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Updated: Sunday, November 23, 2014

Top 25 DIY Decorating Ideas Under 100

So if youre like me, you have either pinned or bookmarked tons of different websites that have simple DIY ideas/projects that you never end up doing Personally, I believe this is because you have 3 different sites telling you 3 different ways to do it, then you get overwhelmed and give up. So I decided to create a list with pictures of my top favorite 25 do-it-yourself projects so it is all in one place Many of these I have done myself and they turned out great. I might even put in a couple of my failed projects in here because maybe you are cooler than me and can do it better :. I have also added multiple ways to do some of them and you can choose the one you like best.

NOW LET ME TELL YOU, if you are NOT like me and the thought of DIYing something sounds worse than taking a bullet, keep reading because some of these things are soooo easy to do and you probably just havent thought of it yet Embarrassed to admit this, but less than two years ago I didnt even know what DIY stood for and I had never attempted to do anything myself. But my first spray painting project turned out so well and it was so easy that I started doing more. Now half of my house I DIYed myself and I kid you not, I have spent less than a total of 250 on everything

So onto the list...

1. Gold Side Table

my personal favorite
I bought a black iron console table from Garden Ridge for 45 seriously, you cant beat that that I spray painted gold. The shiny metallic instantly turned it into something beautiful that looks way more than 45. You can also do this with any old table that is similar that you already have. The steps to this were incredibly simple:

  • Lay a drop cloth you can get a set of 2 cheap plastic ones at Home Depot for 3 down wherever you want to paint and put the table in the middle of it. Mine had glass on the top of it so I removed it and set it inside. I spray paint things outside by my garage but put rocks on all four edges of the cloth just in case a gust of wind comes by.
  • Get a slightly damp cloth and wipe the whole thing down. Let it dry completely.
  • Optional This step is in every spray paint project but most of the time I skip it especially if the item I am painting is new. But get some sandpaper and sand the whole thing down. Then get a damp cloth and wipe all the residue off and let it dry completely.
  • Read the label on the back of the can and start spraying Basically, you need to spray 10 inches from the table and go back and forth. Do not stay in one place too long or it will bubble up and start to drip If that happens then just get a damp cloth and wipe it up and spray again over it. After you have spray painted the whole thing with one coat, wait about 10 minutes and then do another coat. Then wait 10 more minutes and do one more coat I typically do 3 coats on my spray painting projects. You will not want to put a clear seal coat or anything on this because it will change the color of the metallic gold.
  • Wait 24 hours till it completely dries and thats it Put the glass on it, >

    TIP ON GOLD SPRAY PAINT

    I have seriously tried about 5 different kinds and brands of gold spray paint. I have tested samples, shown them to other people, etc. and the one that looks the closest to real gold is Rustoleums Bright Coat, Metallic Finish Gold spray paint.

    Other awesome makeovers:

    A great redo that Megan posted on her Honey Were Home Blog

    A beautiful ikea coffee table makeover that Kristin posted on her The Hunted Interior Blog

    An adorable gold painted table redo for a tween girls room that Edie posted on her {ditto} DIY Blog


    2. Burlap Picture Frames

    This was posted on Jennifers blog, Home DIY Project. Using frames like this, it is really quick and easy to change out pictures as often as you want I have done this and it was really simple:

  • Buy three wood frames from Michaels. I bought frames that were untreated wood 3 each and stained them with a cloth and dark wood stain that I had lying around the house...kind of messy but a 4 year old could do it :
  • Take out the glass and get some burlap purchased mine from Home Depot and layer it about 2 or 3 layers behind the frame. You can also buy a burlap photo matte at a store and use that instead.
  • Purchase a letter of your choice about 4 from Michaels and use a hot glue gun or strong adhesive to glue the letter to the burlap.
  • Get picture clip holders from Michaels and apply them with a hot glue gun or some really strong glue.
  • Put pictures in the clips, hang them, and thats it

  • 3. Fabric Lined Lacquer Tray

    This was posted on Centsational Girl Blog. I have created different versions of this using laminated scrapbook paper or something similar and they turned out great. Adding pattern to the bottom of a tray, whether with fabric or paint, is the simplest way to transform a solid color tray into a statement accessory:

  • Press your fabric with an iron to remove any wrinkles.
  • Treat the fabric with Scotch Guard to protect it from potential spills or stains optional.
  • Cut your fabric to the precise width of your tray. You could use some sort of fray prevention treatment for the edges, but if you cut your fabric just right, I found you dont need to worry about fraying edges if your fabric sits perfectly inside.
  • Align your fabric on the inside of the tray, then fold of your fabric over. Spray a light coat of adhesive on the bottom of the tray, then carefully fold the fabric back over to fit the inside of the tray. Repeat this step on the other side as well.

  • 4. Use Picture Frames to Create a Wainscoting Effect

    Wainscoting was originally found in England sometime around the 16th century, with the intention of covering the lower part of the walls to resist water damage. Today it is more commonly found in everyday homes as a way to provide an elegant look to a simple room. The cost of pre-made panels it is not easily affordable. Using picture frames to resemble wainscoting, can be done with a smaller budget I have not done this one before but I am dying to try when I move

  • Buy the amount of picture frames you think you will need at Michaels or similar store.
  • Using a measuring tape and a pencil, place markings on your wall to evenly space out the frames. Place the frames six inches away from each other and corners.
  • Glue the frames to the wall using a strong adhesive and let dry completely.
  • Paint the entire lower half of the wall with white latex paint the most commonly used color for wainscoting, but you can use whatever color you want.

  • 5. Herringbone Painting

    I have this painting hanging in my house and it looks amazing So I cheated on this one and just bought the artwork from the Cozamia website and had it framed, but you could easily create one of your own using the steps below:

  • Buy a canvas at an art store whatever size you want the art store I go to has great sales all of the time and many times I have gotten a huge canvas for about 35.
  • Using different acrylic paints and a large paintbrush can get at Michaels, paint the canvas all crazy any colors you like. Wait until it completely dries overnight.
  • Use painters tape can get at Home Depot to create a herringbone pattern with some missing the white rectangles you see in the picture.
  • Paint over the entire canvas in white. Wait until it dries overnight.
  • Remove the tape and voila

  • 6. How to Cover a Lampshade With Fabric

    This was posted on Janell Beals blog, House of Fifty. Covering a lampshade or two with fabric is an incredibly easy, fast and inexpensive way to bring a little >

  • Purchase fabric in a pattern you like from a store like JoAnn Fabrics. If you are covering a lamp shade that is really busy or bright, make sure that the new fabric you buy is thick enough so the old pattern does not come through.
  • Two lengths of fabric were cut, measuring the height of the shade between the top and bottom bands and the dimension of the shade plus two inches. The extra length allows for the fabric to overlap with one end turned under to create a clean edge. When you do this, use Liquid Stitch by Dritz which you can buy at JoAnn Fabrics. It looks like glue. You just drag a line across and then fold over the edge. Let it dry.
  • The fabric was now ready to be attached to the shade. A line of glue was applied with the unfinished end of the fabric placed over the glue.
  • Next glue was applied along the edges of the shade with the fabric pressed into place immediately afterwards. This was repeated until the fabric overlapped and the finished end was glued into place over the start of the fabric.
  • Let them dry and then just attach the lampshades back to their bases

  • 7. DIY Abstract Art with Gold Leaf

    So, I love how easy and fun this was to create. You do NOT have to be an artist at all to do this. You can paint it on a big canvas or a small canvas, but either way I think the result is amazing. I ended up creating two smaller ones and hanging them on top of each other.

