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

Discover Dirt's Secret Hiding Places

Even after a good cleaning, chances are you've missed at least a few of dirt's favorite hideouts. Read on to see just how many.


    Everything in this slideshow

    • Air Vents

      Whether they're located high or low, vents sit off most homeowners' cleaning radar. It's worth bringing them into the fold with regular cleanings, though, because your home's air often passes through them before you breathe it. (For the record, it's wise to have your ducts cleaned every five years, too.)

    • Kitchen Hot Spots

      Where is the dirt hiding in your kitchen? Find out and how to get them clean.

    • Light Fixtures

      Those in the bathroom and dining room seem to be the most commonly overlooked, ranking them right up there with the top offender: ceiling fans. "The fixture that we rely on to mix up our stale air is also one of the heaviest dust collectors and is often ignored," says Jill Roth of Magic Mops Housecleaning.


      Learn how to treat hundreds of stains with our free tool, Stain Fixes.

    • Baseboards

      That band of wood running along the base of your walls works as a mini landing strip for dust. Accumulation tends to be highest in the areas of your home that see either the most traffic, such as the entry, or the least, such as behind beds and in the closet.

    • Interior Doors

      Many homeowners forget to give their doors any cleaning love. Most neglected: The well-used knobs, the ledges created by indented panels, and the entire side that opens to the wall. "I've found that almost no one ever notices the dust collecting behind their doors," UpperCrust Maids co-owner Cathy Green says.


      Fight tough stains with tips and tricks from our free tool, Stain Fixes!

    • Beds and Bedding

      We wash the sheets but not the bed skirt, says Mary Findley of GoClean.com, a former pro cleaner and author of The Complete Idiot's Guide to Green Cleaning. The poor mattress, too, rarely sees the business end of a vacuum. And then there's the bed frame itself. "Dust and dust mites build up and cause all kinds of allergy issues where we sleep," Findley says.

    • On Top of the Refrigerator

      Many among us find it's easier to pretend dirt doesn't exist than to grab a stepstool. "When we clean the top of the refrigerator, we'll often see a swipe mark toward the front, but mounds of dust and grime covering the rest of it," says Kate Buehler, co-owner of Golden Maid Services.


      Have a stain? Solve it with Stain Fixes!

    • Window Blinds

      It doesn't matter if they're made of fabric, plastic, or wood -- that unified collection of flat surfaces draws dust, yet seems to repel the duster. (FYI: Most home stores carry a specialized, inexpensive blind-dusting tool that makes the job as simple as wiping off a countertop.)

    • The Most-Used Entry

      While cleaning the entryway is a no-brainer, the door that most people actually use often holds an impressive, longstanding collection of fingerprints and boot marks. You look at it so often, you don't really see it. "It's in one of the most visible, high-traffic places, but it's often the most neglected," says Magic Mops' Roth.


      Get solutions for hundreds of stains with our free tool, Stain Fixes.

    • 10 of 11

      Garbage Disposal

      Food particles cling to the rubber splashguard, the blades, and the disposal wall, which harbor bacteria, says Findley of GoClean.com. Even the cleanest kitchen doesn't feel that way with the smell of decaying food coming from the sink.

    • 11 of 11
      Next Slideshow 13 Tips to Help You Speed-Clean Your Home

      13 Tips to Help You Speed-Clean Your Home

      It's simple: The faster you clean, the sooner you're done. The following tips are guaranteed to satisfy your need for cleaning speed.
      Begin Slideshow »



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