Category: Interior Design


All You Need to Know About Quartz Countertops

Wondering whether this fashionable material is perfect for your kitchen or bathroom project? Get all of your research done right here.

Quartz Countertops in the Kitchen

Photo: istockphoto.com

Beautiful, durable, easy-care quartz is among the most popular countertop materials available—but it is pricey. If you’re considering quartz for your kitchen or bathroom, first get the 411 on this trendy topper before you buy. This complete countertop primer will set you up all of the necessary information on selecting and caring for quartz countertops, so you can make a smart decision and enjoy your work surface for years to come.

What Is a Quartz Countertop?

A visit to a kitchen showroom nowadays will show you a dazzling array of quartz countertop designs and patterns that remarkably mimic real marble and other natural stone. But quartz has come a long way! First appearing in Italy in the 1960s, these countertops were developed—by combining ground quartz particles with resins into a slab—as an alternative to stone that wouldn’t easily crack or break. While the resins added just enough flexibility to do the trick, early quartz countertops were a dull-looking cream and tan. Cutting-edge improvements in solid-surface technology have elevated quartz from functional to fabulous. With an abundance of finish choices and endless combinations of color and edge styles, you’ll likely find something stunning that suits your home.

Not only will you appreciate the look of quartz, you’ll find it remarkably easy to maintain—unlike marble and natural stone, which require a special sealant and can be finicky to care for. Quartz contains 90 to 94 percent ground quartz and 6 to 10 percent polymer resins and pigments, combined to produce a granite-hard slab that can duplicate the look of mesmerizing marble swirls or earthy natural stone, without the maintenance. Quartz also resists scratching and cracking to a greater degree than many natural countertops, ranking a “7” in hardness on the Moh’s scale (developed in 1822 by Friedrich Moh to rate mineral hardness). Marble, in comparison, ranks only a “3.”

A note to homeowners in the market to remodel: When exploring countertop options, make sure not to confuse quartz with quartzite. Quartz is engineered with pigments and resins, while quartzite is actually sandstone that, through natural metamorphosis, was exposed to intense heat, which caused it to solidify. Mined from large stone quarries and cut into solid slabs, quartzite is also available for countertops—but, unlike quartz, it must be sealed before use and again once or twice a year thereafter.

 

Quartz Countertops in Milpitas CA Zillow Home

Photo: Zillow Digs home in Milpitas, CA

What Are the Pros and Cons of Quartz?

Thanks to its non-porous nature, quartz is mold-, stain-, and mildew-resistant, making it a breeze to keep not merely clean but also germ- and bacteria-free. Quartz also resists heat damage—up to a point. Manufacturers market quartz as able to withstand temperatures up to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (one reason it works well as fireplace surrounds). But “thermal shock” can result from placing a hot pan straight from the oven or stovetop onto a cold quartz countertop, which can lead to cracking or discoloring. And while quartz does resist staining because liquids can’t penetrate its surface, it’s not 100 percent stain-proof. Messes should be cleaned up quickly to best preserve quartz countertops’ original color.

The biggest downside to quartz, however, is cost. While a preformed or laminate countertop will set you back a few hundred dollars, quartz countertops cost between $70 to $100 per sq. ft., installed, comparable to the price of natural stone countertops. For a mid-size kitchen, you can easily spend a few thousand dollars for quartz.

If you’re planning a backyard kitchen, steer clear of quartz altogether. It’s not suitable for outdoor installation, as the sun’s UV rays can break down the resin binders and degrade the countertop, leading to fading and eventual warping.

 

Choosing a Style for Quartz Countertops

Photo: istockphoto.com

How Do I Choose the Best Look?

With such a vast selection, making up your mind can be a challenge! So bring home a few quartz samples from a kitchen showroom before settling on a specific color or design. Under your own lighting, and against the backdrop of your cabinets and walls, you’ll be better able to choose a pattern and design that complements your kitchen décor. It helps to have a good idea of what you want your finished kitchen to look like before you buy. You can browse through design books at any kitchen center, or get ideas from show homes and home-design magazines and websites. As you plan, keep these points in mind:

Seams: If your counter is longer than 120 inches, or if it involves a complex configuration, quartz may have to be fabricated in more than one section, which means you’ll have one or more seams. Seams are typically less visible on dark-toned quartz but can be quite noticeable on light-toned or multicolor countertops, such as those with obvious veining or marbling patterns.

Thickness: Countertop thickness ranges from ½ inch to 1-¼ inch, depending on style, brand, and size. If you’re ordering a large countertop or want an elaborate edge design, the fabricator may suggest a thicker slab. If your heart is set on a thin countertop but your kitchen is large, expect to have one or more seams. Thickness also depends on custom features, such as integrated drain boards and elaborate edge profiles.

Design Details: Custom designs in a wide array of colors are available, from neutral grays, off-whites, and subtle tans to bold blues, bright yellows, and striking solid blacks. In addition to shade, you can choose from quartz made from small particles for a smooth appearance, or from larger grains for a flecked look. The surface can be sleek and glossy or feature a flecked, pebbled, embossed, or even suede appearance.

Edge Ideas: Custom edge profiles in complex designs bring distinction to your cook space but add to the final cost. You can opt for a bold square countertop edge, a chiseled raw-edge look, or select a softer, rounded bullnose corner. A reverse waterfall edge resembles the shape of crown molding and adds a touch of traditional elegance, while contemporary edges, including slanted, mitered, or undercut create the illusion of a thinner slab. Ogee (S-shape) is a popular edge design that fits just about any decor.

Bathroom Buys: Selecting a quartz countertop for a bathroom is slightly different from buying one for your kitchen. Bathroom vanities come in standard sizes, so you can purchase pre-made vanity countertops. Many come with pre-molded sinks or pre-cut holes to accommodate drop-in sinks. Bathroom vanity quartz countertops range from $400 to $1,000 depending on length, and installation for them is more DIY-friendly.

