What DIY projects are you working on? Tell us about them in the comments field below. Or click the link above to read about how to prep for a DIY paint job, Apple's new recycling program, how to make your backyard a wildlife habitat and more.

A simple paint project is an easy way to add a pop of color and upgrade your home decor.

While choosing the latest color trends may be the most exciting part of painting a room, the most important step is the preparation. The way you prep the room can affect the final result of the DIY project. Here are the basic steps.

Clean Remove all window treatments, light fixtures and electrical outlet plates. Then clean and degrease all surfaces. You want to make sure the surface is free of dust, dirt and fingerprints. A simple household cleaner will do the trick.

Repair Normal wear and tear such as moving furniture, hanging pictures with nails or even dents from a doorknob can damage your drywall. Make any needed repairs to the drywall and then sand the surface, which ensures the drywall repairs are level and even with the wall surface.

Tape The final step is to apply painter's tape, which also lets you get creative. It is important to select the right grade and level of adhesion. Delicate surfaces, such as fresh paint, wallpaper or faux finishes, require a tape with a lower adhesion to prevent surface damage. For common surfaces, like cured painted walls, wood trim, glass and metal, you can use a tape with a medium adhesion. When masking the surface, adhere the tape in short sections to avoid stretching the tape.

-- ARA

Decorating Tip: Consider dramatic color combinations

Homeowners with a flair for the dramatic may find black and cherry red an ideal color combination. If you want to audition these colors in your home, it's best to use red on walls and black on pricey upholstery. Pumpkin, medium gray and dark brown are an excellent combination for orange lovers who are too intimidated to use red-orange or tangerine for their interiors.     

-- Brian Patrick/ Scripps Howard News Service

Home-Selling Tip: Buyers prefer a foyer

It is crucial that the interior entrance of a house makes an excellent impression with buyers. According to FrontDoor.com, buyers prefer a designated entrance or foyer, which may be hard to achieve in a smaller house or condo. But a strategically placed console table, a few chairs or a striking piece of art can create that “entry room” feeling. 

Going Green: Apple recycles, pays consumers

Apple will now pay consumers in Apple gift cards for their unwanted but still usable electronic products. IPhones, iPads and computers, both Mac and PC, will get fair market value. Consumers can send their products with pre-paid shipping, and if the product has no value, then Apple recycles it for free.

-- Earth911.org

Did You Know …

Single-family housing starts declined 4.9 percent in July while multi-family housing starts rose 7.8 percent. -- National Association of Home Builders

New Product: Optoma HD33 3D front projector

The Consumer Reports Electronics blog says Optoma’s HD33 3D front projector features the lowest price seen for a 1080p 3D model: $1,500. It works with both 2-D and 3-D sources, such as Blu-ray players. The company says it has newly developed technologies that allow for reduction of judder, optimization of brightness and improved colors, black levels and contrast.

Garden Guide: Make a backyard habitat

Making your yard even more attractive to birds and other wildlife is easy. Wildlife needs food, water, cover and space. Every wildlife species has its own preferences and requirements for each of these elements. Consider plant components for your yard. Evergreens provide shelter from the weather and predators. Spruce, cedar, pines and other conifers also provide excellent nesting cover and are important in the winter to provide privacy all year. Grasses and legumes also provide cover, food and habitat. Ornamental grasses, native wildflowers, clovers or tall grass in your yard will serve as well.

-- University of Illinois Extension

GateHouse News Service