Valley Bargain Book: Home Improvement

Home Improvement

Top Story

Five To-Do’s To Take Your Basement From Unlivable To Lovable

(NAPSI)—Look up “basement” in the dictionary and you’ll see cellar, vault—even crypt. But with a little effort and some design flair you can make your basement come alive—and reclaim valuable living space.Create the workout room you always wanted. A dramatic home theater. Or a spacious office, playroom or craft area. If you can re-imagine your basement, you can remodel it. Here are hints on how:1. Make a plan: An accurate floor plan will help you visualize the end result—especially if you’re dividing rooms, adding a pool table, a large sectional or a projector and theater seating.Dozens of design apps can help you create a virtual, 3D floor plan. A few to consider: Home Designer Suite, Sweet Home 3D, Home Design 3D and Google Sketchup.Check to see if you’ll need a permit for improvements.2. Banish water: Does your basement pass the smell test? If your lower level has moisture problems, your nose will know.Besides a musty smell, moisture leaves other clues: dark, saturated concrete block walls, flaking paint or condensation. Consult a basement waterproofing contractor if you have any concerns before you begin remodeling.3. Elevate your ceiling style: Stained or sagging ceilings also point to excess moisture. Identify the cause and make repairs. Then replace the old ceiling with coffered ceiling tiles. With the look of sunken panels, they add depth and distinction. Some of Armstrong Ceilings’ coffered options resist moisture and mold and stand up to humidity.Like the look of wood? Check out Armstrong WoodHaven Ceiling Planks. They’re available in a variety of finishes, although WoodHaven Classic White planks is the DIY favorite. These wood-look ceiling planks can install over drywall, plaster or joists and can even cover an existing drop ceiling grid.4. Beautify floors and walls: Beautiful, versatile flooring options are abundant today. Before you choose, think about how you’ll use the space. Consider structural issues, too.Creating a playroom or cozy retreat? If moisture isn’t a worry, add warmth and softness underfoot with carpeting or an area rug.If your sub-floor is smooth and even, vinyl is hard to beat. Whether in tile, sheet or plank form, the styles are versatile and the material is water-resistant or waterproof.If you’re adding a basement gym, consider rubber interlocking tiles. They absorb shock and you can install them yourself.You’ll discover abundant wall-covering options, too—such as wainscoting, paneling and beadboard. Subtle grass cloth wallpapers add sophistication. Peel-and-stick cork wall tiles create design interest and absorb sound.Whatever your choice, be sure to waterproof the walls before you cover them.5. Make a statement: Once you’ve landed on the look you love—whether it’s traditional, farmhouse or mid-century modern—personalize your décor to make it your own.Display cubes or built-in shelving with lighting are great options for showing off your trophies, baskets, pottery or collectibles. For color and warmth, mix and match a variety of pillows and plush throws.To personalize your walls—without making a permanent design commitment—consider wall decals. Their elegant patterns and bold images add instant interest. You can even make your mark with an inspiring, oversized quote.Use every type of lighting—general, task and accent—to bring your basement out of the shadows. Mirrors are another great way to add light—and the illusion of space.DIYers have never had more versatile design tools and materials to choose from. So don’t let your lower level go unloved and unused any longer. Let the transformation begin. “Make your basement come alive—and reclaim valuable living space. Replace the old ceiling with wood look panels or coffered ceiling tiles that add depth and distinction and resist moisture.”On the Net:North American Precis Syndicate, Inc.(NAPSI)

  • icon Posted: January 22

Pet Central


Having a pet is a lot of responsibility, and we’ll help by giving you lots of tips and tricks! More >>



Our fitness articles will help teach you how to work out with gym- and home-based exercises. More >>



Enjoy the crosswords challenge in our free daily puzzles, from the harder Sunday crossword to the quicker daily. More >>



Every Sudoku has a unique solution that can be reached logically. Enter numbers into the blank spaces so that each row, column and 3x3 box contains the numbers 1 to 9. More >>

Recent Headlines

Wednesday 01/22/2020
Bring New Life to Your Kitchen with Color
Updated: January 23, 2020 - 2:37 am

(Family Features) Just as filling your plate with colorful foods is typically good for your body, filling your kitchen with color can be good for the soul. In fact, color is an important element in interior design not only for its aesthetic value, but also because it can shape perceptions and emotions.