  • Buy a canvas or multiple ones at an art store whatever size you want the art store I go to has great sales all of the time and many times I have gotten a huge canvas for about 35 and smaller ones for 10.
  • Buy small tubes of acrylic paint including white in the different colors you want to use.
  • On the blank canvas, put small drops of the same color all over the canvas, and then do the next color, and so on. Make sure each dot is at least 2 inches away from another dot. Start this process with the white paint and put a white drop in the middle of the canvas before putting more drops all over.
  • Next get a small paintbrush can buy at Michaels and start slowly mixing the colors together. You start the your brush in the middle of the canvas and slowly drag the white paint over to one of the other colors. You just keep doing this process until all of the colors are mixed together. You do not want to overmix so you can tell the difference between the colors Wait at least 2 hours until all of the paint is dried.
  • Purchase gold leaf sheets and gold leaf size that is the adhesive used to attach it from an art store. The brand I use is Mona Lisa.
  • Follow the directions on the box. Basically, you get a small paintbrush and "paint" the size on the area where you would like it to stick. You wait about 45 minutes until the size has dried but still has tack. Then you place a sheet over the size and use a dry brush to lightly stick the two together. Then you pull the back of the paper off looks like wax paper and brush away all of the leftover gold leaf. There will be a lot of little flakes everywhere so be ready with your dust buster
  • And your done Hang up your masterpiece

  • 8. Making a Side Table from an Ikea Clothing Hamper

    This was posted on The Clever Bunny blog. This is definitely very clever.

  • Remove the fabric hamper part off of the metal frame.
  • Buy a piece of wood at a hardware store and have someone who works there cut the wood to fit the frame.
  • Get some sandpaper and sand the top and sides. Then get a damp cloth and wipe all the residue off and let it dry completely.
  • Then paint two coats of stain whatever kind/color you like from Home Depot and let it dry completely.
  • While the stain finishes drying, spray painted the frame with black spray paint. The kind I use is Rustoleum 2X Coverage. For tips and a short how to on spray painting, look at 1.
  • Drill some holes into the metal and use wood screws to fasten the wood down to the frame. You can also use wood glue or epoxy instead of drilling if you would like.

  • 9. Bold Folding Chairs

    This was posted on Erin Loechners Design for Mankind blog. This is such a simple tutorial and a great way to spice up a folding chair and showcase them

  • Using a screwdriver, remove existing cushion from chair frame and set aside.
  • In well-ventilated area, place chair on drop cloth and wipe down with damp towel. Using slow side-to-side movements, apply two thin coats of spray paint refer to paint can instructions for drying time between coats. Let chair dry overnight. Tip: If chair is dark color or smooth finish, apply primer before painting with desired color. For tips and a short how to on spray painting, look at 1.
  • Lay out new fabric and place seat cushion face down. Trim fabric along edge of cushion approximately 3 from edge. Once cut, attach fabric using staple gun. Begin by stapling at the center of each side and then at the corners. Tip: If using a patterned fabric, be sure to align to your liking prior to stapling.
  • Once chair is dry, assemble with new cushion and begin using

  • 10. DIY Coasters

    This was posted on the Shanty2Chic blog. I created these for my house and they turned out exactly like the picture And I have been using them for about a year now and they are like new. The steps are below:

  • Print out the artwork you would like to use off your printer.
  • Purchase tumbled marble tiles from Lowes or Home Depot they are about 4 for a box of 10.
  • Put two coats of Mod Podge glossy or matte, purchased at Michaels on the BACK of the tile and let it dry. You can use the front of the tile, but I found that it seemed to work better with the back.
  • Once the tiles are dry add a coat of Mod Podge to the artwork.
  • Then place it down on the tile. You want the side of the tile you have put Mod Podge on to lay face down on your design. Use a credit card to push all of the air bubbles out.
  • Put them in the oven at 170 degrees for 20 minutes.
  • Let the tiles cool down. Then, use your finger and a bit of water to rub the paper off to reveal the design. A few tips on this part: You are rubbing the paper off. The design has now been transferred to your layers of Mod Podge. The more you continue rubbing, the lighter your design will be. If you soak it in water rather than rubbing it off the design will come off completely. Its kind of like distressing. You decided how worn and weathered you want it.
  • Once those dry add 2 coats of Rust-Oleum sealer.
  • Optional Added some felt circles to the bottom of the tiles so they wont scratch the furniture.

  • 11. Greek Key Trunks

    I really like how these trunks turned out. Compared to the before, the white paint and gold greek key really transformed them into something else These were really cheap trunks that I got a couple of years ago at an estate sale. The steps are below:

  • Lay a drop cloth you can get a set of 2 cheap plastic ones at Home Depot for 3 down wherever you want to paint and put the table in the middle of it. Mine had glass on the top of it so I removed it and set it inside. I spray paint things outside by my garage but put rocks on all four edges of the cloth just in case a gust of wind comes by.
  • Get a slightly damp cloth and wipe the trunks down. Let it dry completely.
  • Use painters tape can get at Home Depot and tape of any brass/iron handles or latches.
  • Spray paint the front of trunks with Rustoleum Bright Coat Metallic Finish gold spray paint. Do about 2 coats. For more tips and a short how to on spray painting, look at 1. Let them dry completely overnight.
  • Use painters tape and tape off a greek key design on the front of the trunks. Make sure you press the edges of the tape really well so no paint seeps through.
  • Prime the whole trunk with 1 or 2 coats of white primer spray paint even over the tape. Wait about 20 minutes.
  • Spray paint the whole trunk with Rustoleum high gloss white spray paint. Do about 2 or 3 coats. Let them dry completely overnight.
  • Remove the painters tape and see your design

  • 12. Painted Mason Jars from the Inside Out

    These mason jars make great gifts at the end of the event or save them for your own personal decoration. Mason jars will never go out of >

  • Clean out the inside of the jars and let them dry completely.
  • Squeeze some acrylic paint in the color you want at the bottom of the jar.
  • Turn the jar upside down and rotate the jar to get the paint all over the sides.
  • After it is completely covered, turn the jar upside down and put it on a layer of paper towels and leave it overnight. It should be dry by the morning, but if you had a thick layer of paint which happened to me one time then it could take a couple of days to dry.
  • Thats it...Put it in a good spot and put flowers in it or anything you want

