4 DIY Built-ins You Can Do This Weekend

Built-ins are showstoppers in any room. Whether used to surround a fireplace, turn a window into a cozy reading nook, add extra storage to an otherwise underused wall, or create the home library of your dreams, built-ins bring the grandeur.  

But that grandeur can come with a grand price if you order custom built-ins. Luckily, they’re not the only option. DIY built-ins don’t have to be expensive, require a full renovation, or take longer than a weekend to complete. Paint, moulding and prefabricated bookcaseswardrobes, and cabinetry are all you’ll need to create the classy, custom looking built-ins of your dreams.

The secret to DIY built-ins is paint and trim. To make your project look like custom work, paint the built-ins to match your room colour and use trim to finish the edges.  

Image by Pixabay via Pexels.

Dramatize your fireplace

Fireplaces are often the focal points of the room they’re in, but if you’re wondering how to make the most of the empty space on either side, built-ins are a great answer. If you don’t have a fireplace, but really want one, or want to remodel your current fireplace before building the DIY built-ins, you can create your own using some of  these hacks.

To add depth in the room, and more curiosity for the eye, bring out the built-ins so they recess the fireplace. If that’s not your style, you can measure the depth of the mantel and find bookcases to match, so the whole feature is flush. Keep in mind anything that’s done around your fireplace should be done so with extreme care. Always be sure you’re aligned with any fire or building codes, and be aware of any electrical systems within the wall before you start drilling. 

Bookcase built-ins are excellent if you want to display books and other decorative items but doing half cabinetry with short bookcases stacked on top allows you always-useful closed storage space.

Create a window seat

You might be able to transform a window in your house into a cozy oasis with a few kitchen cabinets. If you have a recessed window, you’ll be able to create a built-in window seat with some sturdy, ready-made kitchen cabinets and a few 2x4s or 2x6s as a base. Light demolition is necessary as you’ll need to remove the baseboards in the area to ensure the cabinets are flush with the wall. 

Image by Home Decor Interiors via Pexels.

Maximize your storage

Framing a window, desk, or TV with built-ins adds instant gravitas to the room—and gives you heaps of storage. As with the fireplace, open bookcase built-ins will allow you plenty of space to display sentimental or decorative items. If you have things to hide, or prefer to keep things out of sight, try using woven or wooden baskets. Prefab wardrobes can be a great option if you have larger or longer objects like coats and vacuum cleaners that you want to store.

If you have dead space, a nook, or a gap around an architectural feature, but not enough room for a full bookcase built-in, take advantage of floating shelves for a DIY built-in look without any reno and only a little bit of measuring.

A divine home library

If you’ve ever admired the wall-to-wall bookshelves of a beautiful home library on Pinterest, you’re not alone. Bookcase built-ins bring an opulence to the room that’s hard to beat but can be attained through a few matching cases.

As with the window seat, remove the baseboards first so the bookcases can sit flush to the wall on all three sides (that is, if you’re doing one entire unbroken wall). Make sure everything’s secured and isn’t at risk of toppling by drilling a few screws through the back of the case into the studs. This is a vital step for all tall built-ins, especially the half-cabinetry, half-bookcase ones.

To make sure it doesn’t look like you’ve just aligned several bookshelves along the wall, fill in all the little holes with caulk or putty, use trim to cover the joins between cases, and then get out your can of paint and paint the entirety of the shelves to match your wall colour. 

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Amidst lockdowns and times of uncertainty, many of us looked inward to our homes to provide calming and safe spaces, including our outdoor areas. That’s why, in today’s post, we’re going to be sharing tips on how to create a zen outdoor space, however you like to relax.

The following is a guest post by Suhayl Laher

Amidst lockdowns and times of uncertainty, many of us looked inward to our homes to provide calming and safe spaces, including our outdoor areas.

As a result, many gardens became like a ‘fifth room’, offering the perfect area for relaxation and spending quality time outdoors – and this trend seems to be here to stay.

That’s why, in today’s post, we’re going to be sharing tips on how to create a zen outdoor space, however you like to relax.

So, whether your idea of unwinding is soaking up the sun, chilling with pals on warm summer evenings or pottering, planting and pruning, we have garden design ideas to suit everyone.

1. The wild and whimsical

 Relax to the sounds of wildlife with a wild and whimsical garden design that allows nature to be the star of the show.

The key to a successful wild garden is to accept the imperfections that come with natural habitats, seeing them as beautiful traits. This means letting things grow their own way, simply pruning them back from time to time to keep paths clear and to help promote regrowth.

For flower beds and planters, opt for a mixture of species to create a striking sea of color – a wildflower seed blend can be an easy option here. Also, embrace longer grass and weeds, as some species can be very pretty.

You may also want to include a water feature like a pond to attract a wider variety of wildlife and boost that sense of serenity.

When it comes to practical additions like furniture and hardscaping materials, opt for a rustic theme with wood and stone elements aplenty to give your wild wonderland a cohesive finish.

2. The simple and serene

If clean lines and a simple design is more your style, there’s plenty of scope for carving out a calm and soothing outdoor zone for reading, meditating or socializing.

In large gardens, this may look more like a defined relaxation zone, while smaller backyards may benefit from a full minimalist makeover.

Achieving your pared-back haven requires a carefully curated balance of texture, decoration and color. To start, lay a solid and versatile foundation with a grounding neutral color palette.

Durable stone effect outdoor tiles in beige or a pale gray are ideal for floors and walls, bringing both texture and a soothing hue.

Pair with darker wood or metal to create crisp color and texture contrasts for furniture and structural elements like a pergola or trellis.

When it comes to plants, avoid fussy florals and instead use big, bold leafy species. Ideally, you want a mixture of fauna and green shades here to help boost your mood.

