Renovating Your Home

    Renovating your home doesn’t necessarily mean knocking down walls or building additions. The Oxford English Dictionary defines renovate as “To restore something to a good state of repair.” Homes need frequent renovation, not always because something is in disrepair, but often because changing trends or technology have made your current décor obsolete.

    Finding a Contractor

    Should you need to knock down a wall or add a room, you’ll probably want to hire a contractor. The best way to find a good contractor is through the recommendation of friends or neighbors. The positive experiences of someone you trust is always extremely helpful. Lacking that, there are websites to point you in the right direction, giving important information on local companies. Consumer Reports ranks the five most popular, including Angie’s List and HomeAdvisor. When using these sites, the most useful feature is probably the listing of customer reviews.

    Trends

    No matter what type of renovation you’re planning, it’s tempting to want to follow the latest trends. If those trends do something to actually improve your home and your life—like adding kitchen storage, or increasing your home’s automated features through something like Apple’s HomeKit—then that’s a positive which will enhance your home for years. The problem with many renovation trends is that they’re trendy for the sole purpose of being trendy, and that is something to be avoided.

    An example of horrifyingly trendy decorating can be found in any home interior photo from the ‘70s. From putting shag carpeting on the walls to hanging macramé owls in every room, what was considered trendy at the time soon became laughably cartoonish. Happily, the latest trend is no trend.

    Designers from online publications like Better Homes and Gardens and the Daily Reporter advise following the make-it-your-own trend, by mixing and matching styles and colors that represent what’s pleasing and unique to you. Think about what your ideal room would look like. Consider lighting, wall décor, furniture, flooring, and color. According to the experts on one website, your home should be all brown and beige. Is that what you were picturing? Hopefully not.

    Cost

    If you’re planning on renovating a newly purchased home, the average cost in 2016 was $33,800, which was a year-over-year increase of 22%. According to Houzz, 52% of current homeowners plan on starting or continuing renovations, spending an average of $27,300. Because of the cost, a total renovation is going to be a long-term project, so only renovate what you can afford, and, unless it’s an emergency like plumbing or electrical wiring, pay for everything with cash.

    If you’re renovating a fixer-upper, and are looking to add the renovation costs into the total you’ll be paying for the house, an online cost calculator can be handy. If you’re thinking of renovating the home you’re in, there are cost estimates which can be found for small, individual projects.

    When renovating, the most important thing is to find what works best for you. If you plan on staying in your home long-term, which changes are essential to improving your home life? Which renovations should get priority? What is your budget? If you’re renovating your home to sell, which renovations will bring the biggest return on the money you’ll spend?

    Whatever you choose to do, remember that your home is the biggest investment you have. It may be an ongoing effort to keep it in good shape, and it may cost a bit to turn it into a place you love coming home to, but you won’t find a more rewarding way to spend your time and money.

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