Think of it this way: Unlike a rug, lamp, or hat, you can't take it back-or at least not easily. That's why it's called a major appliance. Here's how to avoid major buyer's remorse. Find more tips on purchasing appliances at thisoldhouse.com. -Deborah Baldwin
1. Never Make an Impulse Buy
Admit it-you almost bought a car once because it had really great cup holders. You can avoid similar behavior in an appliance showroom by making a list of your priority features ("energy efficient," "lifetime warranty"). Staple it to a list of competing showrooms and Web retailers so you can comparison shop for the best model with the best combination of features at the best price. Wait for a sale if you can; they say fall is the best hunting season because showrooms are trying to clear space for next year's models. Whenever you go, ask a friend with a level head to come along.
MORE: Colorful Countertop Small Appliances
2. Make Sure You Don't Destroy the Foyer
You'd be surprised by how many
Blog Posts by This Old House Magazine
Think of it this way: Unlike a rug, lamp, or hat, you can't take it back-or at least not easily. That's why it's called a major appliance. Here's how to avoid major buyer's remorse. Find more tips on purchasing appliances at thisoldhouse.com. -Deborah BaldwinRead More »from 5 Must-Know Appliance-Buying Tips
- This Old House Magazine | At Home – Fri, Jan 6, 2012 1:14 PM EST
When it comes to scoring tools and home goods on the cheap, half the battle is knowing when the serious sales take place. We tapped Daniel Butler of the National Retail Federation for tips on what items you should spend on now to save in the long run. -Danielle Blundell
See all our tips for getting the best deals over the winter at thisoldhouse.com!
New styles of sofas, dining sets, and more debut in February, often at promotional prices. The real deals, though, are the "as is" floor samples that retailers mark down beforehand to make room for fresh stock.
MORE: How to Get Home Decor at a Bargain Price
2. Big Appliances
During cold-weather months, demand for summer essentials plummets, so look for slashed prices on last season's air conditioners, fans, and outdoor gas grills.
MORE: 28 Thrifty Ways to Customize Your Kitchen
Once the holidays end, contractors line up new work, so big-box retailers begin discounting power tools in February to lure them in.Read More »from 3 Savvy Saving Tips for Buying Home Products This Winter
Did you resolve to update your home's decor and function in 2012? We've got a great design idea for every month of the year. Check out these home solutions from The Editors of This Old House and plan your own year's worth of upgrades.Read More »from Smart Home Solutions for 2012
January: Update Your Decor on the Cheap
Have a pile of inspirational magazine pages you've been waiting to make a reality? January and February are the best times to nab furniture at serious discounts-up to 60 percent off in some cases-as stores hold clearance sales to make room for new spring inventory.
Also add personality to your fireplace in January: Tin-Tile Fireplace Surround
Related: Editors' Picks the Top 12 Budget Reader Remodels
February: Turn a Closet into Office
When you're tight on space, a home office may seem like a luxury, but carving one out from a seldom-used closet is easier than you think. Just take out the existing rod and follow our 6 tips.
March: Get Your Garden Going
Once the threat of frost has passed, nudge your garden back
Read More »from Best Reuse Ideas for Your Christmas Tree
Used Christmas Tree
When the holidays are over, take down the tinsel, but don't bag the tree. Its needles, boughs, and trunk can do more than hold ornaments. -Jennifer Stimpson
See ALL our clever ideas for recycling your Christmas tree at thisoldhouse.com!
1. Mulch With Needles
Pine needles dry quickly and decompose slowly, making them an excellent moisture- and mold-free mulch for ground-covering crops, such as strawberries, to rest on.
Related: All About Mulch
2. Create a Bird Sanctuary
Place your tree in its stand outdoors. Fill bird feeders and hang them from the boughs, or drape the tree with a swag of pinecones coated with peanut butter.
Related: How to Build a Bird Feeder
3. Insulate Perennials
Cut off boughs and lay them over perennial beds to protect them from snow and reduce frost heaving.
Related: How to Propagate Fall Perennials into Spring Plants
Edge garden borders
4. Edge Your Borders
Cut the trunk into 2-inch discs and set them into the soil to edge flower beds or walkways.
Related: How to Lay a
- This Old House Magazine | At Home – Wed, Dec 21, 2011 5:50 PM EST
If a complete remodel or overhaul is out of your reach, here are a few small, affordable upgrades that pack a big punch. Your kitchen will look holiday-fabulous before you know it! --Tabitha Sukhai, thisoldhouse.com
SHOWN: The $967 Kitchen Remodel
Paint Kitchen Cabinets
See How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets for the pro step-by-step instructions for a flawless finish. A fresh coat of paint will only cost a fraction of the cost of replacement or refacing!
