Kitchen Updates: How Often to Replace Appliances and Cooking Supplies

Original Article Written By: Angie Bersen

Nothing good lasts forever, and that includes the appliances and equipment that you may have already replaced during recent kitchen updates. While your kitchen will look gorgeous when everything is brand new and state-of-the-art, that shiny new look doesn’t last forever. Sooner or later, you’ll need to invest in replacements or repairs to keep everything up to par.

When contemplating kitchen updates, it’s important to understand that even if you think functionality is still intact, there may be issues lurking under the surface. Here’s what you need to know about maintaining the state of your kitchen.

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When Do You Need a New Dishwasher?

Replace As Needed – Every 10 Years at the Latest

For many households, dishwashers are indispensable, providing a valuable way to reduce post-meal tasks and improve overall cleanliness. However, dishwashers get old, break, and need replacements during kitchen updates, just like any other appliance.

Modern dishwashers are designed to last around 10 years, but if you start seeing these signs of wear and tear issues before that point, it may be time to invest in a repairman or a new dishwasher:

  • Rust on the exterior that can indicate a water leak that isn’t necessarily visible

  • Standing water in your dishwasher, indicating a serious clog

  • A door that doesn’t properly latch or lock

  • Cold dishes following a cycle

  • Cracks or damage to the door or frame

  • Leaking water on the floor under the unit

  • Dishes that are spotty or dirty after a wash cycle

In some cases, a repair or parts replacement can fix these issues, but most of the time, a full replacement is the best option. Replacing a dishwasher will increase energy efficiency and improve the quality of your kitchen cleaning endeavors.

How Long Do Refrigerators Last?

Replace As Needed – Every 10 Years at the Latest

It’s hard to imagine living in a modern home without a refrigerator, which is why prompt repairs or replacements are so important. When refrigerator parts are on the fritz, it can cause plenty of issues, including ruined food, wasted money, and the risk of bacteria development, which can cause food poisoning such as salmonella.

The average lifespan of a refrigerator is about 10 years, but these signs can be indicative of a need for a timely replacement:

  • Excessive condensation; in some cases, this can be remedied by a new door seal

  • A motor that runs too hot

  • Food that spoils faster than normal

  • A freezer that is far too cold and leaves an ice buildup on items or causes freezer burn

  • Excess energy use with no changes in habits

  • A loud motor

  • Uneven cooling, including freezing within the fridge space

It’s not uncommon for attachments such as ice machines or water filters to break after three to five years. If you live somewhere with a hot climate, it’s crucial to stay up to date with these smaller repairs. However, if your refrigerator has broken parts and kitchen updates are a priority, a full replacement may be the best option.

When Is a New Stove Essential?

Replace Every 10 Years at the Latest

Cooking is virtually impossible without a functional stove or oven, but this stable kitchen appliance doesn’t last forever. If you are in need of a new range, these tips can guide your decision between replacing and repairing.

Like most kitchen appliances, a lifespan of 10 years or more isn’t uncommon. However, if you’re seeing signs of trouble and your stove is more than a decade old, replacement is most likely the right choice, especially if:

  • The glass is cracked

  • One or more burners won’t light, or won’t heat up properly

  • The oven heats unevenly, with particular areas heating faster than others

  • Preheating takes longer than usual

  • Burners are uneven

  • There is a strong smell of gas in gas units, indicating a potential leak

Even if a repair is possible, it may not be worth the investment. If the cost of the repair is 50 percent or more of the cost of the unit, it’s time to take on something new.

Timelines for Countertops and Cabinet Installation

Update Every 10-15 Years

Despite common perception, counters and cabinets aren’t meant to last forever. After excessive use, counters wear down. Eventually, cupboard doors don’t close properly and shelves begin to buckle and bend. Every 10 to 15 years is generally the recommended time frame for a full kitchen remodel. Whether the functionality of your kitchen isn’t meeting your needs, or you simply want an updated look, it may be worth considering a kitchen remodel.

Countertop Replacement

While the functionality of cabinets can actively disturb storage and the protection of your cooking utensils, countertops rarely interfere with function, no matter how old they are. However, the look and feel can decrease the value of your cooking space, and it’s possible for cracks to hold bacteria before any kitchen updates. If your counter is cracked, stained beyond repair, has any signs of structural problems, or simply looks outdated, it’s time for a countertop replacement.

Cabinet Installation

Unless your cabinets are significantly newer than your countertops, it’s recommended to replace both at the same time, with cabinet installation taking priority. When cabinets are installed first, you can be sure new countertops will fit around or on your new cupboards and will not be damaged during the process.

 

Replacing Microwaves and Small Appliances

Replace As Needed – Every 5 Years at the Latest

Unlike large appliances like refrigerators, stoves, ovens, and dishwashers, most smaller appliances won’t make it to a decade of life. As such, you may need to replace things like microwaves on a more accelerated basis.

Microwave

Your microwave should hold up for at least five years, but inexpensive models may only give you a year or two. Signs like smoke, sparks, burning smells, improperly cooked food, suspicious sounds, and trouble with controls often mean it’s time for a replacement.

Microwaves can be repaired, but the cost is often not worth it. When in doubt, a new microwave is generally a better deal, with prices averaging around $100 or less–a steal compared to larger appliances.

Toasters

Toasters and toaster ovens can be important for convenience and easy cooking, particularly for meals that don’t necessitate the time commitment preheating the oven requires. However, like microwaves, these items aren’t meant to last longer than around five years of regular use, either. If you see sparks or smoke, experience uneven cooking, or smell strong metallic scents, it’s time for kitchen updates and potentially a replacement.

Stand Mixers

Stand mixers can make baking fast and simple, but they’re big investments. As such, most people are hesitant to drop cash on a replacement. Little things, like worn gears, may require simple parts repairs that you can do yourself, but bigger problems, like cracked stands, power troubles, or strange smells, usually entail a new unit.

Before jumping the gun, be sure to check the warranty. Some units may come with long-term protection that you can use to minimize or eliminate the cost or a replacement.

How Long Do Spices Last?

