve your home for under $100. And many cost absolutely nothing at all.

I hope it helps you find hope and excitement and even more appreciation for the home you have so that you can have a happy distraction from the current events.

1. Paint a piece of furniture 

Get the full beginner’s guide to painting furniture here with all of my best recs. I swear it’s not as scary as you think it is.

2. Clean out your closet 

This printable flow chart makes it a lot easier.

3. Rearrange your furniture layout

It takes less than an hour and costs $0. And you can always move it back if you hate it.


Best DIY Kitchen Cabinet Ideas – Improve Home Value in 2020

Best DIY and How-To Tutorials To Improve Your Home of February 2020

Buyers are serious about wanting fresh kitchen cabinets in their home. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2020 Cost vs. Value report, a minor kitchen remodel — new cabinets plus appliances, flooring and paint job — will offer a higher return on investment than major kitchen renovations, and buyers in Portland are especially ly to pay top dollar.

Although one study found that 3 4 kitchen remodelers opt for full cabinet replacement, this investment is unly to pay for itself when the home goes up for sale. In this article, we’ll focus on updates to existing kitchen cabinets that will give the whole room a fresh look. 

How much to spend on kitchen cabinets for a 2020 home sale

The most important thing for any home seller to remember about home improvements is that nothing is guaranteed to provide a 100% return on investment. Never spend more than you can afford on a project, and don’t go into it if there’s a chance you won’t finish. Nothing tanks home value a half-done project!

However, if you’re decent at DIY improvements, don’t mind spending a weekend speckled in sawdust and paint, and have the kind of outdated kitchen cabinets frequently seen in “before” photos, you may be a good candidate for kitchen cabinet upgrades that don’t have to cost thousands of dollars. Talk to your real estate about the market conditions specific to homes of your type, and what your target buyer audience is looking for.

Repaint cabinets

Repainting is by far the most popular and versatile kitchen cabinet upgrade that can be done over the course of a few days.

It will make them look brand new! White or grey are by far the most popular colors, and the most appealing to home buyers. For planning purposes only, we’ve included basic steps here.

The Family Handyman has some great tutorials to read through before you get started. 

  1. Clean the cabinet doors before removing. Wipe the inside of cabinets while you’re at it.
  2. Remove cabinet doors and hinges, labeling as you go so you know where to put them back. A good place to label is in the place where the hinge will go back on, because you won’ be painting in there. 
  3. Prime, then sand the doors lightly. Deeply grained wood ( oak) that hasn’t been painted before will need a coat of wood filler. 
  4. Paint the doors — front and back, plus the edges. Use a high quality paint that will leave a clean, smooth finish. TIP: Do these first few steps during the week, because you won’t sacrifice the functionality of your kitchen. Then complete the actual cabinet painting job over the weekend, when you’ll need to cover your kitchen counters to protect them.
  5. Paint the cabinets themselves.
  6. When everything is dry, reinstall the doors, using new hardware if you’re choosing to update the hardware as well! Keep in mind that doors will take a few days to dry in a cool garage in the winter.

Replace cabinet hardware 

You can update the look of your cabinets without going through all the effort of painting simply by replacing the handles, hinges and drawer pulls.

To do this, you’ll want to remove a cabinet door and take it shopping with you so that you can match up the size, hinge overlay and screw holes. Match the hardware style to your kitchen’s overall style for the best look.

For example, ceramic or brass/nickel knobs go well with the traditional shaker-style cabinets (recessed center panel). A more modern kitchen will do well with bar-style handles and pulls. 

The most important rule for selecting new cabinet hardware is functionality. Avoid small latches and slippery knobs.

Because many Portland home buyers are seeking to retire and age-in-place, they’ll appreciate hardware that adheres to universal design rules — can be opened with one hand, and is easy to grip.

Avoid hardware that protrudes at middle heights, which creates a risk of catching on clothing. 

Create Shaker-style cabinets

According to the Houzz survey, nearly two-thirds of homeowners who upgrade their cabinets opt for the Shaker door style. The Shakers were a Christian sect that emerged in the mid 18th-century. They valued simple, elegant and functional design and are responsible for ladder-back chairs and peg-rails.

