7 Simple Hacks to Add Value to Your Home While Sheltering in Place
COVID-19 is going to significantly alter how we live our lives. Some of these changes are relatively obvious and widely reported upon, such as increases in online shopping and working from home.
But one change is being less widely discussed: how this situation is reshaping the way in which we perceive and use our living spaces, and therefore how we will define the value of them in the future.
As more of us work from home, living spaces are going to have to be more cost-effective and adaptable to our needs going forward. Fortunately, increasing the adaptability and efficiency of our homes doesn’t have to be an expensive or time-consuming process. In fact, it can be a fun and productive way to spend your time sheltering in place. Here are seven simple hacks you can do during lockdown (provided you can get some basic hardware and electronics deliveries) that could add to the value of your home and save you money on utilities at the same time.
1. Evaluate the Curb Appeal
First impressions are always important. A fresh, bright coat of paint on the exterior of your home almost always adds value. Vibrantly colored paint can also add a little zest to your mailbox.
Manicuring your lawn is another good idea. Prune your bushes, edge the grass, and plant a variety of annual and perennial flowers. You can also consider, given the economic outlook, whether maintaining a pristine lawn is an efficient use of your resources, since mowing, watering, weeding, and fertilizing can be costly and time-consuming.
If you do want to lower your lawn maintenance/gardening expenses, research plants with a low water intensity that will survive in your local climate. Also consider xeriscaping, a process that reduces or eliminates the need for supplemental water from irrigation. This technique can save you hundreds of dollars a year or more, depending on your square footage.
2. Spruce Up the Front Door
First impressions continue at the front door. Here, a new coat of paint is always inviting to visitors. As the pandemic has placed a value on social distancing, a video doorbell could be a wise investment. This “smart home” addition allows you to communicate with visitors from a distance. These systems are relatively inexpensive, easy to install, and can allow you to answer the door from your phone—even when you’re not at home.
3. Install a Package Delivery Box
A package delivery box is a novel idea for your front door area.
If your woodworking skills are up to snuff, perhaps you’d like to try building one on your own. The process is relatively simple and you can find many free instructional videos online.
4. Declutter Your Space
Take the time to get rid of excess clutter. More space between furniture and wall hangings allows the mind to relax and focus. This is especially important in any room you’ve adapted into a makeshift office. This minimalism, together with a coat of white or light-colored paint, also gives the impression of cleanliness—an important value these days. Also, consider installing subtle cabinets in the main entranceway of your home to store shoes and coats in a dust-free environment.
5. Rethink Curtains and Lighting
Window treatments have an outsized impact on a room. Heavy, sun-bleached, or outdated curtains can detract from a room’s appearance. Try installing curtains with a neutral fabric tone or a streamlined set of blinds.
Over time, light fixtures can similarly become discolored and dated. Think about replacing existing lighting fixtures or installing an attractive ceiling fan.
With us all spending more time indoors, mirrors can also be a great addition to a living space. If added wisely, they can increase the perceived size of a room. Reflected light also helps to brighten an otherwise dark space.
6. Update Your Kitchen and Bathrooms
Kitchen design trends are constantly evolving. However, freshly painted cabinets and new handles are almost always a winner. In addition, consider adding silencing bumpers to your kitchen drawers and cabinets. You’d be amazed at how these noise-reduction devices can lower stress in the home.
Similarly, simple updates to your bathrooms can have an outsized impact. For instance, one of the first things people see in a bathroom is the shower curtain. If you have a well-used curtain, consider replacing it.
Water can be expensive, especially in the U.S. Southwest. A water-efficient shower head and a rock inside your toilet tank can be big money-savers.
7. Improve Energy Efficiency
Contemplate installing weather-stripping on your windows and doors. Also, an old thermostat could be upgraded to a smart energy system for added efficiency. The initial outlay here can be relatively cheap, and can end up delivering considerable savings. Replacing cash-burning incandescent lightbulbs with LEDs can achieve a similar effect.
By following these seven simple DIY home improvement hacks, you could potentially add to the value of your home, while enhancing your living environment and reducing your utility expenses.
Written by Shawn P. Mitchell