Between 1-5 Years

Spices are a staple in any kitchen, but contrary to the habits of standard home cooks, spices don’t last forever. Even though spices are generally dried and intended to be preserved, they do come with an expiration date. Here are a few guidelines for how long spices last:

  • Whole spices should be replaced every four years

  • Ground spices should be replaced every two to three years

  • Herbs should be replaced every one to two years

Spices don’t actually spoil and are unlikely to make you sick, but they do lose flavor and effectiveness, compromising the food you cook.

Common cooking oils, like olive oil or canola oil, should be replaced every one to two years. In theory, white kosher and sea salt will last indefinitely, but table salt should be replaced every five years.

When to Throw Away Non-Stick Pans

Replace Every 5 Years

Pots and pans, particularly non-stick varieties, do need to be a part of your regularly scheduled kitchen updates. Based on the chemicals used to manufacture the non-stick surface, non-stick pots and pans shouldn’t be used for more than five years. If there are any scratches or the surface begins to peel, replacement should be expedited.

A great kitchen has a lot to offer your quality of life and your diet, but maintaining functionality means proper replacements. From broken appliances to outdated countertops, it’s up to you to keep your kitchen in perfect working order.

Original Article Published by Redfin




Bright Star Handyman Awarded Top 25 Painters in Pennsylvania

Bright Star Handyman Service is a proud recipient of HireHaven’s Top 25 Painters in Pennsylvania list. As a full service handyman company servicing South Jersey & the Philadelphia regions, painting is one of the many home services we offer.

10 Ways to Enhance Your Home’s External Appeal

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Outdoor Spring Cleaning

Spring is here, and it’s time to tidy up! Read on for our handy checklist of outdoor spring cleaning ideas.

Windows and Screens

It’s best to clean windows when the sun isn’t out to prevent the cleaner from drying too fast and causing streaks. Be careful on that ladder! In addition, it won’t matter how clean your windows are if your screens are dusty and damaged. Remove your screens and vacuum with an attachment. If they are damaged, screens are fairly inexpensive to replace.

Garden Appeal

It’s amazing how quickly weeds can pop up in the spring – get a head start as soon as they show up. In addition, clear out any dead foliage and prune your shrubs and trees – this will make your garden area more appealing and encourage new growth. After weeding and clearing out old plants, lay down a new layer of mulch and take note of any plants that need to be replaced. Be sure to clean out and re-plant any pots or baskets as well!

Sweep All the Things

It’s not just your floor that needs sweeping! Take a broom to the ceilings and walls of your porches and eaves to clear out dust and cobwebs. Sweep out your garage from all your winter projects and then sweep the driveway and cracks. Replace any caulking in the driveway that may have been damaged over the winter.

Break Out the Furniture

Patio furniture can take a hit during the winter. Wipe down all furniture with a damp cloth and beat the dust out of cushions. Clean or replace rugs and umbrellas if necessary.

Get Ready to Grill

Wipe down the outside of your grill and give the inside a good scrubbing with a steel brush before first use. It’s not uncommon for creatures to take refuge in your grill during the winter, so take care when opening the lid the first time.

A New Life for Doors

Doors are one of those things we always touch but rarely clean. Give your exterior doors a good washing and touch up paint where necessary. For a fun project, repaint your front door a fun color like red or yellow!

Exterior Touch-up

There’s nothing like a hose to clean the exterior of your house! Especially with brick or vinyl siding, using a spray attachment on your hose to wash down the walls can instantly increase curb appeal. Now is a good time to spot-check your roof as well – if gutters or shingles are damaged, it’s time to replace.

Outdoor Lighting

Check your light fixtures – they can accumulate dust and bugs. Replace bulbs if necessary.

Maintain the Fence

Winter can be hard on fences and gates – walk the perimeter of your property and check for areas that require repair. A new coat of stain or paint certainly helps bring life to your property as well.

A New Lawn

Whether you have a lawn in place or you’re thinking of installing one, green grass in your yard adds wonderful curb appeal. Lay fertilizer down before a spring rain to bring new life to your lawn and replace any dead areas with sod. 

What other outdoor spring cleaning do you accomplish each year? Tell us in the comments!

82 DIY Ideas for Your Backyard This Spring

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Everyone wants their patio or lawn to look its absolute best without spending a fortune, so we've come to your rescue with plenty of beautiful backyard ideas on a budget. Instead of doling out dough on a professional landscape designer, save money and take matters into your own hands with an easy outdoor design project. From DIY fire pits to never-before-seen planters, these tutorials work for big or small spaces so you can easily create the backyard of your dreams.

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10 Outdoor-Inspired Accessories For Your Home

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There's something about spring that makes me want to spend 22 hours of my day outside. Unfortunately, my apartment has no outdoor space to speak of — sigh — and I don't always have the time or the patience to travel to a park to get my nature fix. So this year, I'm bringing nature to my home by filling it with accessories that evoke the great outdoors. That way, even if I can't make it outside, I'll still get a little mood boost courtesy of my favorite flowers and plants.

These 10 finds are a perfect representation of the beauty you find when you step outside, and while in no way a replacement for fresh air and sunshine, they're sure to bring a smile to any nature lover's face. 


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Top 5 Things Not to Miss While Spring Cleaning

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It’s that time of year where the sun stays out longer and the weather starts to warm. We open our windows and shake out the lingering cobwebs from winter. There are the usual things that we think to clean like floors, floorboards, and vents, but what else? Here are the top 5 things to add to your cleaning list this year!

Windows

Even though you look through your windows every day, they’re easy to miss when cleaning up. The best day to clean your windows is a cloudy one – cleaning on a sunny day can leave streaks when the cleaner evaporates too quickly. Start by dusting your windows so that you’re not just smearing dust around. Next, vacuum your screens using an attachment – there’s nothing worse than cleaning all of your windows only to realize your screens are dirty! Finally, use your cleaner of choice. Pre-moistened wipes, a homemade solution with a microfiber cloth, or a sponge all work well, followed closely by a pass with a squeegee. You’ll love your new clean view!

Lighting

We often don’t think about cleaning our lighting, but you’d be amazed at how much dust gathers in those fixtures! Use a vacuum attachment to clean lamp shades and wipe down the lamp base with a microfiber cloth. Even the light bulb itself may be dusty if you have light bulbs that last a long time. Take a duster to your ceiling fans, chandeliers, and standing lamps as well. Finally, don’t forget to clean your light switches! If you think about it, your switches are touched more often than most anything in your house.

