Can You Convert Your Attic to Liveable Space?

According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, homeowners are now staying in their homes an average of 10 years, as opposed to historically lower tenures of six to seven years.

With more people choosing to stay put, the need to make home updates and modifications is also increasing. Whether it’s making room for a growing family, an adult child who needs a place to crash, or elderly parents needing assistance… more homeowners are looking for ways to make their current home work better for their changing lifestyle.

A popular, cost-effective way to add space without actually adding on is by going up into the attic. But while this project may seem like a breeze, it might not be practical or even doable in your particular home. Here are some things to consider to determine if this project is right for you.

The investment

First, let’s talk numbers. NAR’s 2019 Remodeling Impact Report shows that the average cost to convert an attic into a living space is $80,000 with an expected return of $45,000 (56 percent).

Like most home renovations, you won’t get a dollar-for-dollar return. But, if you’re in your long-term home, that extra space may be priceless.

Beth Graham, owner of Beth L. Graham Appraisals, says when it comes to value, a finished attic may nudge you up a little compared to a house that doesn’t have one, but she warns that, as with any renovation, it’s important to keep updates in line with the neighborhood comparables.

“The space should be functional and finished well, in the same quality and style as the rest of the house,” she said. “And, to be included as livable square footage, it has to meet all building codes and requirements.”


The requirements

Graham says because of the specialized requirements, it’s important to check with your local municipality before you start any work.

“There are usually additional requirements governing windows, stairs, structural support, electrical work, and windows,” she said. “And your attic needs to sustain certain temperatures, so your heating and cooling system may need to be extended and you’ll need to ensure there is adequate insulation.”

The finishes

Once you determine if the project is doable, you can focus on how you’ll use the space and what finishes you’ll select. Attics are used for a variety of purposes, including recreational rooms, television or movie rooms, workout spaces, home offices, or guest or master bedrooms.

Fortunately, there are no specifications when it comes to style. A lot of homeowners like to use an attic’s sloped ceiling as a focal point, applying beadboard or wood paneling. When it comes to flooring, think about it in relation to the other areas of your home. If you want to keep upstairs noise to a minimum, wall-to-wall carpet is a great choice.

The attic is also a great place to get creative with storage. Many attics have knee walls (short walls typically under 3 feet), but you can maximize space in these areas with built-in shelving, cabinets, drawers, and even seating.

In the end, while this project may not work for everyone, the attic can be a great way to add some usable square footage without changing the footprint of your home. What was once a rarely seen room full of spider webs and boxes, could actually be a beautiful, functional living space for your family.

Coronavirus: Toilet paper shortages spark interest in bidets. Your guide to the bathroom tool

As coronavirus concerns spark a toilet paper-buying frenzy across the USA, some people are reconsidering a new restroom appliance: The bidet.

Anticipating a potential quarantine, shoppers ran out this weekend to buy food, water and other staples so they could avoid exposing themselves and their families. Others, alarmed by the rising death count and number of confirmed cases in the USA, went on impulsive buying binges, stripping store shelves of toilet paper and cleaning supplies.

If you’re familiar with the bidet, you might know it as a bougie bathroom fixture. But companies are angling for the device to be part of America’s go-to sustainable and smart toilet.

The bidet can be an attachment to an ordinary toilet, or it can be a separate bathroom device used in addition to a toilet. What’s it do? Primarily, it provides a cleansing spurt of water to the user’s rear.

A common fixture in the bathrooms of many Asian and southern European countries, the bidet has, until recently, largely been considered an upper-class-only washlet in the USA. But a positive push from home designers, the arrival of new toilet technology and an awareness of toilet paper pollution may change people’s preferences.

Bidets are part of bathroom remodels

According to a trends study in 2019 conducted by the National Kitchen and Bath Association, designers consider a toilet with a bidet squirting feature the most important thing to put in a new bathroom. More than half of the 500-plus designers surveyed say they install cleansing toilets as opposed to traditional ones for clients. More people are considering upgrading: HomeAdvisor’s True Cost report in 2018 shows that bathroom remodels have become more popular than kitchen remodels, in a reversal of a long-held trend.