 

Installing Quartz Countertops

Photo: istockphoto.com

What Should I Expect with Installation?

Professional installation is highly recommended for quartz countertops in kitchens, due to the custom nature of cabinet configuration and the weight of the slabs, which often require multiple workers just to lift. To protect your investment, installers should be certified to mount the specific brand of quartz you purchase. Many quartz countertops come with 15-year or even lifetime warranties, but often only when installed by certified professionals. Once you’ve settled on a countertop style and color, here’s what to expect for installation:

Phase One: A representative from the manufacturer will come to your home and measure your cabinets to create a template for the countertop. It takes an average of two weeks for the countertop to be made.

Phase Two: The new countertop installs directly on the base cabinets with adhesive—no underlayment is required. The installers will precisely fit any seams as necessary, filling them with epoxy resin that matches the countertop. It takes from a few hours to a full day to install a typical quartz countertop.

Phase Three: You or your plumber can now proceed with installing under-sink plumbing.

 

Quartz Countertops in Jacksonville, NC Zillow Home

Photo: Zillow Digs home in Jacksonville, NC

How Do I Keep Quartz Looking Great?

Beyond the actual appearance, the beauty of quartz is that required care for your new countertop is relatively easy, but there are still a few crucial do’s and don’ts to mind.

Do wipe up spills promptly with paper towels or a damp cloth. While quartz is non-porous, liquids like wine and coffee can stain the surface if allowed to dry.

• Don’t use abrasive cleaners or scrubbers on your countertop. Scouring powders and steel-pads can scratch and dull the surface.

• Do use an all-purpose spray kitchen cleaner or mild commercial household cleaner for daily cleaning needs.

• Don’t use, or spill, acidic or high-alkaline products on your countertop. Quartz tolerates cleaners in the mid-pH range, but products that fall on either end of the pH scale can dull its luster. Avoid spills from drain cleaners, oven cleaners, acetone (fingernail polish remover), paint remover, solvents, bleach, dishwasher rinse agents, and any products that contain trichlorethane or methylene chloride. Take a better safe than sorry approach: If you don’t know for sure that a product is appropriate for quartz, don’t use it.

• Do use a non-scratch nylon pad or sponge to safely scrub away sticky food residue.

• Don’t use a metal knife to remove hardened food items, such as stuck-on candy-making spills. Instead, use a plastic putty knife to gently scrape them away.

• Do use spray glass cleaner after wiping your countertop clean, and buff the surface dry with a clean towel for a streak-free shine. Opt for a mild, oil-based cleaner (like Goo Gone) to remove tough ink or dye stains, and then rinse with plain water.

• Don’t use your quartz countertop to chop and dice foods. Use a separate cutting board to prevent knife marks on the countertop.

• Do tackle tough cleaning chores, such as splattered grease, by spraying your countertop with a kitchen degreasing cleaner and leaving it on for 5 to 10 minutes before wiping away with a clean damp cloth.

• Don’t set hot pans directly on the countertop to avoid discoloration and cracking. Keep plenty of trivets handy and use them faithfully.


How To: Build a Faux Fireplace

Just the addition of a faux fireplace—no flame required—can make a space cozier.

How to Build a Faux Fireplace

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Somehow, even if it’s not operational, a fireplace is still imbues coziness in winter and architectural charm year-round. If you live in an apartment or modern abode, you may not have a wood-burning or electric fireplace to warm up by, but you’re not out of luck altogether. Follow these instructions to construct an ornate mantle for a faux fireplace to reinforce the holiday cheer—and provide just the spot to hang your stockings.

 

What You Need to Build a Faux Fireplace

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- 8-foot-long 1×10 lumber (2)
- 8-foot-long 2×2 lumber (2)
- Measuring tape
- Jigsaw
- Wood glue
- Drill
- 2-inch screws (34)
- Wood clamps
- 8-foot-long 1×4 lumber (2)
- 6″-deep wooden shelf brackets (2)
- Round plastic container
- 1⁄2″-wide wood molding (1)
- 2″-wide wood molding (2)
- 2-1⁄2″-wide wood molding (1)
- Miter box
- Hand saw
- Wooden closet rod holder
- Brush
- Wood stain
- Varnish
- Corner brace plates (2)

 

How to Build a Faux Fireplace - Step 1

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 1
Start by building the fireplace structure with one 1×10 plank and the 2×2s. From them, you’ll need to cut the following:

- One 43-inch piece 1×10
- Two 26-inch 1×10s
- Four 35-1⁄2-inch 2×2s

The 1×10 planks will make up the front surface of your faux fireplace, while the 2×2s connect to the back to add depth to the structure.

Sand all of the edges on your fresh cuts. Lay the 43-inch plank on the floor and beneath it, at each end, place the 26-inch plank pieces perpendicularly to form a U-shape. Apply wood glue to the edges where the planks meet. Then, lay the 2×2s along the structure vertically so that they span top to bottom of the “U”, one along each edge of the vertical 1×10 planks. Pre-drill holes and use five 2-inch screws to fasten each of these 35-1⁄2-inch pieces to the wood boards. This side with the 2×2s will be the back of your faux fireplace.

 

How to Build a Faux Fireplace - Step 2

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 2
Flip the wood structure to so that its front is now facing up. Now’s the time to add some ornamentation to your fireplace cut from the 1×4 plank. The first cut, 43 inches long, will be glued horizontally, aligned with the top edge of the fireplace. Next, cut two 27-inch pieces. Sand the edges to remove splinters before proceeding. Use a ruler to center these on each side of 1×10 side (they should have 3-1/4 inches of space on either side), and glue them down so that the tops abut the top 1×4. You can use clamps here to press pieces firmly together while the wood glue cures.

