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With just a stud finder and a drill, you can install the cabinet in less than an hour. For quick installation, choose a cabinet that can mount directly to the wall above your bathroom sink, rather than cutting away drywall and recessing the cabinet between studs.
A new sink can energize a boring bathroom. Before you replace it, though, consider your needs. You might want to try standing in front of the model you're considering and acting out your morning routine. Will you have enough room to brush your teeth or put in your contacts? Your choice should balance aesthetics with practicality.
Choose a low-flow unit and you'll get virtually the same sensation of water flow while saving money on your water bill. If your showerhead flow is already low (and shouldn't be), check to see if hard-water deposits are clogging the holes.
Inject elegance into your daily life with a faucet that ups the ante in looks and quality. Just make sure the configuration matches your existing sink, or you might end up replacing that, too.
The most important thing to remember here is to find the studs and mount the bars directly to them. Miss the studs and you'll be pulling out more than the bars when you put your weight on them.
Make boring cabinets sing by replacing the door inserts. Stainless steel, stamped tin, wrought-iron grillwork, glass, and wood painted to match your flooring or countertops are all possibilities. The process is simple, says Mike McAllister, owner of Riverside Kitchen Center in Mount Vernon, Washington: "Remove the small flange that holds the existing insert, then replace the insert with your material and add wood or metal stops to keep it in place."
If you bought your refrigerator before 1993 or your dishwasher before 1994, when the federal energy-efficiency guidelines for each went into effect, consider replacing them with more efficient models. Some newer models use at least 15 percent less energy than required by current federal standards and 40 percent less energy than the conventional models sold in 2001.
With attic space above a dark corner, it's easy to add a new light fixture, says Daryl Berg, a journeyman electrician in Longview, Washington: "Just cut the hole for the fixture and run the wires through the ceiling joists to a new circuit."
Add a ceiling fan and save money by not running the air-conditioner on those marginal days when all you need is air movement.
Living room, dining room, great-room: Any common area looks better with the finishing, defining touch of crown molding. If you live in a historic home, make sure your molding choices complement your home's architectural style.
If it's time to replace that dingy 1970s-era mantel, choose one with enough depth to let you display pictures or other decorations. If you buy a ready-made mantel, don't be afraid to paint it or add moldings.
Dimmer switches quickly give your dining room the atmosphere of a swank restaurant. You can use standard incandescent bulbs, but if you prefer fluorescent light, look for special dimmable bulbs.
If you have a window that faces the prevailing winter winds, replace it with a high-efficiency unit. If the window opening is a nonstandard size, you'll probably have to order the new window.