Bidet seats and bidet toilets in the USA are a $106 million category expected to grow 15% annually through 2021, according to BRG Building Solutions’ North American Shower Toilet & Bidet Seat Markets report in October 2018. Online retailer BidetKing has seen a sales growth of 30% year over year since 2016, President James Lin says.

New tech for a clean tush makes bidets appealing

The bottom-cleaning bowls and seats range wildly in price, from Tushy (whose sales have tripled in the last week) charging $79 for a bidet accessory that attaches to a regular toilet and offers a stream of water at the turn of nob, to Kohler’s $7,000 “Numi 2.0” toilet with bidet unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show that has ambient colored lighting, Bluetooth music syncing, a seat heater and a warm-air dryer.

Overseas, restrooms tend to have both bidet seats and typical toilets. In America, a total of one smart seat, whether it’s a new bidet or an old potty with a fresh water-spouting gizmo added, is enough.

Reducing waste could drive bidet interest

Tushy founder Miki Agrawal, who started her company in 2016 after starting period underwear brand Thinx, says her profits have more than doubled year over year because America is in the midst of a behavioral shift when it comes to the environment – and its lavatories.

“People understand that we have more CO2 in the atmosphere today than we have had. Gen Z-ers are trying to live a zero-waste life,” she says. Basically: Eschewing tree-killing toilet paper or pipe-clogging wet wipes in favor of a spray of water seems altruistic, cool and hygienic.

“You wouldn’t wash your dirty dishes with dry paper,” she says. A bidet provides the cleansing wetness, so all the user might need is a TP pat dry.



The Top 8 Cabinetry Trends for 2020: Rustic Wood vs. Pretty Pastels

It’s no secret that a kitchen remodel can run you some big bucks. But you don’t have to blow your entire renovation budget to get a new look.

In fact, just refinishing your kitchen cabinets can give you the feel of a full makeover for only $2,500. Looking to go one step further and replace the cabinet doors? That project, also called refacing, would still put you out less than $15,000.

That might still feel like a high price to pay for a few new cabinets, if not for one little detail: When it comes to renovating the kitchen, you tend to get all that money back.

Home renovators recover a whopping 78% of a minor kitchen remodel expenses in the resale value of the home, according to Remodeling magazine’s Cost vs. Value report.

So whether you’re planning on sticking around for a while and just want to spice things up in the kitchen, or you’re getting ready to move and want to impress buyers, consider updating your kitchen cabinets.

Here are eight hot cabinetry trends to inspire your 2020 remodel.

1. Cerused wood cabinets

Unlike a simple stain, “cerusing” wood involves using several different color pigments to highlight natural grain patterns in the wood.

“Cerused wood cabinets—commonly thought of as lime-washed wood—are going to be big for 2020,” says Lauren Noel of Love Remodeled. “It’s a fresh take on the natural look that’s so popular right now. The matte finish and white grain that cerused wood has neutralizes any honey tones, making it perfectly on trend and a great way to showcase wood.”

2. Pastel cabinets

“Pastel colors are making a comeback in 2020,” Noel says. “Pastels bring a sense of tranquility to a room, and can warm up an otherwise stark space.”

In addition to the light greens and blues, we’ll be seeing a lot more light pink this year, Noel predicts. That tracks with the fact that Benjamin Moore paint company chose a light, rosy pink called First Light as its 2020 Color of the Year.

3. Reclaimed wood cabinets

It’s a new year, but Old World farmhouse trends are still super hot right now.

“Farmhouse is definitely not going out of style,” says Lauren Holmes of Zen Staging With Lauren. “It’s just a little more moody and Old World, and these reclaimed cabinets are an upcycled, eco-friendly way to give a kitchen that warm and cozy feeling.”

4. Stand-alone kitchen larder

This year’s cabinetry trends are leaning heavily toward stand-alone accent pieces.

“A stylish upgrade to a pantry, the larder stands as a functional accent piece,” says Vicki Liston, of On the Fly … DIY. “You can either paint it to blend with your other cabinetry or turn it into a focal point. Either way, if you end up moving, you can take it with you.”