Put in a New Faucet
Read More »from 5 Quick & Easy Ways to Spruce-Up Your Kitchen Without Remodeling
In a perfect world, we'd carefully unwrap gifts and save the paper for reuse next year. But tearing apart wrapping paper is about 98 percent of the fun, isn't it? Still, gift wrap accounts for much of the 25 percent spike in waste during the holiday season. Meanwhile, according to The Use Less Stuff Report, reuse of just two feet of ribbon per family would save enough of the trimming to tie a bow around the entire planet. That's a whole lot of ribbon.
If the mounds of colorful wrapping paper on your living room floor make you feel a little guilty-wasteful, even-here are a few creative reuse ideas to ease your conscience. -Tabitha Sukhai, thisoldhouse.com
See ALL of our Guilt-Free Gift Wrapping Ideas
Off the Wall
The repetitive patterns of wallpaper are very similar to that of wrapping paper. Check your garage or closets for wallpaper scraps or samples you may have leftover. Create a reusable "Hollywood box" by wrapping a lid and box separately, or cover an old shoebox to putRead More »from Best Green, Guilt-Free Gift-Wrapping Ideas
The fire's blazing, the hors d'oeuvres tasty, the tree a-twinkle...but if your guests slip on a wet floor or shiver through dinner, no one will remember those lovely details. Use our cheat sheet to help make your home comfortable for everybody, from your baby niece to Great Uncle Harry.
See ALL of our easy tips for a holiday-ready house
• Replace blown-out bulbs in exterior lights.
• Scatter sand or kitty litter on slippery steps.
• Knock away icicles hanging above the front door-no skewering your guests!
• Add a dimmer switch to the hallway fixture (soft light = instant mood-setter).
• Roll out a runner to absorb slush and snow.
• Fix squeaky hardwood floors by sweeping graphite powder into the cracks.
• Ratchet down the thermostat by 3 degrees F-guests hate sweating over their holiday cocktails.
• Keep area rugs
The holidays are traditionally a time to kick back at home with the family and put depressing thoughts-like death, for example-aside in exchange for fuzzier feelings of comfort and joy. Unfortunately, the Grim Reaper is not one to take a holiday, even if it's Christmas, Hanukkah, or New Year's Eve. His handiwork often manifests itself in some of our favorite holiday home traditions, too, from living room Christmas trees, which catch fire and kill about 15 of us each year, to backyard sledding, which sends more than 33,000 of us to the hospital annually.
To make sure Death doesn't nab a seat at your holiday table this year, we took a look at the different ways he tries to sideline this most wonderful time of the year. The hope is that you'll avoid his sinister plans so that you can savor the comforts and joys of many holidays to come.
See ALL 13 Ways the Holidays Can Kill You
1. Christmas Tree Fires
You'd think by now we'd have this whole Christmas tree safety thing down. ButRead More »from 6 Deadly Holiday Disasters and How to Avoid Them
- This Old House Magazine | At Home – Mon, Dec 12, 2011 12:45 PM EST
Tackling that tangle of lights may be intimidating to some, but here are 5 over-the-top holiday displays that are sure to amaze. And, leave you wondering how these spirited homeowners are going to manage their energy bills this season!
Dominic Luberto's home in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, (shown above) causes quite a stir; especially among neighbors who don't care for the bright lights. Luberto's lights aren't without fans, though. Local news stations have covered and photographed the place for special holiday coverage. The yard featured everything from traditional snowmen to Winnie-the-Pooh figurines. -Tabitha Sukhai, Annie Hauser, and Victoria Reitano, thisoldhouse.com
MORE: World's Wildest Holiday House Displays
Lights for a Cause
Out of all the over-the-top homes on our list, this one just might take the cake. With lights so plentiful you can't even see the house under it, this home in Ontario donates money from visitors to SickKids, a children's hospital in Toronto.Read More »from 5 Christmas Light Displays You Can See from Outer Space
- This Old House Magazine | At Home – Fri, Dec 9, 2011 4:02 PM EST
We don't mean to be kill-joys during the most joyous time of the year, but the stats don't lie: According to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 12,500 of you have to leave the company of your loved ones to rush to the emergency room due to holiday-related accidental injuries. Here are some common holiday dangers that are overlooked by distracted holiday revelers more often than you might think. Take a look, know the warning signs, and you'll be the first to know if you, your loved ones, or your pets are victims of a toxic Christmas. --Tabitha Sukhai, thisoldhouse.com
See ALL 11 Ways the Holidays Can Kill You
If your sniffling and sneezing coincide with the arrival of your freshly cut Christmas tree, you could be reacting to skyrocketing mold spore counts. If you must have a real tree in your home, prevent allergic reactions for guests and loved ones by hosing your tree down, spraying it with a mold-resistant sealant like M-1 Sure Cote, andRead More »from Top 3 Ways the Holidays Can Kill You...Or Try To, Anyway