10 Hot Home Products for the New Year

By Don Logay

As the unofficial “What’s New Guru” of the home improvement industry, I attend numerous trade shows throughout the year and scour lots of magazines and trade publications looking for new and exciting products, intriguing concepts and “gotta have” gadgets that make life just a little bit better.

My checklist for “Hot Home Products” includes simplicity, ingenuity, affordability, and great end results. Here are a few of my most recent finds and all-time favorites:

giani_beforeafter1.  Giani Granite Countertop Paint

Got a kitchen countertop that’s seen better days? Laminate chipped and discolored? Solid surface counter stained and scratched? Giani is the world’s first granite paint kit for countertop makeovers. Get the premium “look” of granite at a fraction of the cost — with lots of extra benefits too. Water-based paint kits come in five realistic-looking color combinations and include everything needed to go “granite” in three easy steps in 24-hours or less. One $39.95 kit covers 35 square feet (16 running feet of 24-inch wide counter). Available at paint and hardware stores nationwide. Visit www.GianiGranite.com or call 1-800-650-5699.

2.  One2Flush Dual Flush Conversion Kit

Saving water is as “easy as 1, 2…” with the brand new award-winning One2Flush toilet conversion kit. In about 20-minutes, you can quickly and easily turn a standard water-guzzling tank-type toilet into an eco-friendly, high-efficiency, water-saving dual flush model. University tests prove One2Flush — with its “half flush for liquids and full flush for solids” — reduces water use by more than 38 percent and can save an average family over 10 percent on monthly water bills. Fits all standard two-piece toilets, 1.6-gallon flush and up. Starts paying for itself immediately. Available nationwide at most hardware stores (Ace, True Value, Do-It-Best). For more information visit www.one2flush.com.

crownmolding3.  Easy Crown Molding by EZ-A-PEEL

Budget-minded? Not up for hammering and sawing? Renting? Add elegance to almost any room with “peel-and-stick” Easy Crown Molding. Kits offer quick and easy installation and an inexpensive alternative to fancy millwork. Vacuum-formed thermoplastic design overlaps and adjusts to length without measuring. Can also be trimmed with scissors. Installs in about one hour and can be left white or painted to match décor. Offered in three popular crown molding profiles for various sized rooms with 16 inside and four outside corners included. Kits start at under $50. To order call 1-888-EZAPEEL (1-800-392-7335) or visit www.easycrownmolding.com.

4.  Dead Bolt Secure Entry Lock Protection

Burglars with “bump keys” can open virtually any standard lock (deadbolt or otherwise) with ease. Until now, the only defense was expensive high-end, pick-proof locks. The new award-winning Dead Bolt Secure offers a low-cost, ingenious solution that makes standard deadbolt locks (with a lever or twist-type inside handle) virtually bump-key and pick-proof. It even blocks entry for anyone with a legitimate key. How? A simple spring-loaded device, that installs in minutes, flips down to prevent a dead bolt’s handle form turning — no matter how it is being unlocked. Offered in brass and satin nickel. The best part? It only costs $9.95. Order online at www.arclink.net.

metal_tiles5.  Aspect Peel and Stick Metal Wall Tile

Create a designer kitchen “look” quickly, easily and affordably with new Aspect peel-and-stick 3-inch by 6-inch metal tiles. Offered in three popular brushed finishes  (stainless, copper, and bronze) for dramatic and dazzling accents, whether a gleaming over-the-counter backsplash or an entire luxurious floor-to-ceiling wall. Aspect tiles adhere to any sub-surface (drywall, plaster, paneling, and old tiles) and are offered with horizontal or vertical graining. Gives kitchens and baths a fresh, new look. Box of eight tiles covers 1-square-foot and costs about $20. The only limitation is your imagination.  Available at some Lowe’s stores or order online at www.aspectideas.com.

6.  Telezapper / Blocks Telemarketer Calls

Get rid of annoying telemarketer calls once and for all. This nifty little device plugs into your phone cord and only intercepts computer-generated calls — indicating this number is disconnected — which automatically takes you off their list. Over time, calls dwindle until you are practically telemarketer-free. Other incoming calls are not affected. When first introduced, millions were sold. Ever since, this product has been “flying under the radar.” However, the original and an updated model can both still be found at www.amazon.com and via online search engines at prices ranging from $40 to $10. It’s worth the effort — I wouldn’t part with mine. Additional info at www.telezapper.com.

7.  Liquid Stainless Steel Brush-on Paint Kit

Want to give your dingy, old kitchen appliances a gleaming stainless steel finish? Award-winning Liquid Stainless Steel is the world’s first brush-on/roll-on “real stainless steel” finish designed to give older stoves, refrigerators and dishwashers a new lease on life. Complete kits are easy to use and update an average size refrigerator for $49 or a range and dishwasher combo for only $19.95. Works great on cabinets, table tops and in many other places too. If it would look good in stainless — now you can do it. Available at paint and hardware stores nationwide. Order online at www.liquidstainlesssteel.com or call 1-800-650-5699.

