5 Ways to Make a Small Bathroom Look Bigger

small bathroom

Whether your bathroom is small and cramped, or it just feels like it, there are ways that you can increase its size, at least perceptually. Here are five tips to steer you in the right direction.

Walls and flooring – keep them soft and light

The color of its walls and flooring can have a big impact on how you perceive your bathroom. Colors will not only affect the ‘mood’ that your bathroom conveys, but they will also affect how you see your bathroom size-wise. Lose the contrasting colors and crazy wallpaper and replace them with a simple, light-colored theme and a soft wall pattern, if any. If your bathroom is too ‘busy’ or has starkly contrasting colors, this tends to make it look smaller.

Bring in the lights

Lighting isn’t just good for the eyes; illumination can also help to make your bathroom seem larger than it really is. If you can, incorporate natural lighting, such as through a skylight or through generous use of windows. If those options are not available to you because of budget, space, or privacy reasons, adding more light to your bathroom, specifically in low-light areas, can really open things up, especially when used with lighter colors in your bathroom.

Use mirrors to your advantage

Just like the mirror in Snow White had magical properties, mirrors can work their ‘magic’ to make your bathroom seem more expansive. If possible, place a mirror opposite an outside window, or place mirrors opposite each other to improve your bathroom’s perceptual space. If you’re an abstract thinker type with a penchant for the scientific side of life, you can even use your mirrors creatively to bounce light off from each other to further brighten the space.

Replace your low-setting, wide cabinets with tall, skinny cabinets

Just like vertical lines on your clothing will make you look taller and slimmer, opting for tall, skinny cabinets vs. clunky, wide-based cabinets will give your bathroom the perception of being taller than it really is.

Remove the knick-knacks and doodads

While decorating your bathroom to make it feel more ‘homey’ may appeal to you, too many decorations, ornaments, floor mats, wall-hung candles, and pictures will actually clutter your room, making it feel more restricted. Allow the room to “breathe” by removing some of the bric-a-brac.

Regardless of budget, these small and simple remodeling project ideas can make a big impact on how you—and your guests—perceive your bathroom’s available space.

A Guide to Outdoor Christmas Lights

christmas lights

There’s a trend these days towards using outdoor Christmas lights as decoration throughout the year in gardens, porches, patios and walkways. There’s a wealth of novelty lighting available these days that can be switched out to serve as entertainment lights in the summer and as holiday accents in December.

In fact, more and more often, the regular mixture of holiday lighting schemes are being utilized all year round. In many instances, it isn’t even necessary to change the colors to observe a particular season. It’s really just the traditional red-and-green light configuration that needs to be confined to end-of-year decorations.

seasonal-lightingBy the same token, any kind of fairy light or colored light can be used at Christmas time to provide that holiday “feel.” There’s no real need to take them down at the end of the season, particularly the battery-pack operated types, when they can provide year-round accents for your yard and garden. LED lights are also energy-efficient and usable twelve months of the year.

For variety, you can change the configurations, wrapping them around tree trunks, illuminating walkways, or even creating a starry canopy underneath a tree. This can make a lovely seating area for you and your guests to enjoy long summer evenings under the stars as well as “stars” of your own making.

Star Holiday Light

The only guidelines you need to keep in mind are for safety and convenience sake:

  • Ensure that all walkways and paths to and from your home are well lit – and your guests won’t want to converse in poorly-lit areas where they cannot see one another’s faces.
  • Buffet tables and other snacking and cooking areas need to be properly illuminated – so that guests can admire and appreciate your culinary efforts by sight, not just taste!

You can also have a lot of fun with outdoor lighting inside your house:

  • They can be wrapped around banisters or draped in strategic places where the effect can be appreciated without being overwhelming.
  • Bedrooms can be adorned with LED- or battery-operated strings, twinkling in children’s rooms all night long in pastel or fairy lights that add a cheery sparkle throughout the holiday season. These types of string of lights have become increasingly versatile and inexpensive in recent years. There’s a wide variety to select from—your local home and garden outlet can provide a wealth of ideas. You only need to be restricted by your own imagination!

Have you decorated your house with or yard with lights year-round? Share with us in the comments!

Tips On Making Your Home More Secure

Your house is your home, your fortress of safety.