Save Money Through Energy Efficiency
Updated: January 23, 2020 - 2:37 am

(Family Features) As much as half of the average homeowner’s monthly utility expenses go toward cooling and heating, according to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE). For many households, that makes energy the largest home-related expense each month, next to a mortgage payment.

Put Safety First
Updated: January 23, 2020 - 2:37 am

Tips for using power tools like a pro

How to Create a More Functional Laundry Room
Updated: January 23, 2020 - 2:37 am

(Family Features) A laundry room may be one of the spaces that you use the most, but cramped quarters and clutter can hinder your productivity. Eliminate the excuses and get your laundry room under control with these tips to add function to your washing routine.

Make the Most of Your Bathroom Renovation
Updated: January 23, 2020 - 2:37 am

(Family Features) Adding additional bathroom space to your home or renovating an outdated lavatory can improve your home’s usability and increase its value, too. To get the most practical benefits and value out of your new space, there are several factors to consider.

Starting a Home Remodeling Project
Updated: January 23, 2020 - 2:37 am

7 tips for choosing a qualified contractor

Wednesday 01/15/2020
Resolve to Be a Healthier You
Updated: January 20, 2020 - 2:52 am

(Family Features) While traveling more, losing weight and quitting bad habits are annually among some of the most popular New Year’s resolutions, the turn of the calendar does represent a perfect opportunity to better yourself in multiple ways.

Top 10 Travel Destinations to Start the New Decade
Updated: January 20, 2020 - 2:52 am

(Family Features) For many, traveling offers an opportunity to disconnect from the everyday and experience new places and cultures. With the beginning of a new decade, it is the perfect time to start deciding your next travel adventures.

Wednesday 01/08/2020
Understanding Rare Cancers
Updated: January 13, 2020 - 2:55 am

Four facts to know about one type of rare cancer, soft tissue sarcomas

5 Ways to Help Keep Your Dog Happy and Healthy
Updated: January 13, 2020 - 2:55 am

(Family Features) There are many emotional benefits to owning a dog, such as companionship and unconditional love, but a pet can also positively affect his or her owners’ physical health, too.

Save Your Way to Lower Home Insurance
Updated: January 13, 2020 - 2:55 am

(Family Features) If your homeowner insurance rates are creeping up even though you haven’t filed any claims, it may be time to take a look at how you can bring those prices back down.

Healthy at Home
Updated: January 13, 2020 - 2:55 am

How to improve indoor airflow and quality

Wednesday 01/01/2020
Room-by-Room Renovations
Updated: January 06, 2020 - 2:48 am

Small changes that add up to a big impact

Make Your Weight Loss Goals a Reality
Updated: January 06, 2020 - 2:48 am

(Family Features) Losing weight is a highly personal journey as a wide range of factors can affect a person’s ability to do so. There’s no one approach to weight loss; rather, the best approach is the one that fits your life and body best.

Give Your Kitchen a Facelift
Updated: January 06, 2020 - 2:48 am

(Family Features) Whether completely remodeling your kitchen or just looking for a few simple upgrades to make your cooking space shine, it can be difficult to know where to begin.

Foster a Love for Literacy
Updated: January 06, 2020 - 2:48 am

(Family Features) Reading plays an obvious role in academic performance, but it’s also an essential life skill. Literacy and effective communication go hand-in-hand, and inspiring a child to embrace reading and writing can help open a world of opportunity.

Apps You’ll App-reciate on Your Next Trip
Updated: January 06, 2020 - 2:48 am

(Family Features) From planning your next getaway to managing your vacation budget, there are myriad apps you can use to make your trip a seamless, more enjoyable experience.

Wednesday 12/25/2019
7 Steps to Take Before Hitting the Road this Holiday
Updated: December 30, 2019 - 2:49 am

(Family Features) If you’re among the millions of Californians who will hit the road for the holidays, you’ll want to make sure your car is road-trip ready.

5 Winter Home Safety Tips
Updated: December 30, 2019 - 2:49 am

(Family Features) When you see frost on the windows in the morning, feel the crunch of leaves underfoot and hear the roar of fire in the fireplace, old man winter has returned.

Clever Kitchen Upgrades
Updated: December 30, 2019 - 2:49 am

Fresh colors and textures for a functional kitchen style

Friday 12/20/2019
Home Improvements For Safety
Updated: January 04, 2020 - 2:46 am

(NAPSI)—Research shows that most older adults want to live in their homes and communities for as long as possible. Most homes, however, were not built to support the mobility, sensory and cognitive changes that often accompany aging.

