diy

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!

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!

Is Winter the Best Time to Renovate?

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Summer is the most common time to take on a renovation project. The kids are out of school, curb appeal is on the mind, and fair weather makes it easy to open up a house. But there are some key advantages to renovating in the winter, like availability, cost, and timing.

Contractor availability

One advantage of choosing to engage a contractor for a renovation in the winter is less competition. Spring and summer are the busiest times of year for home renovations, and contractors’ plates will be full once renovation season is in full swing, which could leave you competing for the best builders.

Continue Reading…

8 Ways to Update Your Home for Less than $500

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Contrary to popular belief, the winter months are an excellent time to commence home improvement projects. They say spring brings new beginners, but winter home improvement projects offer slight advantages over warmer seasons, including shorter completion times and potential discounts. This timeframe, although generally reserved for family, friends and holiday celebration, is an end-of-the-year slowdown for many businesses and contractors. In return, it can be a lucrative time of year to not only secure a great deal, but check off those last-minute items on your to-do list before washing your hands clean of 2018.

The general perception of winter home improvement projects involves a hefty price tag, but the reality is quite the opposite. Whether small projects or moderate upgrades, the following highlights the best winter home improvement ideas that won’t break the bank:

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Why is My House So Cold?

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It’s getting colder outside and it is time to start cranking your home heating system, but why is it still cold in your house?  Just because the windows and doors of your home are closed & the heater is on doesn’t mean your house will stay warm.  The bitter cold of winter can show us where our home is leaking air and raising our gas & electric bills by overusing our heating and cooling systems to compensate. 

If you’re sitting on your couch and you feel a slight breeze of cool air, you might have a draft in your home.  There are several contributors to having a drafty home and, luckily, there are simple ways to locate and fix the air leaks!   When there is a leak in your home, the air inside of the home escapes outside and the outdoor air invades the desired controlled temperature of your home. 

How do you locate the source of the draft?

First, notice what room you’re in when you feel it the most.  Is it a certain part of the room, like when you’re sitting on the couch?  Or is it a general coldness you can feel in multiple rooms?

The most common culprits for air leaks include, but are not limited to, windows, doors, attics, and fireplaces.  Sometimes, even light fixtures and electrical outlets can allow air in, if the insulation is old or lacking.  There are several ways to remedy unwanted airflow in your home.  

Here are some easy ways to fix the draft in your home:

Check the Attic

Heat rises & if there is not enough insulation to keep the heat from leaving the house through the attic, the heated air will rise straight out of your house and let the cold in.  Sometimes holes in the roof at the culprit.  If you’re not sure, hire a contractor to inspect the attic for you.

Shut the Fireplace Damper 

Fires can offer a great source of warmth when they’re in use, but when they’re not blazing, the fireplace becomes a wind tunnel directly in to your living room or bed room.  One easy way to keep the cold out and the heat in, is to close the damper between uses.  Don’t forget to reopen it before next use though, or you’ll end up with a house full of smoke!

Replace the Weather Stripping on Windows & Doors

As our homes age and slightly deteriorate from normal wear and tear, the rubber pieces that help line up our windows and doors can also wear out.  Dried and cracked rubber will not fill the seams of your windows and doors like new, elastic rubber.  When the space between the door and the door frame (or window and window frame) is not fully sealed with the rubber, air will make its way inside and out.  You might be able to tell when to replace the rubber or you can ask a contractor!  Sometimes the windows themselves are the culprit.  Read more about windows here.

If you cannot find the source of your air leak, reach out to us for a free consultation and we’ll be happy to arrange a repair man to your home to help you out if you need!

12 Easy Ways to Winterize Your Home

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Being cold is not cool. Luckily, with our helpful collection of 12 easy projects, you’ll have your home ready for winter long before the snow flies.

1. Caulk Windows and Doors

It can’t be said enough that windows and doors are the two leading culprits for winter heat loss in your home. With these caulking tips, you’ll be able to keep your home warm and ensure a tight seal around interior trim. And as a result, warm air stays in your home. Don’t forget to check your external caulk as well and fix any gaps before the snow flies.