Appliances

From small kitchen appliances to your washing machine, your appliances need a good cleaning every once in a while too. Have a coffee maker? Be sure to clean it inside and out. Does your mixer sit on the countertop? Time to give it a good dusting. For washers and dishwashers, you can find a packet of cleaner in your local store – give those machines a run with a cleaner to prevent mildew and stains. Other appliances, such as your hair dryer, electric toothbrush, and alarm clocks are often neglected in the cleaning process as well. Take a minute to put them through some sanitation.

Cabinets

You’d be surprised how dirty the front of your cabinets can be! Your choice of cleaner will depend on whether your cabinets are wood or painted, but it is definitely worth a thorough wipe down of your kitchen and bathroom cabinets, especially the ones located below sinks. Feeling motivated? Time to wipe down the shelves inside of your cabinets as well, and maybe vacuum out the utensil drawer.

Tools

Your cleaning tools need cleaning too! You’re certainly not sanitizing your home if the mop you’re using is dirty as well. Take a moment to clean the parts of your vacuum, run your mop heads through the washing machine, and replace any sponges or brushes that are worse for wear. Check the dates on your cleaning products as well, and spot test any new cleaning products to ensure that you won’t stain your carpet, flooring, or upholstery.

Feel free to reach out to Bright Star Handyman Service for any larger projects that may arise while you’re spring cleaning. We’re happy to help!

Top 4 Things to Assess When Renovating Your Floors

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Things to Consider When Replacing Your Flooring

Especially if you just moved into a house, you may want to replace the flooring. Hardwood flooring can be scratched, carpeting dirty and worn, or laminate chipped and stained. When replacing the flooring in your home, it’s important to consider several things to ensure you’ve made the best choices. Let’s go through some of them now!

Durability

Have you ever been in a home that’s all carpet? It makes it hard to differentiate one room from the next and doesn’t lend any personality to the house. There are many flooring options to choose from, and they work well with each other. Choosing the best flooring for each room is key. How often does the room get used and what does it get used for? Kitchens, for instance, have a lot of foot traffic and there will likely be many food and drink spills – flooring like tile or laminate may be best. For hallways and stairs, an engineered hardwood can reduce the wear and tear.

Aesthetic

Which flooring you choose depends quite a bit on the look and feel you want your home to have. Leaning towards comfortable and cozy? A combination of carpet and tile could do the trick. Looking for a more modern appeal? Mixing engineered wood with concrete flooring is futuristic and fun. These days, engineered wood, tile and carpet come in so many shapes, colors and sizes that the sky is truly the limit.

Cost

And of course, the price of your flooring matters too. Carpet and laminate are less expensive to purchase and install than other flooring, like hardwood or tile. That being said, both of these materials aren’t as durable so they may need to be replaced more often. Spending a bit more up front on materials like engineered wood may mean that they stay looking good and last for the lifetime of your home.

Comfort

Finally, your comfort is key. If you spend a lot of time lounging in your living room, you may want to pick a plush carpet. If your living room is mostly for entertaining guests, an engineered hardwood might be best to withstand shoes and spills. Another example is your bedroom – do you use the bedroom mostly for sleeping, or do you have a desk in there? Again, your flooring type depends on your use of the room – choose wisely!

Need a hand choosing the best flooring? We can help! Give Bright Star Handyman Service a call today.

Three Ways to Freshen Up the Look of a Room

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It’s finally springtime and aside from the usual ‘spring cleaning’, you might be looking for other home improvement ideas to keep yourself busy while the weather warms up enough to do the outside projects. Here are three ways to spice up your rooms this spring.

Add a Little Paint

You may be looking for something simple and affordable rather than a big expensive project, so know that a coat of fresh paint (chosen well) never hurt any aesthetic. Take to Pinterest to inspire you with a new color scheme to carry the fresh feel of spring throughout the rest of the year. Maybe you aren’t looking to repaint the entire house, but you know that big wall in the living room that you can never figure out what to do with? Turn it into an accent wall with a color that ‘pops’ or upcycled panels. Trellised rooms are exciting to the eye and can be a great creative project that will occupy some time.

Hang & Rearrange

Redecorating always feels good when you’re in the need for something fresh. If you aren’t emotionally attached to the artwork you have already, consider finding some new pieces to accent the room. A nice mirror or a creative family portrait montage brings a new energy into an otherwise stagnant space. There are thousands of DIY projects to incorporate some crafty art into your home during the season of fresh starts. Sometimes, even the rearranging of the furniture can give you the fresh new look you are craving! Plants can also bring a brand new life to your space.

Add Some Depth to the Walls

If you are feeling adventurous and motivated, wainscotting or paneling might be just the spring project to take on. Wainscoting is not only aesthetically pleasing, it also protects the lower portions of your walls from damage. Adding trim or molding to wainscoting creates an elegant, classy look to an otherwise boring wall. Some people are even taking to decorating their ceilings with different panel designs to add a little extra charm. However, this undertaking doesn’t have to be pricey. A suggestion is to apply a grid of 1x6 drywall panels to a drywalled surface, add a coat of paint to the grid, and then magically, the boards, stiles, and rails create a look like something out of a design magazine.

Whatever it is that calls to you, all three of these are easy enough and have millions of points of inspiration throughout the internet to help get you started on spicing up the rooms in your home before summer projects start. It is time to let go of the old and bring in the new! Reach out to Bright Star Handyman Service for all of your home renovation needs in Philadelphia and South Jersey!

Keep Your Home Safe from Pests & Critters

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Critter Control

Spring is in the air! The sun is out, flowers are popping up in your yard, and it’s starting to warm up during the day. The saying ‘spring cleaning’ exists for a reason – many of us see these signs of the seasons changing and are ready to shake off the doldrums of winter by cleaning house.

One big item on your to-do list should be ridding your home of any pests that may have moved in during the cold winter months. In partnership with our friends at Critter Control, here’s a list of some things you can do to make sure those pesky critters evacuate your home and fast.

Clean, Clean, Clean!

Often critters are seeking refuge in your home because there are so many delicious things for them to eat! Make sure your food is stored on high shelves in sealed containers. Have pets? Elevate their food off the floor so pests don’t have access. Regularly sweeping your kitchen and dining areas for crumbs and taking out your garbage at least once a week will help too. Make sure that your sinks and bathtubs have no standing water while not in use.

