4 Affordable Living Room Renovations

The heart of every home is the living room.  This common room brings people together for movies, games, and good conversation.  Design and home improvement solutions are especially important in this room.  When putting together a living room conducive to entertaining, here are some simple solutions to keep in mind…

  • Go cordless

Entertainment centers are notorious for unruly cords.  Why have a flat screen TV if there’s a ton of cords surrounding it? Highlight your sleek technology by tucking the cords away.  Cord management can be done with covers, zip ties, or running a line through the drywall.

  • Built-ins

For all of your coffee table books and old DVDs and the record collection, a little extra shelving and storage can go a long way.  Turn your living room into a parlor by adding the ambiance of built-in bookcases.  Nothing says class and organization quite like a wall storing your favorite books.  They can also add some architectural intrigue with baseboard details and crown molding.

  • Accent pieces

Accent pieces are important for a living room because they can direct the focus of the space.  Having a statement fixture like a hearth or a large ceiling light can pull a large space into a smaller seating area. Install a pendant light or fix up your old fireplace by adding a fresh coat of paint and new mantel.

  • Pictures

Finally, nothing fits a living room quite like family photos and art.  These rooms are here to express their owner’s character so the more personal detail the better.  Gallery walls are great for displaying a large collection of medium to small prints.  Or perhaps you’d like to go for something a little more classic.  A large painting over the couch accented by a picture light.

It doesn’t take a full overhaul to make a room feel new again.  Small updates, repairs, and additions are essential to maintaining your home’s character and interest.  Is there a living room project you’d like to accomplish before the holidays roll around and company starts dropping by?  Handyman Matters is here to assist.  Just call 866-FIX-MY-HOME to find a craftsmen in your neighborhood.


If you’re Selling your Home, you Need to Read This!

Fall is a prime real estate season.  After the long summer, fall can also be a great time for change.  If you’re considering selling your home there are some essential steps to take.  It is every seller’s nightmare to decide to sell and then end up on the market for more than a year.  Make sure that you have prepped your home properly to be on the market.  Here’s what you need to know…

  • Repairs

Buyers and brokers notice everything.  Broken steps, burnt out lights, stuck windows, stained ceilings…  Completing these repairs before a potential buyer enters your home will drastically increase the chances of them buying.  Additionally, well-maintained homes build trust with buyers.  If everything works properly, the buyer won’t be questioning what else in the home needs to be repaired.

  • Exterior Maintenance

The curb appeal of a home in real estate is about 50% of the selling battle.  First impressions dictate whether the buyer will want to see the inside.  Healthy, trimmed lawns, decorative flowers, landscaping, the condition of your mailbox, the wear of the paint… All of these little exterior maintenance details are important.  If that means adding a new coat of paint to your home or repairing a fence, it will be worth it.  Unfortunately, the saying, “you have to spend money to make money” is especially true in the realm of real estate.

  • Pre-List Inspection

There are obvious repairs and then not so obvious ones.  It can be a tremendous help to hire an expert to do a home inspection before you put it on the market.  This way you can make a list of things to repair, and prioritize based on your budget.

  • Staging

When it comes to staging, less is more.  It will be a good idea to get a storage unit and preemptively move out all your non-essential things for this interior preparation task.  Clutter is your worst enemy here.  The idea behind staging is to create a space in which your potential buyers can imagine themselves and their things.  Sparse rooms will allow the buyer to mentally fill in the blanks with their own furniture.

Handyman Matters has a team of skilled professionals that can assist in any stage in the selling process.  Need your home inspected? Don’t have time to start on your repair list?  We’re here to help, just call 866-FIX-MY-HOME.


How To Choose The Right Doors For Your Home

Selecting new doors for your home seems like an easy process.   You want something that is both attractive and functional, suiting the style of your home as well as providing both security and substantial insulation.  But before making that final selection, take a few moments to become informed about the choices available, and the advantages (and disadvantages) of each.

Exterior Doors

An exterior door is called upon to fill a more substantial function than an interior one.  It must stand up to the elements as well as endure constant use. Not sure if it’s time to replace your exterior doors? Take a look at the top 4 signs you need a new front door.

Traditionally, entry doors have been constructed of wood.  They are available in a variety of choices and colors and provide a quality, high-end look to your home.  However, wood is susceptible to deterioration and warping, and it will require regular maintenance—staining or refinishing—periodically.

An alternative choice is fiberglass, which can mimic the look of wood, but requires much less maintenance and offers better insulation.

Another possibility is steel, which provides good insulation and tends to be less expensive than wood.  While steel offers security and general durability (it won’t warp or rot), it can rust if the finish paint should get scratched.  And while it can be detailed, it will never attain the look of a wood door.

Interior Doors

Interior doors may be builder-grade hollow-core, or they can be custom-made solid wood.

Hollow-core is a fiberboard construction, is lighter-weight, and more easily subject to damage than wood.  It is less expensive, but will also transmit noise more easily.

Medium Density Fiberboard (MDF) doors don’t have any grain and are typically painted.  Because they can be routed, it’s easy to create designs on them, allowing them to have a wide variety of appearance.

Since interior doors don’t have to endure the changes in weather and season and they are generally called upon to provide privacy rather than insulation. Let your personal taste—and budget—be  the deciding factors.

Don’t forget about french doors. Typically used for office doors, they offer many benefits and look great as well.

Fire Doors

Most building codes require that you install a fire door between your home and attached garage, since the danger of a fire starting is much greater in areas where flammable materials may be stored, or where oil may drip from car engines.

