January always seems to bring with it a sense of renewed purpose once everyone is rested from the whirlwind of the holidays. While the past year offered everyone a chance to work on projects they’d been putting to the side, the theme of the upcoming year is forward-focused. It’s a time to look at what we can improve in our surroundings and investigate fresh approaches to the familiar. Homeowners of all varieties can jump on this bandwagon, no matter what their budget or expertise, by making simple updates and upgrades to their spaces.
1. Landscaping and Exterior Home Upgrades
This type of project area is broad and can run the budget spectrum from low to high cost. The excellent news is that homeowners recoup three quarters or more of the funds they invest in this type of improvement. Landscaping can be small. You might consider freshening up existing planting arrangements, expanding them, or dividing certain popular perennials like daylilies that may already be present in your yard. For those who are more ambitious and are seeking a fresh design take, January is the perfect time to begin planning and plotting.
Small improvements to the exterior of your house can include giving railings and door trim a fresh coat of paint, refinishing your existing front door with more vibrant color, or even replacing the front door altogether. Window boxes and botanical accents around the entryway can also be an inexpensive way to improve your home’s appearance. For the more ambitious individuals, new siding or stucco may be a big investment, but homeowners recouped between 74 and 77 percent of their equity investment.
2. Update Hardware and Finishes
This is one of the easiest ways to update the look of your kitchen or bathroom, and this project makes less mess than fresh paint. From those in the know, matte or brushed finishes for drawer pulls and handles are most popular. The National Kitchen and Bath Design Trends 2021 report expect this to continue throughout the year. When paired with another hot trend—two-toned cabinets—you can have a totally new look in the kitchen on a relatively small budget. The two-toned approach refers to the practice of painting the upper and lower cabinets in your kitchen in different colors. For example, you may paint the uppers white or a light, neutral tone while giving the lower cabinets a darker wash of color, like blue, green, or gray. This anchors your kitchen design while simultaneously creating a spacious impression.
3. New Windows
Window updates are both an aesthetic project and a practical investment. Clean, properly fitted casements offer an updated look and feel to a property. However, they can also offer substantial savings in energy costs. In older homes, much of the energy leakage occurs around poorly fitting doors and windows that, over time, cease to fit flush within their frames. However, unlike many improvement projects, residential window replacement isn’t a DIY endeavor that many should attempt.
This is why many who are experienced in this type of home remodeling offer their services through formally vetted companies. This enables them to provide consolidated and consistent information about various product options as well as explain their services to a broad range of individuals. For example, there are an array of window types—from casement to awning to sliding models—which may be attractive to different individuals based on their needs and tastes. In addition to information, homeowners who hire a reputable business often receive financial options to spread the cost of materials over time. They also receive a guarantee of high-quality work from the craftspeople involved.
4. New Tile Work
While it’s a bit more involved than applying a fresh coat of paint to walls or cabinet surfaces, choosing a tile that better suits updated aesthetic tastes can be a rewarding process. Even the process of plotting out tile arrangement and learning how to properly install a new bathroom or shower surface, kitchen backsplash, or other space within the home is rewarding. It brings a sense of achievement and connection to the living space that may not have existed prior to the project.
5. Outdoor Living Spaces
Small or large, outdoor space is always a bonus. It can be a patio, a porch, a deck, or something as simple as an area floored with pebbles or mulch. What’s vital is that it feels welcoming and comfortable for those living in the home. This can be a small DIY project or it can be an ambitious undertaking that involves specialized contractors. It’s up to the homeowner. Outdoor living spaces of all types add equity to property and are related to curb appeal projects. However, unlike those types of landscaping and improvement, outdoor living areas are usually constructed in private or semi-private back and side yards. They are made to be enjoyed, not seen by the public.
There are many projects you can take on this year that won’t break the bank or sap your sanity. Freshening up the spaces in which we constantly live and work can have quite the opposite impact, making us feel happier, more relaxed, and even more patient with the daily irritants we encounter while working from home, acting as a teaching assistant, or conducting other business of daily life. Let these five ideas inspire you to take on your own updates around the house.