Butler County Times Gazette
  • Home Help: Bathroom upgrades that don’t cost a bundle

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  • Skylights
    An addition that is both beautiful — endowing bathrooms with a major “wow” factor — and practical, quality skylights can help trim electricity costs by providing natural light and passively venting moist, warm air from the room.
    Lighted vanity mirror
    Because installing a lighted vanity mirror is a simple do-it-yourself job, it’s also a very low-cost improvement that has a big impact on a bathroom’s appearance and usability. Home improvement stores, design studios and online retailers carry a wide variety of options in shapes, sizes, styles and light sources (LED, CFL or incandescent) to suit virtually every taste.
    Double-flush toilet
    Part of the ongoing trend of making homes greener, dual-flush toilets allow you to use only the water needed for the job — less for liquid waste, more for solids — so they contribute to trimming both a home’s ecological footprint and water bills.
    Towel warmers
    A fresh-from-the-dryer towel is great, and wall-mounted or free-standing towel warmers deliver that feeling without the hassle and expense of running the dryer. Whether plug-in or hard-wired, towel warmers work the same way: Heated bars warm towels hung on the rack, providing a cozy towel every time you bathe.
    Shower foot rest
    This is one improvement that most benefits the women in a home, but it’s such an economical improvement, you may wonder why anyone wouldn’t do it. While suction-cup styles are least expensive, for a more refined look and enhanced sturdiness look for one that anchors into the wall through screws, or a style built into shower surrounds.
    — Brandpoint
    Home-Selling Tip
    Upgrade your lighting
    You may find that disco-ball style globe light charming in your kitchen, but the average buyer doesn’t want dated or unusual lighting. Replacing dated or worn fixtures, especially in bathrooms and kitchens, is a cost-effective way to give a room a more up-to-date, contemporary look. If you already have newer fixtures, consider replacing incandescent bulbs with high-efficiency options such as CFLs or LEDs. Although they’re a bit more expensive to purchase, these bulbs last years longer, a selling point for buyers who will reap the value of not having to replace bulbs any time in the near future.
    — Brandpoint
    Did You Know
    Solar skylight tax credit
    Install solar-powered skylights and blinds and you can be eligible for a 30 percent tax credit on the cost of the products as well as installation.
    — Brandpoint
    Decorating Tip
    Easy new look
    A high-end faucet can completely change the look and usability of a kitchen or bathroom. In terms of cost vs. value, an upgraded faucet can dramatically increase perceived value for a relatively modest investment.
    Page 2 of 2 - — Brandpoint
    Garden Guide
    Using coffee grounds
    Instead of throwing away used coffee grounds and tea leaves, use them in your home garden. Sprinkling grounds around plants not only serves to add nitrogen and other nutrients to the soil, but also work as a deterrent to keep away slugs, snails and fire ants. Bonus: Coffee grounds are also loved by earthworms, helping to attract and feed these helpful creatures.
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