Ideas to Give Old Furniture New Life

The best thing about old furniture is the new life you can give it. It doesn’t take much talent – just a little creativity and patience if you’ve never taken on a furniture project before.

Accept this challenge: instead of throwing out that old chest of drawers from your child’s room, think of a new use for it. Recycling furniture can be a lot of fun, plus it’s a good way to get a new look at a fraction of the cost. If you are not happy with the finished product, start over or then give in to purchase a new furniture piece.

Think about that old chest of drawers. Is there a drawer that’s broken? Maybe you can take out that drawer and create a shelf from the opening. Would it make a nice TV stand if it was just a little taller? Consider screwing finials that you can find in your local discount store onto the bottom to create “legs” or “feet.”

And never underestimate the power of a coat of paint! Old furniture gets a quick update when painted. If you like the shabby chic look, tatter the fresh paint job a bit by sanding around corners and other heavy use areas to create a worn look. If it’s your first time to try this furniture painting technique, invest in an inexpensive kit that can be found at any retail discount store.

If you are really creative and not afraid to try new things with your old furniture, you can create some funky new accessories for your home. Use an old dresser as a sink basin for your bathroom. Use the headboard or footboard from a twin size bed as the back of a bench.

Giving your old furniture a new look does not always include creating a new function for it. For instance, drape and tuck fabric over an old sofa or love seat to give it a “slipcovered” look. Or, hot glue some fabric on top of the old rattan panels on the coffee table you’ve had for years. Trim it out by hot gluing some braided trim around the edges and you’ve created a new look for the table.

If your piece of furniture was painted but you’d like to give it a stained look, give it a try. Most woods are easily stripped of paint and stain can be applied in the color and intensity of your choice. Just follow the directions supplied by the stain manufacturer.

Give the lacquer-look furniture popular in past years an up to date look by using a combination of painting and staining. To get a brown leather look, brush your lacquer furniture lightly first with sand paper just enough to rough up the surface so the paint will adhere better. Then, use a red primer color spray paint on the furniture. Once the primer dries, use an oil-based brown stain and a plastic bag to create the leathery look. Working with a small area at a time, use a sponge “brush” to paint on the stain. Crinkle a plastic bag and open it up. Press the crinkled bag on top of the stain and sweep the bag quickly off the furniture. The motion will pull the stain around, creating the lines associated with leather. Kits are also available for this technique.

How to Finish Your Basement and Basement Remodeling

Finishing your basement can almost double the square foot living space of your home. A finished basement can include new living space such as a recreation room, a game room, a bar and even bedrooms and bathrooms.

Finishing a basement or remodeling a basement is also a relatively inexpensive remodeling job as frequently outside construction is not required. And since it is not a critical living area it can be completed at a leisurely pace. Consequently finishing a basement is a project that do it yourself homeowners can tackle.

Prior to the start of finishing a basement, a do it yourself homeowner should first develop a well thought out finished basement construction plan. To help in formulating a basement construction plan a homeowner should carefully evaluate the condition of their home's existing basement and what type of living space they want to achieve in the finished basement. Frequently when finishing a basement, the mechanical equipment such as water heaters, furnaces, and water and oil storage tanks will need to be moved. With careful planning some of this movement can be minimized.

When finishing a basement a homeowner should also consider any water or moisture problems that do exist or could exist in the basement. Perimeter drains may be required. In addition the exterior and interior concrete walls of the basement may need to be sealed.

If a bathroom or wet bar is to be installed, then plumbing will need to be carefully considered, particularly if the home is on a private septic system. A pump up waste water system may be required and if so a portion of the existing concrete floor may need to be removed to allow room for the drain lines and pump-up system.

Lighting is another important aspect of finishing a basement. If natural light can be installed, via the installation of windows, then I highly recommend it. Besides letting light in, windows also add character to the finished basement. In addition, ceiling lights should also be included in the finished basement plans, and the more the better. Finally, workspace lighting should be added where necessary and each set of workspace lighting should be controlled separately.

Ceiling height is another major concern when finishing basements. Frequently homeowners elect to go with dropped ceilings; however dropped ceilings can significantly reduce ceiling height if not carefully planned. A drywalled ceiling can preserve more ceiling height and give a better finished look to the basement, however careful planning needs to be made for access points to valves and to kitchen and bathroom plumbing traps.