5. Sophisticated brass accents

Brass is back and ranking as the go-to hardware in trending kitchen designs.

“It’s a great highlight to white or blue cabinets,” Noel says, “and brings a modern touch to any kitchen.”

However, when sourcing your new hardware, make sure to avoid the bright and shiny brass that was popular in the 1990s. Instead, look for modern brass hardware that has more of a brushed or antiqued look.

6. Two-tone cabinets

Kitchen designs are busting out of traditional color schemes, with more and more interiors incorporating chic “two-tone” cabinets.

“This year is the year of making a bold and fresh statement in the kitchen,” says Holmes. “Two-toned cabinets brighten a room and make it feel bigger. The lower, more earthy tones add weight to the space, while the lighter tone on top makes the kitchen feel brighter and bigger. This is a perfect look for smaller kitchens or those with poor lighting.”

7. Open-frame cabinets

In 2020, we’re continuing to see a trend toward the Zen, minimalist interior—which for your crowded kitchen, involves ditching the bulky stuff for open-frame cabinets.

“If you want your kitchen to feel more spacious, open frame cabinets will help with that,” says Liston. “The only catch: They can’t be full of stuff. Stage your open cabinets with symmetrical stacks of plates or a well-placed arrangement of matching glasses that will feel satisfying to view.”

8. Mushroom-colored cabinetry

Move over, cool gray! A warmer neutral is taking top spot in the kitchen this year.

“Mushroom-colored cabinetry is a hot trend for 2020,” says Noel. “Paired easily with gold or black hardware, this on-trend greige color brings a muted but updated look that’s perfect in any kitchen.”

Home Makeover Ideas That Will Make Cleaning Less of a Chore

Tired of scrubbing and vacuuming all corners of your home every week or so? There are actually some things you can do to minimize the amount of cleaning you have to do regularly. If you are in the process of remodeling your home, consider making the changes listed below:

Replace Your Old Flooring

Sure, your carpeted floor feels nice when you are walking barefoot and looks cozy, especially during fall and winter. However, by now, you probably have realized how much of a pain it is to clean.

You have to frequently vacuum your carpet in order to prevent the accumulation of dirt and dust. If you don’t, it might trigger an allergic reaction. This is why you should opt for laminate flooring instead. You can find laminate flooring in home goods stores across the United States.

An alternative to wood, laminate flooring can make your home look rustic. Moreover, it is easy to maintain and clean. When food or drink is spilt, you do not have to worry about staining; just take a rag and wipe it off. It only needs to be swept occasionally so that it would be free of abrasive materials that may damage its sheen.

Use High Gloss Paint

It is possible for your walls to be easier to clean, too. Choose a paint that is high gloss because it is less likely to stain. If it does get dirty, you will find easier to scrub than the regular matte option.

This will be useful for families that have young kids whose creativity knows no bound. In case your bundle of joy decides that the wall is their canvas, you do not have to get the entire room repainted. Many people also use high gloss paint in areas where there will be a lot of movement like entryways because it can resist nicks and scrapes.


If your furniture is looking worn down, then it might be time to get it upgraded. While textured fabrics like velvet look and feel luxurious, it is also delicate and difficult to maintain.

If you want to spend less energy on scrubbing and vacuuming, get your couch reupholstered. A material like leather or vinyl only needs a wet washcloth to remove dirt. Both are also known to last longer.Reupholster

Install a Central Vacuum System

Technology has truly made life easier. Now, you can have built-in vacuum cleaners that suck dirt and debris off your floor. No more bending over repeatedly to sweep the last bits of dust under your furniture.

A central vacuum system is ideal for homes that are bigger because it reduces the time required for the space to be cleaned. You do not have to carry a regular vacuum cleaner, which can be heavy up the stairs and onto the upper floors. It can also help reduce allergens floating in the air that circulates around the house.

Install More Storage

If there seem to be toys, clothes, work and home equipment on the floor or on top of surfaces, then maybe your home does not have enough storage space. Assigning a proper place for your belongings will make it easier for every member of your family to find and put them back. By adding storage space, you can reduce the amount of time you need to tidy the house and keep everything organized.