Schlage_Link8.  Schlage Keyless Entry Locks and Wireless LiNK Option

Tired of fumbling with keys? Reluctant to offer extras to visiting guests and service providers? Schlage electronic keypad entry locks and deadbolts — using four-digit access codes — are now both practical and affordable, offered in the $120 to $150 range. Company also offers Schlage LiNK, the first and only DIY wireless system allowing 24/7 remote control for keypad locks and other home management functions via the Internet. Lock or unlock doors from anywhere, add/remove access codes and control lights. Options include adjustable thermostat ($149) and cameras ($149 wired/$179 wireless) to see who is coming and going. Schlage LiNK Starter Kit ($299) offers choice of keypad lock (deadbolt or lever-handle) and everything needed to set-up a Z-Wave wireless system. Monthly subscription $12.99. Available at Lowe’s, Radio Shack, and www.amazon.com, or visit www.consumer.schlage.com for retailers.

9.  Evoba Modular Wood Ceiling System

Turn any room into a stunning showplace with the architectural impact of a rich “coffered” wood ceiling. Prefabricated Evoba system (that’s “Above” spelled backwards), offers the warmth and beauty of real wood without the cost of custom millwork. Pre-engineered main beams and cross-tee grid components surround 2-foot square, beautifully finished, recessed panels and offer easy installation. Available as a suspension or surface mount system, in a variety of wood species and finishes, at $12 to $30 per square foot. It’s affordable-chic that rivals the elegance of any Euro-mansion or lavish boardroom. Available at www.acpideas.com.

10.  INVISILED Low Profile Accent Lighting Tapes

Create dramatic indirect lighting effects almost anywhere with strips of miniature LED lights. Spaced 1-inch apart, and placed on thin flexible strips only 1/8-inch thick and 7/16-inch wide, INVISILED by WAC Lighting offers five basic colors (white, amber, red, blue, and green). One- and 5-foot peel-and-stick or screw-mounted sections can be cut at every inch. New Palette system offers continuous red-green-blue changing colors with control for speed and brilliance. Aura system creates white “daylight” to amber “sunset” with variable control. Cost ranges $75 to $90 per foot. Plug-in drivers cost $60 to $120. Maximum spans from 25 feet to 40 feet. For information and retailers visit www.waclighting.com or call 1-800-526-2588.

There you have it. Great peel-and-stick innovations, dynamic new paint concepts, valuable entry door/security solutions, affordable designer treatments for ceilings, an easy way to save water with new green technology and a classic phone zapper that gives telemarketers the boot. Hope you found something you like.  Stay tuned. More soon.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Don Logay is an award-winning home improvement writer. Former editor-in-chief of top three professional remodeling magazines, he also created the widely quoted annual study for remodeling investment and return. Today Logay also writes home owner tips heard daily on hundreds of radio stations nationwide.

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This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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  1. Thank you. I’m familiar with some of these products but it’s nice to have them all in one convenient place. I would love to hear reviews from anyone who has actually used them; particularly the granite paint and the stainless steel paint.
    Great article!

  2. Very cool ideas, and ones I had not heard of yet. I really like the idea of the peel and stick metal wall tiles for an inexpensive kitchen update for folks wanting to sell. And I can think of a lot of uses for the low profile lighting tapes.

  3. Great information and good timing! I’ll be sure to talk about this on our TV show this evening!

  4. All great ideas. The one that really caught my eye was the Dead Bolt Secure Entry Lock Protection. What a great idea for a closing gift for our buyers. AND the price is right.

  5. Like the peel and stick tile and key less entry, not so sure about the paint on granite counter-top.

  6. There is some products I would love to try, the crown molding looks great and the paint for the counter tops would be great.

  7. Incredible products – what will they think of next? These are all a great tool for real estate staging professionals!

  8. Don, You’ve made us all aware of some great new products. I had heard about a couple of them but did not have detailed information. With a little bit of money and a lot of creativity, homeowners will be able to do just about anything. I also really liked your requirements–simplicity, affordability and great end results! I’ll now check you out for other ideas! Thank you.

  9. Great ways to get a quick sale, boost home value and save money.

  10. What great products! These can all be useful for staging a home for listing. These are things that can help sellers get their home sold for a higher price and quicker. Also good for buyers to be aware of to personalize a new home purchase.

  11. I love the lighting idea. The peel and stick metal tiling looks pretty cool but sounds more expensive than actual tiling. That seems strange to me. I guess it is easier, but i’m sure you could still tell.

  12. Cover the seams with joint tape, then apply another layer of joint compound and smooth it out.
    Just about any hardware store will have them in stock.
    Double paned windows will actually stay warmer because they don’t directly touch the air outside.

  13. I would just like to warn people about easy crown moldings. The best word I could find is CRAP. Their so called tape from 3M lasted 1 day before it came crashing down in the middle of the night! I called and they would not return my call. I can not get a refund. STAY AWAY FROM THEM!