Home Improvement Trends

From cabinets to floors, home improvement efforts have not stopped, even in the current economic downturn. If you are thinking of improving something around your space, consider these hot trends in the industry.

Bathrooms

Bathrooms are quickly becoming the hottest trend in home improvement. Homeowners are no longer viewing these as simply a functional space. They are now turning them into a quiet oasis, where a soak in the tub is not just time to get clean, but also time to rejuvenate the senses and refocus for another day. Clean lines, uncluttered space, and comfortable pieces are the hottest trends for bathrooms.

Outdoor Spaces

As the property market continues to struggle, more and more property owners are putting money into improving their outdoor space. Doing so helps ensure that the house looks as good as possible when they decide to sell. This curb appeal can make or break a potential sale. As an added bonus, the property’s owner has a beautiful space in which to live while still owning the house.

Renovating Small Kitchens

People with small kitchens are often known to expand their space by knocking down walls and incorporating dining rooms into kitchen space. However, some are opting to make the best use out of what they have through revitalizing their small space, incorporating vertical storage to add functionality, and adding fishing touches to make it look modern without adding physical space.

Focusing on the Environment

Environmental friendliness is becoming a household term, and this is showing up in home improvement efforts time and time again. From using renewable resources for the actual materials to choosing the most energy efficient appliances for the house, homeowners are making more responsible choices when they redo areas of their properties. Even windows and doors are becoming the target of remodels, as people are replacing drafty windows with energy efficient options. By focusing on energy efficiency, not only are they improving things for future generations, but they are also ensuring that their current energy bills will be lower.

Wood Flooring

Today’s homeowners are opting out of carpeting and choosing wood or laminate flooring for their homes. This is helping to improve indoor air quality for families who suffer from allergies, and it also helps improve property values. When the time comes to sell the house, potential buyers will be pleased to see lovely wood or wood-like flooring, rather than carpeting that they will want to replace or professionally clean.

Unusual Materials

For those who are planning to stay in their homes, unusual materials are becoming more and more prevalent in home improvement. Bamboo or metal cabinetry, for example, is becoming common in today’s markets. Sometimes these unusual materials can detract from a future sale, but for those with no intention to put their house on the market, they can add a touch of class and drama to your living space.

Lots of Color

White is out, and color is in! If you are thinking about painting, make sure you embrace this trend! Choose a color that you love, and add it to your home improvement plans. If it is too much for the whole room, consider an accent wall or furniture piece in a brilliant, bold color. With today’s trends, your living space does not have to be boring!

Home Improvement – The Green Way

Today, people are more environmentally conscious than ever. They make sure that what they eat, drive, and even build is all sustainable and friendly to the environment. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the biggest green trends happening in the home improvement industry.

Eco-friendly Flooring

More and more homeowners are making the switch to environmentally safe flooring. Some popular forms of green flooring are bamboo, cork, sustainable hardwood, and recycled linoleum. Not only are these flooring options eco-friendly, but they are also stylish and affordable. Some things to keep in mind when purchasing sustainable hardwood: make sure it is certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) and that it is harvested from a local source in order to reduce energy expenditure.

Solar Energy

Solar power is somewhat like the poster-child of green building. It’s been around for quite some time now and is one of the highest impact green building elements today. It can even pay for itself over a span of several years. Yes, you will be paying a lot upfront for the panels themselves and installation, but your electric bills will be reduced drastically and save you more money in the long-term.

Natural Cotton Insulation

Natural cotton insulation is actually just a fancy term for recycled denim. That’s right, denim jeans are now diverted from piling up in the landfill and are actually being used to regulate temperature in your home. The huge bonus with denim insulation is that there is literally zero waste when producing it and it doesn’t contain any chemical irritants like its traditional counterpart. Another bonus to having any sort of insulation in your home is that it keeps the heating and cooling bills down by keeping your home at a relatively constant temperature.

Other Exterior Green Building

There are two major outdoor renovations that many homeowners may overlook when thinking about making their home more eco-friendly. Both your home’s fence and garage door are potentially two big items that can be damaging to the environment. Massive amounts of wood or steel are used for both of these structures, leading to deforestation and large amounts of energy expended. Try instead to use recycled wood or bamboo on your fence, and use reclaimed wood garage doors as well.

There are many agencies and organizations out there to help you get more educated on what you can do to go green with your next project. Some good ones are the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

Doing a Home Improvement Project Yourself-Yes or No?

After you have defined your home improvement project, the thought of doing the project by yourself or with a “HANDY” friend or neighbor may cross your mind. DO-IT-YOURSELF projects are a popular trend in the Home Improvement Industry. However, before you put on your tool belt, you should look at all aspects of your project and ask yourself the following 10 questions.

1) Do you have reliable work habits? Do you tend to stress out easily, lose your temper, or become confused under pressure? Will you have the patience and persistence to complete the project in a timely fashion? What will happen if it is not completed in a timely fashion?

2) What will you do if your project goes awry? Remember most contractors are wary about completing and/or redoing someone else’s mistakes, including yours.

3) Are you attempting to do the project yourself for financial reasons? If so, have you looked at the entire cost, including the cost of materials, your time, and the tools you may need to purchase, and then possibly never use again?

4) What happens if you make a mistake and have to spend more time and effort to correct it? How much money are you really going to save then?

5) Do you know all the construction steps involved in the project? For most projects this is not the time to be using an installation manual.

6) How many projects of this type have you done? I hope at least 1 project.

7) Do you have the skills to complete this project? For most projects this is not the time for on-the-job training.

8) Is it safe for you to do the project? Some projects can cause serious injury or be fatal if proper precautions are not taken.

9) Are you familiar with the local building codes and permit requirements? If you do not follow the building code you may be forced to tear down the project and rebuild it to meet the proper code specifications.

10) Do you have the time to do the project?

If your answers to these 10 questions still leave you feeling comfortable about doing your project, than I would say go ahead! However, if time is of the essence, it normally takes a “Do-it-yourself” project longer to complete because most people are not familiar with all the “nuances” that one would learn from doing the project more than once. Think long and hard about doing a project yourself, especially if it is a large project. Large projects require more time and effort and are usually best left to a professional.