Then, add volume at the base of the chimney by giving it feet that slightly extend. Cut two 5-inch pieces from the remaining 1×10 plank and two 9-1⁄2-inch pieces from the 1×4 lumber. Stack one 9-1⁄2-inch-by-3-1⁄2-inch piece atop a 9-1⁄2-inch-by-5-inch piece so that their longer sides align, then glue. Repeat with the remaining cuts. Place a stack to the bottom of each side of the faux fireplace, at the open ends of the 27-inch pieces. Align the mantle’s feet so that no wood extends past the base of the faux fireplace—it needs to be a flat surface in order to stand up later on—then glue and clamp each down.

 

How to Build a Faux Fireplace - Step 3

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 3
To support the board that will be the top mantle of your faux fireplace, fasten a 6″-deep wooden shelf bracket onto each side of the fireplace with glue and screws. We centered ours at the very top of the vertical 1×4s.

Note: It’s important to choose brackets that don’t extend out more than 6 inches, otherwise you will not be able to adequately cover them with the mantle in a later step.

 

How to Build a Faux Fireplace - Step 4

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 4
Cut a 48-inch length of 1×10 for the top. To compliment the curves in the shelf brackets, we gave our mantle top a nicer edge by rounding two corners of the board. Place any round container (like a recycled plastic butter container) at the top left corner and trace its circumference in pencil, and use a jigsaw to cut along the quadrant of the circle closest to the corner. Erase the remaining three-quarters of the circle, and repeat at the top right corner.

 

How to Build a Faux Fireplace - Step 5

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 5
Rounded corners facing forward, center the mantle over the top of the faux fireplace with 2-1⁄2 inches overhang on either side. Glue it to the top of the structure, and hold it with clamps while the glue dries.

 

How to Build a Faux Fireplace - Step 6

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 6
Sand the near-finished fireplace with either paper or a palm sander. Start with 100-grit paper, and repeat with 150-grit.

 

How to Build a Faux Fireplace - Step 7

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 7
Inject even more personality into your project with some wood molding along the fireplace opening and atop the 1×4s.

For the fireplace opening, cut three pieces of 1⁄2″-wide molding: two 27-1⁄2-inch lengths and a 25-inch length. Using a miter box, cut the tops of the 27-1⁄2-inch pieces to have mirroring 45-degree cuts; proceed to cut the ends of the 25-inch piece at 45-degree angles, each pointing away from the other. The 25-inch length should now fit with the 27-1⁄2-inch lengths to make a three-sided frame.

For the sides, the exact length of 2″-wide molding needed to cover the 1×4s ultimately depends on the size of your chosen shelf brackets. Measure the vertical 1×4s’ exposed surface—from the bottom of the shelf brackets to the top of the mantle feet—and cut four identical pieces that length. Glue two side-by-side on each.

As a finishing touch, we glued a 30-inch length of 2-1⁄2″-wide molding beneath the horizontal 1×4 and a wooden closet rod support in the very center. Hold each wooden piece with a clamp while the glue dries.

 

How to Build a Faux Fireplace - Step 8

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 8
Once all of the glue holding the molding has dried, you can give an extra sanding to remove any leftover glue. Wipe away the dust with a wet cloth so that you stain your fireplace in a hue of your choice. (Two coats promises the best color.) After you’ve waited the stain’s recommended dry time, top with a coat of varnish to protect the wood.

 

How to Build a Faux Fireplace - Step 9

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 9
Now that your faux fireplace is built, move it into the living room. It doesn’t need to find a permanent home on any one wall, but it is best to fasten it so that it won’t topple when you place objects on its mantle. Lean the fireplace wherever you intend to place it, and slide a metal corner brace around one edge just beneath the mantle top, where they’ll be barely visible. Lift the fireplace and screw half of the brace into the wall. Lean the fireplace one more time against the wall so that you can find where to affix the second metal corner brace. Once both are in the wall, simply screw the exposed ends into the sides of the fireplace.

All that’s left is to fill your new faux fireplace with candles or string lights to mimic the cozy glow of lit kindling.

 

How to Build a Faux Fireplace

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Ama is a DIY addict and the creative mind behind Ohoh Blog. She likes home decor, lighting, and furniture projects that may involve painting, sewing, drilling…no matter the technique! Whatever she has on hand is inspiration to create, and fodder for her serious addiction to upcycling.


All You Need to Know About Light Bulb Types

The last time you went off in search of a replacement light bulb, were you left paralyzed by the proliferation of new types of bulbs in the lighting aisle? Here, we clear away the confusion with this helpful breakdown of the different varieties on the market and their best uses.

SHARES
Types of Lightbulbs

Photo: istockphoto.com

It’s not your imagination: The light bulb section in your local hardware store has grown. Bulbs of every type, color, and shape line the shelves in a wide—and confusing—array of options, making it hard to find the right bulb for your needs. But once you understand bulb basics, choosing the right replacement bulb for your lamp or fixture can be a snap. We’ve put together what you need to know about the many different types of light bulbs on the market these days so the next time you’re face with a burned-out bulb, you’ll be prepared.

LIGHT BULB LINGO
Before you head out in search of a new bulb, get a grasp on terminology manufacturers use to measure the input and output of certain types of light bulbs.

Watts indicate the amount of energy the bulb will use. Bulbs with lower wattage will use less electricity, and can therefore help keep the electricity bill down. Here, the age-old mantra holds true: Less is more.

Lumens indicate the amount of light the bulb will emit. The number of lumens to look for depends on the room you’re lighting, as some spaces (like the bathroom) could use a brighter bulb, and others (say, the bedroom) benefit from softer light. To calculate the optimal number of lumens, multiply the room’s square footage by these rule-of-thumb figures:

• 7.5 lumens per square foot in hallways
• 15 lumens per square foot in the bedroom
• 35 lumens per square foot in dining rooms, kitchens, and offices
• 75 lumens per square foot in bathrooms

Typically, a standard 100-watt incandescent bulb emits approximately 1600 lumens. Newer types of light bulbs, however, require less power and emit just as much light.