It’s a place where you keep your most important belongings: your checkbooks, your jewelry, your heirlooms, your important documents and most importantly, your family.

Everybody has the right to feel safe in their own home.

The saying goes that a man’s home is his castle, and of course the first purpose of a castle is to be strong and secure enough to resist would-be intruders, and prevent them from getting inside.

There are simple things you can do to safeguard your house, most of which you probably do already: lock your doors, lock your windows and keep lights on when you are away.

But there are also more extensive things you can do, things that are sure to leave you, and your house, feeling a little bit safer.

The following are some tips on securing your doors, windows, patio doors and more in order to make your home and valuables as safe as possible.

Conduct A Quick Scan Of Your Yard And Entryway

  • Are the yard and pathways free of sight-line blocking branches and shrubbery?
  • What kind of lighting illuminates your property?  Is it motion-senor activated?
  • Do the exterior lights you leave on in your absence all-encompassing?
  • Do your neighbors have a good view of your lawn and walkway, to discourage lurking intruders?

Secure Your Doors

Doors are a burglar’s preferred method of entry. A deadbolt lock will provide a good degree of security for your front door. Poorly secured patio doors or French doors can be an open invitation for burglars to break into your home, so it is vital to ensure they have reliable locks. As an added precaution, you can get a chain fitted to your front door, which should offer some further peace of mind.

If you have a letter slot in your front door, the slot should be no closer than 16 inches from the door lock, to prevent burglars reaching through and unlocking the door from the inside. If you are worried about mail theft, fit an internal cover plate or letter basket (with the bottom removed).

Get a Door Viewer

A door viewer, or peephole or spy hole as they are sometimes called, is an important addition to your home, particularly if you have children. By installing a door viewer, you are able to see who is at the front door before opening it.


Companies like Ring have come out with modern versions of the door viewer that allow you to see who is at your door from anywhere with your smartphone. This is great for kids as well, because they can’t always see through the peephole.


If this sounds useful, check out our Secure & Monitor Package.

Here are a few more technology-based home security ideas.

Get a Wrought Iron Door

When it comes to security, two doors are better than one. Installing a wrought iron door in your house, whether it’s in the front, back, or side of your house, is a great way to create an added level of security.  A simple wrought iron door gives burglars another obstacle to overcome, and another reason to leave your house alone.

Secure Your Windows

Windows can be vulnerable to burglars, so it is advisable to have locking devices fitted, particularly for ground floor windows or ones which lead on to balconies.

Remember to close all the windows whenever you leave the house, however briefly you go out for.

Additional Security


Motion or heat sensitive lighting is a good way to deter potential intruders, and such devices are now affordable and widely available. This is a great form of preventative security, as it means that burglars will be less likely to want to try breaking into your home in the first place.

You can also make things harder for burglars by keeping your garden open and trimming back bushes, meaning that they have nowhere to hide. Also, remember to put away any tools or ladders that might be outside, as it is important not to leave anything lying around that may actually help the burglar break in.

Finally, don’t be tempted to leave a spare set of keys under a plant pot or doormat, or hanging inside the mail box –burglars know all these tricks, and these are the first places they will check. Once they have your keys, a burglar will have an easy way to visit and re-visit your house at will until you have the locks replaced.

Make It Look Like You’re Home

Another easy preventative measure is to make your home appear occupied. Leave the lights on when you go out for an evening, or consider using some home automation if you are going to be away for a longer period.

Are there still people who go on vacation and allow mail and newspapers to stack up in front of their home?  Amazingly, yes.

Yet is there any clearer sign to passersby that people have been away from their house for an extended period than a collection of newspapers in the driveway, or envelopes jutting out of a mailbox?

You can contact both your postal carrier and newspaper delivery person to temporarily stop their service, but a better choice is to ask a friend or neighbor to stop by each day just long enough to collect the paper and mail and keep them for you until your return.

Get A Burglar Alarm

Yes, a burglar alarm may seem so “1980’s” but security never goes out of style. Not only do burglar alarms secure your house when you are away, such as on vacation, but they also keep you safe when you are home. Just telling others that they are there, such as with a sticker in your front door window or a sign on your front lawn, is a great deterrent.

Replace What is Broken

One of the most common reasons people are burglarized and assaulted is because of things that are broken and not fixed. Time after time, assailants are able to enter a house through a broken window or door that no longer locks. Do yourself and your family a favor and don’t wait to fix things: fix them immediately and sleep sound at night.

