Ideas for Your Home
By Catalogs Editorial Staff
Contributed by Info Guru Lindsay Shugerman
The economy may have made it harder to buy or sell a home, but there has been a bright side. More people than ever are working on the homes they already have, making them more functional, more beautiful, more interesting or even more peaceful.
If you’re thinking of investing in your house or condo, here are some great ideas for your home (along with some pretty scary “before” pictures!) to make where you already live into the home of your dreams.
10. Carpet out, wood floors in
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Years ago, wall-to-wall carpeting was the standard for luxury home decor. And while some people still prefer the warmth and softness of carpet, the trend today is towards natural wood floors, manufactured wood floors and tile.
Update your house a room or floor at a time with professionally installed hardwood, or easy do-it-yourself snap-together engineered wood floors, and you’ll see your space from a whole new perspective.
9. Lighting up dark corners
A lot of homes, especially houses built in the 1970’s and 80’s, have few windows compared to today’s new builds. That can leave your space feeling dark and dreary. That’s why many homeowners are remodeling their houses to bring in more natural light by installing larger windows, French doors or new skylights.
If a remodel isn’t in the budget, consider replacing dated or ineffective light fixtures with brighter, more inviting ceiling fixtures, wall sconces and recessed lighting. (And yes, that means getting rid of that horrid dropped-ceiling florescent fixture in the kitchen! Finally!)
If you opt for energy-saving LED fixtures, you might be able to reduce your electric bill and actually save money with your updated lighting.
8. Making it flow
The flow of people through a home is one of the biggest complaints homeowners have about their current spaces. So it’s not surprising that one of the most important factors in remodeling is whether it would improve the flow. Some people accomplish this by removing one or two non-load-bearing walls, while others rearrange the whole space to create a more open floor plan.
If a full remodel isn’t possible, you can still improve flow by moving or replacing some of your furniture or by repurposing rooms for different uses. (Who says that room has to be the dining room and that one the living room? Switching a room’s use might be all you need to do to make the whole house work better!)
7. A kitchen worth cooking in
Kitchens are the single most popular target for remodeling. And it can be the most expensive, too. If you’re considering remodeling your kitchen, start by thinking about whether you want to rip it down to the studs and start over, or just refinish what you have and replace some of the smaller elements like cabinet hardware, sink fixtures and lighting.
6. This bathroom needs to go
Yeah, I know. Bad pun. But the fact is many people wish they could just wave a magic wand and replace their current bathrooms with something bigger, prettier or more functional.
Redoing a bathroom can cost anywhere from a few hundred to many thousands. The good news is that when you do finally decide to sell, an updated bathroom is one of most profitable changes a homeowner can make.
5. Bringing the OM home
As yoga has become mainstream, so too has the idea of incorporating a yoga or meditation room in a home. Many empty-nesters are converting that spare bedroom into a space designed for serenity, exercise and inner peace. Younger families and singles are purposely setting aside space in their homes (for example, in an underused basement) for similar purposes.
4. Expanding outside the doors
If you live in a suburban home, odds are you have a back yard. Most of them are little more than grass and a few boring shrubs. But that same space can be turned into an outdoor retreat, an space for three season entertaining, or a whimsical area complete with things like fairy gardens, butterfly sanctuaries or herbal healing.
Adding a deck, a garden gazebo or just some winding pathways might be the first step to expanding your living space into the outdoors.
3. Beige really is boring
For some reason, most people are afraid of adding color to their home. And I must confess, I don’t understand. You probably don’t wear only white or beige clothes, so why should should your living space be decked out in the most boring shades the paint store carries?
Adding color to walls, floors, furniture and accessories is one of the simplest change ideas for home — and it’s one of the least expensive and most impactful. Start with a wall, an area rug or even just a new and colorful tablecloth. Then get a little braver and go bigger. And I promise, you’ll transform your home with color.
2. Finding room for family
Another side effect of the downturn in the economy has been more time spent at home instead of on vacation or even eating out at restaurants. That means space for family to gather, eat and play is more important than ever.
Finishing off that basement, enclosing a patio, repurposing a seldom-used formal living or dining room, or just using some of that neglected outdoor space are all ways to “discover” a new family room right there in the house you already own.
1. Man caves … and one for her, too
With the increase in time spent at home and work-from-home options, it’s not surprising that the popularity of man caves (and woman caves!) has increased dramatically. After all, we all need a space to call our own!
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So whether the purpose is to have a space for scrapbooking or woodworking, a quiet area for listening to music, or a spot to invite friends over to watch the big game, consider looking for a space to carve out for each of you. You might just find that this one is not just an idea for your home … it’s a wonderful idea for your relationship, too! Now how many home renovation projects can make that claim?
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