condo renovation


If you’re a DIY-er like I dream of being, the library is a great place for getting ideas and helpful how-to instructions.

In the age of the internet it’s hard to imagine why you would want to go to the library instead of just typing your question into Google.

Librarian tip: The internet is great, but the library is better.

Here are a few reasons why I chose to use the library’s resources instead: 

  • I get sick of all those ads or popups asking you to watch this video or subscribe to their newsletter. Navigating websites can be very annoying!
  • Surely I'm not the only one who mistakes an ad for content on the page. It’s really hard to distinguish sometimes.
  • Websites are usually trying to sell you something. This makes it more difficult to trust the information provided.
  • It's difficult to determine if you can trust that someone actually knows what they are talking about or if they are merely passing themselves off as an authority on the topic. 

At the library, however, you can find trusted information from experts with no advertising (well, magazines have advertising but at least you can turn the page...). 

So here’s how I went about using the library to help with my condo renovation.


The Dreaming Stage

Provo City Library has a variety of great resources if you’re trying to figure out what your style is or how to tackle a project. During this stage I looked through a lot of books and magazines.

Librarian tip: Use your mobile device to access full color magazines including several with great home improvement articles.

Watch this brief video tutorial to learn more about downloading  digital magazines.  

While a lot of home improvement magazines show high design concepts out of my price range or focus on décor over renovating, there is still a lot of good practical advice. For example, in House Beautiful magazine I found several articles discussing trends in paint colors. This helped me figure out what colors and style I wanted to go with (grays and blues, and a more modern style).

In addition to magazines, I checked out several helpful books that provide do it yourself information about nearly any type of home remodeling or renovation project.

Probably one of the most helpful books I checked out was NEW KITCHEN IDEA BOOK by Heather J. Paper (2016).



Updated just this year, this book is crammed full of inspiring and practical design options for every part of the kitchen. It covers everything from layouts to countertops, cabinets, sinks and appliances. It also discusses flooring and other finishing details and even has a section on eco-friendly ideas.




The Reality Stage

When we finally, finally began the actual remodeling process, I was again very grateful for the resources available at my fingertips.

Librarian tip: Utilize your 24/7 access to Home Improvement Reference Center, an online database providing users with detailed, user-friendly “how-to” information covering all manner of home improvement/repair projects.

At one point, we switched to refinishing the cabinets to save money. However, we had no idea how to properly paint cabinets so they wouldn’t chip or fade. I went online to use the Home Improvement Reference Center and found the perfect article describing exactly what we needed to do. 

Just as a comparison, I also tried searching YouTube for instructional videos and found a few results, but they either left out critical details or implied your paint would chip even if you used their instructions.


The Enjoyment Stage  

While this project turned out to take far longer and cost a bit more than planned, the resources I found at the library helped me create the vision I had in my head  and gave me the confidence to tackle doing it all myself. Now onto living in my new lovely abode!

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