Fire doors have ratings that are expressed in blocks of time (20, 45, 60 minutes, etc.);  they are made with features and materials specifically designed to retard the spread of flames.

These types of doors are typically installed on garages, but they can be located anywhere in your home. Your local building code may specify the requirements needed in your area – you should consult with your builder or carpenter to ensure you are following posted guidelines.

Once you’ve done your research and you are ready to proceed with the acquisition of new doors, call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME or go to www.handymanmatters.com where you can enter your zip code and be put in touch with The Handyman Matters office nearest you.  The qualified craftsmen at every location can assist you with this task and any other repair and remodel projects you are considering.

Best of the Internet: Paint Colors for your Home!

One of the best and most affordable ways to update your home is to add a fresh coat of paint.  Whether you tackle just one wall, or a room, or your entire house, switching up the paint in your home will go a long way.  What color do you pick?  Not just any color will complement your home so Handyman Matters has pulled together some of our favorite neutral and bold colored rooms from across the internet…


Eggshell and yellow are a thing of the past when it comes to neutrals this season.  If you go neutral, think grey.

And the wonderful thing about grey is it has a variety of undertones, so your home’s grey could be referencing a pale blue, green, or even purple.


If you go bold, do it in a jewel tone.  Rich colors, as opposed to neons, can calm a large room or add a point of interest to a more minimally designed space. This year blue, green, and black paint are ruling the bold spectrum.

  • Green

Talk about luxury.  Royal and deep greens have the ability to invoke both warm and cooling properties.

  • Blue

It may be bold, but a good navy blue is still a fairly understated color.  It’s the cousin to the neutral tones, so if you’re looking to go bold without making too much of a statement, blue is for you.

  • The In-Between

Turquoise, teal, and cyan to name a few.  These are some of the most common colors found in nature.  These blue-green in-betweens will add an earthy feel to your home.

  • Black

If you’re really looking to go bold, go black.  Black paint done right will add a high contrast element to your home, making the brighter whites stand out like nothing before.  This color of paint will also draw your eye to the smaller details of a room; just make sure you have a little extra natural light, so that the room doesn’t end up becoming a cave.

Worried your room will be overwhelmed with color? Wainscoting is the perfect way to offset a bold paint choice.

Find more wall paint inspiration on our Pinterest board! Ready to start your next paint or wainscoting project? Handyman Matters is here to help, just call 866-FIX-MY-HOME!

Window Design that will Improve your Home’s Energy Efficiency

Windows are an important part of passive solar home design (PSHD).  PSHD describes the process that takes advantage of a building’s site, climate and materials to minimize energy usage.  A passive solar home gets at least part of its heating, cooling and lighting energy from the sun.  And window design can play a large role in regulating that energy efficiency.

You can dramatically improve your energy efficiency by utilizing weatherstripping or caulking, by adding storm windows, or by installing window treatments and coverings.  In some instances, however, the better option is to replace older, less efficient windows with new ones that are better-designed for energy-saving purposes.  They quickly pay for themselves in reduced utility costs.

Before installing new windows, it’s important to determine the type that will work best in your home’s configuration.  Here are some factors to take into account…

  • Consider that south-facing windows will collect the most solar heat.  This is advantageous in the winter months, but less so in summer months, particularly in warmer climates.  In those areas, overhangs, glazing, or other shading devices will help to prevent excessive heat gain.  In colder climates, owners will welcome the additional warmth that southern-facing windows can absorb.
  • Windows on east- and west-facing sides of your home admit less sunlight and available solar heat.  It is more difficult to control the heat and light admitted through these, and they should have a low solar heat gain coefficient (SHGC).  This is a scale that determines the fraction of solar radiation admitted through a window) or shading of some type.  You can learn more about this scale at www.energy.gov.
  • Northern-facing windows collect no solar heat and generally are used only for lighting.  They can’t be counted on to provided sustained warmth, as they have very little SHGC capability.

Consider, too, the type of window operating system you want to install, since different styles have different air leakage rates.

  • Fixed panes do not open at all, making these generally air tight, but no ventilation is available, either, which reduces their appeal.
  • Single and double-hung windows have two separate panes of glass.  In single-hung windows, only the lower half of the window opens, sliding upward.  In double-hung windows, both halves are moveable.  Both types have a much higher air leakage factor, since they don’t seal as efficiently as other styles.
  • Similarly, single- and double-sliding windows feature glass which slides horizontally, and they, too, have higher air leakage.
  • Casement windows are hinged at the sides and open outward.  Both these and awning windows, which are hinged at the top, are more airtight since the sash closes by pressing against the frame.

Naturally, your selection is going to come down to the style that looks best on your home but, armed with this information, you can make a choice that balances aesthetics with energy-efficiency.

Even the most energy-saving windows must be installed correctly to ensure their efficiency.  The craftsmen at Handyman Matters are always available to assist with this important home upkeep task.  Call 1(800)FIX-MY-HOME to locate the office nearest you.

Fox New’s Salute to American Success!

In case you didn’t catch it, Handyman Matters was featured Fox New’s Salute to American Success! Find out how Andy Bell took this home operated handyman business and turned it into a franchise system bringing in over $30 million a year.

“On the repair side of the business, our two biggest revenue makers are drywall and carpentry,” Bell said. “Our biggest projects are bathrooms. We also do a lot of work on interior and exterior doors, brick work and deck repairs, staining and expansions. We continue to work on painting, custom shelving and crown molding jobs as well. Right now our top market is Chicago.” — Andy Bell, CEO and Founder of Handyman Matters.

Watch the latest video at video.foxbusiness.com