Get rid of that ugly cord hanging from your attic stairs

(I was one of the bloggers selected by True Value to work on the DIY Squad. I have been compensated for my time commitment to the program as well as writing about my experience. I have also been compensated for the materials needed for my DIY project. However, my opinions are entirely my own and I have not been paid to publish positive comments.)

I’m back today to share an easy update to an annoying problem. Do you have attic stairs that have a standard pull cord dangling down? They are just not attractive! Here’s a great and easy tutorial to update those attic stairs and get rid of the dangling cord.

Here are our attic stairs “before” the quick update.

The first thing I did was give all the woodwork a fresh coat of white trim paint using a small roller.


Now, to get rid of that cord. You will first need to collect a few supplies. For this project you will need a screw hook, an eye bolt, and a wooden dowel (no smaller than 3/4″ x 3′).

First step, remove the cord. Figure out how your cord is attached and cut it off. Be careful not to let your attic stairs close or it will be very difficult to open them at this point!

Using the new eye bolt, push it through the same hole the cord was in, and tighten the bolt firmly on the inside of the stairs. You may have to use a drill to make your hole slightly bigger if your eye bolt won’t fit.

Now it’s time to make a handle to access your new eye hook. Grab your dowel and your screw hook.

Drill a pilot hole into one end of the dowel.

Screw the hook into your pilot hole. You have now created your handle!

Use the handle to hook the eye bolt and pull down your stairs.

Obviously it would be super ugly to leave the handle just hanging there all the time, so you will need somewhere to store your handle when you aren’t using it.

I used a simple hook inside our hall closet to store our pull handle. Now any time I need to access the attic, I grab my handle out of the closet, attach it to the eye bolt in the attic stairs, and I’m ready to go!

Now when we look or walk down our hallway, we aren’t greeted with an unsightly cord hanging down. The attic stairs are hardly noticeable anymore.

Genius, right?! Head on over to True Value to pick up your supplies today. This little project shouldn’t take you more than about 30 minutes tops. Check out True Value Hardware for all your DIY needs.


Easier way to install wall hooks

We recently updated our daughter’s bathroom (which also doubles as the guest bathroom) with some beadboard and a row of hooks. Now there are plenty of spots to hang all the beach towels that end up all over the floor each summer.

Today I want to show you how to easily install hooks. This tip can be used when hanging anything on your wall – nails, screws, anchors, hooks, etc.

Start by using pieces of painters tape to eyeball where you want your hooks. You don’t need to measure quite yet. This just helps you get an idea for how many hooks you want and how far apart you want them.

In one section I was debating between two or three hooks… I went with two.


Once you have your layout, use a tape measure to make sure each section is equally spaced. You might have to move your pieces of tape over a bit to make everything even. Now use larger pieces of tape and fully tape each spot where you want your hooks to be installed.

Using a level, mark a vertical line down the center of where you want your hook. Mark a horizontal line where you want your screw holes to go.

I wanted my screw holes 2″ from the top of my board, so I marked a level horizontal line 2″ down on each of my 7 pieces of tape (I’m installing 7 hooks).

Next I took the actual hook and centered it over my vertical and horizontal lines. I marked each screw hole with a pencil. This is where I’m going to drill my pilot holes.

Once your screw holes are marked, drill all your pilot holes through the painters tape. Once the holes are drilled you can remove all the tape. Now all your holes are perfectly placed and ready to attach the hooks, and you have to pencil marks to clean up!

And finally, attach all your hooks. I attached one screw of each hook then went back and attached the 2nd screw. I didn’t tighten the screws down until both screws were installed.

Now I have a lovely wall of perfectly lined up hooks without any pencil marks to clean up.

Here’s a “before” shot just for fun.

For a full tutorial on installing beadboard, you can check out my post here.


Air Registers and other equally boring topics

Hey hey hey my friends! Sometimes when you buy a home that needs updating, you find yourself spending money and time on really boring stuff. It’s kind of depressing really. I just dropped about $150 on air registers. Yes, you heard me – air registers. Does anyone even know what those are? It’s always a delight when you have to drop a wad of cash on something for your house that will impress no one. (Well, I’ll admit, I guess I am just a tad impressed. My ceilings are looking a lot more cohesive now.)

(new air register)

Okay, so air registers. What are they? They are those vent looking rectangles in either your ceiling or your floor that direct your central air into your room. Your cold air magically blows from them.

Our whole house came with plastic ones. Some of them were broken, all of them were grimy. Here is one of the old ones:

(old air register)

Yes, I could have lived with them, maybe spent hours washing them all in a bathtub, then putting them back up… but like I said, some were broken, none of them worked well, and they were plastic and cheap.

So I replaced them. Well, I am currently replacing them. As each ceiling gets a fresh coat of paint, the old register comes down, and the new one goes up (don’t worry, all those old ones are donated to Habitat for Humanity, so it isn’t a total loss).

Here are all my brand new, metal, inconspicuous air registers waiting patiently for their new permeant homes above our heads.

Here’s the thing about air registers, and other flush-mount fixtures on your ceiling such as recessed can lights or in-wall speakers, you don’t want people to walk in your house and notice them. If people walk in your house and the first thing they notice are all the fixtures on your ceiling, that in not really a plus. A good air register will quietly do its job in the background without calling attention to itself.

(This ceiling fan is getting replaced eventually)

The old registers were bulky and noticeable. Aesthetically, by replacing them with these metal ones, now no one notices them. It’s kinda sad to spend so much money on something that isn’t the star of the room, but if your registers are the star of the room, you need new registers. :)

Okay, so basically I’m creating an entire blog post about air registers. Don’t fret though, I do have one really amazing tip for you today that will blow your mind:

TIP: Fid a socket that will fit around the screw head for your air register. Attach it to your electric drill to make installation a breeze.

We initially tried to install each register using a flat head screwdriver. Total fail. Just take my word for it and find the right sized socket that will fit your screw head.

In addition to replacing the air registers, we also replaced the covers for the can lights and we painted the ceiling the same as the wall color.

Initially we started painting all the ceilings white (I’m usually a fan of white ceilings), but the rooms just seemed so cold and dated, so we sucked it up and painted them a second time with our wall color – Stucco by Sherwin Williams. This has really made the rooms more homey and warm and also given them a more current vibe. I kinda feel like I’m in a model home now.

Here’s our dining room ceiling with its fresh coat of paint and new air register.

And our kitchen ceiling with its two new registers and 9 new can lights. We are still in indecisive mode about which fixtures to buy to hang over the island. Well, I know which ones I want, but they are $700 each, so that isn’t going to work! Just consider the kitchen a work in progress. Baby steps.

Our hall bath got two new registers and the same paint color on the walls and ceiling – Stucco by Sherwin Williams. It also got some new beadboard and hooks that you can read about over on True Value’s blog.

I know these types of things aren’t fun, but they are necessary to give your home an updated look and feel.

What have your had to buy for your home lately that was necessary, but was just depressing to spend so much money on? I’m really grateful we don’t need a new air conditioning system or roof! Those are killers. We do desperately need all new windows (ours are single pane and you can feel the cold air rushing in when you are next to them) which will be a huge expense. They are very needed but I’d rather buy something fun like a new couch!

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