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There are two main things to think about if you are considering a home improvement project:
Is the space ready?
Are YOU ready?
Get Some Home Improvement Ideas
The key to a successful home improvement project is proper planning. So to get started, it can be helpful to spend time looking through galleries of images for ideas on sites like Instagram and Pinterest, watch home improvement TV shows, or read home improvement blogs. Then, once you have a vision in mind you can build budgets, make your choices and all the rest.
Plan Your Home Improvement Budget… All of It
precise steps will get you ready in every way possible for a remodel? Let’s
look at this from all imaginable angles to ensure you are authentically
prepared for that home remodel.
Of course, there will be materials, labor and all of the fees to account for, but think through the ENTIRE process – Are you going to be able to stay in the home throughout? Will pets need boarding during the day or throughout one stretch of the work? Have you thought about unexpected and unpleasant surprises? Planning means planning for it ALL – the fun, the good, the bad and the thoroughly ugly.
Consider vacating completely – Many people get those proverbial ducks in a row, determine the scope of the work, the budget and even hire experts to handle day to day stuff. Then, they hit the road for that dream vacation. After all, if your project is taking three weeks, why not take those three weeks and go for a family visit or on holiday abroad? Here’s the problem: It’s a bad idea. It makes sense, sure, but it is a bad idea in practice.
You cannot see, touch or understand something by phone (even if it’s via Skype
or Facetime) as you can in person. Troubleshooting long-distance is a real
hassle. So, go ahead and take a temporary housing option if you don’t want to
be around for the noise and mess, but don’t leave town.
Think About How the Project Might Affect the People Around It
It is a simple truth that lots of marriages and even friendships feel tremendous strain during a remodeling project. Accept that before you begin, and you’re halfway through the battle. Talk about the ways you’ll handle difficult decisions, financial hurdles, problems with privacy or frustration with interrupted schedules. Choose how you’ll communicate and when anyone involved is allowed to take a break, get in the car and get away for a while.
think about the relationships with neighbors. It doesn’t matter if the work is
in your townhouse or condo or your single-family home on a big lot. Let your
neighbors know about your home improvement project and that there will be
trucks, noise, and workers. Then, give them your contact details in case
anything arises where they need to alert you of an issue or concern.
safe to say that no one is fully ready for a remodel? Yes, but using these
details above can help you avoid some of the most significant bumps in the road.
If there is a more challenging room in the house to paint than the dining room, it would be a surprise. “Wait a minute,” you might say, “It is the easiest room to paint!” Yes, it is true that it has furniture that is easy to move and/or paint around and it can seem quite simple in terms of design and décor, but many experts have lots, and LOTS, to say about painting the dining room, and especially about selecting the color.
Dining Room Colors is a Challenge
that a dining room is supposed to be a space in which we socialize and eat.
That means that certain colors will work better than others. For example,
selecting a very dark hue can give the room a rather depressing or oppressive
atmosphere that does not encourage anyone to talk, laugh or feel lighthearted.
As the experts at Better Homes
and Gardens say about dining room colors, “Dining rooms, whether a
set-apart chamber or a pass-through area that opens to a kitchen or family
room, require color schemes that advance a mood, help define the space,
establish a style, and complement hues in neighboring rooms and hallways.”
Now, that’s a tall order, and so we’ll consider a few tips
for making the right choice.
Start with Belongings
What is in your dining room? If you are like most, you have
dishes or platters, silver or other items you have inherited or purchased as
both functional pieces and décor. These items should be used to inspire your
color choices. For example, if you are all about the blue and white
Staffordshire pieces, you can go with a vibrant blue, a complementary yellow,
or even a bolder hue such as pumpkin or green.
Don’t Ignore the Other Rooms
However, please don’t choose a color without first
considering how it looks when compared to adjacent spaces. For example, let’s
say the living room can be seen from the dining room. You cannot choose a color
for the dining room that clashes with the living room.
Think about Size and Light
You must also consider the impact that the natural light
entering the room will have on your color choices, and whether the colors will
enhance or negatively affect the apparent size of the space. As an example, a
darker, and smaller living room without much natural light should not be
painted in a darker color scheme as this visually shrinks the space.