Shaker cabinet doors are characterized by a recessed center panel surrounded by a frame. This look can be achieved on flat cabinet doors by using trim to build a frame around the edges, then painting over the whole thing.

Shaker-style cabinets add depth and character to the kitchen, and a traditional look that many will feel at home with. 

Check out this tutorial from Two Feet First.

Open up some cabinets

If your kitchen looks a solid cube of cabinets, open it up by selectively removing some cabinet doors! Good candidates are upper cabinets away from the stove (which will cause grease to accumulate inside the cabinet).

Simply remove the doors, fill the hinge holes with wood filler, and repaint.

Consider a contrasting paint color for the inside of the cabinet, and use shelf liner or a coat of polyurethane to prevent the dishes from scratching the shelves. 

Open cabinets don’t have to be “display” cabinets — they can be used to store neat stacks of plates or orderly rows of glasses and mugs. The result is a kitchen that functions better and feels lighter. Plus, you will save the time and money of updating or replacing the cabinet doors! Just save the doors you removed in case future home buyers want to put them back on. 

Build in organization

Maybe the look of your cabinets doesn’t need updating — but the functionality does! Another aspect of universal design is improving access to lower cabinets.

Who wants to bend down all the time to get to pots and pans? Consider replacing a cabinet with a pull-out drawer or bin.

According to Houzz, 50% of those who upgrade kitchen cabinets add organizational features, starting with cookie sheet or tray organizers. You can build your own in-cabinet organizer, or install a roll-out.

One thing about Portland — we keep our trash sorted! Consider a pullout waste drawer, perfect for keeping separate bins for compost, recycling and landfill waste. Those with a foot-pedal opener will earn an extra “oooh” from buyers. 

We hope we’ve given you some ideas for upgrading your kitchen cabinets to get your home ready to list in 2020. Need more ideas? Contact our Top 1% real estate agents today!

February 3, 2020


Top Online Resources for Renovating Your Home

Best DIY and How-To Tutorials To Improve Your Home of February 2020
Home Advice  /  July 12, 2016

Renovating your home is a great way to give it new life, increase its value, and improve your overall satisfaction with it.

But anyone who has attempted a home renovation—whether it was something “minor” a kitchen remodel or something major creating an addition or expanding a room—knows that the process can be difficult and frustrating, especially if you’re attempting it on your own.

Thankfully, the internet is loaded with helpful resources and guides to make virtually all home renovations a much smoother process. While some homeowners prefer to go the old-fashioned route by taking a trip to their local library and stocking up on home renovation books, almost everything you need to know about the topic is just a click away.

To help jump start your home renovation project, check out Blindster’s list of the top online resources below:

isn’t just for funny cat videos and sports highlights. It’s also a valuable resource for learning how to do almost anything.

Whether you want to learn how to cook ratatouille, rebuild a lawnmower engine, or repair your specific model of dishwasher, chances are, you’ll find it with a quick search—and that includes virtually all DIY home renovation projects.

Being able to watch professionals and other enthusiast DIYers tackle the same problems you’re having with drywall, flooring, or wiring can be a great resource and an easy way to solve difficult problems that might otherwise require the expertise of an expensive contractor.

For more in-depth information and step-by-step guides related to your home improvement or DIY project, EBSCO’s Home Improvement Reference Center is a great resource, whether you’re just starting out or are stuck somewhere in the middle of the renovation process.

Search the full text of more than 125 reference books and 50 magazines, and reference 35,000 images to get a better visual of the steps you need to take to complete your DIY project. Topics covered by the database include general remodeling projects, electrical work, home and garden, outdoor improvements, plumbing, and carpentry work.

Even the best video tutorials and step-by-step guides are no match for jobs that require a true professional’s touch. Things electrical work, complex plumbing issues, and HVAC problems are generally best left to people with years of experience in the industry, and HomeAdvisor is a great way to find the top local contractors in your area.

In addition to being matched with the right contractor for your home renovation project, you can also use the website’s cost estimating feature to determine how much money you’ll need to shell out to get your project finished the right way and on time. By calculating a variety of different variables, including size and scope of the job—as well as your geographic location—you’ll be able to quickly find out whether hiring a professional is within your budget.