 

Types of Light Bulbs

Photo: homedepot.com

BULB TYPE: INCANDESCENT

Standard incandescent bulbs—known for being energy hogs—have experienced an energy-efficiency upgrade that began, for bulbs sold in California, in 2011 and became nationwide in 2012 as part of the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007. Common household light bulbs, which traditionally used between 40 and 100 watts before 2011, now use at least 27 percent less energy than they did back in the day while still producing comparable lumens. That means that you’re less likely to find 100-watt bulbs on shelves today, which stopped being manufactured in 2012, and are more likely to be greeted with options of 30, 40, and 50 watts. Incandescent bulbs do not contain mercury, and they last an average of one year before needing to be replaced.

Best For: Use with dimmable light fixtures, vanity lighting (because incandescent light flatters skin), and low-voltage lighting. Try the candelabra-base GE 60-Watt Bulb in your dimmable dining room chandelier ($5.97 for a 4-pack at Home Depot), or buy the Philips 7-Watt C7 Replacement Bulb for your toddler’s night-light ($3.97 for a 4-pack at Home Depot).

 

Types of Light Bulbs

Photo: homedepot.com

BULB TYPE: FLUORESCENT

Fluorescent tube bulbs have been around for years. You’re no doubt well acquainted with the long, cylindrical glass tubes you see in overhead lights in department stores, but you can also find circular and U-shaped fluorescent tubes to fit specialty fixtures. This particular type of light bulb uses less energy than incandescent bulbs, but it contains mercury vapor and a phosphor coating that converts UV light to visible light when turned on. Because these bulbs contain mercury, many communities have regulations for their disposal.

Best For: Bright lighting needs in your workshop. We like the Philips T12 40-Watt Daylight Deluxe Linear Fluorescent Tube ($9.97 for a 2-pack at Home Depot); while it draws only 40 watts, it produces 2,325 lumens of bright light.

 

Types of Light Bulbs

Photo: homedepot.com

BULB TYPE: COMPACT FLUORESCENT

Compact fluorescent (CFL) bulbs—easily identified by their hallmark curlicue design—use a fraction of the wattage incandescent bulbs use. While good for reading and project work, the light they emit is relatively harsh and undesirable in vanity lighting, where they can add 10 years to your appearance. Like fluorescent tubes, CFLs contain mercury, so broken bulbs should be disposed of according to the EPA’s suggestions for cleanup. Note: Most CFLs don’t work with dimmer switches and aren’t particularly well suited for light fixtures you switch on and off frequently, as this habit can shorten their useful life.

Best For: Overhead lights, lamps, and task lights. A smart choice for replacing the bulb in your reading lamp is the EcoSmart Soft White Spiral CFL ($5.97 for a 4-pack at Home Depot); equivalent to a 60-watt incandescent bulb, it emits 900 lumens of light. In places where you need more illumination, such as for task lighting in the kitchen, try the Philips Daylight Deluxe T2 Twister CFL ($12.95 for a 4-pack at Home Depot), which offers the same amount of light as a 100-watt incandescent bulb.

 

Types of Light Bulbs

Photo: homedepot.com

BULB TYPE: LED

Light emitting diode (LED) bulbs are currently the most energy efficient of all types of light bulbs. Though they were costly when they first hit the market, prices have dropped significantly since then. With lifespans that exceed those of most other bulbs and options that encompass a variety of colors as well as white, these bulbs offer the best bang for your buck. Early LED bulbs offered only directional lighting, but with recent advances, manufacturers are now offering LED bulbs that emit whole-room diffused lighting.

Best For: Just about anywhere you previously used incandescent bulbs. To replace the bulbs in your overhead lights, wall sconces, or table lamps, try Philips Daylight A19 LED Bulbs ($8.97 for a 4-pack at Home Depot) or the Philips Soft-White B11 Candelabra Bulb ($6.97 for a 3-pack at Home Depot).

 

Types of Light Bulbs

Photo: homedepot.com

BULB TYPE: HALOGEN AND XENON

Halogen bulbs use 25 to 80 percent less energy than incandescent bulbs, but still use more than CFLs and LEDs. The white light they emit brings out vibrant tones in furnishings and decor. Halogen bulbs come the closest to natural daylight, but as they get extremely hot, be sure not to use them in any lamp or fixture that small children can reach. A variation on halogen, xenon bulbs cast the same clear white light yet remain cooler to the touch than standard halogen bulbs, making xenon safer for use in table lamps.

Best For: Exterior floodlights, hanging pendant lights, and accent lighting. If you’re looking for an energy-efficient outdoor bulb, try Philips EcoVantage Halogen PAR38 Dimmable Floodlight ($9.97 per bulb at Home Depot). With 1,750 lumens, it will light up walkways and provide a measure of security. Are you in need of a replacement bulb for your bi-pin socket track lighting? Feit Electric’s Xenon 20-Watt Halogen G8 Bulb ($7.95 for a 2-pack at Home Depot) fits the G8-shaped bi-pin base sockets found in popular track, display, and task lights.

 

Types of Light Bulbs

Photo: amazon.com

BULB TYPE: WI-FI CAPABLE

Strictly in the realm of “specialty bulbs,” Wi-Fi-capable bulbs fit ordinary lamps and fixtures but give you the ability to either program the bulbs to turn on at preset times, or control them remotely from your smartphone or tablet. Read the fine print before you buy one that doesn’t work with your mobile device; some bulbs are strictly Apple- or Android-compatible.

