Category Archives: Investing

How To Use Recycled Wood Throughout Your Home


Re-using wood is a wonderful way to save money, add character to your decorative projects and preserve trees. Here are tips on how to use recycled wood.

Whether it be HGTV refurb shows or podcast shows detailing DIY projects like Fix It Home Improvement or We Buy Houses Radio with Rick Otton, improving home value through renovation is something more homeowners are becoming interested in. And a nice idea for DIY projects is reusing wood in your home.

There is a lot of re-usable wood that can be found in old buildings, old shipping crates and demolished barns or even old hardwood flooring. You can even find excellent wood when you sift through leftover construction lumber. Pieces from old barn boards can make for some interesting wooden floors, you just need to know how to re-use them around your house for maximum effect. With that in mind, here are some tips on how to use recycled wood throughout your home.

Preparing the recycled wood

Before you jump into those exciting DIY projects, you will need to make sure that the recycled wood is prepared. Here is what you need to do:

  • Inspect the wood and make sure that there isn’t too much warping, insect infestations, rotting or water damage. Rotten wood is just no good. Poke discoloured areas of the piece of wood to see if it is solid enough and look down the length at eye level to ensure that there is no twisting or warping. Do not use any wood that has black mould or is too warped for your particular DIY project.
  • Remove all the nails in the wood.
  • Sort the wood out into equal lengths for easy categorisation.
  • Sand any part of the wood that will be visible to give it an aesthetic look.

How to use recycled wood around the house

There are very many DIY projects on which you can use recycled wood. Just think about it for a second, do you want a bookshelf, a coffee table, a new porch or maybe just more ledge on your windows for those flower pots? All of these projects can be perfect for recycled wood. Specific projects would include:

Cabinet re-facing

Take a long hard look at your cabinets. Do they need a new lease of life or could they use a different look? Using the same kind of recycled wood to reface your kitchen or bathroom cabinets is a great way to give them a rustic look that is not only unique but also quite aesthetically appealing.

Make new recycled wood furniture

how to use recycled wood on your home, diy property renovation, improve home value, property renovation using recycled woodFrom coffee tables to chairs and even tables, recycled wood can be wonderful for creating new furniture. You wouldn’t even have to spend so much money on the project. You probably already have all the tools you need. Plus the recycled wood, you are good to go and get started on that unique coffee table.

Create unique recycled wood decor

This is where your creativity really shines. There is virtually no limit to the different types of recycled wood decor you can build. From bookshelves to wooden box shelves for your decorative flower vases or maybe even stripped-wood lampshades. Go wild and release your inner artist.

All you would need is the right kind of recycled wood, some creativity and a little time for you to undertake the perfect recycled wood DIY project for your home.

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How To Install A Chandelier And Make A Room Pop!

Because of tricky electrical DIY, installing a chandelier can either be good or bad. Here are practical tips on how to install a chandelier and make a room pop!

Listen, unless you are qualified as an electrical engineer, it might be a wise decision to leave the wiring to the professionals. Electricity is no joke. That being said, installing a chandelier in your living room or even man cave is a wonderful way to infuse some life into that room (Okay, maybe not your man cave, we need that to be ‘Manly’).

Yes, you can install a chandelier by yourself. But you would have to follow some strict guidelines and maybe have an electrical engineer on standby just to double check the wiring. Other than that, here is what you need to know about the process of installing a chandelier in your home.

Provide the necessary support

Generally speaking, most ceiling electrical boxes are not built to support electrical fixtures that weigh more than 50 pounds or 22KG. If by any chance your new chandelier weighs more than 22KG then you need to replace that electrical box with one that is designed for heavy-duty work.

Or, you could install a fan brace first. These braces are designed to hold heavy ceiling fans, but they can also hold a chandelier weighing up to 66KG. The best thing about installing a fan brace first is that you do not have to cut into the ceiling because it can simply be slipped into the ceiling hole.

Installation process

how to install a chandelier, why install a chandelier, how to make your room, electrical diyMost chandeliers come with an instructions manual highlighting how to install them and where they would do the most good. Once you have ENSURED that the power is off, go to work connecting the chandelier to the home’s electrical system through the new electrical box and/or the fan base.