2. Add Insulation

Beefing up the insulation in your home, particularly in basements and attics can keep your home warm. And will promote a more even temperature and eliminate cold spots. Better yet, adding insulation is a cost-effective solution to what can be an expensive problem over time. Follow our guide to insulating your house, and you will have a toasty home before you can say ‘winter.’

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Happy Halloween!

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Happy Halloween to all of our friends and family in South Jersey and Philadelphia! We are grateful for your love and support as we enter the last quarter of the year! If you have been considering a home renovation or remodel, now is the time to reach out to Bright Star Handyman Service for a free consultation regarding your next home improvement project.

If you’re curious about whether or not Bright Star is the right fit for you, check out our ever-growing project gallery or our Facebook reviews from satisfied clients. We love hearing from you and supporting you in your kitchen remodel, bathroom redesign, new deck build, garage or basement renovation, or anything else you can imagine! From installing new windows to adding an extra bedroom, we’re happy to help you!

From all of us at Bright Star, we hope you and your family have a safe and Happy Halloween!

Need Help Organizing?

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There’s nothing like trying to get something done in an unorganized home. It may seem like there are 50,000 projects to do and you have no idea where to start. Sometimes, a major overhaul isn’t necessary, if you can optimize your space in a way that fits you. Here are 5 Ways to Add Storage into Your Home:

Elevate Your Bed

One easy way to create more space in a bedroom is to upgrade to a bed with storage underneath.  With the current trend of functionality in home furniture, there are several styles of bed frame with built-in storage that can include cubbies, drawers, or cabinets.  A simple way to create more space without purchasing a brand new bed frame is to raise the bed.  Many bed frames have a low clearance to the ground, which will not allow for larger storage bins to fit underneath.  There are blocks that can be placed under the feet of the bed to add a small 3-4in lift that allows more space underneath.  Using a bedskirt can also help hide under the bed storage.


Bookshelves & Cubbies

When you compare a small table to a bookshelf, the surface areas to hold things is typically greater for a bookshelf than a table because of the various levels.  If you’re looking for a way to create an organization system for the whole family, get a three-tiered shelf.  The bottom shelf is for the kids, and can include baskets for easy organization, the middle shelf is shared family space, the top shelf is for mom & dad.  To double up the shelf space in one area, a second the tiered shelf can me mounted on the wall with adjustable bracket hanging tracks.

Hanging Wall Hooks and Fixtures

It’s helpful to move storage off of the floor and countertops and on to the wall for an even higher level of organization.  Hanging small baskets in the kitchens and bedrooms can offer a home for keys, mail, pets supplies, and small knick-knacks to provide more countertop space.  Hanging hats and long jewelry on the wall in the bedroom or bathroom will help with organization and get your favorite pieces out in front of you to wear more often than tucked away in a drawer.  

Optimizing Bathroom Space

There are several relatively easy installations that can accommodate an overcrowded bathroom.  Installing an under-the-sink cabinet will offer a tall, hidden space.  If you’re still needing more space, mounting a cabinet or series of shelves over the toilet or towel rack can also increase surface area.  If you have open shelves, small baskets or organizers can help keep the area looking neat and clean.

Over the Door Organizers

Do not underestimate the space and freedom an over-the-door organizer can offer.  Whether you prefer to use a multi-hook hanger or a full-length shoe organizer, you will be surprised how much stuff the back of a door can hold.  This is a great place to store shoes, scarves, jewelry, purses, backpacks, jackets, etc.  


There are hundreds of ways to create an organization system in your home and the cost can vary greatly. While it’s definitely accessible to do most of the organization yourself, if you would like assistance in creating a custom in-home organization system, reach out to Bright Star Handyman Service for a free consultation!



