Spring: 4 Designer Touches For a Well-Dressed Deck

(BPT) – When spring arrives, will your deck be ready for “primetime?” Or will it still be wearing the shabby remnants of last season’s look? Clunky,spring home improvements view-blocking railings, a rectangular layout and dark stain are so last decade. Before warm weather gets here, consider upgrading your outdoor living space with the trends that every well-dressed deck will be wearing this year.

Cable railing = better views

Whether you’re lucky enough to live on the water or you spend a lot of time keeping your backyard green and blooming, wouldn’t it be great to be able to enjoy the view from your deck? Traditional wooden railings can block your view, and glass can be hard to clean.

More view-seeking homeowners are replacing wooden balusters with Ultra-tec stainless steel cable railings. Do-it-yourself kits from manufacturers like The Cable Connection make it easy to replace old balusters with stainless steel cable, creating a sleek, upscale and view-friendly look. The cable can be used with wood, metal or sleeved posts with a solid core, and you can retrofit any railing with the cable. Whether your deck is made of wood or composite, cable railing works wherever you would install a traditional railing, including the deck perimeter and stairs. Visit www.thecableconnection.com to learn more.

A deck of a different color

Clear sealant for a natural look or subdued rustic hues have long been the colors of choice for decks. This year, expect to see a plethora of fresh colors popping up on decks. While changing the color of a wooden deck from a darker hue to something brighter may be problematic, composite decking manufacturers have branched out into a variety of brighter colors, including whites and light grays. You’ll even see pops of color like greens and blues in designs and inserts set into decking planks.

You can also add color to your deck through plantings. Think outside the planter box – and traditional floral plantings – to mix things up with decorative grasses and leafy foliage that will splash color around your deck throughout the summer.

Mixed media ups interest

Wooden planks, wooden railings, stairs and even furniture – long gone are the days when decks were single-material constructions. Today’s decks are a study in mixed media, incorporating traditional materials like wood, brick and tile with modern elements such as composite planks, cable railings and even ceramic tile.

The amalgam of materials can yield a multitude of patterns, styles and looks. Pair a traditional wood deck with cable railing and stairs that descend to a patio of pavers set in a herringbone pattern. Use heat-resistant ceramic tile to create a decorative and functional cooking area on a composite deck. Varying the materials used in your deck adds visual depth, interest and excitement to your outdoor living space.

On the lighter side

Outdoor lighting isn’t just for the purposes of safety, or to extend the deck’s usability well into the night. Lighting can be a design statement and a powerful decorative element for your deck.

Decorative post caps can add a designer look to railings while also providing ample light for outdoor activities. Inset lights create mood and ensure safe footing on stairs. For a soft, glowing effect, tuck rope lighting beneath upper and lower railings. Don’t forget the beauty of natural light, too; fire pits and chimineas offer up warmth, ambience and gentle light.

With some designer touches, it’s easy to turn your deck from dull to delightful – and ensure your outdoor spaces stay in step with today’s best-dressed decks.

5 Projects to Recreate Your Basement

bsmt(BPT) – Have you ever wished you had more space in your home? Maybe you’d use the space to pursue a hobby, host out-of-town guests or just spread out and get some quiet time to yourself. The space you desire could already be in your home- in your basement. If your cellar is nothing but a series of unfinished areas used for storage, you’re not getting all the benefits you could be from the space.

Making the most of your basement doesn’t have to mean costly contractors and expensive remodeling scenarios. Several easy DIY projects that you can take on alone, with the aid of the right tools, can help you gain that extra space you wish for.

Ready to get started? Give these projects a try:

* Build walls. Adding drywall to your basement has a big impact on the space immediately. Use 2-by-4s to mark where the walls will stand and place studs 16 inches apart. Then nail the panels to the wall where the edges meet the studs and cover the seams with drywall tape. Once the walls are up, mud the seams and areas where nail pops appear. A drywall saw or power saw will help you shape your drywall perfectly, but if you don’t own one, you don’t have to buy one. It’s more cost efficient to simply rent it instead for this one-time project. Your local American Rental Association member rental store will have what you need. Don’t forget to add drywall stands to your rental list.

* A touch of paint. A fresh coat of paint means you won’t have to stare at those drab walls in your new space. You can paint the space by hand, but if you have a large basement and you want to give every room that professional look, rent a paint sprayer instead. The cost is worth the time saved.

* Freshen up your floor. If your basement is completely unfinished, you probably have cold, concrete floors. How you improve them is up to you. Ifbsmt 2 you want the polished, marbled look, consider renting concrete floor finishing equipment for a look that’s sure to amaze. And if the appearance of hardwood is more your style, laminate flooring panels are inexpensive and easy to install. Lastly, if you want the feel of carpet beneath your feet, don’t forget to add the pad first to make those future steps a pleasure.

* Eliminate the stink. Your new basement is coming together, now what can you do about that musty basement smell? A dehumidifier can help. You can purchase one at your local home goods store and when you get it home, try to place it near the washtub sink if your basement has one. This will allow you to drain right into the sink and save you from having to empty the dehumidifier regularly.

* Install a sump pump. Now that you’ve refinished your basement, don’t let water damage ruin all your hard work. A sump pump can protect against flooding issues and installing one is easy. Most new homes have a location marked for a sump pump; it will look like a small well. Follow the water pipes in your home and you can find it. Once you do, purchase a sump pump from your local home goods store and follow the easy instructions to install in less than an hour.

The extra space you have dreamed of has been with you all along. Transform your basement from barren to beautiful and you’ll be creating a space you can enjoy for years to come. To learn more about renting the tools you need for your home improvement projects, visit RentalHQ.com.