This is where you need an electrician around. But if you are fully intent on doing this on your own, here is a diagram that gives you an idea about all the parts that have to go into each other before everything is set to go: http://img2-2.timeinc.net/toh/i/steps/hanging-chandelier-Over.jpg

Why install a chandelier at all

Let’s assume that we are not thinking about the obvious beauty and glamour this entire process brings to the room. There are several other reasons why you should strongly consider installing a chandelier in any one of the rooms within your home:

  • It can help layer your lighting and make everything else shine brightly.
  • You can use it to complement your existing fixtures.
  • You can use it to bring a historical look to a room.
  • Use it to drive Mrs Dobson down the road mad with envy.

Whether you want it installed in your bedroom, your living room or in your dining room (we would go for the dining room chandelier), installing a chandelier is an excellent idea to get things bright and shiny in any room. It is a wonderful icebreaker with your visitors and it is an absolutely gorgeous way to make a room pop.

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How To Maintain The Brick Exterior Of Your Home


Even though brick is built to last, it still needs proper care and maintenance. Here are some practical tips on how to maintain the brick exterior of your home.

If you like listening to property investing podcasts like the shows of Rick Otton, Bryce Holdaway, or Mike Stenhouse, you may have come across

For centuries now, brick has been a favourite of many stately as well as simple homes. It is probably because of its energy efficiency or maybe it is because of the aesthetic appeal that comes with that rusty colour, whatever the reason, brick simply stands out and make for amazing building material. As maintenance free as brick typically is, it does occasionally call for some cleaning, water damage spot checks and a few repairs to ensure that it maintains its structural integrity.

Cleaning your brick exterior

Prudence dictates that you take the least aggressive approach when cleaning your brick exterior. It is advisable to take a garden hose to your brick walls once every year. For loose dirt, just use a hose with a spray nozzle and pressured water to clean it off. There are, however, some cases where there might be mould, moss or mildew involved.

In such cases, you will need to add different types of cleaning agents to get the job done. Here you can mix a cup of bleach with a gallon of water and use a synthetic bristle brush to scrub off the offending growth. You should be careful about using bleach on the dry brick. Before applying this cleaning solution, ensure that the area is well soaked thus leaving no room for any more fluid intake for the bricks.

Protecting your brick walls from the elements

Although there are many steps that you can take on your own to maintain your brick exterior, there are some that simply call for professional assistance. This is one of those steps. To protect your brick exterior from the elements, especially if you live in an area where frost is a typical occurrence, you need to apply sealants and water repellents.

Siloxane repellent is an excellent example of what you need. Not only is it an effective water repellent but it does so while allowing masonry some room to breathe. Trying to use unvetted sealants may result in further damage to your brick exterior. Most sealants do not allow your walls to breathe and end up trapping moisture and ruining the whole thing by changing the wall’s colour and darkening the shades. That is why it is essential to use a professional mason for this step.

Repointing your brick exterior

This is yet another step that calls for professional assistance. Brick mortar joints tend to wear off and chip away. If you do not do something about this, the overall structural integrity of the wall in question will be compromised. A professional will careful remove the affected mortar joints and replace it with fresh mortar. It is advisable for the depth of the freshly applied mortar to be twice the width of the affected mortar joint. These are things professionals would know to do.

If you want your brick exterior to maintain its beautiful and majestic look, you need to carry out periodic repairs and maintenance on it. Involving a professional for most of these steps is integral to the durability and aesthetic value of the brick exterior in the long run.

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How To Make Home Lighting Look And Feel Expensive On A Budget

If you’ve ever wanted to have fancy lighting in your home without breaking your budget, here are low-cost DIY tips to get the job done.

When you add the term “expensive” onto anything you immediately get visions of grandeur, reserved for those living the good life. When it comes to home lighting, this rule is extra applicable: “expensive” lighting evokes images of crystal chandeliers, and custom wall sconces. However, if you’re on a budget like the best of us are, you don’t necessarily have to forsake the quality lighting you have in mind strictly for candles and low-sitting lamps. Making sure that your living space glows as luxuriously as you’ve imagined is simply a matter of learning a few tricks.