Consider the Mood
Color has a significant impact on the mood of the people
around it, and so you want to make a point of determining the overall feeling
of your dining room. For instance, it might already have a mood because it is
full of beautifully dark stained woodwork and flooring of a vibrant hue. That
would mean you’ll need to carry that elegant or cozy mood forward with deeper
shades like plum, cinnamon, navy, hunger, eggplant or chocolate.
Note that a lot of “food” hues were mentioned?
That too is a way to create the mood you want. For example, if your dining room
is to have an airier feeling, you can enhance it with pistachio green,
buttercream white, sherbet orange, and even cotton candy hues.
Have a Color Scheme
Dining rooms are great spaces when they also have a color
scheme. Monochromatic is excellent in other places, but not the dining room.
Instead, create visual interest and energy with contrasting hues. Think green
with reds and yellows or bright blue with burnished orange and rich mustard.
Pops of accent colors and a base color is the best way to build your scheme.
Painting the dining room is the easy part and choosing the
colors can be the most challenging. However, not everyone is adept with a paint
brush and roller. If you want optimal results, you can always hire a painting pro by
clicking here, and they might even help you with suggestions about
Spring cleaning is a long-held tradition. It is a great time to open up the doors and windows and savor that fresh air we’ve been missing during the colder winter months. Cleaning the home from top to bottom is a great feeling, but even more so when you clear it of clutter and debris. So, let’s talk about how to go about decluttering your basement or garage.
Things First: Assess the Mess
is now an actual profession for some and for a good reason; most of us dread the process. Whether it is
because we are clutter bugs or overly sentimental about objects, a lot of us
end up with stuff we neither need nor use. In other words, we’ve got a mess on
our hands somewhere, and it is often the basement.
So, the first step in decluttering your basement or garage is to look at the mess and begin to sort it into those three familiar piles – keep, toss, or give away. You might be planning a yard sale, too, and so you can put the giveaway stuff into a “garage sale” stack if you think it would sell.
Step: Act on that Sorting
did it! You got through all of the stuff and identified what’s to stay, what’s
to go and what’s to be given away or sold. Now…do it! Organize a run to the
transfer station or drag the garbage to the curb. Head to a local charity with
boxes of stuff or put recyclables into a large recycle bin.
Tough Step: Do the First Step Again
the thing, you probably won’t be as honest with yourself about what you should
keep, toss or give away the first time around. Now is a time to edit that
“keep” pile and determine if there are things that can go.
Productive Step: Organize
sorts of “categories” comprise the things you’ll be keeping? For
instance, do you have sports gear, tools, old records, books, antiques?
Whatever you decide to keep, try to categorize it. The items that are
vulnerable to damp, mold or anything else that can occur in the basement should
be put into waterproof tubs or bins or even moved elsewhere. Then, it’s time to
Legwork Step: Buying the shelving and organizational “stuff.”
Now is the moment when your organizing will pay off and the effort to declutter your basement or garage helps transform it into a safer and more functional space. Take time to choose shelving or cabinetry that will work as practical storage. Does it need to be tall and open? Can it be more like a cabinet with doors? Whatever works with your items, map out a single wall or space in which to store it and buy shelving. Then, invest in the right bins and boxes to get it authentically organized and functional. If it means tool boxes, wheeled bins, big tubs… go for it! Don’t forget that many items can be easily hung (like tools, cleaning tools, sports gear, and so on), so look for pegboards and other systems for hanging them.
you are done! Keep in mind that by tossing the clutter and reorganizing
everything, you open up a lot of space, which can often let you do repairs or
improvements in the basement with greater ease and keeps things a lot safer, in
general. It might be time to consider a dehumidifier if the basement is damp,
as it will work much more efficiently with everything organized and properly
stored. You might want to update the flooring, add some lighting or even finish
an area now that you have the room!
If you go to sites like Pinterest or any home decorating and improvement sites, you’ll notice one thing right away – people love tile. It shows up in bathrooms, kitchens, foyers, terraces and patios, and almost everywhere else in the home. Tile is durable, good looking, and low maintenance. However, it does take some skill to install correctly. So, if you have decided you want to get in on the tile bandwagon, we have a few tips for the DIY tiling “first-timer.”
