Are you gearing up to upgrade your home this spring? Now is the time to start!
If you are teaming up with professionals, anticipate and plan for a backlog. “Whether it’s smaller projects such as deck repair or bathroom touch-ups, or bigger ones such as home addition or kitchen remodels… they can be delayed further because materials that are commonly found on store shelves can now take weeks to arrive,” Virginia-based interior designer Alicia Smith tells WSLS 10. No matter where you are located, begin mapping out projects that require contractors now. It’s never too early to contact professional services and see what their availability looks like.
If you plan to tackle some upgrades on your own, it is best to carefully lay out the specifics of these projects as well. According to Tech Crunch, new mobile applications, like Outfit, can help you do it. Homeowners who choose to use services like Outfit plug-in “information about the space they’re looking to renovate, such as dimensions and photos, as well as the maximum amount they’re looking to spend,” Tech Crunch (TC) continues. From there, the app will provide detailed feedback, including the materials needed, the skill level required, the projected costs of the upgrade, and the steps to complete it.
Whether you plan to team up with professionals, work entirely on your own, or do a combination of the two, here are some ideas on how to upgrade your home and how to get started.
1. Start Spring Cleaning Early
Spring cleaning. It’s just around the corner. For many, it is an opportunity to take cleaning seriously and deep clean the neglected parts of their home. It’s a process and it takes time, so why wait?
Get a head start on your spring cleaning. Here are some things to tackle first.
- Declutter. There is a reason Marie Kondo, Joshua Fields Millburn, and Ryan Nicodemus, often known as “The Minimalist Guys,” are popular right now. Whether you choose to take it to an extreme or not, most of us can agree that we have more clutter than we know what to do with and that excess clutter causes undue stress. “Clutter can affect our anxiety levels, sleep, and ability to focus,” Men’s Health writes. To reduce clutter, divide items up into four categories: items to put away in their place, items to put in storage, items to donate or sell, and items to throw away.
- Dust. It is advice that is repeated far too often. If you have company coming over and need to pick up quickly, skip dusting. Your guests are unlikely to notice. That wisdom gets overshared, and rooms rarely — if ever — get dusted. Spring cleaning is the perfect opportunity to fix it. Use a microfiber cloth or a commercial, static cling duster, like a Swiffer Duster, to dust ceiling fans, blinds, doorframes, and windowsills. Dust lampshades, vents, picture frames, and the tops of bookshelves and cabinets.
- Clean appliances inside and out. At best, homeowners clean appliances’ surfaces on a regular or semi-regular basis. Most homeowners do not clean them thoroughly inside and out. Take the time to do it now. This includes taking food and condiments out of your refrigerator and scrubbing down the shelves. Use a mild cleaner to loosen residue stuck inside your oven and rinse with warm water. Wipe down the bottom and sides of your washing machine and then run an empty cycle with a diluted bleach solution.
Are you wondering how to upgrade your home? Start by preparing the areas you plan to improve. Thoroughly clean the rooms you plan to upgrade before you renovate them.
2. Get Your Home Inspected
Again, when working out how to upgrade your home, remember to make adequate preparations first. That means making sure your home is fit for improvements or renovations. After you get a head start on spring cleaning and thoroughly clean the rooms you plan to work on, consider having your home inspected.
Oftentimes, you can focus on the area or rooms of the house you wish to improve. For example, if you are working on the kitchen, that may mean getting plumbing inspected and making sure you are up-to-date on routine HVAC system inspections. If you plan to replace the kitchen sink, contact a plumbing service about inspecting the plumbing in and around it first. Likewise, if you plan to focus on upgrading the exterior of your home, a roof inspection and any necessary roof repair may be in order.
For the most part, homeowners purchase full-home inspections when they are in the process of buying a house. If you are making improvements around your home with the specific aim to sell, having a preliminary home inspection can help you pinpoint the most pressing projects and upgrades to focus on.
If you are wondering how to upgrade your home, inspecting various parts of your home — or investing in a full-home inspection — can help you narrow your focus.
3. Consider Eco-Friendly Features
Another way to determine how to upgrade your home is to sort out your priorities. Ask what is important to you. For example, if you are environmentally conscious, consider prioritizing upgrades that will make your home more eco-friendly. What are some of the most popular eco-friendly upgrades?
- Install skylights. According to RemodelingImage.com, artificial lighting accounts for 40% of the typical home’s energy use. Energy STAR-certified skylights are a great option for small rooms or rooms without significant natural light. Plus, homeowners are able to use skylights to regulate the humidity in their homes and prevent the buildup of excess moisture. Talk to a roofing company about the practicalities of fitting your roof with new, energy-efficient skylights.
- Plant a sustainable or alternative lawn. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), “Nationwide, landscape irrigation is estimated to account for nearly one-third of all residential water use, totaling nearly 9 billion gallons per day.” Even more troubling, 50% of residential water used outdoors is wasted, thanks to ineffective or faulty watering systems. Planting native plants in lieu of grass or choosing an alternative lawn can help. An alternative lawn is one that uses cover other than grass, like micro clover, creeping thyme, or turf. These alternatives require significantly less water (or zero water in the case of artificial turf) and significantly less upkeep.
