The last few years have been pretty rough for homeowners. With home values dropping and money tight all around, it’s been a while since big home renovation has been at the front of anyone’s mind. But 2013 promises to be an end to a years-long dry spell, with many homeowners already planning major remodels. If this year is starting to feel like your year, too, here are a few of the top home improvements you should be making.
Bigger Better Bathroom
Dream bathrooms are the darling of all home improvement shows, and one of the main places you might be considering splurging for a luxury renovation this year. But the thing about dream bathrooms is that they’re different for everyone – which means it’s not only hard to say what YOU want, but also what BUYERS will want. One thing to keep in mind is that, especially in a master suite, you definitely want both a bathtub and a shower, even if you don’t particularly plan on using the bath much yourself. That said, it doesn’t have to be a luxury whirlpool tub – it’s totally okay, and sometimes even more desirable, to focus your budget on a custom shower instead. Either way, having a beautiful master bath is definitely something that you’ll get a lot of joy from, and will really appeal to future buyers as well.
A Kitchen Made For Entertaining
The other tried and true favorite of home improvement shows are big kitchens with open floor plans. This is a renovation that’s been steadily gaining in popularity for years now, and is one of the foremost and most important trends for the coming year. While traditional homes opt for a separate kitchen and formal dining room, more modern kitchen spaces tend to be barrier free and full of light, connecting the dining space and sometimes even the living room to make it possible to entertain while you cook. Big, beautiful kitchen islands, especially ones with built in cook tops, wine coolers, and seating are great for more intimate gatherings. Stainless steel appliances and granite counter tops are still popular, but vintage appliances and more eco-friendly materials (like recycled glass, composite stone, or concrete) are starting to gain in popularity as well.
One of the very best things you can do if you’re planning any kind of significant renovation in 2013 is performing a home energy audit. Going green is worth a post of its own, but a good place to start is to hire a professional ton inspect all aspects of your home’s energy efficiency. That means everything from your light bulbs and appliances to your insulation, HVAC system, and windows. A home energy audit will tell you which parts of your home are wasting energy and costing you money, and will help you build a plan for what changes will make the biggest difference in your home. That can mean anything from re-insulating your attic to replacing your refrigerator and installing a programmable thermostat, but can make a big difference in your monthly bottom line and the comfort levels of your home.
Shows on HGTV or the DIY network (which, let’s be honest, are what get many of us excited for home improvement) mostly focus on the inside – bathrooms, kitchens, and all-over interior renovations. But if you plan to sell your house any time in the nearish future, it’s equally worthwhile to pay attention to the outside of your home. From big projects like installing a newer, more attractive (or even solar/energy efficient) roof or replacing your driveway to repainting, landscaping, or installing new outdoor lighting, improving your home’s curb appeal not only makes a good first impression on buyers, but can offer significant reassurances in terms of structural integrity and maintenance.
All that said, if you know you don’t have the budget to start ripping out walls or replacing appliances, that doesn’t mean you can’t find room in your wallet to spruce up your home. A coat of paint can go a long, long way, and replacing little things like bath towels, artwork, or home decor can make a bigger difference in the overall look of your home than you might think. With a slightly bigger budget, you can even consider replacing tired furniture, or at least adding accent pieces or furniture slipcovers that can give a room a new sparkle without a huge investment.
No matter what your budget, or what room in your home needs work first, 2013 is going to be a great year to bring your house up to date and really turn it into a home. What remodeling or renovation plans do you have for the new year? Any home improvement must-haves I haven’t mentioned here? Let me know in the comments!