When it comes to expensive looking lighting, there’s not one cure all trick to transforming a room. Think about things like design, certain finishes, the scale, and how you want to express your unique, personal style. Lighting is like the room’s jewellery, and works the way accessories dress up an outfit. For this reason, focus on finding pieces with a daring shape or interesting design detail. These make the lighting look original and not mass-produced. While you undoubtedly find a multitude of cheapies that have the telltale signs of a low-cost item- (like a finish that is meant to look antique but is clearly a quick spray paint job), take the time to hunt down fixtures that are low priced and quality, and the compliments will come flooding in.

You might not have a budget for lighting or want to slowly build up your pieces. If this is the case, your first purchase should be an attention-grabber. You’ll get the most out of a dramatic piece. This can be a chandelier, a grouping of pendants, or an interesting floor lamp. Most people want to put a small fixture in a small room, but you will find the opposite actually makes the room much more dynamic. Installing an oversize chandelier or pendant much lower than expected might seem risky at first, top designers push that this is the way to go. Doing so creates an entirely impactful look that in turn, makes the room feel rich.

DIY light fixture installation

diy light installation, improve home lighting, cheap light fixturesFor safety purposes, hire a professional when dealing with the wiring – that is , if you are not a qualified electrician yourself. But if you are hiring the services of a professional, keep these tools handy just in case you’ll need them during the installation process:

  1. A voltage detector
  2. Wire strippers
  3. Screwdriver
  4. Light fixture
  5. Work light/ medium sized flashlight
  6. Wire nuts

Steps for installation

Step 1, shut off the power. Most professionals recommend shutting the power off at the breaker. Usually the breakers on the electrical panel are labeled. It can be a bit of a guessing game if they’re not.

Step 2, connect the wires. A typical box for a light fixture will have white (neutral), copper (ground), and black (current) wires. From here, there are a few more steps but every fixture is different and will have to be treated accordingly.

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How To Build A Media Room On A Budget

With everything becoming more and more expensive, including movie tickets, it goes to reason that you should try to find cheaper ways to enjoy what you like. Here are tips on how to build a media room on a budget.

Did you know that you do not have to go to the movies every time a new Star Wars movie premiers? Yes, we agree, the experience is amazing, but what if we told you that there is a way through which you can recreate the same experience in your own home and on the cheap? Now you can have as many movie nights and even your own private premier parties right in your media room without having to rob a bank. Here is what you need to do:

Find the room

You have to choose the room that will be transformed into a media room. You can make it the basement, the attic or even just one of the many bedrooms you have lying around gathering dust and pushing up your cleaning lady bills.

Choose the equipment

This is going to be the backbone of your media room. You need to find the right equipment. We are talking projector, home theatre, maybe some lighting and a screen. Although this entire set up is not going to be pocket change, it will be much cheaper than buying a huge flat screen for the room.

Get your media centre

how to build a media room, build a media room on a budget, cheap ways to build a media roomThe whole idea here is to play movies at home. Try to find a player that covers all formats, but you could simply go for a top of the line blu-ray player since that is where technology is at anyway. You could also simply use your laptop and hook it up to the project. It is all up to you. But we advise you to get something that is dedicated to the media room only.

What about the seats?

Here, you need to decide which aspect is more important to you: sitting capacity or comfort? If you have decided that you need a media room that can take in your entire family plus their neighbour’s dog, then you need to buy seats that can fit into that chosen room. These won’t be too spacious, but they should be comfortable enough to allow for enjoyable screening.

On the other hand, if you decide to go with comfortable, go right ahead and get yourself a set of lazy boys and place them right in front of the projector screen. This is where you and that other special one will be seating during screenings. Your family members and their neighbour’s dog can go to the movies.

Once you have assembled everything you need, and we acknowledge that this might take a while to accumulate, it is now time to put it all together. This is where your DIY skills come into play. You need to build some kind of mounting for the projector and maybe the speakers and you need to find a way to hand that projector screen in the right spot. After that, all you have to do is get a mini-fridge in there and enjoy cold beers while watching your favourite movies on the big-ish screen.

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Cheapest Bathroom Renovations That Have the Biggest Impact On Home Value

Home renovations improve your quality of living as well as home value. Here are the cheapest bathroom renovations that have the biggest impact on both fronts.

