Naturally, we all want to make our homes look good — and you could be particularly keen to make yours aesthetically reflective of your own personality.
However, you could have little financial leeway to make home improvements — at least at the moment. The good news is that you could potentially still spruce up your abode as long as you are clever about exactly how you spend your money.
Here are just a few methods of cost-effectively enhancing a residence’s appearance…
Add layers of various rugs
This advice comes from Real Homes, which recommends layering up rugs as an alternative to re-carpeting a living room if it has become strewn with red wine stains.
This use of rugs would indeed enable you to imbue the space with a pleasing range of textures, colors and patterns. To save yourself time, you could place an online order for a single batch of various rugs — including Persian rugs, fluffy rugs and wool rugs.
Create the illusion of taller ceilings
If it wouldn’t be financially palatable for you to physically raise the height of ceilings in your home, you could always just foster the misleading impression of taller ceilings instead.
You can do this by hanging curtain rods nearer to ceilings before attaching long, flowing drapes to those rods. Better Homes & Gardens shows a photo of how this can work, adding: “Soaring ceiling heights are a striking feature in many expensive homes.”
Deck your home out in neutral colors
If you have ever noticed how quickly you feel more relaxed on most occasions that you step into a high-end home, such as a period property open to the public, it could be due to the majority of prestige residences using neutral color schemes.
This approach to coloring a home can help it to instill a sense of calm as well as a classic, clutter-free look. So, it would be a good idea for you to choose neutral hues for certain parts of a home — such as floors, fixtures and upholstery — that are especially prominent throughout the building.
Make your interior doors more interesting
These doors are easy to treat as an afterthought — and, as a result, probably haven’t been updated in quite a while. For this reason, they could currently look outdated and boring — but you would have many options for what to replace these doors with.
Good examples include pocket doors and sliding barn doors — but, if any of these still seem to be beyond your budget, you could simply give your interior doors a lick of paint in a fresh color.
Tile (or, indeed, retile) your kitchen and bathroom
In these spaces, tiled surfaces have various merits. For example, they are beautiful in a timeless way, and can be created at a lower cost than you might have realized.
Subway tile is wonderfully affordable for use in kitchens and bathrooms — and, if you have enough room in your budget, you could affix tiles of more than one color or size in order to add interest to the space.
Steps To Growing Your Home Space With An Addition
Apart from making your home look better, you might also want to increase your living space for various reasons be it to cater to more family members or so that you can add more rooms for other purposes. If this is something you want to do, then you might want to consider building an addition.
This project can also help you down the line when you might grow your family and the need for extra space will be inevitable. Creating new square footage for your home is a challenging process, but it can be done.
Here are some steps you can take to expand your home square footage through an addition:
1. Assess why you need an addition
Before you embark on this project, think about you want to build an addition: is your family growing and in need of more space? Or perhaps you bought a home and realized it wasn’t large enough for your needs. Perhaps having that extra guest bedroom will provide you with a value that you and your close ones can enjoy for years to come.
2. Consult with a real estate agent
If you’re not sure which way to tackle the issue of adding extra space to your home, you could get the opinion of a local real estate agent. If you’re hesitating between adding a playroom or expanding another area of the home, their advice could be extremely valuable.
Increasing the square footage of the master bedroom will increase the return on investment in case you decide to sell. It’s important to also consider home values in your neighborhood to make sure that you’ll be able to recover the costs in case you decide to sell.
3. Decide on the type of addition you want and its cost
Adding square footage to your home will cost you from $80 to $200 per square foot, according to homeadvisor.com. Layout, materials used, and the type of structure make a huge difference in the project’s final cost.
Some of the most popular additions are the kitchen and the bathroom. Having a large kitchen where you not only have enough room to cook but also enough room to entertain can be any homeowner’s dream. Adding a new kitchen can cost anywhere between $50,000 and $100,000. Moreover, a bathroom can equally be useful to any household and can increase the value of a property. Building a new bathroom as an addition can cost between $25,000 and $75,000. They require plumbing and fixtures, which can make the price per square foot higher than a kitchen.
Other popular additions include a garage, home office, mudroom or sunroom. Ultimately, the right project for you is about balancing your needs and your budget. Once you decide on the project, make sure to set aside extra money for unforeseen costs. Additionally, plan for increased insurance quotes once your home increases its square footage.
4. Have the plan ready and get a permit
Once you know what type of addition you want to build, work on the planning. Enlist the help of an architect – it never hurts to consult a professional – to make sure you get the best project for your home in terms of structural safety, plumbing, ventilation and wiring. Next, check with your local planning department to make sure your addition abides by local zoning laws. Additionally, if you’re part of a homeowner’s association, you should also check with them to approve your plan.
5. Tackle financing
If you’re still making mortgage payments for your home, you should let your mortgage lender know about your future addition, as you’re not entirely owning the home yet. Additionally, if you need the funds to cover this project, you can consider a home equity loan or a home equity line of credit (HELOC). Ideally, by this point, you’ll have covered 80%-85% of the home’s assessed value to make sure your bank approves your new loan.
If you follow this route, you’ll get an appraisal of your home, which comes with a fee. However, assess your financial situation before resorting to another loan to make sure you’ll be able to keep up with all your upcoming payments.
6. Find a contractor
While DIYing has become extremely popular, a home addition is a type of project best left to the professionals. A contractor knows how to tackle this type of project, which is why it’s better to take this route. Get recommendations from friends, neighbors and acquaintances to help you find the right one for you. Once you find one, take the time to have a conversation about the project, the envisaged timelines, design concerns and even cost-saving solutions such as incorporating green sources of energy to help you cut down on future expenses. Make sure to sign a contractual agreement listing out the cost breakdown and scheduled payments.
7. Make plans before construction begins
A home addition is a huge project which will temporarily change your day-to-day life. Here are some areas where you need to plan:
If you have pets, it might be difficult to keep them in an enclosed area to separate them from the construction crew. Even if you do have enough room for them, construction noise might be too stressful for them. Plan on having them go to a pet daycare or have friends or family care for them for the duration of the project.
- Home items
You might need to free up some space near the construction site to allow the crew to do the work. Your furniture and other items sitting in that particular area will need a home while construction is ongoing. Instead of cramming it all inside your home, you could put it in storage. Most people rent a 10’x10′ storage unit, which can fit the contents of a large living room or two compact bedrooms.
- Excavation prep
Since a home addition is a major construction project, some excavating might be involved. Make sure to call 811 to have them do the work. This will help notify utility companies close to the project area. They can come to mark any buried cables, electric cables or gas lines to avoid damaging any of them through the course of the project.
8. Post-construction steps
Assuming the contractor tackles the rough construction side of the project – including building the foundation, framing the structure, adding the sheathing and roofing (if necessary) and installing windows and doors – the electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems also need to be addressed. This work is done by plumbers, electricians and HVAC technicians. However, this part of the project will not take much, as each task takes a day or two to complete. Next, flooring and cabinetry are to be installed, and walls need to be painted, whether you decide to have carpenters do this job or you prefer to tackle it to cut down on the costs.
9. Check the punch list
When you’re taking on building a home addition, you create what it’s called a punch list, or a list of all the steps that need to be done for the project to be complete. These also include the finishing touches that were perhaps postponed while more time was dedicated to the more difficult task. Take the time to go over this list with the contractor to make sure the project is complete, and the space is now truly usable.