Upgrade a Basic Bookcase

Put a personal spin on an off-the-shelf bookcase with these easy DIY makeover ideas.

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Stairway Railing Ideas

Stairway railings serve more than a functional purpose -- they give stairs a visual presence and make a staircase a work of art. Find ideas for the perfect railing for your stairway.

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Beach Chic Porch Renovation

A family put a new roof over their heads by turning their back deck into a coastal-inspired covered porch. Learn how they made the big change from their existing porch to their new, cozy family hangout area.

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Give a Plain Mirror a Makeover

Take a plain mirror to the next level with these easy DIY embellishments.

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DIY Outdoor and Garden Projects

Sprucing up your outdoor space doesn't need to be a massive undertaking. Use these inspirational small projects -- including painting rocks to hanging new house numbers -- to instantly improve the look of a garden, patio, deck, or backyard.

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Add Storage Around Stairs

Step up your home's storage capacity by making the most of underused areas below and beside your stairs. Here's a look at 18 homes that beautifully optimized stairwell and staircase spaces.

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Popular in Home Improvement

Understanding How Alarm Systems Work

Sort out what you need in a home alarm system.

In its simplest form, an electronic alarm system is a low-voltage electrical circuit with sensors on entry doors and windows. When a door or window is opened, its sensor detects the interruption in the flow of electricity and triggers a warning signal such as a siren or strobe light.

In addition to perimeter sensors, many systems also include motion detectors that monitor large areas inside the house. When something moves within the detector's range, a sensor sounds the siren. The most sophisticated motion detectors are able to distinguish between the threat of an intruder and the nocturnal wanderings of the family pet, reducing the possibility of false alarms.

When these perimeter sensors and interior motion detectors are part of a stand-alone system, the siren and flashing lights are the only deterrents for discouraging the intruder and thwarting the break-in. In a monitored system, operators at the system manufacturer's central station also notify the police.

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