  • 13. Coffee Table Ottoman

    This was posted on Merediths blog, Not So Newlywed McGees. I have been wanting to try this for a while but do not have an old coffee table to try it with But I know people who have done it and they say it wastn too challenging:

  • Paint the legs of the table with Martha Stewart Light Reflections paint. Other options would be to spray paint them would be quicker to do it this way or to use Annie Sloan Chalk Paint this here is a great tutorial on this paint.
  • Optional If you are going to want to add tufting to your ottoman, go ahead and figure out the placement of the buttons. Drill holes in your table where the buttons will go, so that you will be able to thread a long needle through later.
  • Cut your foam 2" high density foam from JoAnns fabric is good...about 32 a yard, but they always have sales to fit the top of the ottoman. To cut the foam, use a marker to draw a straight line and then use a sharp blade, like an Exacto knife, to cut through the foam a serrated knife from your kitchen even works well.
  • Use spray adhesive to glue your foam directly on top of the table.
  • Cover the foam and table with batting can get at Home Depot. Use a staple gun to staple the batting to the underside and pull tightly to get the shape on top that you like.
  • Place your fabric on top of the ottoman and make sure you have it lined up properly if you have a geometric fabric. It is good to tack it in some places on the bottom to make sure it stays in place.
  • Flip the table over and staple the fabric to the wood. Work around the sides making sure it is pulled tight.
  • Optional If your ottoman is going to be tufted, to add the buttons, push a long sturdy needle straight up from the bottom, through button covered in your fabric, and then back down. You can secure the knot on the underside of the table with another button or some nails to hold it in place. Make sure you use heavy duty upholstery thread, it wont break from the tension. Pull all of the buttons so they are equally as deep in the foam as the rest.
  • Optional If you want, you can add decorative nailheads can buy at Home Depot along the base of the ottoman. Use a rubber mallet to hammer them in without damaging the surface of the nail heads. I placed the nails about 1 inch apart and used a pen to mark all of the holes, so they would be in a straight line.
  • And there... youre done Now you have a great and much more inexpensive upholstered ottoman, in the fabric of your choice


  • 14. IKEA Highchair Hack

    This was posted on Bethanys blog, Dwellings by Devore. I have this same high chair from IKEA and I did not do this but it would be so easy I love the look of the IKEA antilop highchair. It has simple clean lines that doesnt scream baby. It will fit in with most decor as much as a highchair can fit in and at 25 the price is perfect.

  • When you get the highchair, before you snap the legs into place, tape off the white balls at the bottom with some painters tape can get at Home Depot.
  • Lay a drop cloth down in a well ventilated area and place the highchair in the middle.
  • Spray paint them with Rustoleums Bright Coat, Metallic Finish Gold spray paint look at 1. Give them about 2 coats and let dry. For tips and a short how to on spray painting, look at 1.
  • And your done Easiest DIY ever. And you can use it with or without the tray. If you remove the tray it will slide right up to the table which is kind of neat and I love that it doesnt look super highchair-y.

  • 15. Wood and White Side Table Redo

    I love the combination of wood and white together...side tables, coffee tables, chairs, nightstands, etc. I think they all look great. I had this old side table from World Market that I bought about 4 years ago and I was sick of it. So I decided to spray paint the bottom half white and it was one of the EASIEST redos I have ever done:

  • Lay a drop cloth down in a well ventilated area and place the table in the middle of it.
  • Now, mine was a tray table so the tray part came off which was going to stay as it was and was set to the side. If you do not have a tray table then cover the top part of your table or the part you would like to keep wood with a cloth or anything you can get paint on I use paper grocery bags and secure them with painters tape you can get at Home Depot.
  • Get a slightly damp cloth and wipe the whole thing down. Let it dry completely.
  • Optional This step is in every spray paint project but most of the time I skip it especially if the item I am painting is in new condition. But get some sandpaper and sand the whole thing down. Then get a damp cloth and wipe all the residue off and let it dry completely.
  • Prime the table with Rustoleum primer white spray paint and do 2 coats. Wait 20 minutes until it dries.
  • Then spray paint the table with Rustoleum high gloss white spray paint or Rustoleum Lacquer white spray paint. Do 3 coats waiting 30 minutes in between coats. Look at 1 for tips and a short how to on spray painting.
  • Wait 24 hours until it is completely dry and done Couldnt be easier.
  • Other great white and wood DIYs:


    White lacquer and reclaimed wood
    side table with cowhide tray

    Click Here to See Steps

    IKEA Rast Side Table Project
    Click Here to See Steps

    Paint Dipped Wood Spoons
    Click Here to See Steps

    16. Outdoor Coffee Table with Metal Bucket Base

    This was posted on Melissas blog, A Place To Nest, but you can see the whole tutorial/posting here. I plan on doing this when I move on my back patio

  • Use a galvanized bucket you have on hand bucket size 3 feet at the widest part or buy one here is one at Tractor Supply Company.
  • Optional Drill a few holes in the bottom for any possible water drainage.
  • You are going to be making your own top but you can try to go to Home Depot and ask if they have any wooden spool tops that they can give you for free Then you can just use that after sanding it and skip down to step number 7
  • Buy some 1/4 inch plywood can get at Home Depot to use as the base to attach the 26 boards to.
  • Draw a circle and cut the plywood into a circle.
  • Followed the same technique by using the plywood as your template and cut the 26 boards to match the circle.
  • Glue the 26s to the circle with wood glue can get at Home Depot and let it dry overnight.
  • Stain the top with Minwax stain can get at Home Depot or whatever you have on hand. Let completely dry.
  • Finish the top with a coat of Minwax Clear Polyurethane or any other clear poly seal you have.

  • 17. Indoor Coffee Table with Metal Bucket Base

    Take liberties with inexpensive basics to create beautiful and functional furniture. Here, an upside-down galvanized bucket combined with a glass tabletop makes a funky coffee table.

