Keep Home Improvements Practical and Personal For the Best Results

Remodeling can be daunting tasks without the right tools and information. Questions abound and we may find ourselves losing sleep deciding over what color tile to use in the shower or which soapstone counter would best fit into our design scheme. Before you lose too many Z’s, take time to evaluate your needs and rely on the two P’s of home improvement – Practicality and Personality.

Keep it Practical
We would all love to have a limitless budget that would surrender to all our home furnishing wants, but for most of us this is not the reality. Instead we must pick and choose and in doing so apply a sense of practicality to our planning. I find that two of the best questions to ask when planning a home renovation are the following:

What can I expect in terms of traffic, wear and tear?
Addressing the issue of traffic, wear, and tear can save you money and grief in the long run. Those of you with children, pets, or just messy houseguests or partners, know how hard it can be to keep things looking fresh and clean. If you’re living room is often victim of spills or pet stains, combat stains with deeper color rugs. Have a fur problem? Choose furniture that blends with the occasional evidence of Fluffy’s coat. The same is true for your kitchen. If you find yourself with stains constantly seeking refuge from your formica and consider choosing something darker, easier to clean and repair such as a versatile and consistently unique soapstone countertop.

How long do I plan on living here?
For those of you who are settled and happy with your current home, your personal preference may not interfere with your practicality. However, for those of you who plan to sell your home within the next few years, practicality should have a direct and almost dominate interplay with your personal tastes. You may find that bright yellow countertop to be the “bees knees,” but potential home buyers may not be able to get past it. If this is the case, choose something that fits your personality but is neutral enough to catch any eye. That same soapstone counter that could stand tall against wear can also be a safe bet for prospective buyers. Use your best judgment.

Keep it Personal
Paging through magazines, pursuing the local hardware store, and spending hours with color swatches can give you some great ideas but at the end of the day, the overall appearance of your home is something that should be unique to you. Being practical can help alleviate some of the stress that often accompanies overwhelming options, but once you’ve decided what you need, it’s time to decide what you want. The question then becomes:

How can I make this house my home?
Many times we see picture perfect replicas of kitchens no one uses, living rooms that aren’t lived in, and bedrooms that have never shared a Z. These “show rooms” are great ways to get your creative juices flowing but the ultimate outcome should be something you’re comfortable with. If you love the rustic yet romantic bathroom featured in your home magazine but aren’t a fan of cold tile floors do a little research and find out about your other options.

You may be able to get the same aesthetic feel by swapping out the ceramic tile for something more conducive to warmth like the soapstone flooring that has become so popular. Likewise, you may find that that cozy dining room motif you saw online would be great but not feasible for your entertaining needs. Let your eyes to the searching but let your heart decide how everything comes to fruition.

All in all, keep your heart and your mind in your home improvement projects. This should be something you enjoy doing, not something that causes you to lose sleep over! Take your time, analyze your options, and in the end you’ll love your new living space.

The Basics in Making Home Improvement Plans

There is always something about your existing house that could be improved further. Psychologically speaking, this is the feeling most homeowners have all the time. Many home improvement plans begin with someone in the family expressing a wish for a modified kitchen or an additional study room or redesigned bedroom to provide more space to accommodate some additional furniture. Most homeowners consider home improvements for one of these reasons.

Again, home improvement plans get started because something in the home is broken and in need of repairs. Go over every part of your home at least once a year. Check out the roof, plumbing, electrical wiring, etc. As soon as you notice a problem, fix it immediately as a stitch in time saves nine. Early attention to repairs will help you avoid a larger expense later on. Remember maintenance does not add to the value of home as periodic repairs are not improvements but necessities.

Home improvement projects are quite expensive. Hiring professionals who have experience can save you both money and time. Word-of-mouth is a good way to start looking for contractors. Check with friends, business associates and neighbors for recommendations. Make sure everyone in the house is in agreement about design, schedule and budget. You may also need to check out with local town planning authorities for any changes in plan, if adding an extra room or extended construction. You might have to obtain permission and get plans sanctioned before you start any major remodeling on your existing house.