Best of the Internet – Entryways

The entryway serves an important purpose in every home.  It’s akin to a waiting room, the limbo between being fully invited into a home, and standing on the porch.  It’s also probably the first thing that gets cleaned when unanticipated company is driving up the block.  What is the importance behind this room?  The entryway is your home’s first impression.  If all your guest sees is the first 50 ft. of your home, what conclusions will they draw?

Handyman Matters believes in opening up your entryways to positive interpretations.  We believe in taking this home element and transforming it into its once elegant standing as, the foyer.

But to transform an entryway to a foyer, you must consider a few key elements…

  • Space

Clear a wide doorway radius.  The more initial space, the less disorienting it will be for newcomers to step into your home.  You should try to have enough space to accommodate the special makeup of around 4 or so people.  Give your guests a second to chat and to acclimate in this open area before moving onto the rest of your home.


  • Organization

Like most rooms in your home, the foyer serves a specific purpose.  It is the first and last stop in and out of your home.  This means it should carry your necessary outdoor items, such as a spot for shoes, keys, jackets, umbrellas, etc.  Having a cubby system, a bench, or wall hangers will be key to getting your home organized, and at its most efficient.


  • Design

Similar to having extra space, it is important to not initially overwhelm your guests with design.  However, the foyer provides a unique opportunity to highlight paintings, vases, and flooring.  The key is to keep your foyer design minimal and then pick one aspect of it to highlight.

And don’t forget about lighting!  Organization is nothing without a well-lit room.  We love pendant lamps and chandeliers when it comes to lighting in your entryway.

Thinking about transforming your entryway into its best self? Handyman Matters is here to help.  Our craftsmen are skilled at large overhauls, and even small installations.  Give us a call today at 866-FIX-MY-HOME to begin enhancing your home’s foyer.


Prepare your Home for Halloween!

Will your home be a trick or treating favorite?  Halloween is a great excuse to catch up on exterior repairs, and add a little spooky ambiance while you’re at it.  And, we’re here to help.

  • Hanging Lights

A haunted house without the aura of red, green, or strobe lights is not a haunted house.  String some lights across your porch or front lawn, it will add light to walkways, as well as a festive feel.

  • Exterior Maintenance

The holiday season is a great reminder to jump on those home safety repairs.  When you’re expecting trick or treaters, it’s essential that you’ve done your necessary exterior maintenance to keep all your visitors safe. Walkway Repairs – Replace broken steps and stones, repair cracked concrete, trim back unruly branches, add walkway lights… Repair Porch – Your porch is going to experience a lot of foot traffic this Halloween.  Make sure rails, steps, and panels are all in place and functioning properly. Lighting – It’s safe to say, trick or treaters will avoid your home if your porch light is out.  Install new fixtures, maybe even go that extra mile and purchase a green, solar light.

  • Tree Décor

Are those bats in the trees?  Is that a gigantic spider web?  Trees are great for housing extra spooky details.  Harness their potential this year and hang some creative additions.

  • Other Halloween Decorations…

Christmas isn’t the only season with large home decorations.  Is there an inflatable Jabba the Hut you would like to display in your front yard? Are you looking to build a small haunted house?  The sky’s the limit.

Handyman Matters knows the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year.  Instead of spending your weekends making safety, exterior repairs and hanging decorations, give us a call.  Our craftsmen are skilled at both large and small projects, so you can save your free time for the things you enjoy most.  Just call 866-FIX-MY-HOME to schedule your next home improvement appointment.

Preparing Your Home for a Storm

Home Repair

It’s on the weather channel, it’s a storm, and it’s headed your way.  Is your home ready?  Especially when it comes to nature, certain events can seem overwhelming and totally out of your control.  While you may not be able to change the forecast, you can take measures to prepare your house.  Handyman Matters has helpful insights for equipping your home for a storm.

  • Step 1:  Landscape

There should always be a clear path leading from the entrances and exits of your home.  This means pruning trees and removing potentially problematic branches.  It also means laying down some preparatory rock salt (if needed), and removing any potential obstacles.  Additionally, check your gutters and downspouts to see that they’re functioning correctly – you don’t want water build up or any flooding.

