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What's Up Magazine

At Home in Style: Subtle to Super

Sep 13, 2011 07:43PM ● By Anonymous

Improvements That Make Cents

Home improvement means many things to different people. While some homeowners may consider investing money in new luxury appliances a huge investment, other Americans spend tens of thousands of dollars replacing entire kitchens, adding family rooms, and extending porches and decks.  Each year billions of dollars are spent creating additional living space in already existing dwellings. How much of that money spent translates into dollars earned when it is time to put the house on the market? Shrewd home investors know that all remodeling projects do not yield the same positive financial results, when it comes time to sell. (That’s why homeowners planning to stay more than 10 years in their homes tend to choose projects that will provide them with practical and personal comfort.)

But what are the best ways to add value to your home?  And how can you best utilize the existing rooms in your house to their best advantage?

Since more people are working from home or telecommuting part of the week, home offices are becoming more desirable.  Extra bedrooms, unused garages, a side porch or basement can be great location for your future office and add value to an existing home. Good lighting and storage space are attributes that make a home office a practical choice. For example, instead of using the dining room table to pay the bills, create an actual office.

Another transforming fix is to give your house a new look by replacing old windows. Then there’s also the added benefit of  lower energy bills at the same time. New windows with their state-of-the art materials and designs can enhance the quality of your home’s structure and its appearance.

Doors, like windows, can be a chief source of energy loss. And of course the first impression when someone enters your home is the appearance of your front door. Metal and fiberglass provide secure and desirable alternatives with less susceptibility to weathering. Quality hardware and a vibrant color are additional ways of utilizing your front door to add curb appeal.

The most popular room in any home is the kitchen, so make it as beautiful as possible. Experts say that upgrading appliances, adding more workspace, updating counters, and giving your floor a new finish will do wonders for resale. Even small touches such as changing the hardware or lighting fixtures can enhance a kitchen’s appearance. 

The value of a home is partially measured by the number of bathrooms. An extra bedroom can become an additional bathroom and may provide the square footage for a generous bedroom suite and dressing area. The extra space underneath the stairs in older homes can be transformed into a small powder room if needed and an extension off the kitchen is the perfect spot for a laundry room area and first floor bath.

Last, many homeowners chose to invest in finishing the basement taking advantage of that unused space. Remodeled basements can make excellent game rooms, family rooms, guest quarters, and headquarters for that home theater you’ve been dreaming about. However, when you are ready to renovate the basement, there are some special considerations. First and foremost, is making sure your area is waterproofed and dry. If it’s damp and or moldy, take care of these problems by hiring a professional. You may find that it’s a simple fix such as sealing windows and doors, rerouting downspouts, or re-grading the landscape to slope away from your home. Moisture problems can also be corrected through providing good ventilation, insulation, and using a dehumidifier. If you opt for a media or theater area, make sure you can block light that may interrupt your big screen feeling. Speaking of screens, many people also install a professional screen or paint their wall with special “screen” paint for picture and color clarity. Of course many homes on the Eastern Shore don’t have a basement. You folks may want to built up or out to add space.

There is not doubt, however, that an addition or a newly renovated area not only gives you more space, it allows you to create the space of your dreams. Imagine – a playroom for your kids, a massive man cave, a workout area, an extra apartment, or coveted office space. The choice is yours.