I was listening to this Rick Otton podcast the other day about fix and flips. And much of what they talked about were cheap renovation projects that boosted their property’s value the most. For this article, I decided to follow a similar theme by showing low-cost bathroom renovation ideas that has the most impact in boosting your home’s value.

If you are going to renovate your bathroom, you want to make sure that what you do has both:

  • The desired impact – which could be increasing the quality of the utility as a whole or that it improves the value of the home in general.
  • Affordable – this is not something you want to be breaking the bank over.

But, of course, this is just our opinion. If you have the money to pay for a luxurious bathroom; the stuff only dreams are made of, then, by all means, go for it. But for the rest of us hardworking-money saving Do-it-Yourselfers, that just doesn’t cut it for us.

Yes, we want to have a luxurious bathroom, but we also want to get it at a bargain. With that in mind, here are the cheapest bathroom renovations that have the biggest impact.

Upgrade the lighting fixtures and accessories

Sometimes, the biggest and most impactful changes do not lie in installing the latest digital shower (although that wouldn’t be such a bad idea), but in the little things. Give the entire bathroom a new coat of paint; change out the lighting fixtures and use stylish yet affordable ones; look at the window treatments, are they any good? Maybe change those out too and give it new blinds and shades (maybe throw in some Roman Shades). These little, yet impactful changes will make your bathroom look brand new without costing you your left arm.

Rethink the storage options

Ask any minimalist and they will tell you that clutter is the one thing that’s killing this planet (of course, that is an overreaction to the fact, but you get the point). Without clutter, any bathroom can look neat and inviting. You just need to figure out ways to minimise as much clutter as you can. Why not get a vanity with numerous compartmentalised storage options? This will give you excellent storage facilities within the bathroom that are not only practical but also accessible for the day to day accessories and beautiful enough to add to the decor of the entire room.

Upgrade the look of the bath area

If you have a ceramic bathtub in your bathroom, you are already living in luxury. But you can make things even better by making a few tiny changes. You could switch out the tiles and floor – make them marble instead. You could also include a few extra amenities around the tub such as a chandelier, a few flower vases, upgrade the type of soap you use and keep clean towels nearby.

As you may have noticed, only the chandelier and marble will cost you some money. The rest are just things that you should have in your bathroom anyway. Yet, the placement makes a huge difference as far as presentation is concerned, and presentation is a big part of selling that whole luxurious feel.

These little yet affordable changes will make a world of difference in your bathroom. Not only will you enjoy the luxury they bring to your everyday bathing experience, but they will also impress any potential buyers during that all-important viewing stage.

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How To Renovate The Floor Of Your House!

Here are tips on how to renovate your floors on a budget.

We love sharing ways that can dramatically improve the appearance and value of your home, and one of the best ways to do that is with the flooring. After all, every room has it, and you want it to look fabulous, and be durable to withstand the ins-and-outs of daily life.

But, flooring of any type is an invasive process, and can limit the use of your home while being installed. So what is the best way to obtain inexpensive flooring that looks amazing? Here are key things to keep in mind:

The Water Factor

The first choice to make when choosing the right flooring is the type of material to use. A mistake many make during this process is putting the same kind in every room. Although that may be the easiest route to take, you must consider how each room is used.

For example, laundry rooms are not good with laminate floors since water can ruin it. Hardwood is harder to clean in a laundry room, and may warp or mould when wet. What is easy at the start, may create the biggest headache in the long run.

Material Choice

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Laminate Floor

Once you have your room list, go through and see what rooms might be affected by exposure to water. These spaces do well with vinyl or tile flooring. Vinyl is inexpensive, and very easy to clean and maintain, but it may not be the look you want as it tends to have a sheen, and can discolour and scratch with pressure.

Tile is more expensive, time consuming to install, and grout difficult to clean. Mud rooms, laundry areas, and bathrooms are great choices for vinyl, which takes little installation time, and is very easy on the wallet.

Most people like to look and feel of hardwood floors, but not the price and upkeep. Hardwoods are extremely durable, are natural, and can be refinished when damaged. Although a bit more difficult to clean, they are worth it. Hardwood also adds value to your dwelling, and are very elegant. It is no surprise that hardwood flooring is so popular!

