Jean Chatzky
Do you put off home improvement projects because you can't afford to hire someone or don't think you can do it yourself? According to Heidi Baker, even the most inexperienced homeowner can change their life by taking on home improvements they never thought possible. Jean talks to Heidi, founder of (a home improvement website directed at women), about her new book, Be Jane's Guide to Home Empowerment . Heidi encourages women to pick up those power tools and embrace a can-do attitude when it comes to all their improvement projects.
  • Start simple to build your confidence. "You'll be surprised at the things you'll take on after that," Heidi says.
  • Don't let fear stand in your way. "You might make some mistakes … But when you finish the project, you're going to love that room and it's going to be yours and it's worth the fear of, 'What if I screw up?'" Heidi says. "You get past that and you're just so proud of what you started and what you created."
  • Heidi says a great beginner project for the kitchen is adding under-cabinet lighting. "[It] makes such a difference, it's super inexpensive, it's super easy, and it really adds to be able to see what you're doing," she says.
  • Need a simple way to spruce up your bathroom? Heidi suggests accessorizing plain bathroom mirrors by creating a frame with beautiful tiles or wood molding. You can also replace your old doorknob with a new, decorative design.
  • To cozy up big, cavernous spaces, Heidi recommends painting walls with a warm, Tuscan-style faux finish. Apply joint compound using a trowel over a matte base color. Once that's dry, sand jagged edges. Go over the surface with a lightly colored latex paint on a regular roller. Next, rub on oil-based furniture stain with a lint-free rag. "You get this great variation of texture and color, and it's so warm and comfortable," Heidi says.