One of the best things about owning a home is that you can make it yours, which is hard to do in a rental.
Don’t like that carpet? Rip it out! Hate the tan walls? Paint them whatever color you want. Don’t like the wall between the living room and kitchen? Tear it down (as long as it’s not load-bearing!).
Some Questions to Consider
Before you start planning customizations to your home, it’s smart to sit down and think about the answers to some important questions. These questions will help you personalize your home to truly meet your needs.
How long do I plan to keep my home?
If the answer is 1-3 years, you may want to consider the next few questions BEFORE you start your home improvement projects:
- Will these home improvements be attractive to potential buyers?
- Will these updates increase the equity in my home, or what will my return on investment be?
If you plan on staying in your home for more than 3 years, the questions to consider are a little different:
- What do I keep wishing my home had?
- What do I value most in my home?
- What makes me feel relaxed in my home?
- What inspires me and makes me feel happy?
- Do these home improvements meet my personal needs?
If you love to cook, you may want to focus on the kitchen. If you love hosting parties and get-togethers, you may want to create a great outdoor entertaining area or focus on the flow of your house. If your biggest wish is a relaxing bath at the end of a long workday, a spa-like bathroom may be just the ticket for you. The possibilities are endless!
Paint is the simplest way to make the largest impact on the way your home looks, and it’s one of the least expensive changes you can make. There are also a lot of stylish wallpapers on the market right now if you’d rather go with a pattern. Note: if you are in the “selling in the next couple of years” category, you might consider new peel-and-stick or easy to remove wallpaper if you’re going to go big with a bold pattern.
If you have a room that looks dated or just doesn’t feel like you, consider swapping out the light fixtures. There are many types of light fixtures that can give you the look you want, from ceiling mounted to wall mounted – extravagant to simple, and nearly any room can benefit from upgraded lighting. From the standpoint of return on the investment, your primary focus should be the kitchen and bathrooms.
For the kitchen, think about under-the-cabinet task lighting, pendants over an island, recessed lighting on a dimmer so you can adjust the brightness as needed, and a statement piece over the dining table. Be sure to pay attention not only to how the light will look in the evening while turned on – but also how it looks during the daytime when it’s turned off and the sunlight is streaming in.
In the bathroom, try to mimic natural light as closely as possible with white wall sconces or vanity lights on a dimmer switch. A small chandelier or semi-flush ceiling light is a nice way to make a statement if you have the space.
If you don’t love your flooring, it can be hard to feel comfortable in your home. Hardwood is an upgrade that always looks fantastic—maple, oak, and hickory (if you want something more rustic) are durable choices, in addition to bamboo, cork and other options that are newer and more eco-friendly. But if you have small children, you may want consider upgrading the carpet instead (don’t forget a cushy pad underneath), to keep little crawlers and walkers more comfortable and safe. Luxury vinyl tile and wood-look tile are very durable options, especially if you have pets or a pool as they’re nearly indestructible and waterproof. Today, you can get almost any look you want without breaking the bank.
If you don’t love your bathroom, it’s time for an upgrade! A new vanity (with a large surface area, if possible) and a sink complete with fixtures you love will completely change the look of the room. If you have a standard builder-grade mirror, swap it out for something framed, and put some updated lighting on either side. If you’re in the market for a bigger upgrade, consider surrounding the shower with tile, or even installing a freestanding soaking tub if you have space and budget to spare. If the floor has seen better days, there are literally hundreds of tile options ranging in style and price for everyone. Cement tile is the new hot trend, but can be a bit pricey – consider porcelain tile as a substitute – it is durable and newer styles can mimic some of the more expensive trends.
Everyone uses their outdoor space a little bit differently. If you want to upgrade it, think about adding a feature that you’ll use frequently, as well as one that would add value. A fire pit, deck, barbeque area, or even an outdoor kitchen can give you and your guests hours of enjoyment, and add value as well.
If you want any help with the financing side of your renovations, be sure to contact us today! We have some great home renovation loan options, including a low fixed intro rate Home Equity Line of Credit, that can help you get started on personalizing your home right away. And if you plan to make energy-efficiency upgrades in your home, like new windows or appliances, check out our low-rate Home Energy Loans!
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