By making these changes, you will be able to cut the time you spend on cleaning. Instead of assigning the weekend for chores, you can focus your energy and attention to more worthwhile activities such as spending time with your loved ones.

How to Know Which Wood Flooring Type Is Right for You

If you’ve ever watched an episode of home renovation TV, you know the allure of wood flooring—and maybe even have pulled up some old carpet in your own home, furtively hoping for a glimpse of hardwood beneath. No matter which wood flooring type you have in your home, the look is classic and works with virtually every interior style. But not all wood flooring is the same! The type you choose—solid versus engineered, finished versus unfinished, oak versus pine—will have a huge effect not just on how they look but also how it wears, and how much you’ll have to maintain it over time.

Solid vs. Engineered

The first decision to make: Do you want solid wood floors or engineered? It’s an aesthetic decision, sure, but also a practical one. Here’s the difference.


Solid wood floorboards, as their name suggests, are made from solid planks of hardwood. They’re common in older houses and can be sanded and re-stained many times. The biggest downside? They may warp in a humid environment.


Engineered floorboards are made up of layers of wood veneer (thin sheets of real wood). They often come pre-finished and are actually more durable than solid wood boards when it comes to warping and gaping. However, given that these boards are made up of thin layers, they likely can’t be refinished. So, if you think you might want to switch floorboard colors in a few years, they probably aren’t for you.

Finished vs. Unfinished

Most engineered floorboards will come pre-finished, meaning the stain is already on them before you install. Solid wood floors might come pre-finished or unfinished. Here’s the difference.


Installing pre-finished floorboards mean you won’t have to sand or stain them on-site, so if you’re concerned about fumes or dust, these are probably your best bet. They also tend to be more expensive to purchase for that reason.


Unfinished floorboards are sanded and stained on-site, so they allow for more control over the color and finish. While these boards may cost less than pre-finished boards, the labor and process involved in finishing them on-site will likely add up to more.

Wood Species

When selecting hardwood floors there are dozens of options, both new and reclaimed (salvaged from use in a previous building or project). Here are some of the most popular:

  • Oak: One of the most common floor types, oak is beloved for its durability, wide grain, and ability to showcase a number of different stains. The most common types of oak flooring are White Oak and Red Oak.
  • Walnut: Walnut has a darker, redder base tone, making it a richer, warmer floor option—and also a very durable one.
  • Maple: Maple has a distinct grain pattern that’s finer than many other woods, but it’s more susceptible than some other woods to rot from insects.
  • Cherry: Known for its reddish hue and a texture that’s shinier than many other woods, cherry is extremely durable.
  • Ash: A light wood popular with furniture makers, ash also makes a good floor option. White Ash features more subtle graining while Black Ash has a dark grain that contrasts with its light background.
  • Bamboo: Bamboo has a pretty, light finish, but—being technically a woody grass—it’s more fragile than other hardwoods. On the upside, it’s a renewable resource.
  • Teak: Often used in outdoor furniture, teak is extremely durable and resistant to rot. It’s often a more expensive option.
  • Pine: Just as there are hundreds of types of pine tree, there are tons of types of pine floors. The wood varies widely in durability between species, so be sure to ask a specialist about the specific type you’re considering. The online directory Wood Database also provides a thorough breakdown to different types of pine.

Floorboard Pattern

So you chose your wood flooring type—that’s just the beginning. Now comes the fun part: Laying it out! These are some of the most common patterns:

  • Parquet: Common in pre-war buildings, parquet is a floor pattern that ranges from simple (squares of boards alternating directions, also called “brick”) to ornate (intricate inlay borders).
  • Herringbone: A pattern created by laying short boards in an interlocking V-shape.
  • Chevron: This pattern is like herringbone, but instead of interlocking, boards are cut on a diagonal so their ends align.
  • Straight: Long boards installed end-to-end.
  • Diagonal: Long boards installed on a diagonal from the room’s walls.

Historic Home Renovation: What You Need to Know

Whether you’re a homebuyer who’s fallen in love with a historic house or a real estate investor looking at remodeling one, a historic home renovation is no easy task to undertake. Here, we’ll walk you through the challenges you might encounter when renovating an older house so you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into.

