Spring is a popular time to start or plan remodeling and home decorating projects. Rather than list the latest trendy design ideas or hot products let’s get real and address home spending in terms of what is worth spending your hard earned money on and where you can save. After years of designing and remodeling we realize every home is full of remodeling or design possibilities. We’ve narrowed it down to the real remodeling do’s and don’ts. We’ve made a list of 30 home spending hacks you need to know, before you write the check!
Worth The Money – Spend more on daily use items which offer value in terms of durability and longevity. Invest in construction projects which enhance livability of a home.
- Kitchen and bathrooms offer best return on investment. This is due to two factors, one, both are expensive projects people don’t want to undertake so having a newly updated kitchen or bath in a home offered for sale is a big plus. Secondly, remodeling a kitchen or bathroom takes time, home buyers don’t want to wait the time or suffer the inconvenience of living without a working kitchen or bathroom. When its time to sell, if your remodel is less than 10 years old, buyers will pay for convenience.
- Real wood or bamboo vs laminate flooring
- Wool carpet vs nylon carpet – wool is durable, anti-static, naturally stain and dust-mite resistant
- LED recessed celing cans
- Top of the line kitchen faucet – one of hardest working products in a home
- Premium operable windows and sliding glass doors – expensive to replace if warp & don’t work
- Front entrance to the home – best chance to make a good first impression
- Radiant floor heat for a tile floor bathroom on a slab – comfort but worth every penny
- Ipe wood for outdoor decking – low/no maintenance and lasts 100 years!
- Walk-in closets are a must in the master bedroom
- Opening up the wall between kitchen and dining room
- Cabinet pull-out organization inserts
Not worth the money – Ignore room trends which do not enhance usability of the home, walk-in closets for a master bedroom are a must while home theaters aren’t worth the money. Don’t expect a return on:
- Extravagant lighting or plumbing fixtures
- Lavish moldings and woodwork
- Exotic interior woods and other fancy finish materials
- Premium decorative tiles
- Double ovens – consider a combination mircrowave oven and regular oven if you need two
- Expensive wallpaper or decorative paint/wall treatments – no painted murals
- Trendy upgrades which are purely cosmetic. The only value these items have are the enjoyment you get out of it.
- Pricey cabinet hardware – don’t fall for it, it isn’t jewelry
Hi/Low hacks to furnish your home – Shop smart. Home furnishing is a lot like spending money on fashion, invest in good quality basics and fill in with less expensive items. When making a home pretty or buying the “fun stuff” nobody knows you have a $2,500 handblown venetian class lamp sitting on top of a $500 side table.
- Spend more on the sofa you sit on every night than the dining room table you use a few times a year
- IKEA makes some of the best bookcases, shelving and other casegoods and yes, they last
- Create a backsplash from basic field tile
- Paint is the cheapest way to embrace a color trend
- Spend more on high quality task lighting, less on decorative lighting (like that big entrance chandelier)
- Antique malls are full of the latest “collectable home decor accessory” from any given era, mix in timeless vintage for less
- Make big wall art, paint your own or have beautiful photos printed on canvas
- Artfully arranged inexpensive clear or colored glassware can look like you spent a whole lot more
Fence riders – These items can go either way, they can enhance a home if in the right environment or degrade a home over time.
- High-end kitchen appliances are worth the money, if you cook. If you really cook, get the best you can afford. However, once they are more than 10-15 years old, appliances are going to be replaced, so the $3,000 Wolf Oven you bought 12 years ago doesn’t necessarily have any value today.
- Smart homes can become dumb real fast.* Technology changes so fast and is very personal, consider it a sunk cost, but don’t use fancy tech in-lieu the basics.
*True story: I have a customer who moved into a home with a “whole house smart lighting system.” The system is now 15 years old and is starting to fail but guess what, it is wired in such a way they can’t just swap in a normal switch to turn the light on or off. Now, they have to spend tens of thousands of dollars to upgrade the system or completely rewire the house just to turn on a light. Be mindful when using new technology the system isn’t so fancy it becomes a problem.
Check back next week when we address How To Make The Right Decision When Buying New Cabinets.