  • Step 2: Bunker

You don’t necessarily need a storm shelter, but you and your family do need to find a safe meeting spot within the home.  An ideal safe spot would be on the lowest floor (preferably in the basement), with no windows, and without any shared walls with the outside.  This will be the place where you wait out the storm.

  • Step 3: Stock Up

Turn your safe space into a true bunker by stocking it with the emergency essentials.  Think non-perishable foods; back up essentials like medications, batteries, and first aid; and lots of water.  The ratio is one gallon per day per person.  You also want to stash a change of clothing – layers in case it’s cold – and sturdy shoes.  If you have any animals, remember to keep some of their basics in the room as well: food, leashes, and a carrier.  Lastly, trash bags are a must to keep things from getting too gross.

  • Step 4: Heating

Think about the heat sources in your house if you’re facing cold weather.  More specifically, think about the heating that doesn’t require electricity to function.  If you’re in a rural area, a backup generator may be a great investment for your home so you don’t have to worry.  If you’re in a city, think smaller, less noisy, alternatives. Does your home have a wood burning stove or fireplace?  If so, stock up on wood.  If not, consider getting some battery powered space heaters to store in your safe room.

  • Step 5: Lighting

Anything that does not require electricity will fulfill this need: candles (just have the fire extinguisher nearby), battery powered/solar/crank lanterns or flashlights.  There’s a blackout light that’s especially handy in weather related scenarios because it’s a light that stays plugged in, and only turns on when the power is out.  Place these around your home so you can easily navigate through the dark during a blackout.

  • Step 6: Emergency Gear

The last items to consider keeping in your safe rooms are the ones that may come in handy in inclement conditions.  Chainsaws may be necessary to cut apart fallen trees blocking exits. Shovels for the snow, a fire extinguisher for unexpected fires.  Finally weatherseal tape is great for sealing cracks in your home as they happen during a specifically rough storm.

  • Step 7: Reinforcements

When a storm hits, the last thing you want is a leak in your home.  Reinforce your home by making sure it has a secure roof, sturdy walls, and sealed windows.  If you have a crack – now is the time to fill it.


Handyman Matters is here to help you prepare for the everyday and the unexpected.  Don’t wait until the day-of a storm to try and prepare your home, think ahead, and save yourself time and money.  For help weather proofing your house, give us a call 866-FIX-MY-HOME.





V for Valentine – Romantic Additions for Your Home

Romance is in the air.  January is wrapping up, and Valentine’s Day is on the horizon.  Do you make reservations at an upscale restaurant?  Will you book a romantic get-away?  As you may have noticed, Handyman Matters’s favorite destination is home – and we want yours to be too. Show your valentine how much you care by transforming your home into a romantic getaway.

What is the most romantic home in existence? It’s the cabin.  Whether it be a beach front pagoda, or a mountain cottage – nothing says romance like cozy secluded areas.  Even if you live in a large home in the suburbs, think small, think like you’re at an Airbnb in a scenic locale. Focus on one room or a certain area of the home, and create an intimate environment.  Once you have that thought process going, here are a few things to consider to optimize the Valentine’s romance.

  • Lighting

    First and foremost, lighting is key to creating a mood.  Think string lights, lanterns, candles, or any combination of these three.  Effortlessly drape them across mantles, or hang them around the circumference of the room.  Even adding dimmers on regular


  • Intimate Dining

    A small café table with candles, wine, and a meal for two is the simplest way of doing the Valentine’s dinner.


  • The Outdoors
    Vicky's Home Blog
    Consider taking things outdoors.  Small gazebos or porches lined in string lights will make a dinner, drinks, or even a board game fantastical.  To stay warm, install heat lamps or a beautiful fire pit!  Or how about going for it and getting you and your loved ones a relaxing hot tub?

    Do you have a projector? You could even stage a little drive-in movie.


  • Dining for More than Two

    Who said Valentine’s Day was only for couples? A whimsical dinner party can be a wonderful way to show your friends and family how much you care.  When it comes to more populated dinners, we love the new trend of banquet tables with cushions for seating. Or again, you could take things outdoors to possibly a picnic table with twinkle lights on the porch.


  • Fireplaces

    Spark the fire of love with a fireplace.  Not only do they help keep you warm but they are a cozy, cabin-like addition to any home.  Put down a plush blanket and have a romantic Valentine’s Day picnic in front of the hearth.