The National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) is an organization of remodeling professionals that provides industry connections, tips, and tricks for homeowners looking to renovate their homes by hiring contractors or by undertaking DIY projects. The website uses a six-step process to help homeowners during the modeling process:

  • Step 1: Finding inspiration for a potential remodel or renovation project, as well as reasons why the project is necessary for your home
  • Step 2: Creating your budget and determining how much money you’ll need to see the project through to the end in order to get a satisfactory result
  • Step 3: Understanding the type of professional you’ll need to get the job done, including general contractors, architects, and designers
  • Step 4: Using the available resources and information to select the right professional or team of professionals who fit your budget and can help you complete your renovation project
  • Step 5: Working with professionals throughout the renovation process by knowing the right questions to ask and maintaining open communication
  • Step 6: Assessing the project’s outcome upon completion and looking over finalized contracts, invoices, and receipts to make sure everything was finished to your satisfaction

Everyone knows that undertaking a home renovation or DIY project can be challenging, but many homeowners are unaware that it can also be dangerous and potentially hazardous to your health.

The EPA has a list of tips and helpful guidelines for homeowners who may come into contact with dangerous substances lead dust while they’re in the process of renovating, repairing, and painting their homes.

The tips provided by the EPA cover a range of topics, including how to work safely by removing household furniture and items from rooms, purchasing the right safety equipment, and hiring certified lead abatement contractors before cutting into walls or surfaces with lead paint.

Lead paint isn’t the only potential danger lurking in many homes.

Asbestos is also present in millions of homes constructed during the middle of the 20th century, and it can be difficult for homeowners to identify asbestos just by looking at it.

When left alone, asbestos fibers don’t pose a major health risk to homeowners, but when the fibers are disturbed during renovations and remodeling projects, they can be aspirated and lead to serious health problems and diseases.

The EPA’s asbestos warning website for DIYers includes tips for finding a trained and accredited asbestos professional prior to beginning renovation work, as well as a list of do’s and don’ts for homeowners who may come into contact with asbestos building materials during their renovation projects.

For additional resources and information about home renovations, check out the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s guide to home improvements.

This page contains helpful links to information about the HUD’s rehabilitation and repair home loan program, property improvement loan program, HUD-approved lenders, and loans/grants for rural homeowners who want to undertake renovation and repair projects.

In addition, the page also offers tips for improving your home’s energy efficiency and the best ways to protect yourself and your hard-earned money from deceptive home improvement contractors.

Blinds, Home Advice, Shades  /  September 6, 2016 Blinds, Common Questions, Home Advice, How To  /  November 19, 2019


Lacquered Lamp Shade DIY Tutorial

Best DIY and How-To Tutorials To Improve Your Home of February 2020

If you remember from my Master bedroom reveal, I found the coolest vintage red lamp shade that really got me inspired for the entire room design.

The only issue was, I needed two. I found another brass lamp base that was similar, and I was quite okay with those being different from each other; however, I needed two red lamp shades that were the same size, so the heights would match up. I searched and searched online and asked all of my vintage-selling friends if they had one, to no avail.

So I decided to look for a brand new, red lacquer shade. And let me tell you, they are not cheap! So that got my brain spinning with how to make one myself. A lacquered lamp shade…hmm…but it couldn’t be painted, right? How is it made? That’s when it hit me. It’s not lacquered. It’s vinyl! Which looks exactly a glossy, lacquered finish.


Now all I had to do was figure out how to make the lamp shade from scratch to custom match the size of the vintage shade.

I watched several tutorials, and couldn’t find a single one where someone was attempting to make a “lacquered lamp shade”. The principles are similar, but when working with vinyl, there are a couple of differences.

Here’s how I did it. And keep in mind I was trying to be the subject AND photographer, so I know this could be a lot better, but here goes…


  1. Clean the entire work station thoroughly first. We will be working with adhesives, rather than fabric or paper, so things get stuck to it very easily. Mine was covered in dog fur! Each and every spec of dirt and hair will show up under the finished shade, so this is very important! Maybe wear a hair net while you’re at it lol

  2. Have an extra set of hands to help. Again, because of the adhesives. They end up rolling up and sticking to themselves very easily. You will save yourself so much trouble with an extra person to hold one end down.