Frequently finished basements include home theater systems. Particular attention should be given to electrical wiring for basement home theater systems. Besides electrical wiring, there is speaker wire, cable wire, and Cat-5 wiring that is typically required for a quality home theater system.

With a well thought out basement remodeling plan a finished basement can be major plus to your home, both in personal utilization and resale value. Addressing up front key items such as basement water and moisture issues, as well as lighting and ceiling heights concerns, can help to ensure you get the finished basement you have been dreaming about.

For more help on finishing your basement, see’s Basement Remodeling Bid sheet. The Basement Remodeling Bid Sheet will help ensure that your bathroom remodeling project goes smoothly and you get the finished basement you are looking for. In addition it will help to ensure that finishing your basement will be accomplished on time and on budget.

How to Buy Used or Surplus Circuit Breakers

For homes or businesses trying to cut costs, used circuit breakers may be an option for their electrical needs. You can visit several online stores that carry all sorts of brands of used circuit breakers. Finding a used circuit breaker can also be useful in locating obsolete or outdate breakers. Many companies only sell used circuit breakers that have been tested for quality and safety.

Because used circuit breakers are usually old, it is necessary to test them prior to purchase or using them. Testing used circuit breakers is essential for safety as well as for functional reasons. In older used breakers, the naked eye simply cannot determine if the contacts are corroded. If the contacts are indeed corroded, your circuit breaker may not function properly or safely. Most electricians recommend not to use used circuit breakers to ensure your safety, because prices on new circuit breakers are generally reasonable.

Sometime a company may have too many circuit breakers or breakers that have become obsolete for their needs. In cases such as this, many companies decide to sell their surplus circuit breakers to dealers. In turn, these dealers test, refurbish and resell the products. This can mean huge savings to the consumers who purchase surplus circuit breakers.

Online auctions, web directories and bulletin boards are all excellent tools to buy or sell surplus circuit breakers. The widespread use of the Internet has opened up a whole new world of buying and selling these goods. Traditionally, a business owner interested in buying surplus had to fly to the location to examine the product before purchase. Now, however, the sellers can upload pictures and the important information for the consumer to review before purchasing. Some experts estimate that the surplus selling business has become a multi-billion dollar industry, even within the past five-to-ten years.

If you decide to pursue the purchase of surplus goods online, you should ask some important questions first. Find out if it is an original, factory direct product and whether it is new or used. Does it have any noticeable cracks or fractures? When was it last used? What are the testing procedures to ensure it functions and is safe? What is the refund policy?

Finding this information beforehand is vital in securing a good quality surplus circuit breaker. You can save a lot of money by buying an outdated, unused or obsolete circuit breaker if you know the right questions to ask. Consumer advocates encourage you to keep in mind the old adage, “buyer beware” since the online marketplace opens up new possibilities for fraud. Marketplaces such as Ebay offer consumer protection against fraud and does their best to screen but ultimately it is the responsibility of the buyer to ask questions. Knowing what you are buying can mean the difference in getting junk equipment and equipment that is functional, safe, and meets your needs.

Homeowners: What You Need to Know About Foreclosures

Are you a homeowner who is facing foreclosure? Even if you aren’t facing foreclosure yet, are you suffering from financial difficulties that may result in it? If so, now is the time to familiarize yourself with the process. Foreclosure can be scary for homeowners, but you can protect yourself by knowing what will happen, what you can do, and what your rights are.

Mortgage lenders, which are often banks, must and will provide you with proper notice. In fact, you will receive multiple written notices and telephone calls. Foreclosure should not come as a surprise to you. Neither should the eviction notice that may later arrive. As soon as you start receiving calls or letters from your financial lender, it is important to take action. As for what action you should take, that leads to another important fact.

Banks want to avoid foreclosure just as much as you do. Unfortunately, many homeowners are actually surprised to learn this. Many times, financial lenders lose money when selling a foreclosed property. For that reason, you should speak directly with your financial lender. When doing so, have this meeting in person and meet with a high-ranking official, such as the chief loan offer or the branch’s president.

Since banks want to avoid foreclosure whenever possible, it is important to go into detail about your financial situation. Are you only experiencing temporary problems? For example, did you suffer an injury that will put you out of work for a few months? Were you laid off, but are you actively looking for a job now? If so, your financial lender may be willing to work with you. If you can prove that you have intent to get your mortgage back in good standing, your lender may temporarily accept smaller payments.

