Home Improvement


If you’re considering a bathroom remodeling project, it’s important to do your research before you dive in. This will help ensure that you’re choosing a style and materials that are both functional and appealing.

Paint is one of the easiest and least expensive ways to refresh your bathroom’s look. If possible, choose paint with a semi-gloss finish so it’s easy to clean and resistant to mold and mildew.

Install a new vanity

A vanity is an important element in any bathroom; it can greatly affect your space’s functions. If you plan to replace an existing one, consider how much storage you need and your preferred style. Visit to find more ideas for your bathroom vanity.

A freestanding unit can add an air of lightness and elegance to a small bathroom. At the same time, cabinets with drawers are ideal for storing supplies like extra toilet paper, beauty products and towels. If your space is limited, try a pedestal sink that’s less bulky and allows for an open floor space underneath.

Before installing your new vanity, shut off the water supply valves to the existing sink. First, locate the wall studs where you plan to install the cabinet using a stud finder.

Install a new toilet

Make the most of a cramped space with a wall-mounted toilet. It saves floor space and is easy to clean.

Stuff an old rag into the exposed sewer pipe flange to block odors and prevent tools from falling inside. Also, use a putty knife to scrape off the old wax from the bottom of the flange ring.

Wearing waterproof gloves, loosen and remove the toilet tank bolts with an adjustable wrench. Then, lift the tank off and rest it on a garbage bag or old towel. Position the bowl and affix the new wax ring to the flange ring. Insert the plastic disks and caps over the floor bolts; tighten them by hand to avoid cracking the toilet base.

Install a new sink

If your bathroom sink is old and outdated, it’s time to replace it. Choose a sink that’s the right size for your space. Also, consider installing a new faucet and water supply lines to match the new sink.

Before you install a new sink:

  1. Remove the existing one.
  2. Using channel lock pliers, disconnect the sink tailpiece and drain supply line.
  3. Use a bucket to catch any water that drains out.
  4. Remove the nut from the P-trap section.

Ensure your new sink is at the proper height for people of all abilities. Grab bars should be secured to block between wall studs and placed 33 to 36 inches off the ground.

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Install new lighting

That lighting fixture poking from the middle of your bathroom ceiling no longer satisfies today’s standards for sufficient general or ambient light. Consider recessed lighting that bounces off the walls or ceiling instead.

Use sconces to illuminate artwork, mirrors, or decor tucked in alcoves. Choose ones that have sleek designs to complement the room’s overall style. Accent lights should be bright, but their light shouldn’t spill over into other areas.

Ample natural light makes a small bathroom feel large and inviting. Keep windows free of blinds to let in more daylight.

Install a new shower/tub

Reinstalling a new tub and shower can give your bathroom a luxurious feel that visually makes the room feel larger. Using white is a great way to visually expand a space and create tile patterns that blend seamlessly between the walls and ceiling.

Before the demo begins, locate the water shutoffs and turn them off. If the existing valve and tub spout are intact, remove an access panel in an adjacent room to get at the piping .

Set the new surround on the tub flange and nail above it. Use a level to ensure it’s plumb; if not, chisel away or add a shim as needed.

Paint the walls

Painting the walls is one of the easiest ways to give your bathroom a new look. Look for a paint formulated for toilets to be moisture-resistant and mold-free.

Light colors make rooms feel larger when choosing a color, but that doesn’t mean your bathroom renovations need the same shade. A dark accent wall can add depth and interest to your space while still looking cohesive with the rest of the room. Just be sure to tape around anything you don’t want to get paint on, including any trim, such as baseboards or chair rails, wall tile and bath fixtures.


It’s that time of year again! The weather is getting warmer, the days are getting longer, and it’s time to start thinking about sprucing up your home windows for spring. If you’re like most people, you probably have a long list of projects you want to tackle. But if you’re looking for a quick and easy way to freshen up your home, why not start with your windows? Here are a few different ways to give your windows a makeover this spring.

Install plantation shutters

Plantation shutters are a classic window treatment that never goes out of style. Plus, they do a great job of controlling light and privacy. If you’re looking for a window treatment that will last for years to come, you can buy plantation shutters in Melbourne.

Hang some new curtains or drapes

Curtains and drapes are another great way to control light and privacy in your home – not to mention they come in so many different styles, colours and fabrics, so you’re sure to find something that fits your taste and your budget. If you’re not sure where to start, check out some of the latest trends in curtains and drapes – you might be surprised at how easy it is to find something you love!

Add some new blinds or shades

Blinds and shades are another popular window treatment option. Like curtains and drapes, they come in a variety of styles, colours, and fabrics to fit any taste or budget. They’re also a great way to control light and privacy in your home, so if you’re looking for an affordable way to update your windows this spring, consider adding some new blinds or shades.

Get rid of old or outdated window treatments

If your windows are currently adorned with old or outdated window treatments, now is the perfect time to get rid of them! Donate them to a local thrift store or consignment shop, or simply throw them away. Either way, getting rid of old window treatments will give your windows a fresh new look this spring.

Give your windows a good cleaning

Don’t forget the importance of giving your windows a good cleaning this spring! Dust build-up can make even the cleanest windows look dirty, so be sure to give them a good dusting (inside and out) before you start working on any other projects. Once your windows are clean and sparkling, you’ll be amazed at how much brighter and cleaner your whole house will look.