Best For: Remote operation of overhead lights or lamps that you typically set to stay on before you leave for vacation. If you own an iPhone or iPod, check out the Philips Soft White A19 Hue Connected Home LED ($14.97 per bulb at Home Depot), which connects to your home’s Wi-Fi signal so you can operate the light remotely via an app. Alternatively, the Flux Wi-Fi Smart LED Light Bulb ($35 per bulb on Amazon) is a bit pricier but promises more control over brightness and color; for both Apple and Android products.


Weekend Projects: 7 Designs for a DIY Chair

In desperate need of extra seating? Don’t just sit there! Save money—and add personality to your space—by building one of these crafty DIY chairs.

SHARES

Whether you’re preparing to entertain a crowd or just looking to fill a sparse corner of your living room, a spare chair is just the ticket. But when you see that a store-bought seat rings up at a few hundred dollars, you may find that investing only a fraction of that cost—and a weekend of your time—sounds much more appealing. Building your own furniture is a simple, affordable, and rewarding project for any DIY enthusiast. With a few tools and some common materials (discarded pallets and standard two-by lumber from the local hardware store), you can construct anything from a set of patio chairs to a formal dining chair. Still skeptical? We’ve rounded up seven inspiring DIY chair options, which can be modified to fit your home’s needs, style, and available square footage.

 

ALL ABOUT ANGLES

DIY Chairs

Photo: instructables.com

Turning a set of chair plans into a striking seat took Instructables user diycreators little more than a bit of improvisation and a few of the usual suspects when it comes to building materials: 2×4 lumber, a router, a circular saw, a power drill, screws, a bit of wood glue, and the necessary products for protecting the final product against weather damage. The seat is supported by bolts in four places along the square-frame legs, so you can count on this modern two-toned chair to be sturdy.

 

WINGED OUT

DIY Chairs

Photo: addicted2decorating.com

This “made-from scratch” wingback chair required serious concentration and craftsmanship, a challenge that the DIYer behind Addicted to Decorating gladly accepted. And did she come through! To aid in finding the proper angles for the back legs and a perfect seat height, she traced one of her dining chairs onto some 2×6 lumber, and then cut. And, believe it or not, she drew the shape of the ever-classic wingback frame freehand and, as she did with much of the rest of the project, cut it out with a jigsaw. Contrasting upholstery patterns in bright colors offer an updated take on a traditional silhouette.

SIMPLE PLAN

DIY Chairs

Photo: ana-white.com

While it may seem too good to be true, Ana White built this DIY chair in just one hour, proving that furniture feats can happen and still leave you with plenty of time to accomplish the rest of your weekend to-do list. Her detailed cut list and set of diagrams can help you re-create this sturdy seat for around $20—all in less time than it takes to mow the lawn or cook a family dinner!

STICK TO IT

DIY Chairs

Photo: southernrevivals.com

These modernly rustic stick chairs have a secret superpower: they fold. Inspired by an interior design post on Instagram, the minds behind Southern Revivals constructed the seats with some power tools and pine (although cedar is also an option), using eight slats in the back, eight slats in the seat, and another handful for the legs. For a finish as dramatic as the design, each DIY chair was coated with black milk paint and sealed with tung oil.

ALL IN THE BAG

DIY Chairs

Photo: funkyjunkinteriors.net

This two-seat pallet chair from Funky Junk Interiors is a rough-and-tumble take on a traditional country love seat. Requiring only a shipping pallet, some reclaimed wood, foam, and burlap sacks, this project can be customized by printing a favorite logo or phrase on the back cushion. Or, simply embrace the weathering, printing, and stamping of your found wood and burlap to make your DIY chair the shabbiest of chic.

BOUNCE BACK

DIY Chair

Photo: instructables.com

In this fun and funky design, Instructables user wholman repurposed a length of rubber air hose of a type often found at construction sites as the support system for a DIY chair. Because it incorporates 45 feet of such a heavy-duty material, this chair is built to support—and it molds perfectly to the person sitting on it. In total, this whimsical project took around $20 and left behind little waste.

ROCK AND ROLL

DIY Chair

Photo: designsbystudioc.com

As it requires a certain amount of precision for maximum results, this rocking chair project puts a builder’s measuring skills to the test. Cher at Design by Studio C worked with scrap boards and lumber, relying on an extensive cut list, pocket-hole screws, and wood glue to bring her vision to life. The result: A classic homemade rocking chair that, if treated with care, can be handed down for generations to come.


Bob Vila Radio: 3 Bright Ideas for Beating the Winter Blues

SAD is a fun acronym, but there's nothing lighthearted about its symptoms—or the depression it can cause. If you or someone you love has been diagnosed, try out these easy design tricks to combat SAD this winter.

You’ve probably already heard of seasonal affective disorder (SAD), the illness triggered by a lack of light during the season of shorter days.  What you may not know, though, is that your home can help you fend off its symptoms, including low energy levels and depression.

seasonal-affective-disorder

Photo: istockphoto.com

Listen to BOB VILA ON SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER AT HOME or read on below:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The end of Daylight Savings Time can mark the onset of SAD symptoms for millions of Americans every year. If you’ve been diagnosed, start in your bedroom to maximize those morning rays. Spray both sides of your bedroom windows with glass cleaner, and wipe them clean with a microfiber cloth to dissolve dirt and grime. You might want to install larger windows or add a skylight down the line, but there are a few wallet-friendly fixes to try first.

Start with blue bulbs, which mimic daylight and can be added to the overhead lights and lamps you already own. Light therapy boxes are the next step up, with most containing several high-output fluorescent tubes that provide 100 times more light than normal fixtures. Even a half hour in front of the lamp each morning will help alleviate SAD symptoms.

Position mirrors to bounce sunlight around the room, and hang a colorful painting or two for for visual stimulation on grey days. Finally, surround yourself with living things: a hardy houseplant or a well-stocked terrarium are low-maintenance picks, and they’ll remind you of the sunny days right around the corner.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!