Seal the Entrances

Regularly check your home, especially doors and windows, for holes and other gaps that allow pests to get inside. If you find them, close them up! Make sure your doors have tight seals and install screens on all the windows. Check places you might not see without looking, such as cabinets and outlets. Home improvement stores are stocked with sealants and pastes especially designed for repairing any cracks and crevices.

Plant a Pest-Fighting Garden

Many common garden plants can deter pests naturally. Basil, lavender and catmint can help deter mosquitos. Garlic and sage prevent ticks from taking up shop. Planting some rosemary close to your home scares the moths away. And of course, if you are able to prevent these pests from coming near your home, you’ll also diminish the number of spiders taking up residence. Win win!

Call Critter Control

If certain household pests like mice, ants, or snakes have made a home in your home, it’s time to call in the experts. Invading nuisance wildlife can wreak havoc on residential properties and structures and if left unattended wildlife and pests can cause costly damage to your property. Check out the Critter Control website to find out more information about these critters, and then give them a call!

Top Home Improvements for 2019

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Luxury Upgrades

“Luxury” means “a state of great comfort and extravagant living”. These days, that doesn’t necessarily mean you have to drive a Ferrari or buy a solid gold toilet - small improvements in your home can make all the difference. A 2019 trend in home improvement is to add luxury touches to your home, rather than starting from bare bones. Buying a fancy coffeemaker, re-painting your kitchen cabinets with chalk paint, or even upgrading your furniture can loan a luxury feel to your home.

Home Automation

With advances in technology like Nest and Google Home, you can operate anything in your house with the touch of a button. From advanced security systems to remote operation of utilities, the phone that’s constantly in your pocket will allow you to manage your home from near or far. Want to use alternative energy sources? Charge up your solar panels from afar during a sunny day. Kids home from school and you’re not there yet? Grant them remote entry with a touch of your keypad. You can even set when your dishwasher starts from your iPhone, but you still have to load it - for now.

Natural Light

Increasing amounts of research demonstrates what natural light can do for our homes and our moods. The trend in 2019 is toward bigger and bolder windows, with light fixtures in the less sunny parts of our homes that can create the same ambience. More natural light equals more Vitamin D, which can boost our moods during the cloudiest parts of the year. In addition, sunlight boosts our body’s production of serotonin, known as the ‘happy hormone’. Finally, natural light is beneficial for your sleep/wake cycle – allowing natural light into your home will help your body know when it’s time to be awake and when it’s time for bed.

Open Floor Plans

These days, we’re knocking down the walls and blurring the lines between indoor and outdoor. Main floors are spacious, with kitchens looking into the living rooms on one side and opening up to a patio on the other. Top floors are open too! In addition to being the place that we live and sleep, our homes are the place that we entertain friends and family – it’s much easier to do so with big, open spaces. Especially look for kitchen and dining areas that emulate open air bars and restaurants, with collapsible doors, durable rugs, and patio bars.

6 Ways to Revamp Your Walls

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Doing some home remodeling, but not sure what to do with your walls? Here are some fun ideas for those blank walls in your home, and we didn’t even include wallpaper!

Fabric

Armed with a little liquid starch and some lightweight cotton fabric in a fun print, you can turn a bland wall into a work of art. Want something a little less time-intensive? Simply hanging a series of table runners, a decorative shower curtain, or a knitted blanket on a dowel can make a huge statement.

Bookshelves

There are hundreds of ideas on Pinterest of how to turn walls into repositories for your book collection and look decorative in the process. From wall-to-wall shelves to artsy bookcases to picture frames big enough to hold books, the sky is the limit!

Washi

This Japanese masking tape comes in hundreds of fun patterns and colors. Use the tape in vertical or horizontal lines to instantly change a room. This change is so easy and quick, you can update with new styles as often as you’d like! 

Texture

If you have a large wall in a neutral color that you’d like to keep plain but still stand out, texture may be the answer. Specialty molded wall tiles can create a three-dimensional effect in ripples, waves, or patterns and are easy to install.

Natural Elements

Some house elements that are commonly used as flooring have started showing up on walls and ceilings too! Cork tiles, hardwood boards, natural stone, and bamboo are just some of the options that can bring a bit of nature into your home and really accent a wall.

Paint

And of course, there’s the classic wall décor – paint! Paint an accent wall in a bright, fun color, paint stripes in a closet, or even paint a fun mural on one wall in your office. Another fun option is chalkboard paint, especially for kid’s rooms. Then they can draw on their walls all day, and you simply erase it! 

If you’re looking for more ideas, reach out to Bright Star Handyman Service and we will be happy to help you achieve your home goals!

10 Repairs You Should Always Hire a Handyman To Do

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When it comes to home remodeling, sometimes DIY is not the answer. Be sure to call a handyman at a house renovation service near you if any of these scenarios pop up in your home.

Put up cabinets

You want your cabinets to stand out in your kitchen, but not because they weren’t put up correctly. Lining up and installing cabinets can be tricky business – letting a professional do it is well worth the cost.

Fix leaky plumbing

There’s no worse feeling than discovering a puddle under your pipes. Whether it’s a leak under your kitchen sink or (aak!) a running toilet, a handyman should be the first person you call for help.

Rewire light fixtures

Electricity is not to be messed with – it’s complicated and can be dangerous. Whether you’re installing a chandelier or simply notice an arc in your circuit, call in a professional.

Repair a furnace

Furnaces are complicated creatures and they tend to break at the most inconvenient times. A handyman in your neighborhood will be able to identify and resolve the problem, fast.

Painting the house

Sure, you could paint your own house – but have you thought about how long it might take? Your local house renovation service has the handyman and the equipment to make the job go faster and better. 

Replacing a door

Replacing a bedroom door might be a DIY job, but entry doors - especially sliding doors and screen doors – really require a special touch. Same goes with changing locks. Better safe than sorry!

Installing a gate

Gates are both functional and aesthetic – it’s important that they match your landscaping, work well for years, and are built level so they do not scrape on the ground. 

Changing out a spigot

Plumbing on the outside of the house is just as important as the inside and can be just as difficult to repair. Before you get frustrated, call in your handyman to fix your spigot in a minute.

Fixing a floor

Whether you’re repairing a patch of carpet, a cracked tile, or a damaged floorboard, your friendly neighborhood handyman will have the right tools to do the job.