What makes a house a historic home?
A historic house is one that’s deemed “architecturally significant” by the National Register of Historic Places, which is where historic homes are listed. Generally, to qualify for this distinction, a house must not only uphold a certain architectural style but also capture a specific time period. Another way for a home to land on the National Register of Historic Places is to have been owned by, or associated with, a famous person from history.

What are the pros and cons of buying a historic house?
Historic homes look different than most properties, and that alone could be a draw. Also, you may qualify for tax incentives if you choose to own or invest in one. On the other hand, as is the case with all older homes, historic homes typically require a lot of work, and remodeling them isn’t all that simple. That’s because there are certain restrictions that could come into play, which we’ll discuss below. Also, the insurance on a historic property could be expensive.

What restrictions are there when renovating a historic home?
Renovating a historic house could prove challenging because you’ll often face restrictions on what you can and cannot do. The reason? The purpose of designating a house as a historic home is to help ensure that its preservation is upheld. As such, any project that takes away from that will most likely not fly.

Here are some issues you might encounter:

As a general rule, you can’t add square footage when renovating a historic house, so if you’re hoping to build an addition to open up extra living space, that option is most likely off the table.
Replacing living room, family room, or dining room windows or shutters may prove costly and difficult. These features are often what define historic houses and make them unique, so you’ll need to find replacements that uphold the original architectural style of those rooms.
if you need to replace the roof on your historic house, you’ll face restrictions there, too. The materials you use must be the same materials as your original roof, and if they’re dated, they can be expensive and hard to find.
You may face restrictions if you’re hoping to paint certain parts of your house a different color. This could prove problematic if you’re buying a historic house with the hopes of restoring it and then selling it. If your home features unusual colors that won’t appeal to a range of buyers, you may find that altering it isn’t as feasible as you’d like.
To determine what specific restrictions apply to your house, you’ll need to contact your state’s historic preservation office and get all the details surrounding your property. Be sure to do so before starting a remodeling project to avoid problems.

How do you restore a historic home?
Historic homes tend to come with unique features that you, as an owner or investor, should make every effort to preserve. At the same time, because these homes are older, they’re often subject to wear and tear. As such, historic home remodeling should focus on restoration and preservation.

Once you’ve figured out what restrictions you’re subject to with regard to your home, you can map out a list of your home’s features you’re looking to preserve but bring back to life. For example, the original wood floor that runs throughout your interior shouldn’t be ripped out and replaced, even if it’s worn; rather, it can be buffed to remove scratches and stained to restore shine.

Keep in mind that it’s OK to make certain parts of your home more modern, as long as your remodeling project doesn’t take away from the historical features that make your home unique. For example, you can replace a nonworking oven with a modern one that does work, but in doing so, you should make every effort to preserve the layout of your kitchen. Similarly, if your master bathroom needs an overhaul, you might replace fixtures rather than rip out the classic clawfoot tub that came with it.

If you’re going to hire a general contractor to restore your home, make sure he or she has experience working not only with older homes but historic ones. The right contractor may be able to offer some guidance on renovating your home while preserving its look and integrity. And if you’re an investor, be sure to get quotes so you spend your money efficiently.

How can you make an older house more energy efficient?
Historic houses are older by nature, and so energy efficiency tends to be an issue. If your goal is to make your home more comfortable while lowering your electricity, heating, and cooling costs, start by replacing older light bulbs with LEDs. Of course, the challenge may be finding newer bulbs to fit your existing fixtures, but if that’s doable, you can make a significant change without altering your home’s appearance.

Next, replace older toilets with ones that use less water. The same holds true for showerheads that use more water than necessary.

Additionally, try replacing your windows if they’re drafty, which older windows tend to be. Granted, this may be a challenge because you’ll need to find windows similar to the ones you have now. As such, you may need to pay a premium for custom windows that fit into your home’s current casings.

