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Homeownership9 min read

Home Improvement Projects You Can Do During Quarantine

By Noah - July 21, 2020

Summer is here, which means that many of us have spent three months or more staying at home to help reduce disease spread. If you’re feeling restless looking at the same four walls, it’s understandable!

Even if you’re planning on continuing to spend most of your time at home, that doesn’t mean you can’t get a change of scenery. Taking on any of these home improvement projects can freshen up your living space and potentially add value to your home. Even daydreaming about a room makeover can help you see a space with fresh eyes. Ready to get started? Your dream home awaits.

Is Remodeling Necessary?

Home makeovers have been having a moment for a while now. Shows on popular home channels like HGTV suggest an almost endless appetite for the dramatic transformation reveal. Home renovations are even getting some pushback from people worried that homeowners are overspending on unnecessary projects.  

It’s true that many home improvements aren’t strictly necessary. If appliances function, your house doesn’t get unbearably hot or freezing cold, and energy usage seems reasonable, you don’t need to make changes to make a home livable. Renovations can carry a significant price tag, and ultimately your financial stability matters more than a sleek master bath.  

All that to say, if you’re enjoying your home, don’t let anyone shame you into a renovation. Love the way that 1970s shag carpet scrunches between your toes? Boogie on.

Still, no one ever said something had to be necessary to be worthwhile. We do unnecessary things all the time! A healthy diet hardly requires a slice of birthday cake. Making the case not to update a functioning home can seem like arguing that if your hometown has pleasant enough weather, you shouldn’t go on vacation. Seeking novelty or expressing yourself through your home is a perfectly valid reason to plan improvement projects. 

Plus, with a little research, you may find that the renovations that make your heart sing will also have a positive impact on your future home value:  double the win!

Without further ado, let’s dive into some of the best home improvement projects that you may have your eye on.

Bathroom Remodel

You may not spend as much time in your bathroom as some other areas of your house, but this high-traffic room can do a lot to set the tone for your home. An inviting bathroom can offer space to relax and set aside the more hectic concerns of your day.

Bathroom remodels do fairly well in terms of adding home value. Homeowners may recoup around 60-67% of their remodel investment on a sale. While you’re unlikely to gain back the full value of almost any remodel, the difference you feel in your enjoyment of your home has value, too.

When you’re planning your bathroom remodel, think in terms of aesthetics, functionality, and environmental efficiency. Choosing toilets and showerheads that conserve water saves on your water bill. Some cities, such as Santa Fe, are even structuring pricing for water use to provide financial incentives to conserve water. Adding accommodations like a grab bar in the shower, low or no steps, and wheelchair-friendly fixtures can appeal to a wide range of buyers or help you prepare to stay in your home as you grow older. 

Other bathroom upgrades to consider:

  • Choosing high-quality, durable materials
  • Replacing tile, vanity, toilet, and sink fixtures
  • Replacing or upgrading your bathtub/shower
  • Repainting bathroom walls 

Generally, a midrange bathroom remodel costs around $15,000-$20,000.

Kitchen Remodel

A kitchen remodel is one of the highest-value home renovation projects you can take on. Plus, it’s a lot more fun than replacing a garage door, which came in just a few spots ahead on a 2019 Cost vs. Value Report for costs recouped.

When turning attention to your kitchen, the key is sticking to a minor remodel, rather than an all-out renovation. Minor remodels can often strike a great balance between improving functionality and refreshing the dreaded “dated” look while also keeping costs on the lower end. Even a minor kitchen facelift can introduce changes with big impacts, such as:

  • Replacing cabinet panels, drawers, hardware, sinks, and fixtures
  • Swapping outdated appliances with energy-efficient models
  • Installing fresh countertops (your choice of material, such as granite, marble, laminate, or glass can make a big price difference)
  • Adding resilient flooring
  • Creating a kitchen island for more storage and counter space

Add a fresh coat of paint for a finishing touch, and enjoy a new-feeling space. The national average minor kitchen remodel cost is around $22,000-24,000, although it can easily go much higher.

Exterior Remodel - Landscaping

Traveling may be harder than usual this year. If you’re used to kicking back on a summer vacation, refreshing your outside space can make your yard your favorite spot.

One benefit of focusing your effort on landscaping is these renovations often come in cheaper than redoing a room with major appliances. Here are some ideas to boost curb appeal and enjoy your outdoors:

Adding a deck essentially gives you another room to hang out or entertain. Prices vary depending on how elaborate your plans are:  a simple, modest-sized pine deck is going to run up a very different bill than a large, exotic hardwood deck with lighting and a kitchen area.

If you’d like to add a fire pit for your own campfire nights, start by checking your county regulations. From there, decide what type of fire pit appeals to you and get your best ghost stories ready.

Sunroom Addition

A deck exposes you to the elements, whether that’s scorching heat or a summer downpour. A home addition often costs around $50,000, and you may still feel stuck inside. For some owners, a sunroom offers the best and most cost-effective solution to the indoor-outdoor problem.

A sunroom is generally made primarily out of glass. This offers two major advantages: It’s significantly cheaper than a “stick-built addition” made with typical home structure materials, and the glass lets you take in more views of nature. Sunroom costs average around $15,000, although this is based on a sunroom that doesn’t require new foundation. If you’ll need to add to the home’s foundation to build, the cost can reach $75,000 or more.

One choice you’ll have to make it whether you want a sunroom to function optimally year-round, or if you’re okay having it be a more seasonal space. Most building codes don’t require you to install electricity or central heating and cooling. Some homeowners may choose to include these so they can use the room comfortably as much as possible. Others may keep features minimal and prefer to treat the sunroom as a sheltered “outdoor” space.

 

Spending time in quarantine gave many of us a chance to reflect on everything we love about our homes — and a few things we maybe don’t. If your finances are in a good place, a home improvement project might be just the thing to help you get excited about kicking back at home all over again.

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