  • Use a galvanized bucket you have on hand bucket size 3 feet at the widest part or buy one here is one at Tractor Supply Company.
  • Purchase a round glass top that is wider than the top of your bucket.
  • Turn the bucket upside down the bottom of the bucket will be the top and the top will be the bottom.
  • Put the glass on top and your done

  • 18. Sofa Table Copycat

    This was posted on Bobis blog, Bobi Law Designs. To me, this is just plain genious. I wish I would have thought of this earlier. It is so simple to do and it is perfect for small rooms that do not have room for a sofa table behind your couch. Love it

  • Buy a piece of wood from Home Depot cut to the size of your couch.
  • Stain it with Minwax dark stain can get at Home Depot or whatever shade you like. Let it dry overnight or longer.
  • Attach it to the wall with four or more L-brackets and you are done

  • 19. Faux Nail Head Trimmed Cork Board

    This was posted on Chelseas blog, Two Twenty One. This is such a cute idea for a girls room or any room in your house with the right fabric/color theme. And it is really easy to do:

  • Buy a cork board or use an old one you have.
  • Buy some fabric at JoAnns Fabric that will be big enough to cover the front of your board with about 8 inches extra around the edges so add 8 inches to the length and 8 incehs to the width.
  • Iron your fabric to get out creases.
  • Spray your cork board with adhesive can get at Michaels
  • Laying the fabric on top leaving 4 inches of excess fabric around the edge of the cork board. Smoothed out the fabric with your hands so there are not any bubbles.
  • Get about 200 thumbtacks or more can get at Walmart and start pressing them in one at a time you might want to spread this process out over a couple of days because your fingers will start to hurt.
  • Use a hot glue gun or a strong adhesive to glue the excess fabric onto the back of the cork board. Let it try completely.
  • Now add hooks of some sort to the back and you are all done A beautiful fabric covered memo board.

  • 20. Add Wheels to Your Coffee Table

    Take your coffee table for a drive by bolting vintage wheels to the legs. There are different versions of the table as you can see in the pictures below, and a couple of them include pallet coffee tables. For a tutorial on creating a pallet coffee table click here. For steps on simply adding wheels to your existing coffee table read below:

  • Purchase four vintage wheels or some industrial castor wheels.
  • You can attach them on the sides of the legs like the picture to the right, or the bottom of the legs like the picture below. To attach them to the sides, drill through the legs and insert bolts into the wheel hubs.
  • Slide the bolts through the legs and secure with nuts.
  • Make sure to buy a matching set of wheels for smooth moving Your done

  • 21. Chic Tray from a Cookie Sheet

    This was posted on Shannons blog, Madigan Made. I have seen other "cookie sheet tray" DIYs out there but this is my favorite one so far. I have not done this yet because I dont have ANY more room for another tray in my house but I will do this next time I need a tray somewhere:

  • Buy a metal cookie sheet from the dollar store or use an old one you have.
  • Lay a drop cloth down in a well ventilated area and place the tray in the middle of it.
  • Spray the bottom of your sheet pan with several light coats of Rustoleum high gloss white spray paint. After that has dried, flip it over and spray paint the top of the tray. Look at 1 for tips and a short how to on spray painting.
  • Once the paint has dried and cured, use a little gold wax like Rub n Buff Wax Metallic Finish and apply it to the top edges of the tray. A little goes a long way with that stuff. Apply it, then rub it in to buff the surface. Use a rag to apply/buff.
  • Buy some patterned washi tape and apply strips of it to the tray in an off-centered plaid pattern or a pattern of your choice. Lay the tape down and very carefully score/cut the tape along the edge of the tray with an exacto knife. Be careful not to scratch the paint underneath so make sure the paint is really dry before you apply the tape.
  • To protect the tray surface and the washi tape, Apply a coat of Mod Podge Super Gloss. As you can infer, it gives surfaces a super shiny coat. It is thick and protective and a great choice for sealing furniture and other decorative items. Brush a coat of it onto the surface of the tray, being careful not to overwork the thick liquid. Once the material is dry and it cures for 4 weeks, it can be wiped down with a damp cloth.

  • 22. Sideboard Makeover

    Turquoise paint can lighten the look of an old scratched and scuffed sideboard, while glass pulls can give it a vintage-meets-modern look. A herringbone pattern, drawn with a white paint pen on the doors, solidifies the sideboards chic status.

  • Lay a drop cloth down in a well ventilated area and place the sideboard in the middle of it. Take out all of the drawers and put them to the side on the drop cloth.
  • Cover the insides of the drawers with a cloth or anything you can get paint on I use paper grocery bags and secure them with painters tape you can get at Home Depot.
  • Get a slightly damp cloth and wipe the whole thing down. Let it dry completely.
  • Optional This step is in every spray paint project but most of the time I skip it especially if the item I am painting is in new condition. But get some sandpaper and sand the whole thing down. Then get a damp cloth and wipe all the residue off and let it dry completely.
  • Prime the table with Rustoleum primer gray spray paint and do 2 coats. Wait 20 minutes until it dries.
  • Then spray paint the table with Valspar high gloss turquoise spray paint or any color spray paint you like. Do 3 coats waiting 30 minutes in between coats. Look at 1 for tips and a short how to on spray painting.
  • Wait 24 hours until it is completely dry. Draw a herringbone pattern with a white paint pen can get at Michaels on the doors.
  • Purchase new white glass pulls and replace the old ones with the new ones. And voila


  • 23. DIY Pouf

    This was posted on Brittanys blog, Brittany Makes. Every magazine I read these days is covered with tons of gorgeous poufs. The only problem is, my budget doesnt quite afford me the opportunity to purchase one. I have not done this yet becuase I am in the process of learning to sew pathetic, I know. But this is first on my list

  • Purchase your fabric use a thicker, durable fabric at JoAnns Fabric or a similar store and lay your fabric on a flat surface, wrong sides out.
  • Pin your pattern on the fabric.
  • Cut along the pattern
  • Repeat steps 1-3 three more times, for a total of four double sided forms.
  • Sew the right side of each form repeat for the remaining 3 forms, then remove the pins.
  • Lay the first form on top of the second, wrong sides out, and pin along the right side.
  • Take the third form and lay on top of the first form, wrong sides out,and pin along the right side. Repeat with the remaining form so all pieces are pinned together and form a round shell. Next, sew the pinned sides together, but be sure to stop 2 inches short of the edge to create an opening for you to fill with stuffing.
  • The round shell will take shape once all pieces are sewn together, be certain youve removed all pins before proceeding.
  • Turn the shell inside out.
  • Gather your stuffing - you can use a variety of leftover foam you have on hand. You can also use stuffing from old pillows. If you do not have stuffing on hand, buy a bag of poly-fill from the local fabric store.
  • First, stuff about 1/3 of the bottom with poly-fill or cotton.
  • Then, lay the foam in place. Last, fill and surround the foam with the rest of the cotton or poly-fill.
  • Be careful not to over stuff. You want the pouf to be full, yet fluffy.
  • Sew the top and bottom holes shut with a needle and thread.
  • And there you go Your very own pouf


  • 24. Silhouette Botanical Art

    Decorate your walls for spring with this easy to make spray paint silhouette botanical art DIY. I have done this for a friends living room with gold and white paint white in the background with gold leaves and they turned out great and looked perfect in her space.

