We all notice things we want to improve with our house, especially with all this time most of us are spending at home. Still, nearly half of homeowners say they don't want to dedicate the time to these projects.
We know there's no such thing as free time, but, with more time to play with, it's the perfect window to start upgrading your home!
Jumping into projects seems daunting to some people, but we're here to make it easy for you. We've split this up like a video game. Pick your difficulty, pick your game, and play!
Attention to detail is key. Beyond functionality, a standout faucet that compliments the sink just looks really cool. It'll add some more serotonin to your mornin'. Also, if you have a leaky faucet that's vaguely annoyed the back of your mind, it's easy to finally check that box off.
LIGHTS AND SWITCHES
All we see is light. Everything we see, we only see because light reflects off of it and into our eyes. Kanye West even hired a light artist to join the team of architects that's trailed him for the last few months as he works on West Lake Ranch. Installing new lights will change your entire home, and the switches are just another bonus upgrade that can go a long way for your mind over time.
A fire pit in the backyard can turn your house into the congregation spot for the whole summer. Whether you're pre-gaming, hanging with the family, or making s’mores at 2am during an existential crisis, it's a great addition! If done right, it can add an incredible amount of design brownie points as well.
SMART TECH UPGRADES
Something important to consider: smart tech is easily hackable. There are even sites, like Shodan, that are essentially a search engine for people's Internet of Things (IoT/smart tech) devices. Something equally important to consider: nobody cares enough to hack you out of the blue, so it almost definitely won't happen.
Once you self-assess what level of security you need, you can match it. To put it bluntly though, it comes down to how badly you and your antagonist "want it." If they want to get in more than you want to keep them out, and they act accordingly, they're coming in. The same goes vice versa.
Some big smart tech suggestions: doorknobs and locks, doorbell cameras, and lights. Those are the most useful, but you can venture into smart fridges, toasters, and maybe even a Tamagotchi if you're feeling bold. The list is endless, and entire "smart homes" are already on the market, so, again, use your imagination!
These can secure you a bag of interior design brownie points. Whether its a welcome mat or a Persian in the lounge, even Louis Vuitton's menswear creative director, Virgil Abloh, recognizes the importance of some good floor decor. His personal brand, Off-White, collaborated with Ikea to make a line of interior furniture, and the "KEEP OFF" rugs were arguable the biggest hit. The possibilities are endless here, and sifting through options might take a while, but it pays off.
This one is potentially hefty, and can fall into all three difficulties, but there are plenty of things you can do to improve your yard. A moss lawn might run you $75,000, but a few statuettes might only cost a few hundred. We beg of you though, please don't use plastic yard decorations so as to protect the general area from projectile vomit and general displeasure.
Some options: put up statues, keep the grass well-kept, picking up anything that doesn't belong (like trash that might've blown in or stuff that was left out), trimming the bushes, cleaning your windows and the entrances (if you have white stairs, give 'em a good wash), and planting some stuff (we recommend these bee-friendly plants so they don't go extinct and take us with them).
As for the other difficulties, again, moss lawns are sensational. Fun fact: lawns started as a way for the French aristocracy to flex on the poor people and say "I have so much money that I can do nothing with all this land and it doesn't matter at all." This insecurity carried over to multiple cultures somehow. When Italian immigrants came to the US, they were stunned and confused as to why we had lawns instead of gardens, or anything to utilize the land, so don't fear doing something extraordinary.
This isn't the hefty undertaking that it might seem like prima facie. It's potentially as simple as pulling your drawers out, taking the cabinets off, painting them all, and putting them back in. This could change your entire kitchen in a matter of hours. You could go all the way with it and install new cabinets, but that's edging on a harder difficulty.
This one is actually really easy, but we put it here because it's a big move.
As for the actual replacement of the door, unless you're building a war bunker, is as simple as taking the old one off it's hinges, maybe replacing the hinges, and putting the new one on.
Doors can get expensive, and replacing doors usually involves other tasks as well. If you change your front door from that hollow white plastic/wood stuff to solid mahogany, for example, then you'll probably want to change the entrance to improve the whole aesthetic.
One option we think you'll love is power-washing. It's super satisfying to watch and really easy to do. You can rent a power washer from your local Home Depot or Lowe's for next to nothing and get after it. Sidewalks and driveways are the easiest, and funnest, as well as those white stairs from earlier and essentially anything except the walls. It's easy to ruin parts of your house with such powerful water though. (It is known to leave burns, remove skin, and even take some fingers.) Plastic stands no chance, and wood can get unevenly damaged, so you might want to leave the actual house to professionals.
Garden sheds are known to improve a home's price by about 5%, AND it's a great place to shove all that stuff. You know the stuff, it's everywhere.
You can find countless blueprints online to build them yourself, which is why we put this in the expert category. However, you can also buy them pre-made. You could go as far as to buy one of those mini-houses for $250/m, but we could give you a much better real estate investment plan than that.
This is a tough one, but if you're already planning on redoing floors then it's perfect to tack onto the project. Imaging this: it's February, 4:37am on a Tuesday. You're getting up to go to the bathroom, but when you already know what you're signing up for; ice cold floors the whole way there. Now imagine if you had heated floors. Maybe just the bathroom, or the bedroom, or the kitchen, or the entire house if you're feeling it. Imagine that.
REDO YOUR DRIVEWAY
Pavement is boring. Gravel in MA isn't the best idea because of snow, but there are plenty of options. Consider how you want to style your home and maybe start with picking a material. Do you want something solid like tarmac, stone in an intricate pattern, or maybe even epoxy? Which brings us to our next suggestion...
If you have a garage there is so much you can do with it. One suggestion is to install epoxy floors. It'll up your home value significantly and is also the perfect material for really any work you might do in there.
Our favorite suggestion? Turn your garage into an open concept room. Yes, we said it. We don't mean let the kids turn it into a makeshift spot for their band (unless they want to in which case obviously let them do that.) Picture something more luxurious, like this. Remember, just your lawn, it's your land and it's your home-- you can do everything you want with it. Most people use it as car storage, but who want's to end up like most people anyways. Have fun with it!
BLOW OUT A WALL
You're going to want to consult with a professional for this one to make sure your bedroom doesn't come crashing down into your living room from above. The market favors open concept properties, and it isn't all that difficult to achieve. You can combine your formal dining room with your living room and leave meals for the kitchen, or combine two bedrooms to make a master suite. The later is a riskier move because it might lower property value, but if you're not concerned about the margin then go for it. You could go as far as removing the floors and lofting your entire house, going super open concept, which would potentially skyrocket the homes value depending on what area it's in.