Best Fall Home Remodel Ideas

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It may still be pretty hot, but fall is nearly here. With cooler temperatures come ideas for home remodeling projects. Whether you want to entirely renovate your kitchen or just spruce up a bathroom, here are 10 tips to get you started.

  1. Cabinets: In a bathroom or kitchen, cabinets can be your priciest installation. So don't make a mistake by choosing something that's already dated or by being so trendy you'll regret your choice soon. Shaker style or flat-front cabinets are the most popular choices right now and work in homes that are traditional or transitional. Contemporary cabinets are popular, too, and they're sleek styles that often feel European. For colors, white paint and natural stain are good picks, but grays and blues also make cabinets stand out. 

  2. Flooring: The cost of covering your floor adds up quickly, often because there's so much square footage and nothing really can be left uncovered. But do you want natural stone, wood or porcelain tile? You've got big decisions to make here, because you don't want to make a mistake and have to do it all over again. One big trend in home design involves porcelain tile that looks like wood or marble. Chalk it up to laser jet printing technology that has turned what used to look like cheesy imitations into high-end looks. Porcelain tile is easier to clean and is tough as nails, too.

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Winterizing Your Home Pool

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If you own an in-ground swimming pool and live in a climate where freezing temperatures are normal, you'll need to winterize your pool to protect it during cold-weather months. This will protect it from damage due to freezing water and keep it as clean as possible for the next season.

Check Your Chemistry

The first step in the winterization procedure is to make sure your water chemistry is balanced, including the pool's pH, total alkalinity, and calcium hardness. Doing this will protect the edge of the pool from staining and etching. Adding a winterizing chemical kit to your water will help keep it blue and clear for the next season. Be sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions for the kit. Do not use a floater that contains a strong oxidizer (chlorine or bromine) because the floater may stick against the pool wall and stain or bleach it.

Protect the Skimmer

When water freezes, it expands. This can cause great damage to your pool, pool plumbing, and its filter system. To avoid this, lower the water below the mouth of your skimmer(s). This will get the water out of the throat of the skimmer which can be easily damaged if water were to freeze there.

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Bathroom Remodel Tips

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As the most frequented room in the house, we think it’s important that you like your bathroom.  There are some great ways to update your bathroom without a complete overhaul, and understanding your options and price breakdown is a great place to start.  

Here are some ideas:

  1. Adopt a Minimalist Bathroom
    Removing decor and minimizing counter top clutter will bring an entire new look to your bathroom.  However, to achieve a full minimalist look, most bathrooms will be remodeled white and with clean, clear lines in the tiles.  This high white allows for a clean look that matches just about any style, accent, or color scheme.  It will also be the most forgiving was bathroom remodel trends change through the years.  Once the tile and wall color reads more minimalist, you’re free to buy a small amount of decor.

  2. Install a Pre-Designed Bathroom Sink Cabinet
    Having a lack of storage can make things feel like they have no designated place, and therefore everything stays messy & unorganized.  While custom cabinets can be quite an investment if you’re not ready, installing prebuilt cabinets is a great way to cut your budget, spice up the bathroom, and create more functional storage space.  There is a wide variety of bathroom cabinet and vanities and numerous bathroom countertops to choose from.

  3. Upgrade Your Technology
    What does it mean to have bathroom technology?  Well, it could be as easy as installing a water-efficient toilet.  It could also mean installing new mirrors that have screens built in to them so you can watch the news or your favorite TV show while you’re waking up in the morning, or getting ready for bed at night.  There are also tile floor heaters with timers for those cold, winter mornings.  Sometimes, just installing a light dimmer and replacing the bulb with a dimmer bulb is enough to change your entire bath time experience.

  4. Optimize Your Storage
    While a pedestal sink may be the look you’re wanting, it might be more important to have a bathroom with functionality and storage.  Under sink cabinets, as well as, hanging cabinets over the toilet, are great places to store towels, toiletries, etc.  The back of the bathroom door is aa great place for hangers for towels, too.  Drawers and hanging cabinets can be optimized with baskets and behind the door hangers to fit a variety of things.