  • Get four 11x14 canvases or any size you want at a local art store I got mine on sale 7 each.
  • Put down some newspaper and place your first canvas on top. Squeeze out some acrylic paint whatever color you want onto your paint dish and completely cover your canvas with your paintbrush. Let dry.
  • Tack your leaves or flowers that you can find outside to the canvas with the adhesive spray can get at Michaels.
  • In well-ventilated area, place the canvas in the middle of a drop cloth. Spray paint your entire canvas, including your leaves or flowers with Rustoleums Bright Coat, Metallic Finish Gold spray paint look at 1. Give them about 2 coats and let dry. Aim the paint from left to right form about one or two feet away to prevent uneven coating. For tips and a short how to on spray painting, look at 1.
  • After about 20 minutes, carefully remove your leaves or flowers and let the canvas completely dry overnight.
  • Once dried, you can hang your new DIY botanical art

  • 25. Spray Painted Animal Bookends or Figurines

    The last DIY on my list is the easiest of them all. Taking your kids toys, animals, old figurines and spray painting them is a great way to modernize your home I have done this with Rustoleums Bright Coat, Metallic Finish Gold spray paint and Valspar turquoise spray paint to a couple of old animals and trinkets lying around my house and it was so easy. Read 1 on a short how-to on spray painting. Below are some images to get you started



    Also See:

    • Home Design and Remodeling Trends For 2014

    Full Story >


    Should You Remodel or List Your Home For Sale?

    If youve been watching a lot of HGTV, you may be in the mood to make changes. Is it time to remodel? Or is it time to sell?

    Just like anything that gets a lot of use, homes show wear and tear after a few years. Certain color schemes and decorative >

    Some market conditions are in your favor -- interest rates are still extremely low and below where they were a year ago and the economy is improving, so youll likely get much of what you spend to improve your home back when it comes time to sell.

    The question to answer is this: If you improved your home the way you want, would you want to stay in it for a few more years, or are you ready for a complete change?

    Home improvements can be substantial, such as adding a bedroom and bath to the existing footprint of your home or outfitting a kitchen with new countertops, cabinets and appliances. You want your home to support the standards set by your neighborhood, but you also dont want to end up with the most lavish house on the block.

    To get started, put together the right team. If you arent moving walls or pouring a new foundation, you probably wont need an architect, but you will need the right contractors, kitchen planners and interior designers to help you put it all together.

    Youll also need to talk to your lender to learn how much you can borrow and whether the current market value will support the facelift.

    As youre putting together bids, you may find more work is required that you werent expecting. Plan for problems to come up, change orders and delays on materials, so you wont get upside down with expenses or sideways with your contractor.

    Before you make a decision on remodeling, make sure you are going to get what you want at the price you want to pay and that youll be happy with the results for at least several years to come.

    If youre not sure the remodel is the way to go, you can talk to your real estate professional. Be honest with your agent that you are considering remodeling, but that you are also open to finding another home. Your agent might know of homes for sale that have the size, features and finishes youre wanting. After you view a few homes, you should have a better idea of what you want and what you like.

    You and your agent will also discuss selling your home. He or she will create a comparative market analysis of similar homes to yours that have sold recently and are currently for sale so youll know what you can reasonably expect to net from the sale of your home. From these homes, youll learn how long homes are staying on the market and if other sellers are getting their asking prices. Together you and your real estate professional can discuss a price range for your home, based on its location and condition.

    Keep in mind that all markets have ups and downs so what your agent can show you is only a snapshot of whats true today. If youre happy with where your home ranks amid the competition, then it should be a good time to list your home for sale.

    Change is an evolution, and will bring some upheaval to your life. Youll either have to open your home to workers or to buyers. But if you come out on the other side with what you and your household desire, it will all be worth it.


    Full Story >


    Okay Procrastinators, You Have One More Chance To Refinance

    Stop me if youve heard this before. Is it time to refinance your mortgage? Okay, just kidding. Dont stop me. Keep reading. Mortgage rates have been so low for so long that borrowers who could have refinanced likely already have. Still others couldnt refinance because there wasnt enough equity in their homes. Or, some were just waiting for rates to move down just a little. bit. more.

    For those perennial procrastinators, it just might be that time.

    According to Freddie Macs weekly mortgage survey, the 30 year fixed rate dipped below 4.00 for the first time since the summer of 2013. Not by much, as the average fell to 3.92 as of the October 23 report and has since popped up to 4.01. Understand, thats a national average, and you can likely find slightly better rates with a few phone calls, but thats still very low. And for those who are waiting to squeeze out another .25, its best to be prudent and lock instead of playing the waiting game. Again.

    Who should refinance right now? If you have a loan thats about five years old, your 30 year rate is somewhere in the low 5.00 range. If your loan was funded in 2008, a scant six years ago, rates then were mostly above 6.00. In either case, exploring a refinance is a good idea. But dont just look at the rate, theres more to it.

    Payback Time

    The interest rate is just one component when considering a refinance. If refinancing because you can lower your monthly payment, think of the closing costs involved before you get too far into the process. Lets say you got a 30 year fixed rate mortgage back in June of 2009 at 5.25 on a loan of 250,000. The principal and interest payment is 1,380. After about five and half years, the loan has amortized down to 228,113 after having paid a tad over 70,000 in tax deductible interest.

    Now say closing costs amount to 5,000 and you rolled those costs into your loan. The new loan might then be 233,113 and with a 4.00 rate, the principal and interest payment is 1,112 for a monthly savings of 230. Not bad. By dividing 5,000 in closing costs with the 244 reduction, in just over 20 months, the lower payments add up to more than the closing costs associated with the loan.

    Your loan officer can offer various rate and fee combinations to offset some or all of the closing costs associated when refinancing, but the "payback time" analysis works the same.

    So, this is a good deal, right? Lowering a monthly payment by 230?

    Losing Interest?

    This may not be your best move. Yes, increasing cash flow is a positive but youre forgetting something. To the tune of 70,000. Refinancing from a 30 year loan to another 30 year after having paid into a mortgage for five years? Youve just extended the loan you already had for another 30. In effect, you now have a 35 year loan.

    Thats a tradeoff and something loan officers may not always express. Lowering your monthly payment always sounds good but reamortizing the loan over 30 years might not be your best financial decision. However, trade the 30 year note with a 25 year loan. The rate is typically the same as a 30 year term but youre not extending the loan. With a 4.00 rate, a 25 year note on 233,113 the principal and interest payment is 1,230. That still saves 112 per month and youre still saving more interest over the long haul.

    Shorter loan terms have higher monthly payments but the amount of interest paid is lower and equity is gained at a quicker pace. That means it can make sense to refinance today for the sole reason to shorten the loan term and spend less on interest.

    Lower rates are a key factor when refinancing but dont get too caught up in the weeds. Theres more to it than lowering the monthly payment. Carefully consider the term of the loan just as much as the rate. A refinance isnt something you should be talked into. The math will be your impartial guide.

    David Reed Austin, TX is the author of Mortgages 101, Mortgage Confidential, Your Successful Career as a Mortgage Broker, The Real Estate Investors Guide to Financing, Your Guide to VA Loans and Decoding the New Mortgage Market. As a Senior Loan Officer and Mortgage Executive he closed more than 2,000 mortgage loans over the course of more than 20 years in commercial and residential mortgage lending.