If your intention is to undertake structural changes like adding or removing walls or a complex redesigning, you will probably want an architect. Architects also could suggest a contractor who is cost-effective and is good. Generally contractors work on oral agreements but it would still help to draw up an agreement if you are planning large-scale remodeling of your home. Make sure that the contractor will also help you in obtaining the necessary sanctions from the concerned authorities, if you do not have the time and the knowledge to do it.

You want your home improvement plans to be really meaningful and you have the money to spend, hire an interior designer. Interior designers can help you decide on the furniture furnishings and other artifacts that will reflect your individual taste and enhance the home decor. You’ll be happiest with the outcome of a home improvement plan if you spend time to carefully do your homework. There are several categories that home improvement plans fall into. For instance, structural changes include foundation issues, siding repair and roofing. Compliance with regulations of homeowners associations should receive priority. Some associations are very keen on protesting and heavily fining homeowners for violations. This will just take away funds from your home improvement budget, so be sure that you are following regulation codes. Some home improvements are necessary just to make living inside the home more convenient.

Then there are the cosmetic touches where most of us truly revel. Aesthetics are important in ensuring the overall quality of living in your home. There are always bedrooms that need additional decor. The younger members may clamor that old wallpaper in the master bedroom is changed to something more fanciful.

Improving to sell your home is easier if you can draw up a list of remodeling plans that buyers are likely to find valuable like – adding or remodeling a bathroom, improving the kitchen, adding an extra room or beautifying the garden. But if you are remodeling in order to stay in your home, you need to avoid over-spending. You’ll probably sell someday, and even if your house is the best on the block, you may not succeed in convincing prospective buyers to part with extra money for the things you spent in improving your home. Keep the value of other homes in the area in mind whenever you consider improvements to your own home.

Avoid Remodeling Problems – Top 5 Tips

Thinking about remodeling your home? So are millions of other Americans. However, the economy is forcing homeowners to re-evaluate their role in the remodeling. Over half of homeowners with plans to remodel are attempting to complete the work themselves. Sure, there are easy ways to fix-up your house such as decorating and painting. But be careful when it comes to more skilled projects like installing appliances or tiling floors, as mistakes can become costly, not to mention a huge nuisance.

Consumer Reports conducted a survey of 6,000 readers, asking them about their biggest remodeling problems, what their blunders cost them and ways to avoid getting into a similar situation again.

1). THINK BEFORE YOU ACT – Rushing into things can be one of the costliest mistakes homeowners make. If you find that something has gone wrong during your project, fixing the problem can be an expensive hassle. Do your research first.

2). STUFF HAPPENS – Even careful planning cannot prevent the unexpected from happening. A variety of setbacks can occur during a remodeling project, from uncovering structural problems to hidden water damage. Be prepared and anticipate the unanticipated.

3). DON’T BE CHEAP! – Yes, we all love a bargain and many of us pride ourselves for “shopping around.” But always going for the lowest-priced contractor or trying to save on inexpensive materials may end up being an expensive faux pas. Sometimes you can find great contractors at affordable prices, and the cheaper materials may be the best for the job, but make sure you are aware of what you are signing up for. It’s better to spend a little more and be confident in the end-result.

4). GET THAT PAPER – Paperwork. It is so imperative for contractors to furnish valid licenses, insurance, workers compensation. Permits to allow the contractor to do the job(s) should also be obtained. Lien wavers are essential as they help homeowners to avoid any unpaid vendors or suppliers from contacting them for payment. Make a checklist of all the paperwork you need before the project begins.

5). SWEAT THE SMALL STUFF – Instead of joining the bathroom-and-kitchen-remodeling bandwagon, focus on the less glamorous details like lighting, air-conditioning filters, and shelving. They may seem unimportant, but all the small stuff adds up to a beautiful home. Perhaps start off with minor projects that you can tackle before moving on to larger projects.