  • And Finally…

    You can’t mention Valentine’s Day, without also mentioning the most appropriate chair for the holiday – the loveseat.

For more Valentine’s Day home inspiration, check out our Pinterest board – V for Valentine! For help installing your Valentine’s Day solutions, remember Handyman Matters is here to help.  Give us a call!  We will help transform your home into its inner, romantic, mountain cabin.  866-FIX-MY-HOME.

7 Ways to Improve your Home for the New Year

Looking for a few ways to improve your home for the New Year?

Check out these 7 tips to quickly and easily give your home that refresh it needs:

  1. Update your Coffee Machineautomatic coffee makerWaking up to the smell of coffee is a great and affordable luxury.  Installing a timer-based coffee machine can help scoop your tired body out of bed during those early mornings.
  2. Install a Heater in the Bathroomwall-mounted bathroom heaterTaking a hot shower when it’s cold out can be as big of a treat as it is a nightmare.  Stepping out of the bath into a cold bathroom when you’re at your most exposed can sometimes be like jumping into cold water.  Smooth your transition, and allow yourself a warm space to get dressed before you face the chill of winter.
  3. Install a Smart Thermostatnest smart thermostatNot to continue to harp on heat, but warmth is a big deal during the colder, trying months of the year.  Smart thermostats like Nest will help to regulate your home’s temperature.  It can be controlled from an app and will automatically adjust to your home’s needs.  If you leave for a trip, it will even sense the inactivity and lower temperatures to save on energy.
  4. Switch to an Overhead Light Dimmerlight dimmerHarsh overhead lighting can be a real mood killer.  Especially in the evenings, when your eyes are most sensitive, you should be able to adjust and soften the lighting.
  5. Expand Your Closetwhite closetPretending that you don’t need the space may short term feel frugal and right, but long-term it leads to crazy mountains of button ups and pants on the floor.  Overestimating your closets needs is always the way to go.  Give yourself an extra rack for room to grow, or perhaps a rack just for highlighting your most prized party dresses.
  6. Entertain More!party food spreadThe holidays are always a great reminder of how fun it is to have your favorite people under one roof.  Why not foster that kind of space?  Creating a sort of parlor in your home for company can be a great excuse to have more parties.  It can consist of a special billiards accessory – poker nights are fun – or perhaps it’s more of a casual table setting for dinner and game nights.  Think larger, circle tables for optimum conversation abilities, and a comfy cross between dining chairs and armchairs.
  7. A Room Of One’s Ownwhite sunlit roomVirginia Woolf had it right when she wrote about the importance of having your own space to think and be creative.  Whether it be an art studio, workroom, office, library, or music room – think about what activity de-stresses you, and make sure you have a place to do that!

Let Handyman Matters help usher your home into a new, improved year!

Call 866-FIX-MY-HOME

The Holiday House!

The best part about this time of year is all the decorating potential.  Have you ever wanted to line your walk with tiny trees? How about outlining every aspect of your home with twinkle lights? Do you have a bunch of gaudy tchotchkes that would look good hung on parts of your home?  Is there an old fireplace in your home you couldn’t justify renovating? How about upside-down dried bouquets over archways, or do you simply want to bring more plants indoors?

Perhaps you have wanted to do all of these things but you were worried about the response from the rest of the neighborhood. Luckily, it is holiday season, and you have carte blanche.  Now’s the time to go crazy!  Here are some of our favorite, festive, home improvement projects to inspire your December.

  • Fireplaces

    It’s cold outside, so what better way to spend your time then huddled with your loved ones, next to a hearth?  For a vintage feel, try a wood burning stove.  Or, rebuild your mantel!  Bold colors and stone work, or exposed brick are also great options.  For the truly modern, try one of these futuristic hearths!
  • Plants

    Inside, outside, in the doorway, on the roof, if you have a decorative plant, get it out.  Real garlands our one of our favorite trends this year.  They are beautifully whimsical as mantle pieces, above doorways, lining a window… We’re also a fan of unexpected greenery. Trees ranging from large to small, sporadically placed throughout the house only calls for some sort of red or sparkly accessory.
  • Lights