Need more ideas for your bathroom remodel?  Our consultants at Bright Star Handyman Service would love to help you out.  Reach out to us today for more information!

5 Ways to Waterproof Your Home!

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Clean & Repair Rain Gutters

As fall approaches, leaves fall and begin to gather on roofs and in gutters.  One of the best ways to prevent water entering your home is to make sure your gutters are offering proper drainage for your home.  Wet leaves left on the roof can cause mold and a number of other damaging issues.  If you have a really tall house or a steeply angled roof, it might be best to hire a professional to help you out!


Repair Cracks in Concrete

Various temperatures create different stresses on a number of elements in your home.  Your concrete, like garage floor, foundation, or even house walls can begin to show signs of wear.  In the summer, the heat forces the stone to slightly expand, while the stone contracts in the colder months.  While it’s normal and expected, over time the fluctuations can be too much for the concrete.  Cracks in your concrete are typically not too hard to repair (unless it’s in the foundation) but are necessary in maintaining the integrity of your home.  If water seeps up from the foundation, it can ruin your floors, walls, and anything else the water may touch.  It’s best to take care of these repairs quickly and they can be as easy as using a caulk gun and doing it yourself!  


Replace or Seal Old Wood

Old window and door frames can be a huge culprit in allowing water into your home.  If you own an older home, the sealant on wood can begin to wear down and expose the material to air and water.  The elements can begin to break down the integrity of the wood, sometimes allowing water into your home.  Sometimes, the fix is as easy as resealing the material, while other times it may take a full removal and re-install process.  Your best bet is to ask a professional to inspect the wood to make sure it won’t cause you future problems.


Update Door and Window Seals

When we say ‘seals’, we don’t mean the wood trim and frame around the windows and doors.  We’re talking about the rubbery material that creates an airtight seal around your windows and door.  As most plastics and rubbers, they will wear down over time.  The rubber can shrink and become stiff, hard, and holy, exposing holes in the seal.  With these holes, water, air, and sometimes little insects can get into your home.  Just like a windshield wiper loses its effectiveness over time, these guys should also be looked at if you’re having leakage around your windows or doors.


Check the Basement

Basements are typically the most common thing to flood in a home.  There are many things that can contribute to basement flooding like cracked concrete, leaky washer & dryer intake, or old basement windows.  Make the effort to check out your basement from time to time to make sure everything is properly sealed to keep everything dry!

Stairwell Rehabilitation

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One of the things I love the most about my job as programming manager for DIYNetwork.com is discovering the things you love about us, but also the things you want to see. And long have I labored on a piping-hot laptop eager to fulfill a common desire among passionate DIYers: staircases!Let's face it, very few of us could add an interior staircase where there isn't one now or heavily remodel an existing one. More approachable DIY staircase projects are utilizing them for additional storage or painting them. A wooden staircase, especially one that has lost its luster, can be painted with powder-room-esque gusto, as Shannon Kaye demonstrates here.

Shannon's project — coupled with your response to it — caused us to dig around for more painted staircase inspiration, like Bryan Patrick Flynn's step-by-step faux runner and seven more colorful examples.

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Things To Know About a 2018 Kitchen Remodel

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Kitchen renovations are number one on the remodel list for 2018.  Whether it's the large style shift, or high return on investment, kitchen remodels are on the rise compared to the last 2 years.  What are some key components to creating the kitchen of your dreams and working within your budget?

Organization is Key!

One of the largest complaints by homeowners is clutter, especially in the kitchen.  There are so many new ways to optimize the space in your kitchen.  There are storage items for the backs of closet and cabinet doors, utensil organizers, hanging baskets, pot and pan hangers, pull-out cabinet trash cans, dish bins, and more.  In one study, more than 60% of homeowners rated “Easy to Store/Find Things” as the top functional necessity in a kitchen remodel, followed by “Easy to Work/Play,” “Easy to Entertain,” and “Easy to Clean.”