For decorative touches, a simple water feature is a must. Set amidst a blend of soft-touch fabrics for furnishings and a few modern ornaments, you’ll have all the ingredients for the perfect serene sanctuary outside.

3. The practical and sustainable

 With evidence to suggest that the act of gardening itself can help to improve mental and physical health, zen outdoor spaces aren’t just about creating relaxing seated areas.

Having a practical and sustainable outdoor space where you can grow your own can provide the perfect escape and a chance to practice mindfulness.

Creating a practical and sustainable garden doesn’t always need lots of room – even modest spaces can yield a decent crop with the right design and plants that utilize vertical space.

To keep maintenance low and optimize the functionality of your outdoor space, opt for raised flower beds that make it easier to weed and pick your produce.

If you like to keep things orderly, plant vegetables and fruits in groups. For instance, keep root vegetables like carrots, beetroots and potatoes together, while other species like lettuces, herbs and edible flowers can go in another area.

Also, make sure sprawling plants like pumpkins, butternut squash, courgettes and cucumbers have plenty of space to grow, as well as vertical support to keep them from taking up too much ground space.

You can also make better use of space and make crops easier to pick for things like peas, beans, raspberries and blackberries by using growing frames along walls.

Whatever you choose to grow outdoors, you can help to promote sustainability and keep the zen vibes going by using organic, eco-friendly materials, pesticides and fertilizers.

With these ideas and practical tips, we hope you find all the inspiration you need to give your outdoor areas a zen makeover this spring. Whether you prefer to soak up the sun with a good book or get your hands dirty planting, there are plenty of ways to create your very own outdoor haven.

Author bio:

Suhayl Laher works at Tiles Direct, one of the UK’s largest independent tile distributors and retailers – bringing design inspiration to homeowners, architects and developers.

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Ainsley Smith

Deciding whether or not it’s time to move—either across the country, province, or within the same city—is a difficult decision to make. Are you ready to uproot your life and leave your friends, family, and job behind? Are you ready to either sell your homeend your lease, or move out of your parents’ home for the first time? Regardless of your situation, deciding to move is a momentous life event and one that doesn’t often come easy.

If you’re unsure whether or not moving is the right call right now, read on to learn about some of the different reasons why people often choose to move to a new home.

Photo by Dillon Kydd on Unsplash

Common reasons people choose to move  

There are, of course, the obvious reasons why you might consider moving. Perhaps you’re starting a family and you need a bigger home with a fenced-in backyard where the kiddos can play. Or, maybe all of your children have moved out and you’re ready to downsize

But other common reasons could be:

  • you’re growing tired of your commute to and from work; 
  • you have safety concerns in your neighbourhood;
  • you aren’t getting along with your neighbours; or 
  • you’ve received a job offer in a new city.  

To get a better understanding of why some homeowners have recently decided to move, we spoke to James Strathy Warren, a REALTOR® and salesperson for Chestnut Park Real Estate Ltd. Brokerage, who revealed some of the frequent themes he’s seen from his clients. 

Future planning

Warren says a change in interest rates can be a factor. When people find out interest rates are going up, they’ll look at moving beforehand to lock in on a competitive mortgage to save money in the long run. Not everyone moves when the interest rates change, but it’s something that can trigger people to start assessing the market and whether they’re happy where they are. 

Bang for your buck

Finding a renovated house in a “move-up” market can be a big deciding factor for many people. Warren suggests this can be less expensive than finding a home that requires a substantial renovation, which is appealing to those who don’t want to go through the process.

“There’s also the time factor of a lengthy renovation as well as the associated costs,” he explained. “So, essentially you’re buying your new home at a slight discount.”

Market trends

For those looking to move up, Warren explained sometimes in a market that tends to pull back in price increases, the spread can be less between the sale price of their existing home and the one they’re purchasing. For people scaling down, such as empty nesters, when the market is moving up, it can be a great time to sell.

“It’s always good to try and time the market, this is very important for people moving up,” said Warren.

Time of year

When moving out of a home, Warren said historically, the best months to sell for the highest sale price are usually February and May.  

“February, because January is usually hit with snow and there is so little [on the market], so appetite gets pent up,” he explained. “May, because everything is geared to the school year and people want to settle prior to summer vacation and the beginning of the school year. Sometimes we do see a good market in late September and early October when there is generally less supply.”

How can a REALTOR® help you make your decision?

Ultimately, when it comes to deciding if you should move, it’s up to you and your family to make the call. A REALTOR® can guide you through the decision process to ensure you’re making the move for all the right reasons, providing current market trends and conditions, and asking the right questions to help you feel informed in your choice.

A REALTOR® can also share properties available in your price range and desired location; answer any questions you have about different local neighbourhoods and property values; and they can help you decide whether or not it’s the right time to buy based on the market. 

Warren says being aware of the market and how homes are performing in the areas you’re considering is very important when it comes time to decide whether or not you should sell your home. 

“I think to be successful in a purchase, or when you’re selling your home, you should view houses first and get an idea of the houses available to you and watch their movement—their days on market and their sale prices. If you’re comfortable, then jump in and buy first, but make sure your home is looking its best and well-priced before putting it on the market,” said Warren. 

Working with a REALTOR® also gives you a better understanding of what’s happening in the market and if it’s the right time to make moves.

“It’s all about ‘reading the market’ and hopefully connecting the pieces of the puzzle,” added Warren.

While the prospect of moving might be daunting, there are different factors and indicators to help make your decision. If you’re thinking about embarking on a home buying journey, be sure to speak with a REALTOR® today.

The article above is for information purposes and is not legal or financial advice or a substitute for legal counsel.

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