Renew Old Flooring With Paint View as slideshow Photo by Kolin Smith The burgundy red floor in the master bedroom of Sara and Andrew's Massachusetts farmhouse didn't fit the fresh and energetic personality of the newlyweds. But refinishing wasn't an option on a limited budget. So to update the space, they painted the floor in a light checked pattern, using beige and white to warm up their cool blue walls.
Here we show how a little measuring and a couple of coats of durable floor paint can add a lot of personality to a room for a small price. See How to Paint a Floor for full step-by-step instructions. Not to mention the neighbors who have more evening hours to look into your brightly lit living room. You could install shades to foil prying eyes, but swinging wood shutters would definitely be more beautiful.
Interior shutters were the original "window treatments," commonly used in Southern and urban houses, and they're still a great way to add architectural and historical detail. They also help keep out winter's chilly winds or summer's oppressive heat. And they're easy to install on any window because they attach to a thin frame that either sits inside the window opening or around the outside of the casing.
See How to Hang Interior Shutters for full step-by-step instructions. And check out How to Drape Away Drafts , too. Give Kitchen Cabinets a Flawless, New Finish View as slideshow Photo by Kolin Smith Your cavelike kitchen feels that way because the dark cabinets have sucked all the light out of the room.
But a brighter makeover doesn't necessarily mean replacing those gloomy boxes with all-new one. As long as the frames and doors are structurally sound, you can clean them up and brush on some new paint—and within a weekend take that kitchen from dreary to sunny. All you need is some strong cleaner, sandpaper, a paintbrush, and a little elbow grease. What you don't need is a whole lot of money, as the transformation will cost you a fraction of even the cheapest new cabinets.
See How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets for full step-by-step instructions. Get More Flowers Without Spending a Dime View as slideshow Photo by Ryan Benyi Dividing perennials every three to six years is a great way to thin clump-forming varieties, like the daylily shown here , which blooms from late spring to late summer.
This technique can also be used to control plant size, invigorate growth, and multiply the number of specimens in a garden. A good rule of thumb is to split apart spring- and summer-blooming perennials in late summer or before the fall frost. See How to Divide Perennials for sull step-by-step instructions. And don't forget to check out How to Propagate Plants at no cost for even more ways to multiply the plants you've already got.
Install a Water Filter and Ditch Expensive Bottles View as slideshow Photo by Kolin Smith Millions of households have switched to bottled drinking water because of concerns over the purity or taste of their tap water. Such problems exist across the country, regardless of whether the water comes from municipal pipeline or ground well. However, there's an easier, less expensive way to obtain clean drinking water: See How to Install a Water Filter for full step-by-step instructions.
Lay an Eco-Friendly Layer of Insulation View as slideshow Photo by Kolin Smith It's bad enough to have to get up in the morning, let alone get up and experience the icy shock of a cold floor. What you need is some warmth underfoot, a little cushion as you pad across the house. Resilient yet durable, stylish yet earthy, a natural cork floor can turn any cool room into a cozy haven.
Cork is also a lot easier to install than traditional wood flooring. Manufacturers now offer products in engineered panels that snap together without glue or nails. These floating-floor systems sit well over plywood, concrete, or even existing flooring. In one afternoon you can turn a floor into a comfortable mat where your toes can roam free without fear of the big chill—or expensive area rugs.
See How to Lay a Cork Floor for full step-by-step instructions. Flakes of varnish still clung to the wood in spots, while the rest of the surface was rough and dried out from the effects of water and sun.
Wood entry doors everywhere suffer from the same assaults, and many end up in the trash, replaced by low-maintenance, mass-produced metal and fiberglass surrogates. But you can breathe new life into your old door with a few affordable supplies. See How to Refinish a Door for full step-by-step instructions. First it was the brown tinge along the edges.
Now its smooth and supple skin has turned brittle and cracked, opening the way for stubborn colonies of mildew to take hold, or for water to seep through and turn wallboard and framing mushy. Whether it's around your sink, between a tub and its tile surround, or covering the joints of your shower stall — it has got to go. Fortunately, caulk is cheap, and applying it isn't difficult.
All you need is an hour, a few common tools, and materials easily found at any hardware store. But as easy as it is, you still have to do it right, or you'll be caulking again next year, says This Old House general contractor Tom Silva. See How to Caulk Around a Tub for full step-by-step instructions.