Repair the stairs

Stairs not only involve finding the right materials, but they must be built to code and can include railings. Luckily, there are professionals who can help!

When choosing a handyman, it’s important to make sure that they have good references, the right qualifications, and they understand your wants and needs. At Bright Star Handyman, we’re here to help. Reach out to us today for more information!

Top Home Renovations and Home Design Trends for 2019

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As a new year comes around, it’s always fun to speculate on what trends - from clothes to food and especially home design - will be showing up on Pinterest and high-end magazines. While good taste never goes out of style, some interior design trends represent changes in how bigger issues such as the environment, technology and family time are perceived. This has never been truer than what can be expected in 2019.

Please continue reading for Acme Brick’s annual round-up of the hottest home design trends. 

#1 Sustainability is a Megatrend

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How To Choose Colors for Your New Home Renovation with Bright Star Handyman Service

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How To Pick the Perfect Home Color Scheme 


Your home is not only a place of rest and relaxation, it is also the place where you express yourself, create, and practice hospitality. Colors have a lot of influence on emotions, psychologically, so your home should reflect the feelings you want to have yourself as well as your family and your guests. Choosing the perfect color scheme for your home can be simple with a few easy guidelines. 


Lighting

First, what kind of natural lighting does your home have? This will be dependent on which direction your home faces. North or east facing homes are cooler because there is little direct sunlight. Painting your walls and furnishings with cool colors are likely to make your home feel even chillier. On the other hand, if your home is south or west facing, it is likely that your home is warmer from more direct sunlight. Warm colors can make your home feel oppressive if it is already warmer than typical. For north/east facing homes, we recommend reds, yellows, beiges, or creamy colors. For south/west facing homes, try something in the realm of blues, greens, and grays. Whites are typically neutral, but we would recommend finding some additional colors within the warm/cool palette to supplement. 


The Feel

What type of environment do you want to create inside the home? Are you looking for a clean, modern feel or something more organic and welcoming? Depending on what you discovered with the last step, you can work with your personalized style and still stay true to warm or cool colors. For example, if you are more interested in an earthy vibe, say you have a lot of plants, but own a home that is naturally cooler, you could still decorate with warmer earth tones like lighter beiges and supplement with the greens of the plants themselves. Also consider that cooler colors are calming, as warmer colors are energizing and take note of which rooms you want to feel relaxed or stimulated in.  Bedrooms and living rooms may be a better fit for a warmer environment. Whereas, bathrooms and kitchens may lean towards a cooler and brighter color to support a fresher, clean feeling.


Add Some Complements

Once you have chosen your dominant color, you can then do some research on what colors are complementary to it. “Highlight” colors are a great idea, if used in moderation. Say your living room is blue/gray, a well-placed gold piece of furniture or piece of art will draw the eye and lighten up the feel. Likewise, if your bedroom is more in a brown/beige palette, consider bringing in a light blue bedspread for a balanced aesthetic. If you struggle with conceptualizing what this means, check out this great article with 2019’s top color trends. 


There are many ways to interpret your space, so be sure to tap into your own personal style. The home is the best place for self-expression and with a little help, can represent you as a whole. Whether you base your decision off of your favorite season, a choice piece of art or furniture, or from a Pinterest board, take it step by step and watch as your perfect environment creates itself.  If you have any questions, reach out to Bright Star Handyman Service for professional help for your home renovation!

Bored With Your Kitchen? 5 Kitchen Upgrades Without a Full Renovation!

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5 Ways to Upgrade Your Kitchen

Want to upgrade your kitchen without going full-blown demo? Even minor changes can make a huge difference! We’ve put together some kitchen remodel ideas, from small to large, to help you bring new life to one of the most popular rooms in your house.

Change Up Your Cabinets

Upgrading your cabinets will make your kitchen feel like it’s brand new, and you don’t even have to swap them out! For example, adding a fresh coat of paint (such as Annie Sloan chalk paint) really brightens up the room. 

Not ready for the time commitment associated with painting? Other small changes can make a world of difference. Removing the doors for an open look, installing roll-out shelving, or installing crown molding are just a few options.

Fantastic New Floors

There are so many choices in flooring these days, the possibilities are endless. When it comes to durability and a polished look, tile floors are the most popular choice. With glazed and unglazed versions, you can choose between sleek and modern or vintage and earthy. In addition, tile can withstand drops and spills without a problem. 

Have an open floor plan? You may want to try hardwood or engineered wood so you can maintain the same floor type throughout. Hardwood is comfortable underfoot but less resistant to spills. Engineered wood, on the other hand, is just as durable as tile with the same hardwood look.

Get Creative with Paint

When was the last time you painted the walls in your kitchen? We’re guessing that it’s been a while. Try painting your kitchen walls a different color and see what a difference it makes! 

Other items in your kitchen can be painted as well – in addition to your cabinets, you can paint your dining room set, your floor, even your Formica countertops (there’s a special paint for that now).

Upgrade the Appliances

It’s amazing what a new set of appliances can do to change the look of your kitchen, especially if the appliances you already own don’t match. Black, white, or stainless steel, the appliances these days are sharp, efficient, and practically designer.

Even small appliances can brighten up the room. A Kitchenmaid mixer and a tea kettle that matches another color in your kitchen, such as your newly painted walls, can tie the whole look together!

Find a Fun Light Fixture

We often don’t think about our lights unless they’re not working. However, a unique light fixture can be the center of attention and change your kitchen’s whole look. A mini chandelier, drop lights, the options are endless. 

Another option for lighting is to add light panels above or underneath your cabinets. It makes the whole room glow.

As you can see, you don’t need to demo your kitchen to make a big difference in how it looks. Call Bright Star Handyman today – we’d love to help!

How to Save Money By Making Your Home More Energy Efficient by Updating Appliances, Insulating, and Using Solar Power!

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Being “green” is a new lifestyle, business, and cultural trend, and also directly impacts the money you spend on energy bills. Across the spectrum of sealing and insulating, energy efficient appliances, solar panels and LED lighting, there are many ways to implement small and large changes in your household that promote financial and carbon footprint savings. 