Laminate is a relatively new option in the flooring industry, and with good reason. You can have the look of hardwood, tile, or even concrete, and with a smaller price tag. Easy to clean, it is durable, and great for the majority of rooms, with one notable exception: areas exposed to water. Water left, for even a short period of time, will ruin laminate flooring. And, laminate cannot be refinished or buffed back to life like it’s hardwood counterpart.

Installation

One way to save on flooring is to measure each space, and have the pieces pre-cut for installation. This is easily done with vinyl flooring, but takes a bit more time with laminate, hardwood, and tile. The time it takes to install can be the most expensive part of the flooring process, so this should be included in every budget.

Tile typically takes the longest time to install as the grout must dry, and then the entire area cleaned to remove excess grout or cement. Depending on the size of the area, this can quickly become very expensive.

The Bottom Line

I have had flooring installed many times, and have found that laminate floors have the best look, feel, and value in most areas. Vinyl is my choice for laundry rooms, mud rooms, bathrooms, and pantries. With all of the amazing choices, guests will never know how little you spent for such elegant look.

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Best Window Treatments To Increase Home Value

There are very many different ways to increase the value of your home. Window treatments are just some of those ways. Here are the best window treatments to increase home value.

You would be forgiven for thinking that window treatments only bring an aesthetic quality to the table (no pun intended). In fact, window treatments, apart from adding to the aesthetic value of your home, are an extremely inexpensive way to increase your home energy efficiency as well as value. But, you have to have the right kind of window treatments. So, which window treatments add the most value to your home?

Shades

When properly installed, shades can bring an extremely effective edge to energy saving around the house. But, of course, as is the case with everything nice, there is a myriad of options from which you can choose. Roman shades, for example, give the home an aura of elegance and style. Not only does it create a lavish look, but it also helps raise the perceived value of the house. These shades, properly installed, can help control air filtration quite effectively.

Shutters

The thing about shutters is that they offer you both weather protection as well as security. But that is not all they do. They can also improve your home energy efficiency by greatly decreasing heat loss during winter and hampering rapid heat gain during summer. If you are going to get shutters installed, you should consider going for real wood shutters.

They have the longest lifespan of all shutters and you can easily improve their look by throwing on a fresh coat of paint. To choose the best quality shutters, look at the type of joints they have, the thickness of the material used to make them, how they fit and just how well they compliment your home.

Drapery

This is purely based on your personal taste. There are people who simply love drapes while most prefer a more modern type of treatment like the ones mentioned above. But if you are going to go the drapery route, be sure to get something that appeals to you.

As far as adding the value to your home, drapes are a long short. They are excellent for staging purposes, but they are not exactly bankable window treatments. For those, look above.

You may not think them a big deal, but window treatments go a long way in telling the story of your home. Some of the first things potential buyers ever look at are the windows. Most people are more aware of how energy efficient homes need to be now because of rising electricity costs. For that reason, they would rather buy a home that has energy efficient window treatments already installed rather than have to spend the extra cash, time and hassle trying to treat their windows once they move in.

The best way to go about this is, if you have an interior designer, ask then to suggest different types of affordable, yet highly marketable and practical window treatments. These are the types that tend to increase the value of a home.

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How To Add Crown Moulding To Add Value To Your Home

There are a few things that add value to your home. Crown moulding is one of those things. Here is how to add crown moulding to add value to your home.

If you’re like me who loves the HGTV channel, then you may have come across crown moulding ideas for renovation projects.

The first thing you need to understand about crown moulding is that, unlike bathroom or kitchen upgrades, crown mouldings will not instantaneously add value to your home. Don’t get it wrong, it will add value to your home, just not as drastically as you may expect. These beautiful architectural features are excellent when it comes to:

  • Making your ceiling seem higher
  • Making the room seem finished in a better way
  • Adding an air of intrigue to the room

These are the three main reasons why most homeowners prefer crown mouldings. That and the fact that these aesthetic additions will increase the value of your home, at least to those who find this sort of thing essential.

But before go wild and decide to add crown mouldings, you should know what you need to do so as to ensure that they add value to your home. Here is how to add crown moulding to add value to your home.

