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

10 Things to Know Before Building Your Deck

Building a deck is a huge undertaking. So, before you put hammer to nail, make sure you've thought about these design elements.


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    • Invest in Fasteners

      When old decks get rickety, it's often due to failing fasteners, not the wood. Low-quality screws will corrode, discolor your deck, and eventually shorten your deck's life. Use stainless-steel (shown) or coated screws made specifically for pressure-treated wood. These screws will resist corrosion and extend your deck's lifespan. Warning: The popular electroplate-galvanized screws are not acceptable for decks.

    • Conceal Your Support

      Hide unsightly screwheads with hidden fasteners, which give deck surfaces a clean and simple look. Once the deck is complete, the hardware shown will be concealed by the deck boards. The fasteners come in many options, so check with your materials supplier for the best options.

      Bonus: Hidden fasteners also make it safe to enjoy your deck while barefoot.

    • Branch Out

      Explore both wood and composite-decking options. Real wood is always in style, but hardwoods, such as ipe and jarrah, are becoming more popular because of their longevity. Composite decking is also becoming more popular because of its long lifespan and the fact that it's virtually maintenance-free. Both of these options are more expensive than wood, but the payback is in the extended, maintenance-free lifespan.

    • Level Playing Field

      Don't have enough room to spread out? Move down a level. Adding another level not only multiplies your living and entertaining space, but it also breaks up a long flight of stairs. Having a multilevel deck allows you to entertain close to the house, enjoy the shade on a second level, or soak up the sun on the lowest level.

    • Beautiful Surroundings

      Railings not only provide safety, they can also help beautify a deck. An innovative railing can turn an average deck into an extraordinary structure. Railings come in glass, metal, vinyl, composite, and cabling.

    • Open the View

      One alternative to railings on low-to-the-ground decks are wide stairs. Stairs that run the width of one or more sides of your deck provide extra seating and an elegant transition into the yard.

    • Play with Color

      Choosing an exterior color doesn't have to stop with the house. Why not extend your color palette to your deck? With today's selection of stains and decking materials, it's easy to find one that complements your home's exterior.

    • Increase Your Overhead

      A pergola can transform your deck from a platform to an outdoor room. Not only does it provide shade, but it gives you a place to attach speakers, lights, fans, and hanging plants.

    • Vary Your Geometry

      Who says decking has to be square? Choose decking with unusual angles or curves to add drama to your backyard.

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      Set the Mood

      Amenities such as lighting, sound systems, or fans make outdoor structures popular places to be during warm weather. Rather than finding ways to incorporate these amenities after the deck is finished, plan for these features by hiding wires and attaching structures during the construction phase.

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