Bob Vila Radio: The Cost-Cutting Secret Only Contractors Know

Sticking to a tight budget on your home remodel? Planning ahead only goes so far to keep those costs under control. Luckily, it turns out there's a season for savings—and we're in it!

There’s no reason to wait until spring to tackle that home improvement project. In most areas of the country, winter is the slow season for construction, which makes it the best time to start (and save!) on a major renovation or remodel.

winter-remodeling

Photo: istockphoto.com

Listen to BOB VILA ON WINTER REMODELING or read on below:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Since contractors take on fewer jobs in the cold months, you’ll have a better chance of hiring your first choice—and they’ll have more time to plan and discuss all of the details with you. Government agencies aren’t as busy either, and permit applications will probably be processed and approved faster. Another plus? Appliance suppliers often slash prices when temperatures drop, making any kitchen remodel more affordable.

As long as it’s not snowing or raining, consider tackling exterior projects like pouring a patio, staining your deck, or building an addition. The winter chill will keep you cool while you work on your outdoor oasis—and with the head start, your backyard will have a brand-new look by the time warmer weather rolls back around.

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!


Bob Vila Radio: Recipe for a Retro Kitchen

You might not be able to serve up a malt, but a little paint and planning can get you the 1950s look for less.

If you love classic kitchens but can’t afford a renovation, there are still plenty of ways to add retro appeal. Start by digging up a few old photos with design details you want to recreate at home.

retro-kitchen-design

Photo: bigchill.com

Listen to BOB VILA ON RETRO KITCHENS or read on below:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

A lemon yellow, turquoise, or bubblegum pink accent wall will take your kitchen back in time in an afternoon. For cabinets, go with a vintage-inspired pastel on the outside or remove the doors and paint the back panel to create eye-catching open shelving. When everything is dry, finish the mini-makeover with chrome drawer pulls and knobs. And while you’re at it, swap out a builder-grade light fixture with a few pendant lights to brighten up your counter or island.

Experienced DIY-ers can build their own cozy breakfast nook with hinged benches. The compartment below the seat is the perfect place for seldom-used cookware. If you’re not that handy, a 50’s-style dinette set will give your family a place to gather.

Another option? Look into retro-inspired brands that are cashing in on the new-again trend with candy-colored appliances and range hoods. Finally, put those vintage kitchen linens and dishes you’ve collected to use. They’ve stood the test of time for a reason!

Bob Vila Radio is a 60-second home improvement radio tip of the day carried on more than 186 stations in 75 markets around the country. Click here to subscribe, so you can automatically receive each new episode as it arrives—absolutely free!


DIY Lite: This Stunning Room Divider Looks Better than Real Walls

Create cozy nooks and separate spaces out of an open floor plan when you assemble this striking (and surprisingly easy) room divider. Plywood panels have never looked so good!

DIY Room Divider - Splitting Up the Floor Plan

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

No matter whether you live in a large house with open-concept floor plan or a small condo wherein your living room occasionally doubles as a guest bedroom, there comes a time when you need to delineate your spaces for their various functions. The easiest way to implement a little extra privacy? Build a room divider. This particular 6-foot-tall paravent design successfully partitions a space when you want it, then folds for easy storage when you’re readying your space for a larger gathering—all only using a stack of humble plywood and 1×2 lumber.

 

DIY Room Divider - Supplies

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

MATERIALS AND TOOLS
- 6mm plywood
- Circular saw (optional)
- Handsaw
- Palm sander
- Sandpaper (120 grit)
- Wood stain (2 colors)
- Brush
- 8-foot-long 1×2 lumber (17)
- Hammer
- 2-inch nails (156)
- Wood glue
- Varnish
- 2-inch hinge with screws (6)
- Drill

DIY Room Divider - Step 1

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 1
This DIY room divider is a simple grid build assembled from 1×2 lumber. Its conversation-starting geometric design—thankfully, in a harder-than-it-looks sort of way—comes from the numerous eye-catching and privacy-creating plywood triangles that fill the grid. That’s where we’ll start!

Trace 27 10-inch squares on your 6mm plywood board, and cut them with a circular saw. Once you have all of your squares, cut each across the middle from corner to corner so that you’re left with 54 right-angled triangles.

If you don’t own any power tools fit for the task, you may be able to rent a circular saw from your local hardware store, or even ask them for a few starting cuts when you purchase the plywood board. If the store cuts the board into 10-inch strips, you only need to cut the strips every 10 inches and then in half diagonally using a handsaw.

 

DIY Room Divider - Step 2

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 2
Sand all sides of the triangles with a 120-grit paper, especially the cut edges, and wipe away all dust using a microfiber cloth. Now they’re ready to stain. (We suggest choosing two complementary colors for visual variety; half of ours were coated with Oak and the other half in Early American.) Cover both sides completely, following the directions on the stain you choose.

Let them dry.

 

DIY Room Divider - Step 3

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 3
Meanwhile, you can start building the divider’s frame from your lumber. Start by making your cuts on the 1×2s: You’ll need two 73-inch pieces, seven 32-inch pieces, and 12 10-inch pieces for panel (of which you’ll make three total).

For the first panel, lay two 73-inch posts vertically and perpendicular to each other on a flat surface—these will become the vertical posts. To connect them, you will place the seven 32-inch cuts horizontally. Begin at the top so that the first 32-inch piece is aligned with the ends of the two posts, then leave a 10-inch gap between each of the next pieces of lumber.

Note: With all of these pieces, make sure that the narrow, half-inch edges lay are the ones resting on the floor. Then you can proceed to assembling the panel, one vertical post at a time.

 

DIY Room Divider - Step 4

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 4
Remove the 32-inch horizontal pieces one at a time, apply wood glue to both ends, and then replace it between the posts.