 

Kitchen Remodels are the Most Requested Renovation of 2018

Kitchen style has varied greatly the last few years which could be a contributing factor as to why kitchens the most requested home remodel this year.  While modern and traditional kitchen styles have been most sought after for the last few years, consumers are now searching for more transitional and farmhouse style kitchens.  Kitchen technology is also advancing like any other room in your home, like appliances with greater energy efficiency updates.  Stainless steel has been the top selection for appliance color for the last few years.  Refrigerators are most commonly replaced appliance in the house.

The average small kitchen minor remodel in the US runs about $14,000, while a major large kitchen remodel can average around $42,000.  This wide range offers quite a bit of wiggle room for you to budget for your remodel.  In Philadelphia, the average professional minor remodel of large kitchen runs around $28,200, while a major remodel will creep into the $50k range.  Approximately two in five homeowners chose to begin a remodel because they could no longer stand their old kitchen, whether stylistically or functionally.  The rest of the majority of homeowners stated they chose to remodel because they finally had the means to do so!

95% of homeowners will update their countertops with a kitchen remodel, closely followed by kitchen sink, backsplash, and metal fixtures like faucets.  Engineered quartz is the top splurge for kitchen and bathroom countertops this year, followed by appliances and cabinets.  Nearly half of all homeowners choose engineered quartz over granite.  

The Look

Stylistically, the most popular kitchen color choices are modern & minimalist.  More than 40% chose white, shaker-door cabinets to be installed in their homes, while the number one color for kitchen walls is gray. The number one flooring material and color is hardwood, instead of tile or carpet.  Many homeowners are able to cut costs on flooring installation, too.

Across the board, the average size of a renovated kitchen is between 200-250sqft, allowing for more space in rural areas, and slightly smaller in urban areas.  In 2018 specifically, there has been a rise in increased kitchen space during a renovation.  This increased square footage can come in many forms.  For example, many kitchens are being convented into an open layout, where walls or partial walls are removed to create more space.  The second most popular way to expand a kitchen includes creating more outdoor space that allows the kitchen to spill out in nice weather.

While there are always trends, there are so many ways to make a remodel your own.  Bright Star Handyman Service is willing to work with you on a budget and create the room of your dreams!  Reach out to our consultants today to learn more about your future project!

5 Winter Home Improvement Projects You Should Never DIY

Winter isn’t just a time for celebrating the holidays and spending more time in shopping malls than you ever dreamed possible. This time of the year is the perfect opportunity to catch up on those winter home improvement projects taking up space on your to-do list.

As with any home improvement project, especially those you do yourself, there’s always risk; not just in terms of expense and time spent, but the possibility you’ll do serious damage to the property. Said risk is even more pronounced when adding a DIY winter home improvement project to your schedule, when the weather is almost as brutal as those frozen pipes that need to be replaced.

Before you strap on the tool belt and head to Home Depot, here are five winter home improvement projects you should not DIY, and instead leave to the professionals.

Winter Home Improvement Projects Best Left to the Pros

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12 DIY Tips to Get Your Home Ready for Spring

Maintaining a healthy home goes beyond dusting and vacuuming. When is the last time you checked your smoke alarms? How about the last time you cleaned out your dryer vent? Follow the tips below to make sure your family and home are ready for a happy, clean spring season.

Clean Gutters
 

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Grab a ladder, and check your gutters for debris. Remove as much as you can with your hands (Don't forget to wear gloves!). Remove any leftover gunk with a garden hose. Take off any nozzle and have a helper turn on the water when you’re ready. Shove the hose into the downspout to power out of gooseneck bends. Make sure your downspouts channel water at least five feet from foundation walls. 

Scrub Walls, Baseboards and Outlets

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Scrub all the walls — in the bathroom, kitchen, bedrooms and living areas — with a sponge or brush and mild soap and water. This includes baseboards and outlets. Make sure to completely dry outlet covers before replacing.

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