Caught in the Web

Turning a House into a Home

by Laura Emery, Field Editor

A house is a structure that most people will purchase at some point in their lives, and a home is what it becomes when changes and improvements are made during the years of ownership. Most people purchase a house with thoughts and plans of making it their own.

Like an empty canvas to an artist, a home can be improved in so many ways that depict the style and personality of its owner. The options are endless. Home improvement is an adventure in hardware, style, colors, lighting, and so much more. Its elements appeal to your sense of order as well as whimsy. Do-it-yourself projects are usually challenging and exciting, but the results are gratifying.

And, now, with the increase of home-improvement television programming, more people are interested in rolling up their sleeves and doing home-improvement projects around the house. Some people are confident enough to tackle full-room renovations, but others take it in small doses — a switch-plate changed here, or a room repainted there. If the home-improvement television shows have taught us anything, it’s that the smallest changes are often the biggest improvements.

Regardless of your level of expertise or the magnitude of the projects you want to tackle, you can captivate your decorating imagination as well as satisfy your architectural and functional needs on the World Wide Web — a source teeming with Web sites offering up tons of tips and tools.

From a to z on home improvement, it’s all on the world wide web!

www.lowes.com

Lowe’s has a thorough Web site with something for everyone. It features sections on everything from weekend makeovers to tips on how to save energy. Find expert advice, how-to clinics and creative ideas for your home. Buy top brands of tools, appliances and building materials at great prices online.

http://interiordec.about.com

Here you’ll find interesting and informative articles on topics ranging from affordable wall art to fabulous faux finishes.

www.diynet.com

The Do It Yourself Network site is broken down into the following categories: “Autos & Boats,” “Crafts,” “Gardening,” “Hobbies,” “Home Building,” “Home Improvement,” “Living,” and “Woodworking.”  Here you can find information on solving your toughest do-it-yourself dilemmas, check out new products for crafters, learn about digital photography basics, explore childproof decorating, try native beading, and much more.

www.home-improvement.com

If you’ve ever considered tackling a do-it-yourself project like changing out your kitchen countertops or flooring, installing a wine rack, constructing a deck, installing a phone jack, or making your own slipcovers — this is the place to go.

www.hgtv.com

At HGTV.com, you'll find everything you need to know for any home-improvement and/or decorating project you may want to tackle. The Web site includes instructions for thousands of home-and-garden projects, video tips, an interactive program guide and episode finder, user-submitted photographs, message boards, and more. There is so much information on this Web site that you will always find something new, informative and interesting during every visit. Just click on your favorite topic — Decorating, Remodeling, Gardening, At Home, Crafts — to learn the latest on enhancing your nest. Also, be sure to visit the HGTV Store for unique home-and-garden gear.

www.energystar.gov

Another major way to improve your home is to make it more energy efficient. With the help of Energy Star appliances, homeowners can reduce high energy bills and improve comfort. According to the Web site, many common home problems like moisture on window panes, ice dams, peeling paint and mold can often be solved by improving energy efficiency.

Energy Star can guide you in making your home more energy efficient, whether you do it yourself or hire a qualified professional. Visit the Web site for more information.

Top Suggested Web Site:

Better Homes & Gardens - www.bhg.com

Most everyone has heard of the Better Homes & Gardens Web site, but do you really know what this site has to offer? This is a highly recommended site for anyone who is planning on decorating a space in their home. It’s packed with useful and interesting tips and tools for every skill level, but you will need to sign up for a free membership in order to access it.

If you’ve ever pored over paint-color samples and wondered which fabrics will coordinate with your shade of wood furniture, the Color-A-Room section is for you. With this tool, you can choose between seven types of rooms and multiple styles.

With a few clicks of the mouse, you can decorate a room with different colors, fabrics, and flooring. In the dining room, you can even choose the color of your dinnerware, chairs, and tablecloth. In the kitchen, you can choose your countertops as well as whether you want vinyl, laminate, stone, tile, or wood flooring. In seconds, your room comes together before your eyes. Try different patterns with different colors and mix and match to your heart’s desire. The site also has information on how to group and place pictures, art pieces, and other decorative items.

If you’re done with your décor and want to work on home-improvement projects, visit the Home Improvement Guide. In this section, there is information on everything from deck planning to plumbing. The Home Improvement Encyclopedia also covers such topics as flooring, roofs and siding, woodworking, wiring, and even tiling.

You can use the Plan-A-Garden tool to create a beautiful garden on your screen. This feature lets you design anything from a patio-side container garden to your whole yard. Use your mouse to “drag-and-drop” more than 150 trees, shrubs, and flowers. Add dozens of structures like buildings, sheds, fences, decks — even a pond!  

 

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