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Fast, Simple, and Amazing DIY Projects

(ARA) - Call the family and grab the toolbox. Do-it-yourself projects can become a family affair this fall.

According to a recent survey by economists at the University of California, there is a trend of parents looking for ways to spend even more time with their children. A DIY project offers the perfect activity mix for spending happy, productive, cost-effective time together to accomplish a common family goal.

DIY projects can be as rewarding as the results: a brighter bathroom, an updated living room or a dramatic touch to any room in the house. The possibilities of easy home improvement projects are seemingly endless.

"Improving and updating your home doesn't have to be a chore," says Erinn Valencich, a Los Angeles-based interior designer and blogger for HGTV's Design Happens. "You don't have to renovate to create a big impact; just a few small changes will do the trick and you can get the whole family involved."

One of the easiest ways to update a room is by refreshing the floor, says Valencich. "Floors set the tone of the room," she says. "A floor adds so much to the look and feel of the room."

Hard surfaces, including laminate, are once again dominating home flooring options. Laminate flooring is a popular option and the fastest growing flooring material around, according to HGTV, because of its practical benefits including durability, beauty and lasting wear.

While the thought of installing your own floors can be daunting, Valencich assures homeowners that the installation of laminate floors is fairly simple. In fact, according to flooring industry experts, new floors can be installed in a weekend.

"Laminate floors, like Quick-Step, can be installed directly on top of existing wood, tile or vinyl flooring and Quick-Step's Uniclic design needs no glue, nails or staples during installation," says Valencich. "Planks simply click together, for a lasting connection. Because of the ease of installation, older children can get involved with putting in new laminate floors."

Following these easy tips from Flooring will make your room look like a million bucks.

* To help reduce moisture, mold, mildew and a hollow sound when walked on, put down a quality underlayment first.

* Order 7 to10 percent more product than you think you'll need to allow for cuts and custom fits.

* Order matching or coordinating molding and trim. "This finishing touch will set you apart," says Valencich.

* Acclimate your laminate floor products before installation. Put unopened cartons in the room they will be installed in for 72 to 96 hours. This is important if you live in a very dry or humid climate.

* Make sure the concrete or wood subfloor is level before you start your installation.

Additional simple DIY projects

In addition to installing a new floor, there are other simple DIY projects that will add to the beauty and comfort of your home.

* Add attic insulation. If the insulation in your attic is not up to par, the house can lose almost 30 percent of its warm air. Properly insulating an attic can save anywhere from 10 to 30 percent off your monthly heating bill, U.S. News & World Report's My Money blog says. Batt insulation - rolled fiberglass insulation - can often be added for 70 cents to $1 per square foot.

* Lighten up your bathroom. The bathroom is a great place for a do-it-yourself project. Try adding can or recessed lighting. "Recessed lighting becomes part of the architecture," says Valencich.

* Replace that kitchen faucet. Update your kitchen faucet to refresh your sink area, and younger children can help with the removal and replacement of the old faucet. Installing a new faucet can be an economical decision, too. "A new faucet can help lower your water and energy costs," says Valencich.

* Go green. You don't need to install solar panels or a wind farm to go green and save money. There are several small things you can do to help save the planet and your wallet, from sealing drafts and air ducts to installing a programmable thermostat. Caulk and spray foam are inexpensive and can be used to seal drafts, saving up to 20 percent on a monthly heating bill. Use a programmable thermostat to turn down the heat while you're at work and to turn it back up right before you come home.

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