    In November 2012, he joined www.Tacfi.com, a consumer site and www.TactileFinancePro.com for loan officers where he serves as Creative Wizard, Content Editor and all around nice guy.

    He has appeared on CNN, CNBC, Fox Business, Fox and Friends and the Today In New York show. His advice has appeared in the New York Times, Parade Magazine, Washington Post and Kiplingers as well as in newspapers and magazines throughout the country.


    Full Story >


    Your Black Friday Cheat Sheet

    Its almost here. Black Friday. We mean Thanksgiving. Oh, who are we kidding? We love Black Friday almost as much as we love Turkey Day. In fact, the two have become nearly interchangeable for us and most of the country, for that matter. We spend too much money on one day for both of them. They both take oodles of preparation. And they both tend to leave us with a stomachache.

    Same for you? We can help with the preparation part. We spend a considerable amount of time scouring Black Friday sites and sales, and our legwork is your gain.

    Several sites are dedicated to Black Friday, posting leaked ads, new sales, and updating regularly. Out favorite is BFAds. Truthfully, all of the most-visited sites for Black Friday are typically going to have the same info, so really it comes down to personal preference in terms of site organization. BFAds doesnt just tell you there is an ad and link to it. They also break down the best deals and provide individual links to each of them. Very convenient for those of us who dont have the time to read every detail and want a quick overview that shows us where to go and how to buy.

    Without further ado, here is your Black Friday Cheat Sheet.

    Breaking News and Early Shopping Opportunities

    Walmart

    Walmart has thrown down the gauntlet with an announcement yesterday that starting Friday, Nov. 21 at 8am, they will be "lowering the prices on popular toys, electronics and more to match or beat select Black Friday offers from top national competitors one week early. This event is said to give "customers an early taste of Walmarts Black Friday prices by moving up items typically found on Black Friday."

    Walmart will be unveiling the items included in this early Black Friday price match on its website starting on Thursday, Nov. 20. You can read the announcement and get additional details here.

    Walmart has also announced they will match Amazons online prices this year. This is huge news for shoppers as it extends Walmarts price-matching strategy from last year to online retailers.

    Finally, you can click here and choose "View Your Map" to find your local Walmart location, which will then display a pop-up map of where to find Black Friday deals in store.

    Toys R Us

    It pays to be a "Rewards R Us Loyalty Member" because the store has announced special rewards for signing up. "Exclusive, early access to Black Friday deals on more than 100 items beginning Sunday, November 23 can be yours with membership. You can sign up here.

    Target

    If you havent already, download the Target app on your phone to access their newly >

    Target has also said that opening the app between 6pm on Thanksgiving and 8am on Black Friday will reveal a special Easter egg we already set an alarm on our phone. For real.

    Our Favorite Deals for Home

    Speaking of Target, the retailer is our go-to everyday well, twice a week anyway, and it was the only place we Black Friday shopped in person last year. It seems like one of the big winners in terms of deals this year, and BFAds agrees. "With so many good deals to choose from, it was hard to narrow down the whole ad," they said.

    Here are a few of their gotta-have deals:

    Element 40" 1080p LED HDTV for 119.00

    GoPro HERO3 w/ 50 Gift Card for 249.99

    Westinghouse 48" 1080p 60Hz HDTV DWM48F1G1 for 235.00

    Dyson DC50 Allergy Vacuum for 279.99

    Target will also be offering 10 percent off Target Gift Cards from 6am to noon on Black Friday.

    An appliance package might not be what youre looking for on Black Friday, but this Frigidaire Stainless four-piece appliance package including Side-by-Side Refrigerator, Smooth-Top Electric Range, Dishwasher and Over-the-Range Microwave Bundle might change your mind. Its available on Black Friday for just 1849.99 from HH Gregg.

    We also like this Delta Sectional for 50 percent off, priced at only 499 on Black Friday at HH Gregg.

    Beats by Dre headphones were one of the biggest holiday sellers last year and with prices like these are su>Note: the sale price is 129.99 with a mail-in rebate of 60, down from the regular price of 169.99. If you dont want to hassle with the rebate, you can get Beats Solo headphones for 79.99 as part of Best Buys Thanksgiving Day doorbusters.

    Walmart always rolls out the incredible deals for Black Friday, and this year is no different. He are a few of the deals that piqued our interest:

    32" 720p 60Hz LED HDTV for 98

    50" 1080p 60Hz LED HDTV for 218

    Vizio 65" 1080p 120Hz Smart LED HDTV for 648.00

    Apple iPad Air 16GB Wi-Fi Tablet 100 Walmart Gift Card for 397.00 Note: Targets iPad Air 2 offer is 499 with a 140 gift card.

    Flat Screens are always a big draw on Black Friday. One of the most enticing doorbuster deals weve seen this year is this Panasonic 50" 1080p 60Hz LED Backlit HDTV TC-50A400U for 199.99 at Best Buy. Here are a few of best Buys other exciting deals:

    100 off all iPad Air 2 models

    Dell Inspiron 15.6" Touch-Screen Laptop w/ Intel Core i3, 4GB Memory, 500GB Hard Drive for 299.99

    iPad Mini 3 16GB for 324.99

    And a few more thingsbecause we cant resist a few good deals on toys and clothing

    Some of the hottest toys this year, Skylanders Figures and Traps and Disney Infinity 2.0 Figures will be BOGO 70 percent off and Skylanders Trap Team Starter Packs 37.50 at Toys R Us Off

    Target will have Skylanders and Disney Infinity Figures for 10.

    Also at Target, PlayStation 4 Console w/ Grand Theft Auto V amp; The Last of Us will be 399.

    Best Buy has an Xbox One Bundle - 2 controllers, Assassins Creed: Unity, Assassins Creed: Black Flag, amp; Kinect for 429.99.

    Dicks will have 15 off Nike, Adidas or Reebok Athletic Appa>

    Walmart is offering Kids Character Pajamas for 4.50

    Kohls has Womens Tek Gear Jackets for 29.99. Kohls is also offer 15 in Kohls cash for every 50 spent.

    Old Navy is 50 percent off the entire store on Thanksgiving and Black Friday.

    Happy Shopping


    Full Story >


    Dont Assume You Cant Get A Mortgage Loan

    According to the latest J.D. Power 2014 U.S. Primary Mortgage Origination Satisfaction Study, first-time homebuyers report challenges with understanding the mortgage process and the options that are available to them. It also suggests that lenders may be doing a poor job of educating and helping borrowers navigate the loan process.

    Among survey respondents purchasing a home, 58 percent were first-time home buyers, yet only 29 percent of homebuyers in the last three months were first-timers, according to the National Association of REALTORS. The percentage of first-time homebuyers has been less that 30 percent for 17 of the past 18 months. The reason the number is significant is that its well below the long-term average of 40 percent.