Six Hints To Help You Save Your Shelter From The Storm
Updated: January 04, 2020 - 2:46 am

(NAPSI)—As the climate changes, rough weather—tornadoes, hailstorms and the like—that used to trouble single areas of the country now occur in places that never expected to see them.

Wednesday 12/18/2019
Both Men And Women Resolve To Tackle Disorganization In 2020; Women Report Feeling More Stressed By Its Effects
Updated: December 21, 2019 - 2:32 am

(NAPSI)—If you’re ever determined to finally streamline your office “to do’s” and make a dent in your inbox, or committed to finding a way to keep the kids’ toys out of the way of unwary feet, you’re not alone. A recent national survey of more than 1,200 individuals conducted by the National Association of Productivity and Organizing Professionals (NAPO) for its annual Get Organized & Be Productive campaign revealed that a full 31 percent of respondents are putting “getting organized” on their list of New Year’s resolutions. While the data shows both genders on board with this idea, it also showed that for women, the ramifications may be more significant.

5 Financial Tips for Teens
Updated: December 23, 2019 - 3:09 am

(Family Features) When it comes to economics, many teens’ mouths write checks their knowledge can’t cash.

Put Some Stoke In Your Stocking
Updated: December 23, 2019 - 3:09 am

(Family Features) The holidays can be a stressful time. From family events or planning your own gathering to finding the perfect gift for your loved ones, it seems like there is never enough time.

Wednesday 12/11/2019
Should I Be Worried About That Condensation on My Windows?
Posted: December 11, 2019

(StatePoint) If you take a look at your home’s windows and doors in winter, you may notice condensation. As temperatures drop, it often appears on the inside and outside of these surfaces.

Holiday Gifting Made Easy
Updated: December 16, 2019 - 2:53 am

Gift ideas for everyone on your list

A Streaming Solution for Subscription Fatigue
Updated: December 16, 2019 - 2:53 am

(Family Features) Entertainment seekers have an almost overwhelming number of options available today when it comes to viewing television shows and movies. The rise in alternative entertainment options, such as streaming video services, has only increased the amount of choices.

4 Ways to Share the Holidays with Your Pet
Updated: December 16, 2019 - 2:53 am

(Family Features) The holiday season is filled with traditions, seasonal meals and festivities. With busy calendars, it can be easy to get caught up with a long to-do list when the true joy of the season is in creating meaningful memories with loved ones, including pets.

Protect the World’s Children this Holiday Season
Updated: December 16, 2019 - 2:53 am

(Family Features) The holidays signal a time for family gatherings, traditions and the spirit of giving. Make this holiday season even more meaningful by giving gifts that help children in need around the globe.

When Holidays are Hard
Updated: December 16, 2019 - 2:53 am

Tips for coping with a food-centric season

Let Trends Guide Your 2020 Travel
Updated: December 16, 2019 - 2:53 am

(Family Features) While there’s plenty to be said for taking the proverbial road less traveled, fellow tourists can provide a wealth of knowledge to help shape a vacation filled with lifelong memories.

Give the Gift of Travel
Updated: December 16, 2019 - 2:53 am

(Family Features) Finding the perfect gift for someone who already has it all may be easier when you stop thinking in terms of “things.” A gift that creates an unforgettable experience, like a trip to a special destination, may be more meaningful than a trinket under the tree.

Home Decorating for the Holidays
Updated: December 16, 2019 - 2:53 am

(Family Features) Chances are good that at some point during the holiday season, you’ll welcome guests into your home. Whether you lease or own your home, creating a cozy, festive setting for holiday gatherings can actually be quite simple, especially if you take on the project one room at a time.

Friday 12/06/2019
Holiday Décor Tips from Interior Designer Genevieve Gorder
Updated: January 24, 2020 - 2:32 am

(BPT) - 'Tis the season to eat, drink and entertain. Whether you’re hosting a smaller, more intimate gathering or throwing a grand festive soiree, don’t stress about upping your holiday home décor game — a few small touches will go a long way. In partnership with Scotties Facial Tissues, interior designer and television host Genevieve Gorder is sharing five tips to help you prep for the holiday entertaining season.

