Tuesday Tips: Best Reader Comments 2008

Shop To It readers are savvy shoppers and I know this from all the comments that have been posted to this blog over the last year. Some of the most interesting have come from my monthly posts on updating different rooms of your home for as little money as possible. And many of you have graciously shared your own war stories on updating kitchens, bathrooms, closets and home offices. Here are some of the best tips:

Tip #1: When it comes to re-doing the kitchen, consider soapstone for the countertops. Grachel K writes that it absorbs and radiates heat so you can put a hot pot on it. The reader also recommends industrial-grade vinyl tile as a cheap kitchen floor alternative.

Tip #2: Install a few sturdy, attractive, reasonably priced kitchen cabinets for the "public" part of the kitchen and store everything else in a big walk-in pantry, writes Rebecca.

Tip #3: Replace a double-basin kitchen sink for a single, deep sink to maximize counter space, writes stodge.

Tip #4: Make sure you spend your money on the stuff that really matters to you in the kitchen and go cheap with the rest, writes Laura.

Tip #5: Understand what does not work in the current kitchen and find a fix for it, writes Brian.

Tip #6: You can get the best deals on kitchen and bathroom necessities by shopping carefully online, many readers say.

Tip #7: Use Verastone for the bathroom sink countertop. Reader B says it looks like granite or silestone but was about 30 percent cheaper when ordered online.

Tip #8: Mike Sorce writes that he spent less than $1,300 on a complete bathroom update by careful shopping and sourcing trades people from Craigslist. He adds that his wife found a Corian countertop with a built-in sink on Craigslist for $200.

Tip #9: If you're handy, consider doing most of a bathroom update on your own and hire a plumber and electrician for the hard stuff, writes ATB.

Tip #10: When it comes to keeping closets clutter free, several readers live by the rule "one in, one out," which means that when a new item is purchased and brought into the closet, something old must go.

Tip #11: Install a shelf 8 inches off the floor in an entrance hall closet, leaving enough room for a vacuum cleaner. "It is out of the way but easy to get to and there is the shelf to hold all the stuff that accumulates on the floor of the closet," writes charlie1.

Tip #12: A functional home office should include a good file cabinet, a printer stand with a drawer for paper and a big basket on the bottom shelf for cables, routers, etc., writes Olney.

Tip #13: Leslie adds that you don't need a traditional desk, which can be pretty costly. She uses two height adjustable tables placed end to end.

What are some of the most important lessons you've learned when it comes to shopping for home project supplies? Have any shopping dilemmas? E-mail me at shoptoit@washingtonpost.com.

By Tania Anderson |  December 30, 2008; 12:00 AM ET Home Improvement , Tuesday Tips
Previous: Tuesday Tips: Making Returns | Next: Cutting Back the Nice-to-Haves

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For those interested in a DIY countertop remodel, visit http://solidsurface.com . It it is one of very few sources of solid surface sheet material, such as DuPont Corian, available for purchase by the public.

Posted by: Kylec | December 31, 2008 11:34 AM

Believe it or not, some of the best high-end bargains I have seen are at the online version of QVC:

http://iqvc.com/

Incredible stuff, especially post Christmas.

Posted by: tommyk63 | December 31, 2008 2:24 PM

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