Weekly Home Help with small changes to make in your home, a home-selling tip, how scientists are turning eggshells into plastic and more.

These budget-friendly decorating ideas from Giuliana Rancic, entertainment journalist and style guru, make it easy to discover your personal style. All it takes to refresh a room are a few simple updates.


Small changes add up. "You don't have to redo a whole room," says Rancic. "Small changes like adding a new color or introducing a scent to a room really make a big difference.”


Start at the beginning. The entryway of a home is the first thing guests see. Tidy up the outside area, and add some inexpensive pops of color with a planter and flowers. On the inside, think about updating the walls with floral or damask wallpaper, or even a painted chevron pattern to add visual interest.


Bring the outdoors in. Live plants and flowers do wonders for a room. Lemon or orange tree topiaries are a popular way to add a natural pop of color. If you're not sure about taking care of live plants, you can easily find artificial ones that look natural. Silk bamboo plants come in all sizes and fit on a table top or fill up an empty corner in a room.


-- Family Features


Decorating Tip: Pump up neutral hues


To avoid a monochromatic color scheme, bump the color of your wall up or down one shade on the color wheel to create a 3-D effect. On a wall, use a lighter color on top and a darker color on the bottom. The two shades maintain the neutral palette and create contrast.


-- HGTV/ Scripps Howard News Service


Home-Selling Tip: Offer ‘creative financing’


Today's market is seeing an excess of homes as well as many interested buyers who may have difficulty qualifying for a standard mortgage. You can attract these buyers with "creative financing," which involves three options: 1) See if your lender will allow a mortgage assumption. 2) Help a buyer build a down payment via a lease-to-own deal. 3) If you have the equity, offer financing yourself.


-- FrontDoor.com


Going Green: Eggshells into plastic


Scientists at the University of Leicester in the United Kingdom are working on ways to convert eggshells into bioplastics, to be used in anything from pharmaceuticals to egg cartons. It can also be used as a filler to "bulk up" conventional plastics, possibly reducing demand for oil-based materials. The U.K. uses more than 5 million tons of oil-based plastics every year, according to the British Plastics Foundation.


-- Earth911.com


Did You Know …


Building of green single-family residential homes increased from 2 percent in 2005 to 17 percent in 2011. -- National Home Builders Association


New Product: Sony NEX-7 camera


Sony's NEX-7 camera is an SLR-like model with a 24-megapixel sensor that can capture 10 frames per second at full resolution. For dedicated photographers, the Consumer Reports Electronic Blog says its performance, design and versatile features make this advanced camera "well worth the price."


Garden Guide: Plants don’t like compact soil


Soil compaction is the result of construction equipment, vehicles, and trampling by animals and people. Too much compaction presses the mineral grains together, reducing the air and water content. There is little room for roots to grow, and they cannot access enough nutrients and water. Most roots grow best in soil that is about 25 percent air and 25 percent water. Plants grown in compressed soils look stunted and drought-stressed, and they are more susceptible to disease.


-- University of Illinois Extension


GateHouse News Service