Easy upgrades: Local experts share quick ways to improve a home before the holiday guests arrive

2013-11-26T08:00:00Z 2013-11-27T16:35:12Z Easy upgrades: Local experts share quick ways to improve a home before the holiday guests arriveJane Ammeson Times Correspondent nwitimes.com
November 26, 2013 8:00 am  • 

With just a month before Christmas, it’s easy to despair at the thought of getting your home in shape for holiday entertaining. But easy-to-do house improvement projects can add pizzazz to your living quarters without spending a lot of time, effort or money.

“For quick fixes, installing track lighting is the way to go,” said Matt Fezekas, electrical department manager at Menards in Schererville. “It offers lots of options and you can put on various heads depending on what look you want. The tracks have lighting options from just spotlights to pendant lighting. It’s a great way to light up a room.”

Fezekas notes another quick fix to spruce up the house are the addition of ceiling fans in areas like the kitchen to help circulate the air and eliminate smells.

“If you’re having lots of people for a holiday meal, consider brightening up the dining room with a new fixture over the dinner table,” he said.

When it comes to outside lighting, Fezekas noted  adding motion detection lights are great for guests who are arriving at night when it’s dark.

“It helps light up the pathway and also shows where there are patches of snow or ice,” he said. “Putting flood lights in the yard can show off the landscaping and porch and during the holidays you can change the regular bulbs for holiday colors like green and blue bulbs.”

Take on a painting project suggests Ray, an associate with the paint department at Lowe’s in Schererville.

“You don’t need to paint a whole room,” he said. “Just do a contrasting wall, such as a blue wall in a beige room or red, rust and chocolate. You only have to do one wall to make a big difference.”

It’s usually best, he continues, to make the contrasting wall the one that will be seen when people walk into a room.

“Or if the room has a fireplace, paint that wall, it’ll really make the fireplace pop out,” he said.

Noting that gray is the new beige in terms of neutral paint colors, Ray also suggested using an effect called "smooshing” to create a moiré effect of wavy or rippled surfaces with differing layers of colors.

After applying a base coat of either a light or medium gray on one wall, wait for the color to dry (about 24 hours) before layering a darker colored glaze over the freshly painted wall. The next step is to cover the entire wall with a super thin covering of plastic--the store has .70 millimeter plastic for sale which works perfectly for this.

Then it’s time to start smoosh.

“As soon as the plastic is on the wall, run your hand over it and wrinkle it, the more you work with it, the better,” said Ray. “You basically have 45 minutes to do this before the glaze dries but it shouldn’t take that long at all. When you’re done smooshing, pull off the plastic,”

Color pairings that work well are beige base paint with chocolate glaze as well as tone on tone colors like dark blue and light blue.

Ray also recently helped his daughter add stripes to her dining room wall.

“I have a tape that is phenomenal for painting stripes,” he said explaining about how Frog tape, a painter's masking tape treated with PaintBlock® Technology which reacts with the water in latex paints forming a barrier along the edges of the tape to prevent paint runoffs. “For my daughter, we used six to eight inch stripes which were the same color as the wall, but the stripes were semi-glass against a semi-flat painted wall.”

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