Be Overly Ambitious
While you might want to see new tile on the bathroom floor, shower and surround, don’t dive in too quickly. Tiling is not rocket science, but it can be quite easy to mess up, and you don’t want to find yourself rushing to find help because your bathroom is unusable without tile.
small backsplash, a simple DIY side table project, or another small scale
project is a great place to start. Once you have the general hang of it, you
can move on to more serious stuff.
the steps that is altogether too easy to skip in your eagerness to get to the
business of tiling is the preparation. Proper preparation includes selecting
the tile you want, measuring carefully to calculate the quantity of tile
needed, and investing in the right tools.
do as most experts suggest and do a “dry run.” Doing a dry run means laying
the materials out ahead of time to get a sense of what it will look like when
complete. As one DIY
enthusiast explained, “if you start tiling your floor from the
back wall of the room, in 12″ x 12″ tile, you may find that you have
slivers of 2″ near the door, which doesn’t look right. In that case, you
may choose to trim the tile at the back to 8″ x 12″ so your front
wall tiles have a width of 6″. You can do the layout as many times as you
want with dry tile until you are happy with the placement of the tiles at both
ends of the room.”
Fear Your Tools
people hesitate to use things like tile cutters and saws because they are a bit
intimidating (let’s face it, they are!). However, ask someone with experience
to teach you how to use these tools safely and accurately, and you’ll soon find
yourself working like a pro. Almost every tile project will require some tile
cutting and trimming for perfect fits, so equipping yourself with the right
tools and knowledge are essential to any DIY tile job.
think that a few episodes of your favorite home improvement show are enough to
teach you how to tile correctly. For example, many people think you would begin
tiling a wall from the floor and working upward when it is the opposite! Why?
Floors are rarely level, and so you must start along the wall where YOU make
the level from which to begin.
Tears with Grout
One of the toughest parts of tiling is grouting, which takes some practice to get good at. First, getting the right consistency with the grout is essential to get right. Each bag of grout will have instructions on the side of the bag; be sure to follow them correctly, or you will find your grout too liquid or too thick to spread.
Once your grout is mixed, the clock starts ticking, so it is vital to work with it quickly. Once it is applied you need to watch the clock and make sure you wipe off any excess at the right time. Otherwise, it will set up and be very difficult to clean up. Applying grout is not easy, and it is one of the most time-sensitive things you’ll ever have to master, but if you take the time to learn your DIY tile job will come out looking like a Pro did it.
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Do you have a regular spring home maintenance routine? A lot of us keep a sort of mental checklist of outdoor projects we need to tackle as the winter fades and warmer weather arrives. For example, many homeowners do a bit of inspection to look for damages, such as siding that was knocked down by wind or debris, chimney caps damaged or missing, gutters facing some challenges, and more.
Make an actual list
cannot possibly hold all of the outdoor steps you do every spring as a mental
checklist. This is the time to make yourself a nicely organized binder that
itemizes the “must do” steps for the coming season. You’ll be
surprised at how much farther ahead of the game you will be when you have a
checklist you can begin tackling as early as the first weeks of March. Be sure
that you identify the tools and supplies you need for each project and always
have supplies on hand ahead of time.
As you seek to get a jumpstart on the spring season, be proactive about completing everything you need to do indoors. If that includes a thorough spring cleaning, go ahead and do that ahead of time. Then, on that first beautiful day when you head outdoors to start the springtime work, you can open the windows wide and enjoy knowing the house is spotlessly clean inside.
Organize and assess your tools
critical step to a good jumpstart on the spring is to take the time to evaluate
your tools before the good weather arrives. Why? First, by uncovering a problem
with a tool, you can get to the home improvement store before the annual
crowding begins. Then, as soon as the nice weather starts, you’ll have all of
the tools you need to get it done.
Deal with your firewood
the fireplace or wood stove season ends, you must (and read that as MUST)
relocate your firewood. It should be at least two feet from your actual
exterior walls (a woodshed is best) and around 16 to 18 inches off the ground.
Doing so keeps away mice and insects and deters them from heading indoors.
