Welcome to Coronacation at Home, 2020.
There’s lots of togetherness, limited activities and every annoying thing about your house is 500x more evident. Whether you’re working from home or contemplating the possibility of homeschooling this fall, it’s probably become evident that there are a few things that need to be done around the house. Unfortunately, your bank account may not be in full agreement with your goals so you’ll need to prioritize, and we’re here to help.
We shared some ideas in the past, but we’re getting more specific this time. We’ve identified the five top home improvement trends for summer 2020, and we’ll share them with you now!
Energy Efficiency – EVERYWHERE
Light bulbs and thermostats and appliances, oh my! With families tightening purse strings, we’re all looking for ways to cut costs. An easy option is to replace your bulbs (even those giant ones in the family room!) with their energy-efficient counterparts. So, you think that bulbs don’t have that big of an impact on your utility bill? According to zacks.com, “On average, compact fluorescent light bulbs operate about 75 percent more efficiently than an equally bright incandescent, so replacing a house full of incandescent bulbs with CFL bulbs reduces energy consumption by 75 percent. In an average home, that’s the equivalent of $198 in savings annually.” That’s enough to cover both your Hulu and Disney+ subscriptions!
And while you’re running out to the hardware store, why not grab a programmable thermostat? While simple programmable options start at $20, the “smart” options allow you to alter your home’s temperature from your phone or smart device – but they do average between $200 and $300 per unit. Why should you grab one? According to various studies, you can save between 10 and 23 percent annually on your heating and cooling. Those savings, however, are reliant on you programming the unit correctly. Unfortunately, many users don’t. If you haven’t yet, House Logic has some tips on how to do so effectively.
Appliances are a bigger expense and a larger conversation. Making your appliances more energy efficient doesn’t necessarily mean replacement, though. It is recommended that you vacuum the coils on your refrigerator every three months to minimize damage. Run your washing machine on the cold water setting whenever possible and line dry on warm summer days. Use your dishwasher on the basic wash option. Consider making dinner in the crockpot or instapot, even in summer months. These simple actions have big impacts on your monthly energy footprint.
Repurposing and Repainting
Reduce, reuse, and recycle has become a massive trend when it comes to home furnishings. Pallets can be found as furnishings in every room. Pipes and naked lumber form shelves and television stands. Old entertainment units are finding new life as bars and computer armoires. Scouring your local free groups on Facebook and apps like letgo will give you extensive options to redecorate, refurbish and refresh your home. Using chalk paint and a little creativity, you can update the look of your home in no time.
Paint, in general, is always one of the least expensive options with big impact on your home. Get bold with accent walls or kitchen cabinets in exciting hues like navy blue or seafoam green! Professionals at paint-specific stores like Sherwin Williams, or at the local hardware store, can help you find the right color palette. You can even bring in any item for their machines to swatch and color match! For a quick and dramatic update, repaint your front door a bold color. While the classic red door will always give your home a welcoming entry, popular pops currently include Tiffany blue, yellow and even a vibrant lime green! A few coats of paint and a new wreath…you’ll love the difference!
Countertops are always an investment, but they are also one of the top items on buyer checklists. While granite had its moment, currently quartz and marble are taking center stage for home improvement top pics. Depending on the size of your kitchen and the quartz or marble you select, your project can easily run well into the thousands.
Remember when choosing counters that neutrals are best, unless you know you will be in your home to outlive this kitchen renovation and into the next. Resale value is often hindered by choices homeowners made that were too specific to their tastes. Solid colors, and those with classic tones like whites, greys, blacks and browns, tend to retain their appeal longest. Newer options, like nano glass, are impervious to stains but will impact your bottom line for that tradeoff. Depending on your budget, options like poured concrete or even soapstone can have drastic impact, and require very little upheaval to your kitchen. Many companies can come in and remove your old counter and put your new one in the same day. Shop around!
A Breath of Fresh Air
Nothing is more obviously important this year than health. We are reminded constantly with statistics and face masks that the COVID-19 health threat is affecting people worldwide. Cleaning has never been more prominent; toilet paper has never been more coveted. Whether a free-standing air purifier unit or a ducted air purification system, the trend for safe air at home is a no-brainer. According to Consumer Reports, it’s too early yet to know how significant an impact these systems have on protecting your family. But any system with a HEPA filtration unit will have some impact. Be prepared to spend at least $200 for a unit recommended by CR, and at least twice that as a starting point for built-in units. At the very least, make sure to keep your ducts cleaned, and replace your filters in all systems and devices in your home (remember that vacuum you bought JUST for the HEPA filter? You need to replace those!)
From the Outside In
One of the best things you can do to lower utility costs and up the value of your home is to improve its overall efficiency through an updated roof and insulation. According to this graphic from GreenHomeGnome.com, homes lose most of their energy through the walls, windows and doors, and the roof. To counteract that, quick fixes like thick curtains, and weather sealant around all windows and doors will help.
But for lasting impact and value, look at your outerwear. Updating an aging roof and improving dated insulation will yield an immediate impact on your home’s efficiency.
Yes, we’re a spray foam insulation company. Obviously, we think it’s great and we know the benefits to your home and your bottom line. But beyond the self-promotion, experts agree that updating your insulation does have the desired effect. You will save money every month on your home’s heating and cooling bills.
We can’t help you with your countertops. You probably don’t want our suggestions on painting your home. But if you’re interested in minimizing how much heating and cooling you’re losing through your walls and roof, let’s do something about that.