Seal & Insulate

Your home’s heating and cooling system is among the most significant in saving on energy costs. The duct system is comprised of tubes that connect to central air conditioners and furnaces through your ceilings, walls, and floors. However, most of these systems are not fabricated properly which can cause hot and cool air to slowly escape from your home. This obviously results in more energy being consumed, because the system must work harder to regulate temperatures.

Attics and vented crawl spaces have a tendency to be poorly insulated, so sealing the ducts and insulating them can be an easy way to save money on heating and cooling utility bills, and increase the overall energy efficiency of your home. The quantity of insulation needed to cover your attic will depend on the size of your home, and the climate of where you live, but the average cost of additional insulation runs around $1,400. You can also close your radiators or vents in unoccupied rooms, potentially saving you up to 20 percent on heating costs.

Energy efficient appliances 

Home appliances like refrigerators, stoves, dishwashers, and laundry machines make up about 13% of a household’s energy costs. These appliances are notorious for wasting energy, so think about updating your appliances this year to save money in the long run. Energy Star products, backed by the U.S. EPA and Department of Energy are a great place to start. For example, an Energy Star labeled refrigerator will save you between $30 and $70 a year compared to models that were produced 15 years ago.

Smart home products can also increase your home’s energy efficiency and can even be controlled from a smartphone or tablet. A programmable thermostat allows you to lower the temperature during times when no one is home or the family is sleeping. Users can set a specific temperature to different time periods in the weekdays and weekends. 

Other products like the Nest Thermostat integrate smart internet technology that allows control from your smartphone. If you were on vacation and wanted to adjust the heating and cooling at custom times, you could do that all from your phone. You can save as much as 10 percent a year with these devices. 

LED 

Light-emitting diode, or LED bulbs provide longer lasting light and are more energy efficient than old incandescent bulbs. Most families will spend about 5% of their energy budget in lighting costs and switching to energy-efficient lighting is one of the fastest ways to cut your bill. You can save about $45 each year simply by replacing your home's five most commonly used light fixtures or bulbs with LED lights. 

LED bulbs are currently available in many products such as replacements for traditional incandescents, small track lights, and desk lamps. In addition to outdoor area lights, reflector bulbs used in recessed fixtures, and kitchen under-cabinet lighting. LEDs have immense possibility with their versatile abilities like motion sensors, wide array of colors, and dimmable functions. 

LEDs have a higher cost than traditional lightbulbs, but they save money in the future. The technology operates with very little energy for a lengthy duration. 

Solar Energy

Have you ever wished your electricity bill was more predictable? Cheaper? Installing solar panels can protect you from rising energy prices by producing your very own clean electricity. Solar panels can guarantee steady electricity rates over twenty plus years, arguably the highest rate of long-term savings in any home remodel. The price behind solar power has decreased in recent years which means solar savings are higher than ever! Solar panels are certainly a long term investment but well worth the expense, and better for the environment. 

Whether the changes you apply are small or large, transforming your household into an energy efficient haven is rewarding in many ways. Rewarding to your bank account, to Mother Nature, and to humanity overall. Contact Bright Star Handyman for energy efficient home remodels and transformation. 

Best Flooring for Your Home: Wood, Tile, Vinyl, Bamboo, Laminate, Carpet, & More

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Top 3 Floor Options for Your Home by Room

If you’ve been to Floor & Decor lately (or even Home Depot!), you’ve seen the endless options for flooring these days: laminate, wood, bamboo, tile, engineered wood, a million kinds of carpet. How are we supposed to choose? In an effort to help, we’ve rounded up a list of the best flooring for each room in your home…enjoy!

Kitchen & Dining Room

  • Porcelain tile – A classic look, tile makes it easy to clean up spills and is hard enough to withstand the occasional dropped pan. Larger tiles in your kitchen can make the space look bigger too!

  • Vinyl – Don’t worry, vinyl flooring has changed a lot since it’s creation in 1958. The new vinyl is attractive, durable, and easy to clean.

  • Engineered wood – The possibilities are endless these days! A lighter color laid in a unique design will make your kitchen truly unique.

Living and Family Room 

  • Solid wood – Still THE BEST, most classic look. And it comes in so many flavors! Accessorize with a stylish rug or leave it bare.

  • Engineered Wood – The stuff looks like real wood. Seriously. And it’s a bit more durable than solid wood if you have a high traffic home.

  • Carpet – Sometimes in these rooms, comfort is king! Cozy movie nights are perfect with a plush carpet and popcorn.

Bathroom and Laundry Room

  • Porcelain tile – See the reasons above under ‘Kitchen & Dining Room’. Using smaller tiles lends a polished look, and the design possibilities are endless.

  • Vinyl – Comes in a million colors and really is better these days. You can match your towels, your soap…the world is your oyster.

  • Engineered Wood – This is a recent trend in bathrooms, and we love it! So durable and moisture-resistant.

Bedroom

  • Hardwood – We love hardwood in bedrooms – so classy. Make the flooring pop with a throw rug or a faux cowskin.

  • Tile – Because why not? We’ve seen some amazing tile designs in bedrooms, especially clay tile or travertine.

  • Carpet – Sometimes you just want that softness under your bare pajama feet!

Hopefully this helps you make your big flooring decisions! Stop by and see us today to find the perfect flooring options for your home!

The Best Home Remodel Trends for Bathroom, Kitchen, and Living Room in 2019

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This year will highlight modern, unique, and artisan looks around every room of a remodel or repair project. Embrace dramatic accents, technologic advances, and open everything, like shelves and floorplans. Retro styles make their comeback through colored cabinetry, furniture, and graphic wallpaper, and contemporary designs continue to gain traction through simplicity and class. 

Full-Height Backsplashes

In 2019, backsplashes are the star of show— counter to ceiling tile can create a beautiful focal point in the kitchen or bathroom, conveniently pairing with the increasingly popular modern style of floating cabinets and large windows. The tile itself can lighten up a room with its naturally reflective properties, or draw attention to the wall with a dramatic, patterned tile design. 

Gold, Brass and Copper 

Whether it’s a gold finish, brass feature, or copper accent—stainless steel is out, and rustic metals are in. When planning your home remodel for 2019—think brass kitchen sinks, copper accent tiles, and gold finishing on arms and legs of furniture. But don’t be scared to welcome new metals without saying bye to the old ones. Luckily, mixed metals are “in” this year, so bring on the new accents without feeling the need to ditch all appliances. 