- Invest in eco-friendly doors. Up to 10% of heating and cooling loss can be traced back to a drafty or inefficient front door. Use labels from the National Fenestration Rating Council (NFRC) to determine the energy efficiency of a particular door or exterior door material. Wood doors are among the best insulated. Glass doors do not trap heat well, and it is near-impossible to completely weatherstrip or seal them.
4. Remodel Your Basement
When deciding how to upgrade your home, remember that unfinished basements have a ton of potential. First, take care of the basics. You may be losing a significant amount of heating and cooling through an uninsulated or under-insulated basement. Second, it is important to address significant problems, like excess moisture, mold, or mildew right away. Water damage and mold can lead to structural damage over time if left untreated. Talk to a contractor about professional mold remediation services and take steps to waterproof your basement as necessary.
After addressing any pressing issues, you can decide whether you would like to use this extra space as a guest room, entertainment room, gym, office, or playroom. Remodeling your basement into a useful space is a project that can be fun to tackle!
5. Paint Your Kitchen
If you are having trouble making decisions about how to upgrade your home, start small. There are some easy and inexpensive fixes or upgrades around the house that can make a tremendous difference. For example, painting your kitchen can easily cost $150 or less, and it is something just about anyone can do. To use paint to completely transform your kitchen:
- Paint your kitchen all white. An all-white kitchen can look striking, contemporary, and inviting in the right home. Restaurants avoid all-white walls and fixtures, as they can be difficult to maintain and clean. In a residential kitchen, however, white walls and cabinets invite more natural light into the room. Your modern and chic kitchen could mirror a fancy restaurant, such as your favorite steakhouse or Japanese restaurant, even if the colors are vastly different. White will make it appear open and spacious. Stepping inside an all-white kitchen is like getting a breath of fresh air.
- Go with a dramatic shade. Dark browns are similarly inviting. Dark browns draw the eye in. They make a spacious kitchen with high ceilings look cozy and inviting.
- Choose yellow and instantly brighten up the room. We spend the most time around our homes in the kitchen and in the bathroom. Set yourself up to be as happy as possible in your home. Paint the kitchen bright yellow. Bright yellow makes us happier, brightens up the room, and stimulates an appetite.
6. Set Up A Home Office
Do you need pointers about how to upgrade your home? If you wish to improve the look and feel of your home but do not know where to start, start with what you need.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, more people are working from home part-time or full-time than ever before. That means homeowners need a suitable place to work when they are not in the office. Set up a home office that will maximize your productivity while working from home. To do it:
- Limit clutter and distractions. The more stuff we have, the more distracted we tend to be. The reality is that most professions these days do not require you to have a great deal on-hand. If you are working in digital marketing, for example, you can complete your work almost entirely on your laptop or desktop computer. You do not need notebooks, filing cabinets, and a document sorter. Keep your desk free of clutter. Choose only items you need and a few — just one or two! — decorative items that make you happy.
- Focus on lighting. Just like fluorescent lighting in an office building can cause headaches and eye strain, the artificial lighting in your home can serve as a distraction as well. Choose a room with plenty of natural light. Choose lamps with multiple light settings.
- Be practical. Chances are most jobs will require you to sit most of the day. Invest in an ergonomic chair or a standing desk to relieve aches and pains.
7. Reorganize Your Bathrooms
Bathroom renovations have an impressive return on investment (ROI). A standard bathroom remodel will recoup up to 70% of what you put into it. Further, upgrading and reorganizing your bathroom can help you establish healthy habits.
If your bathroom is cluttered, messy, and literally falling apart, there is a good chance that you will do what you can to stay out of it. If you reorganize and renovate your bathroom, on the other hand, you are more likely to venture inside twice a day to brush and floss your teeth and even remember to schedule biannual teeth cleaning services.
Don’t spend undue amounts of time puzzling over how to upgrade your home. Pay attention to what needs to be done. If your bathroom is consistently cluttered, do something about it.
8. Clean Out Your Garage
The garage is one spot in our homes that can easily get out of hand. If you have extra items to store, it may be tempting to just put them in the garage. Further, storage bins may go unopened for months — or even years. Significant problems, like pests and excess moisture, may go unaddressed. Do not let that happen to you. Instead, when you are laying out how to upgrade your home, put your garage on the top of the list.
Start by cleaning the garage. Sort through the clutter. Donate, sell, or trash items accordingly. Take care of car maintenance, like oil leaks, that may leave stubborn stains on your garage floor. When your garage is clean, consider what other upgrades it may benefit from. Installing a new garage door or undergoing a major garage door repair can make your garage markedly more energy-efficient and lower your monthly energy bills.
9. Consider A Big Purchase
Not all tips about how to upgrade your home need to be stingy or conservative. If you have the means, consider going all out. Plan at least one big purchase, upgrade, or renovation that will make you truly happy. Only you know what that means. Team up with a dock building service if you live near the water, install a bar directly in your pool, or install a hot tub to relax on chilly fall nights.
Are you trying to make decisions about how to upgrade your house? Clean your home and inspect it. Start with small, inexpensive improvements, like paint, and then move onto bigger items, like finishing your basement or making a big purchase.