    Nearly half 48 percent of first-timers headed to a brick and mortar lender to meet with a loan representative and receive personalized advice, yet even then, 43 percent reported that they did not completely understand the process. And only 41 percent of first-timers said their loan officer completely explained the types of loans, terms, special programs, fees and options to reduce their down payment.

    First-timers want more transparency in the process, but transparency works both ways. Lack of experience and uncertainty about the process may keep first-timers from asking the right questions that could result in the right loan. Buyers may also be >

    For all these reasons, you should assume that your chances of getting a loan are better than you think, but only if youre willing to do two things -- ask questions and share information.

    Here are some suggestions to help you:

    1. Look for a lender who is willing to take time with you. Be upfront that youre a first-time buyer and that you want to understand the process better. If you dont know a good lender, ask for referrals from people you know who have recently purchased a home.

    2. Be willing to provide basic information your lender needs -- income, debts and obligations such as child support or student loan.

    3. Share your plans and dreams. If you want to flip the home in two years, say so. If you want to live in it for 10 years, say so. It will make a difference in the type of loan your lender recommends.

    4. Come clean about any problems you think you may have getting a loan. If you werent so great at paying bills while you were in school, you may have hurt your credit rating. Tell the lender that you may have possible derrogatories and what youve done to repair the damage.

    5. Be flexible about your goals and dont try to get a loan thats beyond your means. Youll build equity and wealth much more quickly if you buy a home you can comfortably afford.


    Full Story >


    White Elephant Gifts For The Weird, Wonderful, Wacky And Waiting To Get Noticed

    The holidays are just about here, and you know what that means youre about to find yourself at CVS trying to find a decent gift for your office partys Whte Elephant exchange. Before you head for the "As seen on TV" section, take a minute to check out this list of gifts that might make you the hit - or the heel - of your party. Either way, youll have a good time choosing. And no matter what you end up with, its bound to be received better than the WaxVac.

    Oh you know the person getting this Nicolas Cage Pillow Cover is gonna be thrilled. Thats if you can part with it.

    Go for something that will get a laugh and then quite possibly incite a riot while everyone tries to get their hands on this bacon soup its bacon in name, appearance and smell only. Dont try to nibble. 6 at Popsugar.

    P.S. for you high-rollin bacon lovers: this bacon scarf is so bacony. So scarfy. So fashionable? Its too pricey for a white elephant gift, but still. A bacon scarf? Totally.

    These Guinea pig sleeping bag covers are cute enough. But a REALLY good gifter would include a live guinea pig. 17.27 from Etsy.

    The Toastmaster Personal Coffee Mug and Warmer is not super fun, or cool, or wackadoo. But it is super useful. Dont expect a grandiose thank you from the person who ends up with this, but do expect to see it out on his desk underneath a coffee cup every single day. 18.95 at Amazon.

    Cute, kitschy, and cheap, this set of Six Dog Butt Magnets yes, dog butt magnets is only 11 on Amazon. AND IT COMES WITH A FIRE HYRANT. Yes.

    We personally know at least a dozen grown men who are going to fight over these Hangin with the Homies Air Fresheners at their office party. Grab a four-pack for 20 for maximum effect.

    Guys like beer. Shocking, right? For those that fashion themselves home brewersand for gift exchanges that veer a bit beyond a 20 limitthis Mini Monster Brewing Kit might be the one gift they that gets them excited. 39.50 from gifts.com.

    For the science buff or the parent of a science buff, this gift allows you to give them a piece of your mind, we mean a piece of the moon. An authentic moon rock is 39.99 at gifts.com.


    Full Story >


    Baby Its Cold Outside: 10 Ways To Stay Warmer at Home Without Killing Your Heating Bill

    Face it. Its frigid. You dont have to live in a Snuggie until the sun comes out again in spring. But then again this one is pretty cute. If youre looking for ways to keep that heating bill down without losing a toe, weve got a few tips.

    1. Slippers. You know those chunky slippers with the non-slip bottom and the fluffy stuff inside? Get some. It doesnt matter how layered up the rest of you is if heat is escaping through this little piggy.

    2. A good blanket. If you can afford it, go for down. If youre allergic, go for faux down. And check out Overstocks Blanket Buying Guide for more info.

    3. Dress in layers. "Bundle up," said The Old Farmers Almanac. "To avoid getting overheated inside, wear layers." Choose a "wicking polyester or silk undershirt next to your skin versus cotton."

    4. Flip your fan. In the summer, the fan circulates the air, which can make you feel cooler. Flipping the switch "helps push warm air thats risen to the ceiling back down to the floor where you can feel it. The less thats wasted, the less demand there is on heating systems and the more you save," said Distractify.

    5. Stay hydrated. Drinking water can actually help you stay warmer. Who knew? "Water is actually amazing for retaining body heat," said The Week. "Simply put, the more you have in your system, the easier it is to keep warm. Stay hydrated - especially before you dash out into the frozen slush every morning,"

    6. Light a fire. You can lower your heater by a few degrees by gathering in front of a warm fireplace. Plus, itll give you a chance to snuggle.

    7. Go for the combo of extra layers and hot drinks. "When you feel a chill, reach for a sweater instead of thermostat," said Distractify. "With the extra layers, your body will heat up much faster than the furnace can heat your house. Then, "drink lots of tea, coffee, hot chocolate and other warm liquids including soup This will raise your body temperature in a jiffy."

    8. Harness the sun. "During the day, open the blinds and curtains on the south-facing windows - and let the Sun warm you. At night, close the blinds and curtains to better insulate your home," said The Old Farmers Almanac.

    9. Seal it up. "Make sure your home is air sealed," said The Simple Dollar. "Air leaks and drafts allow warm air to quickly escape your house, resulting in tremendous heating and cooling bills. The solution to this problem is to check your home for air leaks and properly air seal any leaks you discover. You can get more info from this useful guide from the Department of Energy."

    10. Shut em up. If you have guest rooms and other spaces you dont use, close the vents. This will force more air into the rooms you are using and make the heating system more efficient.


    Full Story >


    How Proxies Play A Very Important Role In Homeowner Associations

    A proxy is a person appointed to represent anothers interest. The instrument by which a person is appointed is also called a proxy. Proxies play a very important role in homeowner associations. Using proxies ensures the ability to meet quorum requirements the minimum number of members needed to hold a legal meeting. Proxies permit one person to represent many members so while the actual body count at the meeting may be few, the quorum can still be met. Using proxies is particularly useful in HOAs comprised of second homes or rentals where many members may be far away.

    Use of proxies can be contentious if there is a contested election or a disagreement on a proposed bylaw or special assessment. At those times, certain members may scurry around trying to convince others to appoint them as proxy so a unified voting block can be amassed. While the proxy giver can actually direct how the representative votes, its more common to leave that decision up to the proxy holder.