  1. Styrene sheet (I purchased mine here). The height of the sheet you purchase will be the finished height of your shade. You can cut styrene, but it is extremely thick, so much easier to go ahead buy to size.

  2. Two lamp shade rings, these. The diameter of the rings corresponds to the diameter of your finished shade. I used a spider fitting, but depending on the look you want, you may choose something else.

  3. Vinyl sheet. These are everywhere in craft stores, but a sheet is not enough. You’ll need a roll that is long enough to wrap around your shade. I found mine here

  4. A level or ruler to help you draw a straight line for cutting

  5. pencil

  6. sharp scissors or an exacto knife

  7. measuring tape

  8. clothespins or paper clips

  9. a quick drying, extra strong glue. I used 10 second, Gorilla© glue gel.

styrene, adhesive vinyl, lampshade rings

Since I was trying to match up the size of my vintage lamp shade, I used that as a template. If you are simply making one from scratch, you’ll just need to measure and mark your desired size.

Make sure you leave about 1/4” extra to overlap on the sides and about 1/2” on the top and bottom (you will be folding this over to finish).

When you are cutting them, make sure you get an extra straight line, because it will be pretty hard to trim the finished ends later on.

Now comes the part you need an extra set of hands for (and dear god, a clean floor or table!). Both the syrene and the vinyl have adhesive backs on them. I didn’t realize that at first and was wondering why on earth it was so stiff to work with. Whoops. LOL.

So you are going to take the adhesive off the back of the vinyl you have precut AND the styrene. You now have two adhesives you’ll sandwich together. They are not both necessary for adhering, but you have to take the backings off, or it will be too stiff. If you are using fabric or paper instead of vinyl, you won’t need an extra adhesive because the styrene already has it.

This was a pic I took BEFORE I realized there was also as adhesive backing on the vinyl. You shouldn’t see any text on your paper at this point (DUH). But this is what it should look with your extra half inch you will fold over the styrene.

And now you are going to start rolling at top and bottom of your paper, on the exposed, sticky side of the vinyl. Make sure your spider fitting is on the inside.

Got that extra set of hands? You’ll need them, because you are rolling both rings at the same time. One of you can roll one ring while the other rolls the other. Not impossible to do solo, but so much easier! Use a clip to hold the ends together once you have made it around the ring completely.

Now that you have rolled your sandwiched papers around both rings, it should look this. You have a bit of extra paper on both ends to fold over the rings. Although this is a sticky part of the paper, it is NOT sticky enough to stay adhered over the ring, so you’ll need the glue for this part. Your vertical seem along the shade itself shouldn’t need any reinforcing.

Run your glue along the extra flap of paper and be ready to work fast. You’ll need the clips to hold everything in place.

If your glue isn’t strong enough, you’ll soon know it because the vinyl will start popping off. A glue gun is NOT strong enough. I tried a couple of glues before I found the Gorilla© 10 second gel to do the trick.

See the little blemish on the right side of this photo? That’s a teeny tiny spec of dirt, that created a large bubble that couldn’t be removed. Oy.

And there you have it! The total cost for my shade was about $45. I have a little extra supplies I can make mini shades with, so it was actually even cheaper than that for the one shade. If you haven’t shopped for lacquered shades lately, take a gander. This is SO MUCH cheaper! It took me around 30 minutes to make the shade, but I think it would go much faster on the next.

If you wanna get fancy with it, you can add some pretty paper to the interior and trim to the top and bottom. I didn’t do any of that and it still looks great, but I definitely want to try this again with a clean workspace. If you visit my instagram “bedroom” story highlight, you can see some video of my process.

I needed to play around with different sized harps to get the heights right. The end result is pretty close! I thought the vintage shade was lacquered, but now that I see it with mine, it is not nearly as shiny. So I may make another one to match my new one.

I can’t wait to make many more! In all the colors! Now that I know how to do it, I’m sure it will go even faster.

I may never buy a lamp shade again??

Please let me know if you make one. And send pics!