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

Do-it-Yourself vs. Hiring a Professional

Learn the pros and cons of a do-it-yourself kitchen or bath remodel.

Q: Our 20-year-old kitchen and bathrooms need overhauling. What is the cost of hiring a designer? And more important, what are the costs of not hiring one?

A: Home improvement projects, especially kitchen and bath remodels, can be expensive. But cutting corners can cost more down the road. So be honest with yourself: How skilled are you and what's best left in the hands of a professional?

"The cost of hiring a designer is relative to the time required for design development, product research, and coordination with the client, contractors, and outside consultants," says Heather Higgens, a New York-based designer. "After the first consultation, a seasoned designer should be able to provide an estimate for their design fee to complete your project."

Higgens also reminds homeowners that designers purchase materials at a discounted rate, which helps offset their fees. And that makes it less expensive in the end to get the polished look homeowners expect when they bring a designer on board. Tackling a project without a designer can be emotionally and financially risky. Designers not only help you hone the vision by showing you the latest trends and materials, but they also keep the project on schedule and on budget. If your DIY project goes awry, you'll have to live with those glaring mistakes every day until you can afford to hire a professional to fix it for you.

Still trust your DIY prowess? These resources can help you out along the way:

-- Designinabag.com delivers professionally coordinated design concepts including cabinet, countertop, tile, and paint samples -- right to your door based on your color palette and design preferences.

-- "From Sand Castles to Dream Houses: A Planner for Building or Remodeling Your Home" is a weekend warrior's guide to product selection, procedure, and contractor management. Author Sheri Koones shows how to stay organized, in charge, and on budget from start to finish. When it comes to home-improvement projects, it's hard to put a price tag on peace of mind and a good night's sleep. For a little extra cost, you'll be thrilled to have a designer in your corner.

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