    There are several significant basics of the proxy system that should be understood by all that employ them:

    1. A vote by a proxy holder is just as effective as the owner of record.

    2. The proxy holder may not vote the way the owner would unless given specific written direction on the proxy form itself.

    There are two types of proxies:

    General. The proxy agent may vote on behalf of the owner without restriction. The proxy will be valid for annual or special meetings within the ensuing 12 months, unless provided otherwise.

    Limited or Directed. Restricts how the proxy agent may vote, is limited to a specific event, a specific issue or directs how the agent must vote. If the proxy fails to follow the givers directions, the giver can challenge the vote. The determination of whether to grant a general or limited proxy is totally within the discretion of the giver.

    As far as the proxy form is concerned:

  • It should be written.
  • It should clearly describe the time period for which the proxy is valid.
  • It should bear the givers signature.
  • It should be revocable by the giver prior to the event but not after.
  • It should be given freely.
  • It is not transferrable.
  • Some proxy pointers include:

  • In the case of error or fraud, an owner may issue more than one proxy. All proxies should be inspected for accuracy and duplication.
  • The board of directors may solicit proxies for proposed resolutions and a chosen slate of candidates even failing to include all candidates. However, the proxy statement should be truthful and complete. Misleading information contained within a proxy is grounds to challenge the meeting or vote.
  • A director may not give a proxy to another director or person. In other words, directors cannot delegate their authority as a director to another person.
  • Proxies appoint the people that will punctually perform the proxys purpose. Picture my point?

    For more innovative homeowner association management strategies, subscribe to www.Regenesis.net.


    Full Story >


    Housing Counsel: Remodeling? Use A Consumer-Friendly Contract

    Do you plan on doing any work in your house? Will you be using a contractor? If so, whether this is a small job or a major renovation, there are a number of steps you must take to protect yourself.

    First, the contractor must be licensed in the jurisdiction where your property is located. When you have selected the contractor, insist on getting a copy of his/her license. Call the government agency that issued the license, to confirm that it is still current.

    Next, contact your homeowner insurance company to determine the extent of your coverage should accidents or damage occur while the work is being done.

    Negotiate all terms and conditions -- including the cost of the job -- with the contractor. When you have reached agreement, it must be reduced to a written contract.

    Many contractors use what I call the "two page special". This is a simple contract which me>

    Such a document is not in your best interest.

    The American Institute of Architects AIA, headquartered in Washington, D.C., publishes a number of contract forms for use by homeowners, architects, and contractors. According to a recent press >

    There are a number of different AIA forms available, depending on the type and size of work which you plan to do. For example, form A105, is a standard form of agreement between owner and contractor for a residential or small commercial project. Form A107 -- which is more comprehensive -- can also be used for projects of limited scope.

    Every ten years, AIA updates their forms, in order to reflect changes in industry trends and practices. Here are the most recent, significant changes:

    Arbitration is not mandatory. Prior AIA contracts required that if the homeowner and the contractor could not resolve any disputes on their own, they were required to go to binding arbitration. The revised forms now permit the parties to negotiate other alternatives, including litigation, Many consumers are learning that arbitration may not be the best way to resolve the problems they have with their contractors, even though litigation may be more expensive and take more time than arbitration. Often, the arbitrator does not issue a written opinion explaining how and why the decision was made, which leaves both contractor and homeowner in the dark. And our legal system will generally not reverse an arbitrators decision, unless it can be demonstrated that the arbitrator was biased or arbitrary. And how can this be presented to a Judge when there is no written opinion?

    Initial decision maker. According to AIA, previous versions of their form contracts "assigned the architect the role of serving as a neutral party to decide disputes between the owner and contractor. The current update provides the owner and contractor with the opportunity to hire a third-party initial decision maker IDM for dispute resolution."

    Access to financial information. The new forms prohibit the contractor from requesting financial information from the owner after the work has begun -- even if the contractor may have reason to be concerned about the owners ability to pay.

    One important provision in the revised contract forms deals with subcontractors. Homeowners often learn that although they have been paying the contractor, the subcontractors who are working on the job are not being paid. According to AIA, "the revisions also allow the owner a greater opportunity to learn of contractor/subcontractor payment problems, and address a contractors failure to pay a subcontractor by allowing the owner to write joint checks".

    One of the most common problems that homeowners encounter with their contractor is that they often pay most if not all of the entire contract sum when the work is far from completed. Some contracts call for an initial down payment and the balance is due when the work has been finished. Other contracts -- especially those with a larger scope of work -- will have a draw schedule prepared and made a part of the contract documents. This schedule will spell out when additional payments are to be made based on performance of the work.

    If there is an architect involved, he/she will normally be the gatekeeper for the draws.. The contractor must submit requests for payments, which must be approved by the architect. However, many homeowners do not use the services of an architect, and have to >

    It is critical to keep a portion of the final payment until you -- or your architect or the IDM -- are completely satisfied that the work has been done, and that all subcontractors have been paid in full. It is a good idea to have the general contractor and all subs sign a statement to this effect. You do not want to discover later that the subcontractors have filed mechanics liens against your property.

    Perhaps the most common complaint that arises involves changes to the scope of work. As the job progresses, the homeowners may ask the contractor to add another cabinet, or install more electrical outlets. The contractor does the requested work, and at the end of the job, submits a bill for these changes. By that time, since memories are short, the homeowner disputes that the work was ever authorized.

    All change orders must be in writing, spelling out the work to be done and any additional costs. Both the homeowner and the contractor must sign this change order document. Contractors are notoriously lax in adhering to this practice, which is why there are so many disputes.

    Another important provision that should be included in all contracts deals with ending the >

    The Owner may terminate the Contract if the Contractor:

    1 repeatedly refuses or fails to supply enough properly skilled workers or proper materials; 2 fails to make payments to subcontractors... 3 persistently disregards laws, ...or 4 is otherwise guilty of substantial breach of... the Contract....

    If any of these events occur, the homeowner -- after giving the contractor seven days notice -- may terminate the contract, and hire another contractor. If the unpaid balance owed the contractor is more than the cost of finishing the job, the homeowner still owes the original contractor the difference. But if the cost to complete the work is more than the original contract price, which is often the case, the homeowner can look to the terminated contractor for payment of this difference.

    It is often easier and faster to enter into a simple two-page contract for the work that you want done in your home. And because many contractors are competent and honest, everything will probably work out.

    But unless you include all of the protections suggested above, you are at the mercy of that "two-page special" which can come back to haunt you if and when problems arise. A Judge will honor any binding contract which you have signed, even if it is one-sided in favor of the contractor.

    The AIA contract forms are designed to give you the protections you need. You may want to tailor those contracts to your particular needs, but they are accepted in the industry and should be used by all homeowners.

    The forms can be purchased directly from AIA, on its website, Click Here.


    Full Story >




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    Baby Its Cold Outside: 10 Ways...
    Face it. Its frigid. You dont have to live in a Snuggie until the sun comes out again in spr...

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