Upgrade the “walk around”
homeowners kick off the season by doing a walk around, looking at the roof for
problems with shingles or the chimney, examining the gutters and downspouts,
and so on. Be sure you also examine all wood trim and moldings. By doing so,
you will discover if there is any exposed or damaged wood on railings, trim
around doors and windows, and decks or stairs.
those repairs ASAP because spring rains can cause more trouble. Reseal exposed
wood on railings, decks, trellises and other areas, and always look for signs
of termites. They start to show up in March and swarm at some point in the
spring. If you see them, you’ll want professional help to eliminate them
Watch the water
the spring kicks off, be sure that your outside faucets made it through the
winter without damage. You should give them a test run and check for leaks or
other issues. You’ll be glad you repaired outdoor water supplies before spring
Fill in low areas
addition to implementing repairs during your enhanced walkaround, also keep an
eye out for areas on the lawn or close to the foundation where the soil seems
to have become sunken or forms depressions. Purchase quality soil and begin
compacting those areas as soon as possible. Why? If a slight depression holds
spring rains, it can allow water to pool around the foundation or even seep
inside. Later in the spring, those areas of standing water also serve as ideal
homes for unwelcome mosquitoes.
Check out the concrete
it is the foundation or the walkways, look now for cracks or even movement
(i.e., sinking or lifting) and take steps to get these issues under control
Don’t DIY major issues
want your home maintenance to be effective. If you think you’ve developed a
roof leak, need significant repairs or sustained damages to the exterior of the
home, get ahead of the game and hire experts to do the work before their busy
For many home renovation projects one of the first tasks is the demolition of existing interior finishes. While it seems as if any sort of demo is an easy DIY project, it may not be the case. Popping up bathroom tile, removing drywall, insulation, fixtures, plumbing or wiring, and other materials seem like anyone could do it, well, anyone with a sledgehammer. However, DIY demo is not as simple as it may seem at first blush; there are actually a lot of things to take into consideration beforehand.
this article, we are going to take a look at some common problems with DIY demo
work, and whether you are just removing the outdated kitchen cabinets or
“gutting” a room, you’ll want to read them all.
Do you understand the engineering of the space? The materials? The safety?
emptying a room is one thing, removing building materials is another. You can
find yourself in danger if you don’t know how to determine if a beam is a
supporting structure, if the materials that are airborne are irritating or
dangerous to all around, and whether or not that paint has lead are just a few
points of concern. The list of actions you might take and put yourself in
harm’s way is endless.
How long is it going to take, really?
You might look at your spare bathroom and think, “Yeah, I can empty this thing by the end of the day!” You could very well be underestimating the time it’s going to take. Unless you are well prepared for the DIY demo process (i.e., where is all of the debris going? How are you getting it outside of the home? How do you chop up something like an old bathtub?) you could run into trouble. Additionally, you might run into unexpected delays. For example, we have seen homeowners tear away a sheet of drywall to uncover a condition they did not expect! Unexpected findings can easily double or triple the time needed for the work.
ignore the fact that some demo is very delicate and you could be gently prying
away at some old moldings for hours to keep them intact and able to be reused
or repurposed. It is not always a smash-em-up process!
Did you think about “what-ifs”?
crowbar, sledgehammer, skill saw, or other tools to the inside of a room sound
like a heck of a lot of fun, and it can be. However, with a single swing of
that sledge, you might plow right through another, adjoining wall. You could
whack a pipe you didn’t know was in the wall, destroy moldings that are
impossible to replace, accidentally damage wiring, and more.
your time to determine all of the what-if scenarios and calculate if you have
the skill and/or budget to manage significant problems.
Do you have the right tools?
We’ve mentioned a lot of the tools that will be used in DIY demo, yet we haven’t considered whether you actually own them. Do you have a skill saw, sledgehammer, heavy hammers, crowbars and more? If you are trying to save money on a project and try doing the demo yourself, you could erase the money you’re hoping to save by paying for the heavy and high-quality tools the job demands.
Are you physically prepared?
in terms of preparations, are you physically prepared for it? Demolition is
hard work that requires a lot of sweat and elbow grease that can leave you
exhausted. Not everyone has the physical strength or the stamina needed to get
the job done. You will be lifting lots of heavy materials and tools, you’ll be
using muscles you might not regularly use (i.e., reaching high above you to
tear down materials), and you’ll be going up and down stairs or ladders,
climbing and wedging yourself into tight corners. It can be draining, so be
sure you are prepared.
of these questions has you second guessing DIY demo, you can always let an
expert home service pro handle it for you. Just click here.