Do not overdo it

This is a common mistake with most homeowners. They assume that aesthetic additions to their homes will drastically increase the value of the house. You need to realise that high-end finishes in a neighbourhood that fall within the mid-ranges will not increase the value enough for you to actually recoup what you have spent on the upgrades. Take a walk around the area, look at the houses listed for sale and see what type of crown mouldings is common here. That way, you can simply upgrade to the desired regional standards and avoid digging yourself into a financial hole the likes of which you may never get out.

Make sure the rest of the house matches the upgrade

If you go all out and have crown mouldings installed in a house that is otherwise run down, you will have essentially thrown good money after bad. For these installations to have the desired effect, the rest of the house has to be in-keeping with the style.

Make sure that the walls are freshly painted and well maintained, the flooring is not worn out, the wallpaper isn’t peeling and the light fixtures are not outdated. In short, make sure that everything else compliments the crown moulds.

Use a professional

how to use crown moulding, property renovation with crown moulding, add value to your home, add property valueAs challenging and interesting as DIY projects tend to be, installing crown moulds is one of those things that you should really consider involving a professional. For starters, they are not as expensive as most people assume and these professionals know the right kind of materials to use. Crown moulds, when installed incorrectly, will actually have the exact opposite effect and make your house look tacky as opposed to upgraded. Always use a professional who has a good grasp of geometry and woodwork.

Crown mouldings are definitely an aesthetic feature to consider when it comes to building and renovating a house for better returns on investment. Just remember to use a professional and not to overdo it.

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How To Install Wallpaper To Save On Renovation Costs

When it comes to cutting down on renovation costs, using wallpaper instead of paint is one of the best routes to take. Here is how to install wallpaper to save on renovation costs.

Property renovations are the in thing these days as a lot of experts are focusing on refurbs, whether you like watching the Property Brothers or select Fix-And-Flip episodes of Rick Otton’s We Buy Houses Radio. So going with the trend, we’ll tackle a common subject of DIY refurbs: wallpaper installation.

One of the best things about using wallpaper is that you are spoilt for choice. From the different type of designs and colours to the fabrics and materials available, when using wallpaper, your imagination is the limit. Another huge advantage is that this is a rather cost effective option, compared to painting.

But before you go around celebrating and buying your boys beers with all the money you will save, it is prudent to get a good grasp on what installing wallpaper entails. As inexpensive and effective as it is, it is not for everybody. Some of us prefer things the old-fashioned way – paint. But if you are open-minded and willing to learn new things, then here are good tips on how to install wallpaper to save on renovation costs.

Choosing the right wall paper

You should know that there are different types of wallpapers available. If you are looking to cover places that see a lot of moisture like your bathroom or kitchen, then the best type to use would vinyl. On the other hand, if you are looking to cover drier places such as your hallways or bedrooms, then maybe you want to go for fabrics or non-woven wallpaper. Do you see how quickly this can get complicated?

The best thing is that your local building materials shop owner will know exactly what type of wall paper to use where. All you will have to do will be to tell them which walls you are looking to cover and they will point you in the right direction. From there on, the designs and colours will all depend on your taste and style.

Use the right kind of adhesive

Using the right kind of adhesive means that you do not have to do this all over again in three days. One mistake that most people make is to combine the wrong adhesive with the wrong type of wallpaper. This mistake should be easy enough to avoid as most wallpaper labels have directions indicating which kind of adhesive is best suited for them.

Be sure to round up the measurements

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Always measure carefully, to make sure your wallpaper segments fit nicely when applying them.

The rule of thumb when using wallpaper is to round up the measurements. In fact, professionals advice that you should always buy two or three extra rolls of the same wall paper just in case. Things happen and you are going to make mistakes when installing the wallpaper. This happens to everyone, even professionals.

It is prudent to have extra paper to deal with when the inevitable mistakes occur. Besides, local stores have a habit of discontinuing certain styles randomly. You do not want to have to start over just because you did not buy enough of your chosen style while it was still in stock.

Installing your wallpaper will need a considerable amount of skill. Things have to be completely level otherwise, you will have a bloated looking wall. Take the time to learn how to install wall paper and study all the ‘good wall paper installation practices’ to avoid unnecessary mistakes and save money.

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