    Does it light up? Go get it! Candles, string lights, lanterns, globe lights… Even mirrors or glitter will work to fill this refractory role.  Lining a deck, or a fence with lights makes any home seem ready for company.  If you are like Clark Griswold, and don’t want to stop at the obligatory deck lights, feel free to cover every other inch of your home! For the interior, arrange your décor around your homes main communal spaces.  Mirrors as the base of the centerpiece on a table with garlands, and glitter snow dust, and candles is exactly that gaudy touch you want to look for.  Generally, if it feels like there is too much going on, you are doing it right.
  • Red

    During this time of season, some add creativity via large caricatures of holiday symbols.  While snowmen are fun, adding small red details to your holiday decorations is a more refined way to add intrigue to a holiday space.  The easiest way to do this is with ribbon, preferably the velvet kind.  Tie it to literally anything – plants, lights, children, your house – and it will look good.

Handyman Matters is particularly great at handling hard to reach or complex holiday decoration requests! If you can dream it – one of our craftsmen can make it happen.  For more inspiring holiday home ideas check out our Pinterest, and the board – The Holiday House!

3 Most Common Home Energy Leaks

Fall is all about nesting.

We begin to focus on cozy indoor areas, well lit work spaces, warm meals, and consistent home temperatures.  It is the seasonal hierarchy of needs.  However, maintaining all these layers can be costly, both financially and environmentally.  During a season of comfort, we don’t have to give in to a guilt inducing, energy bill.  Handyman Matters has the answer to making your home and wallet just that more green.Green House

  • Let’s Start with Lighting

This is probably the easiest thing in your home to fix.  The issue is the type of bulb.  If you have high watt bulbs that overheat easily – you are likely still using the original, incandescent bulb.  Bulbs that will save you energy but still operate at the same level of brightness are: halogen incandescent bulbs, CFL’s, and LED light bulbs.  Some of these bulbs when they first came out, gave off a harsh, blue light.  Luckily, these lights have had time to adapt from their original model: now coming in a soft, white light.  Although these options may be pricier than the bulbs you’re used to, in the long run they are not.  Energy efficient bulbs last up to 20 times longer than traditional bulbs!

  • On To Insulation

In order to make sure your home is properly insulated, we will be checking your attic’s R value aka its thermal resistance.  Northern, chillier states require a higher R value, while Southern states are typically warmer and can get away with less.   Before you measure the depth, you will need to cover up, as insulation is toxic.  Paper coveralls, a face mask, goggles, gloves, and measuring tape will be necessary.  Use your tape measurer to find the depth of the insulation, and then multiply that by the type of insulation you have.

There are 2 main types of insulation: fiberglass and cellulose.  Fiberglass is usually pink or yellow-y and lightweight, while cellulose is more of a gray and flat consistency.  Decide which one you have, and then multiply your attic’s depth by 2.5 for fiberglass, or 3.7 for cellulose.  The product of these two is your R value. We can then compare the R value against the recommended value for your area.  Here is a link to an area based, R value calculator.

  • And then, Heating and Cooling Appliances

There are a few things you can do to make you heater more energy efficient.  First, make sure you swap out your filters at least every 3 months when the appliance is being used.  Old filters cause air movement to slow, and the heater to work harder.

Secondly, sealing the ducts around the heating system will also help to improve your home’s energy efficiency.  You want to make sure your attic and walls are well insulated, and that the connection points of the ducts are filled.  Duct sealant and metal-backed tape can be used to cover and fill the connection points.  Additionally, if you wrap a piece of insulation around the duct, it will improve its ability to maintain your home’s temperature without working overtime.

Finally, programmable thermostats are great for stabilizing the weather in your home.  They keep the climate steady when you’re at home, on vacation, or at work. Your house can sit at a slightly colder temperature during the colder months when you are gone, and then warm up when you are home.


Going Green doesn’t have to mean overhauling your lifestyle.  It’s not a question of sacrificing amenities, but a question of preparation.  The easiest way to make the most out of your home’s efficiency is through proper maintenance.  Small seasonal checkups, like the ones above, will not only improve your homes efficiency, but it will also lower your energy bills, prolong the lifespan of your home, and preserve its resell value.

Handyman Matters can help improve your home’s energy efficiency!  Call 866-FIX-MY-HOME or enter your zip code above to locate a handyman near you.