Floral Wallpaper

Find floral designs in the hottest home remodels of the year. In the laundry room, nursery, or living room. Subtle and sleek, or distinctive and unique—whatever your desire, you are bound to find a design that fits your style. Wallpaper used to be the red-headed step child of design, but modern options include hand-drawn and hand-screened printed art that screams “class.” 

Cool Colors: Deep Blues, Greens & Grays

Cooler colors are expected to make a solid appearance in 2019 from walls to furniture to kitchen cabinets. Gray is still the most popular wall color by far, but Navy Blue and Hunter Green are quickly gaining popularity. Color experts presume this is due to the white and bright trend dominating the design scene in previous years. Green, velvet couches and vibrant cabinets are 

Open Floorplans  

It’s no surprise that open floorplans have become progressively common in recent years, a perfect combination of functional and appealing. Clawfoot tubs in the center of bathrooms, kitchens fully opening to outdoor patios, or the classic combination of living and dining rooms allow your home to feel bigger and more inviting. Not to mention the ease in entertaining, cooking and dining; the family chef can chat with guests while preparing food, and parents can watch their kids while cleaning up. 

Minimalism & Simplicity 

Open shelving, simplistic molding, and overall de-cluttering of knick-knacks and furniture. Less is more and what better way to start the year than streamlining your home in function and design. Open shelving provides a minimal vibe and straight-forward accessibility to plates in the kitchen and toiletries in the bathroom. 

Smart Home Innovations

Refrigerators. Coffee Makers. Lighting Fixtures. Door Locks. Heating Systems. All of these have one thing in common: they can be controlled from your smartphone and programmed to your liking. Implement a lighting schedule or set your coffee to be brewed at 7 AM. Smart thermostats can even detect when you are home and when you are away, so your HVAC system adjusts accordingly. Save on utility bills and treat the environment with kindness, the opportunities are endless. 

Hardwood Floors

Wooden material is warm and inviting, hence it’s preferred status as a flooring option. Tiles and vinyl plank flooring that imitate a wooden look are the second most popular selection in 2019. Engineered vinyl plank flooring can be great for young families because the material is waterproof and provides insulation through its cork underlayment. 

White Quartz Countertops 

Move over marble—Quartz is stealing your spotlight! In previous years, white marble was trendy in high-end and luxury homes, but unfortunately, its porous, expensive, and needy when it comes to maintenance. Enter quartz, it’s remarkable cousin that costs less, is easier to clean, and strikingly similar to the lavish and rare, white marble of the past. 

Tall Column Refrigerators 

Column refrigeration provides the option to customize the way you store your food. It has become increasingly difficult for a traditional fridge to accommodate a mid to large sized family, considering frozen pizzas, lasagna pans and wine bottles. Column systems allow you to choose the size of your freezer and refrigerator, exterior elements such as left or right hinged doors, water and ice dispensers, and width of the appliance. Contact a company that specializes in home repair services to get the job done, these systems are built into a wall and can be tricky to install.

Whether your 2019 home goals are big or small, Bright Star Handyman Service can do it all. Professional and skilled individuals will transform any room in your house, or simply touch up the details to create a whole new look. Click here to request a free estimate! 

10 Home Repair Services for Less Than $500

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Are you tired of the same-old, same-old in your home?  There are lots of ways to update a home, but sometimes our wallets won’t allow us to build our perfect home at this very second.  We have some suggestions for home repairs that may get you a few steps closer to living in your perfect space without breaking the bank.  Here are 10 home repair services for less than $500:

Seal the Deal in the Bathroom

Does your bathroom look dirty regardless of how many times you’ve scrubbed the tub & tiles?  One cost-effective way to give your bathroom a new, fresh feel is to replace the grout between the tiles.  Over time, tile grout can start to discolor and chip away regardless of how clean you keep it.  It’s normal wear and tear for a bathroom, but it can make your bathroom feel older than it is.  Sometimes, deteriorating grout can even make the surrounding tiles come loose if water gets behind them.  The caulking around your bathroom fixtures may also need a little help.  Caulk is the sealing around your sink, bathtub, toilet, and bathroom hardware that prevents water leaking into your walls and flooring.  Both grout and caulk can wear down over time and allow leaks, which will cost you more to replace in the long run.  

Upgrade Your Porcelain Throne

If your toilet is constantly breaking the chain or isn’t doing it’s job with water pressure, it may be time to upgrade!  Newer appliances, like toilets, are more energy and resource efficient than ever before.  While making an upgrade like an energy efficient toilet or low-pressure shower head will cost you money up front, you may benefit from lower bills on the backend.  You can be more water-conscious and have a shiny new toilet that can shift the look of the whole room!

Revamp Your Interior Walls

If you’re bored with your plainly painted living room or kitchen walls, you have some options without breaking the bank!  There is one big way to completely change the dimensions of your walls: wainscoting.  While this might sound like an old English term, wainscoting is a wall covering that has become increasingly popular in the last few years.  More specifically, it is vertical, painted wood panels that cover the bottom half of a wall, typically horizontally lined with a wood molding at the top to separate the panels from the drywall.  This is a great way to diversify the look of your walls and potentially cover any minor damage the lower half of your walls may have sustained from your kids or pets!  Price will depend on the size of the room but can be an affordable DIY project or reach out to us for our home repair services!

Shiplap Installation

Many people who are avid watchers of HGTV have seen and heard about shiplap quite frequently in home redesign.  But why?  Shiplap has been commonly known as siding on the exterior of your home, but has recently gained popularity for interior home remodeling.  Shiplap, as opposed to wainscoting, is horizontal wood paneling that lines the walls, with the top panel laying slightly over the panel beneath, like a roof tile but thicker & longer.  Originally used to support proper rain flow down the side of a house, many have turned it into a feature wall within their home!  It’s a beautiful way to bring unique texture into a room.  Cost varies depending on the size of the room, but some shiplap panels can be found for as little as $1 per foot of board!