As the glue dries, hammer two 2-inch nails through one vertical post and into each horizontal piece; repeat the nailing along the second adjoining vertical post.

 

DIY Room Divider - Step 5

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 5
Now that the basic framework of a panel is complete, let’s add the smaller vertical divisions within each row.

Grab your 12 10-inch cuts of 1×2. Place two vertically between the top of the panel and the horizontal bar beneath it; these should be equidistant from the posts and each other (leaving a 10-inch gap to fit the triangle), keep their half-inch sides flat on the work surface, and fit snugly.

Once you see how they fit, remove both to coat each end in wood glue and replace. Hammer two 2-inch nails through the horizontal post into each end of the 10-inch dividers.

You’ve finished what we’ll call Row 1; now repeat in rows 3 and 5. Tip: Alternating the rows will help you in gluing and nailing them to the horizontal lumbers.

 

DIY Room Divider - Step 6

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 6
Now fill in rows 2, 4, and 6 with two 10-inch dividers apiece, spaced 10 inches apart—here, though, only affix them with glue. As best you can, try to align all of the vertical pieces to give the impression of complete and sturdy vertical posts.

Once the glue is dry, sand the structure to remove any clumps and glue stains.

 

DIY Room Divider - Step 7

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 7
Finally, fill the gaps with your stained (and now dried) triangles. Leaving the structure flat on the floor, grab nine triangles from each wood stain (18 total) and arrange them in the panel of one grid until you are happy with the design. There’s no right or wrong way to do this—we varied the part of the square the triangle filled on ours so that it looked more artistic than entirely uniform.

Once you are satisfied, start at the upper left corner of a panel and work your way down to stick each in place. Line the 10-inch edges of each triangle with wood glue, and fit it back snugly into the square opening. To help it dry centered within the square frame, first place scrap wood or bottles caps behind (rather, underneath) the triangles to prop them up.

 

DIY Room Divider - Step 8

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 8
Congratulations, you’ve finished a panel! To complete the DIY room divider, you’ll need at least three total, so repeat Steps 3 through 7 to build two more.

Once the three panels are assembled, coat them in a protective coat of clear varnish.

 

DIY Room Divider - Step 9

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

STEP 9
Last, but not least, connect the three panels using hinges. First, lay two panels next to one another and place three hinges down the middle: one near the top (Row 1 of triangles), one in the middle (Row 3 of triangles), and one near to the bottom (Row 5 of triangles). Be sure the panels’ feet align with each other before you screw it in place.

Once attached, flip the two panels face-down and place the third next to them. (It won’t matter which side is the front or the back on this DIY room divider because you’ve stained each side of every triangle—not to mention, each side will been seen when it’s set up to divide a space!) Affix three more hinges as you had the first set. When finished, the three panels will open in a “Z” shape that can expand nearly 8 feet long.

 

DIY Room Divider - Made from Plywood and Lumber

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

DIY Room Divider - Wall Art When Not in Use

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Ama is a DIY addict and the creative mind behind Ohoh Blog. She likes home decor, lighting, and furniture projects that may involve painting, sewing, drilling…no matter the technique! Whatever she has on hand is inspiration to create, and fodder for her serious addiction to upcycling.

 

DIY Projects Anyone Can Do

All of the Best Hands-on Tutorials from BobVila.com
Get the nitty-gritty details you need—and the jaw-dropping inspiration you want—from our collection of the favorite projects ever featured on BobVila.com. Whether your goal is to fix, tinker, build or make something better, your next adventure in DIY starts here.


Genius! Hide a Litter Box (and Its Mess) in Plain Sight

If you own a cat, you know that taking care of a pet isn't all about cuddling up on the couch. Try out this clever DIY to transform on-hand furniture into a hidden litter box—and stop the stray litter and odors for good.

DIY Hidden Litterbox

Photo: housetweaking.com

Cat owners love to spoil their pets, and why wouldn’t they? These cuddly companions with big personalities won’t make you feel guilty for streaming eight Netflix episodes in a row or judge you for skipping your morning run. In fact, there aren’t many downsides to caring for such an independent animal, but keeping—and cleaning—a smelly litter box tops the short list.

DIY Hidden Litterbox - Cutting the Hole for the Pet Door

Photo: housetweaking.com

Dana, the all-star DIY-er behind House*Tweaking and owner of a Maine Coon kitten, knows the struggle well. Her initial litter box setup on the floor next to the dryer was much too accessible to her curious toddler, plus the odor practically overpowered the scent of fresh laundry. When researching how to make her own litter box solution, she found that most existing DIY plans required buying and converting new dressers and other furniture. Determined to make it work with what she had, Dana settled on starting with a tall Ikea Pax wardrobe that stood nestled into the corner of her entryway.

Compared to building a cabinet from scratch, converting the Pax was a pain-free process. Dana’s wardrobe already had all of the ideal features for a litter box cover: double doors for easy access when it came time to clean up, storage space for litter and toys, and a modern design that complemented the rest of her decor. All she needed to do was empty out the bottom shelf where the box would sit and add a pet door.

Adjustable shelving made it easy enough to raise or even remove the divider in order to accommodate a cat’s height. Then, using a measuring tape and a jigsaw, Dana carefully cut out a hole just large enough to fit a flap door. But the flap isn’t altogether necessary: If you don’t want to shell out for a pet door,  simply sand the edges of the cut-out to remove any splinters and leave it uncovered for your cat to come and go. Door or no door, an entryway bench pulled up to the cabinet serves well to discreetly hide the litter box entrance from view.

