Blog Posts by This Old House Magazine

  • Home Upgrade Resolutions: 5 ways to pretty up your rooms with paint

    Want to freshen up your home without spending a wad of cash? Give your rooms a new look for 2010 with some of these painting solutions from This Old House. Check out each of the following Step-by-Steps which include detailed how-to information, shopping lists, tools lists, and everything else you need to get the job started, and finished in no time.


    For a one-of-a-kind look that is more personal than wallpaper, grab some blackboard chalk and start sketching. Here's How to Paint an Oversized Wall Design


    Your cavelike kitchen feels that way because the dark cabinets have sucked all the light out of the room. As long as the frames and doors are structurally sound, you can clean them up and brush on some new paint-and within a weekend take that kitchen from dreary to sunny. Here's How to Paint Kitchen Cabinets for a Fresh New Look


    The burgundy red floor in the master bedroom of Sara and Andrew's Massachusetts farmhouse didn't fit the fresh and energetic personality of the newlyweds.

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  • 5 holiday disaster stories

    It's the most wonderful time of the year. But, the holidays can also be hectic and hazardous. While reading Common Holiday Hazards to Avoid, it might have been easy to wonder, "Who on earth would do something that foolish?" Truth is, with all of the excitement and distractions of the season-decorating, welcoming guests, serving up a festive feast, to name a few-just about anything can happen. Here are 5 holiday mishap stories from TOH readers who lived to tell the tale.











    Fireplace Fiasco

    "The first time we used our fireplace last year, I forgot to open the flue. I realized this with a roaring fire already blazing, so I opened it. But I had another brilliant idea: Get rid of the smoke from the house with the attic fan, right? Wrong! The fan pulled in all the smoke right out of the chimney! Luckily we have 20-or-so-foot ceilings and an open balcony, so we just opened the doors and windows and stayed downstairs until the smoke cleared! Man, talk about smelling like Christmas. Our house

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  • 5 common holiday hazards to avoid


    Prevention is Key

    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.

    1. Christmas Tree Mold

    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, and allowing it to dry before bringing it indoors.

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  • 6 eco-friendly, money-saving gift wrap ideas

    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.



    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 put your gift into. Your box will be so pretty that the receiver is sure to reuse it to

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  • Upgrade ideas for the ultimate guest bath, all under $50

    When it comes to the guest bathroom, overnight visitors don't need over-the-top decor. Keep the basics-towels, tissue, soap, and shampoo-accessible and your visitors won't have to resort to awkward rummaging through your closets and cabinets. For a thoughtful touch, put out a basket of unopened trial-size toiletries you've collected in your own travels. But try to keep countertops clutter-free so guests have ample space to layout their goods. Take a look at these 7 affordable guest bath suggestions, all under $50. (And, for even more great bathroom upgrade and product ideas go to Outfit a Guest Bath at thisoldhouse.com)



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  • 5 furniture ideas for New Years entertaining in small spaces

    You've got the big heart of a holiday party host, but you're trapped a small space. Now what? You can start with space-smart furnishings to accommodate dining and overnight guests. Invest in multifunctional pieces that make the best use of what little space you have. Also, look for folding items that are easy to move and tuck away post-party. Here are 5 sharp products for the spatially challenged.

  • 3 tools to cure wrap rage...

    ...and get hard-to-open packages open with ease!


    It's hard to have a holly jolly Christmas when you are forced to open a pile of clamshell- and blister-packaged gifts with tons of twisty ties while eager children await. In fact, more than 6,000 Americans visit the emergency room after attempts to open difficult product packaging-by tearing, biting, stabbing, and cutting-each year, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Ouch!

    These tools (some of which are designed to exclusively open packaging and others you may already have that can be repurprosed for the task) will help you survive the gift-giving season with your presents-and your hands-in tact.

    Please note: Despite their safety features, many of these package openers feature extremely sharp blades and are not intended for use by children; store these tools out of their reach.


    All-in-One Opener
    Alloy steel jaws cut away the toughest zip and twist ties and eat through product-hugging plastic with ease. One handle

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  • LAST CHANCE to enter the This Old Gingerbread House contest

    You've got until tomorrow to enter the This Old Gingerbread House contest. Upload photos of any and all of your creations for a chance to win a $200 gift card from Home Depot, or rotary tools from Dremel. Need some inspiration? Here are 3 winners from the Grove Park Inn National Gingerbread House contest.


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  • 6 best guilt-free gift wrapping ideas

    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.



    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 put your gift into. Your box will be so pretty that the receiver is sure to reuse it to

    Read More »from 6 best guilt-free gift wrapping ideas
  • How to avoid 5 common holiday hazards


    Prevention is Key

    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.

    1. Christmas Tree Mold

    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, and allowing it to dry before bringing it indoors.

    Read More »from How to avoid 5 common holiday hazards

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