Line a Room with Crown Molding

Crown molding is the decorative line that runs around the crease where your wall and ceiling meet.  While older homes typically have crown molding, many newer or renovated homes can come a little more bare.  Molding comes in a number of materials, shapes, and sizes and cost can vary depending on which you choose.  A simple crown molding installation can make your living room, dining room, or bedroom look even more elegant without breaking the bank.  It softens the hard corners of the room while adding a classy, finished look.  They can typically be painted any color and come in a variety of shapes.  Some are more standard, while more expensive options like plaster can offer large, intricately detailed custom molds like an early 1900’s Victorian home.  While some people choose to do this themselves, we recommend our home repair services to give you a hand!

It’s All in the Lighting

One cost effective way to make changes to several rooms at once is to update your lighting.  Replacing old light fixtures can not only bring more light in to your home, it can affect the entire feel of the room.  An older light fixture could be dating your home 20 years without you even realizing it!  Not to mention, changing the fixture and converting to LED light bulbs could help reduce the amount of electricity your home uses on an annual basis.  If your overhead light fixture isn’t bright enough, look into investing in a floor lamp to add more light.  Want to see the difference lighting can make in your home before making the purchase?  Take one of your lamps and move it to another spot in the room, and see how the dynamic in the room changes from just this one step!

Paint the Town Red

Painting your kitchen, living room, bathroom, or bedroom can drastically change the feel of the room.  While it takes a little bit more preparation to move and cover your furniture, sometimes a new coat of paint will have your home looking like a brand new place!  If you don’t want to paint your walls, take a look at your cabinets and baseboards and see if they need a new color or coat of paint.  Typically, it’s best to sand down the old paint to get the new coat to go on smoothly and last longer.  One word of caution, sample your paint before you decide to make touch-ups on your walls or trim.  It can be difficult to match paint colors exactly (usually in older homes with discontinued paint colors), so work with someone to make sure your touch-up paint matches exactly, or get ready to repaint everything!  

Picture Perfect Windows

Blinds and curtains are typically under siege in homes with kids and pets, but can also wear down and break on their own over time.  One way to update the look of your home is to install new blinds and curtains.  While cost depending on how many windows you have and how fancy you want your blinds, it can be a great way to make your home look even nicer!  If blinds are out of the question, take a good look at your curtains.  Curtains are great to reduce the hard lines that windows and their frames can create in a room.  Looking for more light?  Blinds and sheers are a great option.  Wanting to limit light in the bedroom, heavier drapes can help cut out excess light.

Save the Stairs

If you have pets, an older home, or a high-traffic area in your home, your floors may be showing you that it’s time to do something.  Installing a floor runner up your stairs or in a hallway is a great way to hide the wear and tear on your floors.  Carpet prices vary but there are several affordable options.  If you choose a full runner for the stairs, be sure to secure it so it does not slide when you walk on it.  There are also individual carpet pieces that use adhesive to stick to each individual stair.  If you think you need to replace the stairs altogether, reach out to us about our home repair services!

Scrub Away

If you’re not sure you’re ready to replace anything in your home yet, maybe a good thorough cleaning will have you loving your same old space!  Some homeowners that are trying to sell can change their minds about their home after deep cleaning and repairing their home.  If you’ve never cleaned your light fixtures or repolished your wood floors, this might be a good place to start!  It could be more time-intensive on your side, but might just be what you’re looking for in a home repair!

Regardless of what you’re looking for in a home beautification, feel free to reach out to us at Bright Star Handyman Service to learn more about our home repair services.  We’re happy to help to create your dream home!

Home Renovations in 2019 with Bright Star Handyman Service

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As we reflect back on 2018, we’re so grateful for everything this year brought and taught us! As we gear up for the year ahead, we’re expecting 2019 to bring even more big things!

If you’ve been waiting for the perfect time for a home renovation in Philadelphia or South Jersey, the time has come. This year, we want to help you with all of your home needs. If you’re not sure where to start, begin prioritizing where you spend most of your time. Does your small kitchen need more space? Does your bathroom only have enough space for one person at a time?

Here are 4 ways to update your home in 2019!

Kitchen Makeover
You don’t need to completely gut your family kitchen to get more space and use out of your cooking and storage space. There are few ways to completely change the look of your kitchen without a complete renovation:

  • Repaint the cabinets to freshen up their look and avoid a full cabinet installation

  • Change out your cabinet hardware like knobs and handles for new decor

  • Upgrade your kitchen appliances to new energy efficient appliances that might save you more money in monthly bills

  • Change out your countertops to create a brand new preparation space for family dinner

Bathroom Overhaul
Older bathrooms are generally smaller than bathrooms built in newer homes. If you find that you need more space, there are plenty of ways to optimize what you already have:

  • Change out the bathroom sink to better fit the amount of space you have, if you need more storage, select a model with a cabinet underneath or for more free space, select a pedestal sink to open up the area underneath

  • Add floating shelves or cabinets above the toilet or sink to move your belongings off of the ground and countertops and into a designated space

  • Swap out your shower curtain and bathroom rug to add a new color scheme and cleaner fill to your bathroom

  • Treat your bathtub, sink, and toilet with a strong cleaner to remove any calcium, lime, or rust deposits to give your bathroom a super clean feel

Basement Conversion
Need more space in your home for storage or your growing family? A basement remodel might be in the cards for you instead of building a new room to add-on to your home. Basements make great home additions and the increased square footage can be used as a number of things:

  • Turn your basement into a kids playroom with organizers for all of their toys and craft supplies

  • Convert your basement into an extra bedroom to give yourself more space for guests or for your family

  • Build shelving and organizational systems to store anything you are not currently using, including bike mounts, tool boxes, winter clothing, holiday decorations, and more

  • Create your dream workspace by partly finishing the basement with a table for a crafting area, storage compartments, wall organizers, and anything else you need to make it your ideal workshop

Outdoor Beautification
Want to maximize your space by creating a beautiful outdoor space for nice days? Adding to the exterior beauty of your home can increase its drive-by value and creates an inviting space to come home to after a long day. We can help you:

  • Build an outdoor deck for seating, grilling, and entertaining

  • Clean the gutters to keep them lasting longer and to avoid leaks from water buildup on the roof

  • Repaint the exterior of your home for a clean start and to make you feel like you’re walking up to a new home each time you pull into your driveway

  • Repair the fence and landscaping to keep your pets and kids safe in the yard with a beautiful backdrop to encourage more time outside

Whatever your home renovation needs are in 2019, Bright Star Handyman Service is here to help! Reach out to us for a free home consultation today and let’s give you the home of your dreams in 2019!