One of the easiest ways to talk yourself into a home remodel, renovation or update is to tell yourself that you are improving the value through the return on investment (ROI) your home will experience when it is done. After all, a home is often someone’s biggest asset and making upgrades is like investing more in that asset. Initially, it makes a lot of sense, but as is the case with so many things in life, not all such remodel or update projects translate the same in terms of ROI.
Any remodel or update project you do in your home should have an ROI or Return on the Investment. But some improvements may be more valuable to you than they are to others. For instance, painting the bathroom a trendy color and dolling it up with the accessories and fixtures you like may not have a direct financial return, but it does have a happiness or contentedness return.
Therefore, don’t hesitate to do some decorating or redecorating if you think it will keep you happier in your home, but don’t tell yourself that things like a fancier toilet seat or glass door knobs have a measurable ROI. Also, remember (as one financial expert explained) “You don’t have to worry about the return on investment of every dollar you put in your house. There is nothing wrong with modifying your home to suit your own needs, even if it doesn’t add to the value.
You can go online and find all kinds of remodel ROI calculators that indicate they can tell you how much a project increases the value of the home, but few take all of the important factors into consideration.
As an example, many say you can anticipate a 75% to 100% ROI in a bathroom remodel. That same calculator doesn’t ask if the renovation is brand new or what sort of materials were replaced. These are relevant details.
simple example, you remove relatively new and attractive laminate countertops
when doing a kitchen remodel. Those countertops cost you around $1000 less than
five years earlier. That could mean the new granite countertops that cost about
$2500 have to be reduced to a $1500 value because of the loss on the countertops
removed for the project.
also have to realize that “value” is relative. You can spend $20k on a family
room upgrade, but a buyer or appraiser puts a $9k value on it because they
believe that is what it would cost to do on their own, that is the value they
However, there are some updates and remodel work that will always give your home more ROI over the long-run. For instance, outdoor improvements are some of the most valuable! For example, fences where none existed before usually have a high ROI as do decks. Updates to garage doors can come in at almost 100% ROI, and repairing/replacing siding also usually has a higher than average ROI, with manufactured stone veneer at the highest. Pools and patios, on the other hand, are entirely subjective and may mean a loss.
a minor kitchen remodel (not a top to bottom overhaul) usually has an 80% ROI
in most cases. By minor, we mean swapping out cabinet doors and drawer fronts,
updating countertops and replacing outdated appliances to energy efficient
units. You can also upgrade the sink and faucet, do some painting or wall
coverings and replace vinyl floors with new vinyl and expect a good return.
a minor bathroom update will yield a good ROI, and entry door upgrades can
bring as much as 90% ROI, but the rest of your interior spaces may not generate
Are you eager to make some improvements with high ROI? Hire experts to do the work if you want the high returns on these investments. You can find an array of professional services at ServiceLive.com.
Don’t believe it when you read or hear that the farmhouse style has had its moment in the spotlight and is fading away. It takes five minutes on sites like Instagram or Pinterest to see it is not just surviving but thriving. So though you’ll hear it described as “simple” or “basic,” the farmhouse style can be challenging to emulate in your home interiors.
help you get in on the farmhouse trend, which is here to stay, we offer the
what is the “farmhouse” look? Here’s the main point to consider: It is an
entirely customizable look. The key to using it effectively is to keep words
like the following in mind:
Classic, but never austere
In other words, any room done in the farmhouse style, whether bed, bath, kitchen or living room is going to say “Hey, step in and stay a while!” However, it is important to remember, as experts point out, “Classic farmhouse is all about mixing comfortable furniture with salvaged materials like reclaimed wood. Antiques are right at home in classic farmhouse interiors, but none that are too delicate to touch. Everything is tactile and tangible. Most of all, classic farmhouse is cozy without being cluttered.”
That is the perfect definition of the farmhouse style. So,
how do you use it to guide your design or decorating projects? You start with
some common design elements.
The Most Frequent Features in Farmhouse Spaces
Before you start to decorate any room in the farmhouse
style, remember that it is not the same as “classic country” style, which is
often saturated with color and even a bit on the cluttered and “kitschy” end of
things. Farmhouse is the opposite – uncluttered, more of a sophisticated style,
and somewhat minimalist in its use of accessories and décor.
