It's not hard for me to open my wallet at home improvement stores. I'm talking seasonal flowers, life-changing paint colors, cool tools, fabulous fixtures, and other crave-worthy items.
But you could actually walk into The Home Depot
and get an array of services for free as well! Yes, free. Here are some of this home improvement superstore's fabulous freebies.
1. Kitchen Design Center
So you're planning a DIY kitchen remodel. That doesn't mean you can't use a little bit (or a lot) of help. We all know there are many talented home design professionals who have way more skill, experience and artistry in their chosen fields that we could benefit from. Trouble is, they tend to charge a hefty fee.
But what if a highly trained professional offered his or her services for no charge? Welcome to the kitchen design center at The Home Depot. Here, you can sit down with someone who designs kitchens all day and plan your own masterpiece. How about the work triangle? Glass in upper cabinet doors? A narrow cabinet next to the range for cookie sheets? It's nice to have someone to talk it over with. Make an appointment at the kitchen design center here.
2. Computerized Color Matching for Paint
Have you ever gone into the paint section of a home improvement store and stared at those little color chips until your mind turned to mush? It's good to know there are 45 shades of green with a little touch of gray, but how do you choose? Here's what you do: Find an item in your house, in a magazine, or in your closet that has a color you love. You know that spring dress that's the perfect shade of green? Or that that beautiful turquoise vase? Bring that item into The Home Depot's paint department and they'll scan the object using a device called a spectrophotometer to produce a precisely matched paint color.
3. Weekly Workshops
These workshops have to be the best deal around. While even the most modest DIY class
at a community college, arts and crafts center or retail store can cost $30 to $100 or more, workshops offered at The Home Depot are free. Recent hour-long classes include Interior Paint; Water Conservation; Spring Planting: Vegetable Garden; Installing Bathroom Faucets; Spring Lawn Prep; Installing Ceiling Fans, and How to Buy a Countertop
4. Do-It-Herself Workshops
These workshops are designed with women in mind
-- women unafraid to pick up tools and take on DIY projects. Recent workshops include Interior Paint Featuring Martha Stewart.
In 90 minutes, participants learn how to choose paint colors, see the tools and materials needed for a professional finish, prepare and mask walls for paint, watch and learn the best methods for painting ceilings, walls and trim.
5. Kids' Workshops
Designed for kids ages 5 to 12, these three-hour workshops
are generally offered on the first Saturday of each month from 9 a.m. to noon. A current offering is building a Picket Fence Planter.
The idea is to instill kids with useful skills and a sense of accomplishment. After the workshop, have a lunch date and marvel at what an amazing kid you're raising.
6. Wire Shelf Cutting
Have you ever considered wire shelving for your closets but wondered how you would custom fit the shelving
to your exact needs? After all, why buy a sophisticating cutting tool if you're only going to use it for a few shelves? Luckily, you don't have to.Your local Home Depot may have a powerful cutter
like the one pictured above -- and they're not afraid to use it!
7. Pipe Cutting and Threading
Installing new plumbing
? Well, you can scratch pipe-cutting and threading off your DIY list.
At The Home Depot, a great big fancy tool is standing by, along with its human counterpart, to take care of those chores.
8. The Home Depot Channel on YouTube
This service may not count as in-store, but it's a free service nonetheless. The Home Depot's YouTube channel offers high-quality how-to videos will make your time in the store a lot more focused.
If you're like me, a visual person, it helps a lot to see
how things are done before attempting to DIY. You can watch hundreds of Home Depot videos with titles like How to Start a Container Garden; How to Plant a Garden in a Raised Bed; What's New in Grills; How to Maintain Your Lawnmower, and much more. The channel's even got a catchy tag line: More How To, Less How Much.
9. Online Binder
Creative, energetic DIYers can have a heck of a time staying organized. We have three main topics of conversation: the project we just finished, the project we're working on, and the project we're getting geared up to start. Yes, this is another web-based service: The unique My Binder feature on The Home Depot website allows you to keep track of upcoming workshops, projects you're planning, even alerts you when home maintenance issues are due to be done.
To get started, sign up for The Home Depot Home Improver Club
10. Ten Percent Price Guarantee
Okay, we cheated a little on this one; it's not exactly a free service. But it still saves you money. Life's short enough, right? So why should we drive all over town to find the lowest price on each item we need for our DIY projects? If you find a regularly priced item somewhere else at a cheaper price, The Home Depot
will beat that price by 10%. You not only get the discount, but you also time and gas by not having to do a lot of leg work.