The pet door Dana picked up on Amazon cost about $20, but shopping her home for everything else she needed meant money zero dollars wasted on new or used furniture to convert into a litter box cover. Secondhand, similar cabinets cost at least $30, and new shelving units would set Dana back $100 or more—all of which are still cheaper options than a ready-made box cover from an online retailer. Better yet, the custom enclosure reduces odor and keeps litter in the box instead of scattered all over the floor. As much as you love the prospect of not having to see or smell cat turds ever  again, your cat might be the biggest fan of the litter box upgrade: Dana says her cat Cheetah “took to it right away,” and prefers the privacy of her custom bathroom to the old, open setup by the appliances.

FOR MORE: House*Tweaking 

DIY Hidden Litterbox - Inside and Out

Photo: housetweaking.com


How To: Make an LED Marquee Letter

Really personalize the lighting in your home when you make an lit-up marquee letter in your own monogram.

SHARES
DIY Marquee Letter - Make a Faux Metal Light with Wood

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Hunting for a statement piece that really speaks to you requires a certain amount of time and patience. Fortunately for those of us lacking in the latter, there’s often a homemade alternative to customizable to our exact vision to speed things along. Rather than resorting to picking through every estate sale for the large marquee letters, symbols, and full signs that can be found trending in interior design today, this LED-powered version emulates the typical reclaimed style in whichever design you desire. Though this DIY project appears to be made from weathered metal, you can actually recreate its vintage vibe using mere plywood. Fashion one or enough to spell out the family name following these straightforward steps.

 

DIY Marquee Letter - Supplies

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

TOOLS AND MATERIALS
- 6 mm plywood
- Pencil
- Ruler
- Jigsaw
- Drill
- Palm sander
- Sandpaper
- Hot glue gun
- Wood glue
- Clamps
- Wood putty
- Black spray paint
- Silver hammered spray paint
- LED string lights

 

STEP 1

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 1

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

First, dream up the design for your three-dimensional, light-up sign. We made two: a 16″-tall “B” and a sun with a 20-inch diameter. Whatever you choose, opt for angles over curves. This swap enhances the rough industrial appearance of your finished work, but more importantly it simplifies the processes of cutting the plywood and framing its edges.

Once you’ve decided the shape you want to build, sketch it on the back of a 6 mm plywood sheet, using a ruler for optimal straight edges. Tip: For best results when it comes time to insert the light bulbs, scale your design so that its dimensions in inches are multiples of two.

 

STEP 2

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 2

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Cut along the penciled perimeter of the shape using the jigsaw.

If your design includes a hole cut from the center (like the two small rectangles to make the openings in the letter “B”), drill holes in each corner of the interior shape and cut along the lines with the jigsaw so that it pops out easily.

 

STEP 3

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 3

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Smooth all sides and edges of the plywood with either sandpaper or a palm sander to remove every splinter.

 

STEP 4

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 4

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Use your ruler to determine the location of each bulb on the marquee letter and mark. (You may find it helpful to first pencil in lines of the path they will follow and then plot the holes.)

Aim to space bulbs over the width and length of the marquee letter so that they are equidistant. In our case, we placed the first bulb two inches from the edge and set the rest 2 inches apart from one another, but the distance may vary depending on the dimensions of your marquee letter and the size of the bulbs.

 

STEP 5

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 5

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

For every mark, drill a hole. The drill bit size must match the size of the base of the bulb so that it can pop through. Here, we used a 3⁄8-inch drill bit.

 

STEP 6

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 6

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Add depth to your three-dimensional marquee letter by creating an edge with a shadowbox effect to run along its perimeter. Start by cutting the project’s leftover plywood into a strip or two, each 3 inches wide and as long as the board. Now, position a 3″-inch wide strip along the top side of your marquee letter to match it in length exactly; mark the length on the plywood strip, cut, and stand it up on edge against the marquee letter.

Working clockwise, lay the remaining 3-inch plywood length against the side that connects on the right. This time, adjust ever so slightly—by roughly 6 mm, the thickness of the plywood—so that this length overlaps the edge of the last strip you cut and spans to the end of this side of the letter. (This little bit of overlap minimizes gaps at at the corners between edge pieces.) Mark where you’ll want to make your cut, use your jigsaw, and stand this second edge up just the same. Repeat this process as you work your way around the marquee letter. The final side should be long enough to cover its side and the extra 6 mm of plywood at both ends.

Now, prepare to glue. You want the marquee letter’s 3″-wide casing to stick out 2 inches in front and 1 inch in the back (that’s how you’ll hide the cord), so it may be helpful to pencil a line length-wise along each plywood strip to guide your gluing. Then apply either hot glue or wood glue to the strips along the drawn lines, and press them to their coordinating sides. Hold the sides with clamps while the glue dries.

 

STEP 7

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 7

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Apply some wood putty using a putty knife to fill in and smooth over any remaining gaps at the corners. Once completely dry, sand the edges to remove any blemishes.

 

STEP 8

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 8

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Finally, the key to transforming the plywood structure into a metal-look marquee like lies in the two-part painting technique. First, completely coat the piece with black spray paint and let dry.

 

STEP 9

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 9

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

After your black paint has completely dried, apply a top coat of silver hammered spray paint. This round, it’s less important to cover completely; the black paint peeping through—in addition to the metallic spray paint’s unique finish—will visually age the marquee.

 

STEP 10

DIY Marquee Letter - Step 10

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Unscrew the LED bulbs from their string, and place one in each hole with a little glue. When dry, you can reconnect the string lights to their bulbs from the back. Then take your one-of-a-kind marquee letter and display it either standing upright or hung on the wall. The unique design is sure to brighten up—quite literally—any shelving arrangement, bar cart, or gallery wall.

 

DIY Marquee Letter - Completed Lighting Project

Photo: Ohoh Blog for Bob Vila

Ama is a DIY addict and the creative mind behind Ohoh Blog. She likes home decor, lighting, and furniture projects that may involve painting, sewing, drilling…no matter the technique! Whatever she has on hand is inspiration to create, and fodder for her serious addiction to upcycling.