Hang shutters on the outside of the window

If you live in an older home with double-hung windows, you may want to consider hanging shutters on the outside of the window. Shutters were originally designed for function, not style. But today, they come in a variety of styles that can add charm and character to your home’s exterior.

Paint your window trim

If you want an inexpensive way to dress up your windows, consider painting the trim around the window (or even the whole window). You can use a colour that complements your home’s exterior or go for a bolder colour that makes a statement – just make sure you use high-quality paint so it will last for years to come.

Add stained glass accents

For something truly unique, consider adding stained glass accents to your windows. Stained glass is beautiful and timeless, and it can add value to your home if done properly by a professional craftsman/woman.

Ready to get started?

These are just a few ideas to get you started on sprucing up your windows this spring. So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and start making your windows look their best!


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Painting a room is one of the most DIY-friendly home-improvement projects, but it’s not like you do it every day. It’s easy to forget the basics, from surface prep to mixing the paint. Then there’s the matter of cleaning your brushes after calling it quits for the day. Most of us have had the experience of returning to a paint project, only to find brushes that are a hard, clumpy mess. Given the rising price of quality brushes (upwards of $15 for a single pack), that’s a waste of money, not to mention the time lost running back to the home center or hardware store.

At the Good Housekeeping Institute, our experts have been testing paints for decades, so they know the best ways to get brushes clean and ready for the next task at hand, whether it’s in a few hours or a few weeks. For this how-to article, we also checked in with pros in the field — the ones who really are tackling paint projects every day.

Here’s a simple step-by-step guide for getting the longest life out of your brushes.

1. Choose your cleaning agent based on paint type

For water-based paints, like latex and acrylic, which most projects these days call for, plain water will do the trick. “We also like to use a little drop of dish soap to help with ease of cleaning brushes,” says Shannon Duvall of HD Painting and Stain, based in Belleville, Illinois, and member ambassador of the Painting Contractors Association. Here’s how to get cleaning:

  1. Fill a small bucket or tray with soapy water. For best results, use warm water.
  2. Press the brushes into the bottom of the container in a rapid back-and-forth motion. That will work the water into the heel of the brush, all the way to the ferrule, where the bristles connect to the handle.
  3. Replace the water two or three times, continuing to press and work the brushes back and forth, until most of the paint is removed.
  4. Squeeze the bristles by hand. Then, rinse the brushes thoroughly at the sink, again using warm water.

For oil-based paints — whose hard, durable finish is suited to furniture, stair banisters and other high-touch surfaces — you’ll need to use a chemical cleaner, like mineral spirits, paint thinner or turpentine.

  1. Fill a small cup or jar about halfway with chemical cleaner. Submerge the bristles for 30 seconds.
  2. Remove the brush, and wipe the bristles against a hard, clean surface.
  3. Repeat the process until the paint is gone. Then rinse at the sink in warm water.

Caution: When using chemical cleaners, make sure you’re in a well-ventilated area, since solvent fumes are toxic.

2. Do a deeper clean

No matter how aggressively you clean your brushes in water or solvent, some paint is liable to remain. If you waited too long to clean the brushes and the paint has started to harden, this will certainly be the case.

  1. Use a wire brush — the same kind used for surface prep — to remove any dried-on paint.
  2. Deploy long, gentle strokes, like brushing your hair, so as not tug too many bristles loose from the ferrule.

3. Dry and store the brushes

Once your brushes are clean and ready for the next project, it’s important to dry them out as much as possible.

  1. Start by giving them a few vigorous shakes. Then squeeze them in a bunch of paper towels or a clean cloth towel.
  2. Store the brushes properly to prevent damage to the bristles. If you’re planning to use them again the next day, wrap them in aluminum foil or plastic wrap to keep them fresh.
  3. For longer-term storage, many pros keep their brushes in resealable plastic bags. Or you can invest in plastic paintbrush protectors.

How to clean paint rollers

Paint rollers, the ideal tool for large expanses of wall or ceiling, are even more important to clean thoroughly after every use, since their fibers (a.k.a. “nap”) hold so much paint. The same choice of cleaning agent applies: warm, soapy water for water-based latex and acrylic paints, and a chemical solvent for oil-based paints.

  1. Squeeze excess paint back into the can. You can put gloves on and use your hands for this, but our experts recommend a five-in-one paint tool, whose curved scraper is the perfect shape for the job. A putty knife or other straight edge will also do the trick.
  2. Roll off any remaining paint. Going back over a freshly painted section of wall is one strategy, or reach for some old newspaper — anything that will let you make a few passes to get off the last remnants of paint.
  3. Do a deep-clean. At this point, it’s best to take the cover off its roller frame and put on plastic gloves.
    For water-based paints, fill a bucket with warm, soapy water and wash the cover by hand with repeated squeezing motions; replace the water as needed until it runs clean with every squeeze.
    For oil-based paints, add enough solvent to a long, flat container to submerge the cover (a paint tray is ideal). Let the cover sit for about five minutes, agitating it by hand every so often to loosen the paint. If necessary, repeat the process with a fresh supply of solvent.
  4. Dry the covers. Stand them on end to prevent the fibers from getting crushed. If you used chemical solvents, make sure to dry the covers in a well-ventilated area. Store dry covers in resealable plastic bags or another airtight container.

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