As for the foreclosure proceedings themselves, the process will all depend on the state in which you reside. Unfortunately, this is a fact that many facing foreclosure do not know or do not take into consideration. If you intend to seek professional help, from either a housing counselor or an attorney, it is important you choose a professional who is familiar with your state’s laws on foreclosure, as they do vary.

For example, in New York, judicial and non-judicial foreclosures are permitted by law. A judicial foreclosure is where the lender must file an official complaint against the borrower, which would be you. This complaint must be approved by the local courts. A this point in time, the borrower may be given one more opportunity to pay the amount in delinquency. If not, the property will be sold.

As for non-judicial foreclosures, financial lenders must have entered a specific clause in the mortgage agreement. This clause states that the borrower, which would be you, authorizes the sale of the property when delinquency occurs on payment. Typically, non-judicial foreclosures are not used often and some states even prohibit them. That is why it is important to know all of your state’s foreclosure laws.

When the foreclosure process has started, now is the time that you should start looking for other arrangements. Unless you can come into a large amount of cash and rebuy your home, you best option may be to move. Although you are not required to leave your home until you are served an eviction notice by the lender or new property owner, it is a process that you should start planning and preparing for. Where do you want to live? If you will rent an apartment, how do you intend to pay for the security deposit? These are questions that you need to have answers to.

As a recap, foreclosure laws vary by state, banks want to avoid foreclosure and multiple notices will be sent. For that reason, foreclosure should never come as a surprise. For more information on foreclosures, contact a HUD (United States Department of Housing and Urban Development) approved counselor, your lender, or an attorney, but do so right away.

Plants and Emotional Appeal in House Selling

As a home seller you want to initiate that positive feeling from a prospective buyer; choosing a new home is a very emotional thing and it is this emotional vibe that you want to tune into to. It is always the first impression that will dictate the buyer's mood.

Think of the times that you have been in the audience waiting to hear a speech. When the person walks onto the stage you are expectant and interested in what he has to say. In the first one minute he either has your attention - or you are wondering where he bought his shoes from. If he has wit, a smile and a bright voice you will listen. If he drawls, sounds dull and is talking too quietly your brain leaves the stage.

You will only listen to a boring speaker if you really want to hear what he has to say. Your house is like the speaker. If it appeals in the first minute, the buyer will proceed with interest and enthusiasm. If the first appearance doesn't draw the buyer in, he will approach the viewing of your home with the thought that he is wasting his time. This is where the price of your house comes in; if there is nothing much going for it, then make sure you take the realtor's advice about the price.

If you know your house is a no-frills house, then the first impression will be critical to set the mood. A realtor calls this curb appeal, and if yours is not able to look 'fantastic', it can at least look promising.

Step out side your house, and walk to the street and scrutinize your own home from the sidewalk. Check for things like scuff marks around the base of the house and broken parts of fence. Sweep the paths and hide the garbage can. Make sure the gardening is done - no dead weeds or yellow patches on the lawn.

Certain additions can make your home look as if it is cared for. For instance, plants in pots around your front door. A statue or an elegant bird bath placed centrally in your lawn can take away the plainness of a yard. If you are worried about theft, most of these are too heavy to be easily moved. Flowers or plants can be grouped around it.

This applies to any season. If you are selling your home in autumn you can always buy some potted chrysanthemums or azaleas, if you are selling in spring use daffodil and crocus etc. Whatever time if the year, there can be either flowers or berry bushes in the yard. The back yard will not count so much in terms of first impressions. So concentrate on the front for the first visual impact to your buyer.

One very easy solution to the visual appeal problem is to have a very soft bed in the front and cover it with wood chips. As each season turns, a different group of pot plants can be 'dug in' to the soft soil. Once the daffodils die, those pots get pulled out until next year and the petunias go in, then chrysanthemums, until finally it is the winter pansies and the berries. With a bird bath in the center and about three small ever green shrubs, your front yard will always have appeal.

It is not just that you are appealing to the type of person who likes a nice yard; if the yard is looking good, it will make the buyer think that the rest of the house will be looked after and he will approach the viewing of your house in a positive way. This positive attitude means that the buyer's frame of mind will be open to the emotional appeal of your home.