You’ll want to peruse galleries of images, but what you’ll
most often see is:
Oversized and comfortable furnishings
Pine or wood furniture
Wider plank floors or reclaimed wood floors
Wrought iron accents
Architectural salvage items (scratched, nicked
and painted/scraped/peeling wood is very common)
Barnboard and vintage details or accessories
You’ll also want to consider the most common palettes used
in farmhouse rooms.
The iconic farmhouse look is not one soaked in vibrant
hues. Instead, it is a soothing look with a lot of cool to warm neutrals; this
would mean a silvery sage green paired with a nice cream or beige that
compliments the wood floors and furnishings.
White with grey, wheat or other natural hues is ideal.
You don’t have to go colorless, though and can accent with
your favorite bursts of color. For example, a creamy palette with accents of
blue (whether deep or aqua) is excellent.
The farmhouse style also introduces colors and accents
through an array of materials and textures. It is entirely acceptable to bring
some metal into a room that is also full of natural wood, cotton or woolen
textures. That blend of textures and hues prevents a room from becoming too
flat and monochromatic.
Whether you are in a city high rise or a rural farmhouse,
the final key to the farmhouse look is to be sure that your interior spaces
have some connection to the outdoor, natural world. Plain windows, lots of
potted plants, natural materials on the floors (i.e., wood floors with sisal
rugs), some wooden furnishings…these all work wonders in bringing the mind to
the natural world outside of the home. A farmhouse interior usually has an
excellent sense of the organic world, and that is why it is a favorite look
that will remain so over the long term.
Does your bathroom need a little update? Maybe it is showing its age and looking a little dated? If you cannot afford a full remodel or even the installation of some new fixtures (like a new toilet, sink or bath/shower), you can still do a lot to update this important little room. Below are seven excellent tips to help you enjoy success when you do some DIY projects around the bathroom.
this might be the most obvious way to update your bath, give it a lot of
thought. After all, paint might be inexpensive and easy, but choosing the wrong
color can be a waste of time. Consider giving the ceiling, cabinetry and
molding a treatment in a high gloss paint of one color and the walls a high
gloss coat in another. Consider how the colors chosen will work with the existing
cabinetry, countertops, floor, and fixtures.
Refinish the tub
tile is out of the question, or you cannot afford to replace the ugly tub,
consider one of the different refinishing kits available. Made to fix cracks,
these kits can also be used to treat your tub with an entirely different color.
The material works on porcelain, ceramic and fiberglass. The key to success is
using epoxy paint and taking the time to do adequate
prep work ahead of time.
Pay attention to details
the simplest ways to enhance the looks of your bathroom (or almost any room)
for that matter is to give attention to the small details. How do hinges on
cabinets look? What sort of drawer pulls and knobs are used? How do the light
fixtures look? What is the style of the cabinetry? Do you have curtains on any
windows? What about an area rug in front of the sink? Do you have proper
storage and shelving? Take time to look at the tiny details that can add up to
a lot of impact in the look and function of any bathroom.
Swap out faucets, shower heads, towel racks and more
Another simple and amazingly effective way to win the
bathroom update game is to look into premium faucets and taps, towel racks,
shower heads and even the handle on the toilet. As home improvement expert Bob
Vila says, “These upgrades are remarkably easy to DIY and will
create a new ambiance on a budget.”
Making the most of the mirror(s)
are functional and necessary, but they can also be a form of art, add interest
to the bathroom, and even capture and improve lighting. Don’t ever settle for
the boring pre-installed mirror on the cabinet if you want or need something
better. Take the time to determine if removing the facing on an old cabinet,
and hanging a much larger mirror over it, is a good option. Put a small
collection of mirrors along one wall, add a mirror opposite the window to flood
the room with light…mirrors can work wonders in a bathroom update.
Give it personality
the bathroom is functional, but it can also be a place that shows off your
style. Wall art, little flea market finds, and accent items can all make your
bathroom a pleasant spot to visit. Just keep in mind that it is a damp space,
so nothing vulnerable or easily broken down by high humidity. NOTE: Some plants
adore the bathroom and could also add some personality.
Walls as storage
many of us have bathrooms with tremendous amounts of storage, so don’t ignore
the opportunity that an expanse of wall space provides. Shallow, wall-hung
storage is widely available and often explicitly designed for even tiny
bathrooms. However, you can also follow one
expert’s advice and get creative with PVC or cardboard footing tubes
that you cut into easy to hang storage for bathroom walls!