Wednesday 12/04/2019
2020: The year of the home improvement
Posted: December 04, 2019

(BPT) - A new year is an opportunity to bring fresh life into your home through renovations, both large and small. Want an updated kitchen? A patio addition? New floors? Every homeowner has a different vision for their space, so make 2020 the year your home improvement dreams come true. But where should you start?

Prepare Your Family for Winter Weather
Updated: December 09, 2019 - 2:37 am

(Family Features) While the impact of winter weather varies across the country, nearly all Americans are affected in some capacity each year as temperatures drop, from freezing rain to severe blizzards. One of the key dangers when severe weather strikes is the potential loss of heat, power and communication services. Making a portable generator part of your family’s emergency plan can help keep your loved ones safe and warm in the event of an unexpected power outage.

Spruce Up Your Guestroom for the Holidays
Updated: December 09, 2019 - 2:37 am

(Family Features) The holidays are typically a time for lots of merriment and cheer. They also often include an abundance of guests visiting your home, which means it’s time to get the guestroom ready for family and friends who’ll be spending time with you this season.

3 Holiday Activities to Engage with Loved Ones
Updated: December 09, 2019 - 2:37 am

(Family Features) Any time can be the right time to enjoy memorable moments with family members, but the holidays present a special opportunity to have meaningful conversations and interactions with loved ones.

Warm, Cozy and Eco-Friendly
Updated: December 09, 2019 - 2:37 am

Earth-friendly home improvements for winter

Remodel Your Way to a Bigger ROI
Updated: December 09, 2019 - 2:37 am

(Family Features) Homeowners and renters remodel, redesign and restructure their homes for a variety of reasons. Even a newly constructed dream home needs improvements over time.

On-Trend Home Design
Updated: December 09, 2019 - 2:37 am

(Family Features) If a home makeover is on your horizon, it’s the perfect time to take note of design trends that may help shape your project. Today’s hottest looks leave plenty of room for personal interpretation, so it’s easier than ever to incorporate the latest looks for a home that seamlessly blends your personality with on-trend decor and design elements.

Break Free from Costly Streaming Services
Updated: December 09, 2019 - 2:37 am

(Family Features) Monthly subscription fees for streaming video services can really add up. That’s why television, film and music stars – such as The Pussycat Dolls lead singer Nicole Sherzinger, Terrance Howard (“Hustle & Flow,” “Empire”), Chris Noth (“Sex and the City,” “Law & Order”), Carmen Electra (“Baywatch,” “Scary Movie”) and Colton Underwood and Cassie Randolph from season 23 of “The Bachelor” – are breaking up with their paid streaming services in new commercials that appear to be typical therapy sessions, instead opting for a free streaming option like Tubi. With more than 15,000 movies and TV shows, the advertiser-supported service is available on nearly every type of device, including Android and iOS mobile devices, video game consoles, plug-and-play streaming devices and more.

Wednesday 11/27/2019
Bringing Communities Together
Updated: December 02, 2019 - 2:32 am

(Family Features) It’s important today to find ways to connect with others to help deepen your understanding of those around you. In a time when differences seem to dominate today’s culture, it can help to find similarities, draw connections and bridge worlds.

5 Pro Tips to Prep Homes for Winter
Updated: December 02, 2019 - 2:32 am

(Family Features) Before blustery winter days arrive, there are plenty of home improvement projects contractors can tackle for homeowners. Many cooler weather projects focus on cost efficiency and sustainability, making the improvements all around smart investments.

5 Tips to Ward Off Cold Weather
Updated: December 02, 2019 - 2:32 am

Understanding Medical Sharps and Safe Disposal Options
Updated: December 02, 2019 - 2:32 am

(Family Features) If you’re among the millions of people in the United States who suffer from a chronic illness, you may use “sharps” to manage your medical condition at home or on the go. For example, many people with diabetes self-inject at least two insulin shots every day, and conditions including allergies, arthritis, cancer, infertility, migraines and psoriasis, among others, may also require the use of a sharp to administer medication.

Manage Grief with Grace this Holiday Season
Updated: December 02, 2019 - 2:32 am

(Family Features) Holidays are filled with traditions, but when someone you used to share those moments with has died, managing grief during the holiday season can be particularly challenging.

Monday 11/25/2019
Last Minute Gift Ideas From The Grocery Store
Updated: November 28, 2019 - 2:52 am


This Week's South e-Edition