Updating your home’s doors is another way to better insulate your property and avoid drafts that make heating difficult in particular. Again, you’ll have the challenge of potential restrictions, and even if one doesn’t exist, you may not want to mess with a key feature of your home’s exterior. If replacing your door isn’t an option, try recaulking around it and weatherstripping to seal air leaks.

Finally, look at adding insulation in your home’s attic or crawl space. That’s another good way to retain heat or cool air without changing the look of your home.

Know what you’re getting into
Renovating a historic house isn’t for the faint of heart. Then again, neither is buying one. If you’re willing to take on the responsibility of owning a historic house, be prepared to face your share of challenges in the course of making it modern enough to enjoy. The good news? If you strike that ideal balance, you’ll come away with a home that looks like no other — one that’s comfortable, unique, and, in some cases, a very profitable sell.


10 tips to make home remodeling service a success

Are you bored with the same old house structure? Are you finding it difficult to accommodate your growing family even though your house is built on a large area? If yes, then it is the time to go for BRB. People often think that it is a waste of money where experts intentionally break the walls and then recreate the same with some changes. However, the house remains the same and there is nothing so particular but you have to understand that home remodeling service brings a lot of changes.

The process or the remodeling project is not easy, we work with knowledge and experience but along with that, you should also play an active role. You have to work with some tips in your mind to make the home remodeling service a success.

  • Define your end goal – You have to define the reason for home remodeling like whether you are planning to raise the resale value or going to stay for a longer time. Your goal to work will decide the depth of your project.
  • Be specific about the budget– You should fix your budget and accordingly connect with a home remodeling company. You should even consider the contingency fund which you will need in case of any unexpected expense.
  • Research before you start – Remodeling is common for many homeowners so it is advised to research with others about the problems and challenges faced. You should also be updated about the expense.
  • Work within limits– Home remodeling is a vast concept that includes various ideas and planning but you should work within limits. In case you do restrict yourself, your expenses will keep on increasing.
  • Household pack up– De-cluttering of the household furniture or other products will block the path and delay the work. So, to avoid these, it is good to rent an offsite locker or onsite storage for the belongings.
  • Be strict to your daily routine – You should try to complete your daily work before the arrival of the experts from home remodeling company. After that, it will be easy to work with them from start to end.
  • Care for kids and pets– You should find one particular area in your house to keep your kids and pet so that they are away from the remodeling area. They will run inside if the doors are kept open due to the work. You have to restrict them from construction locations.
  • Get the legal permit from the authorized body– Renovation or remodeling releases a huge amount of dust and pollution which affects the surrounding. So, to start the process, it is important to take permission from the authorized body so that there is no chance of any complication.
  • Keep a renovation free area– The entire house will be a mess during remodeling and you will not get any place to sit and relax. To avoid this, you should keep a renovation-free area where you can relax, if tired.
  • Be ready with a clean-up process– The workers will complete the work and leave the mess as it is because they have to start the process again the next day. It will be easy for them as they do not have to leave there but you should be prepared with the cleaning process. The tidy environment will help you sleep well.

We hope these tips will successfully complete the home remodeling service and you will immensely enjoy your stay.


The 6 Best Home Improvement Projects To Do This Spring

Spring has arrived—and that often sparks the urge among homeowners to roll up their sleeves and embark on a few home improvement projects around the house. But where to start?

To help kick-start the process, we asked renovation experts what are the best home improvement projects to do during spring. Some are worth the time and effort because they’ll set you up for the lazy, hazy days of summer. Other upgrades are smart if you’re preparing to sell your home during this busy home-buying season.

So whether you hope to enhance your curb appeal or just enjoy your abode more now that warm weather is on its way, consider this list of the best spring renovation projects to try right now.

1. Stain your deck

As the weather warms up and the sun comes out, you’re almost certainly going to want to spend way more time outside. And a nice deck can transform your outdoor space, providing the perfect spot to watch your kids and pets play in the yard while you sling burgers for your friends.

if your deck is looking a little shabby, one easy improvement is to stain it—to either change the color or just accentuate the wood grain. Staining is also good for your deck.

Craig Martin of SPIRE Architecture in Annapolis, MD, even recommends staining or sealing your deck once a year. Here’s more on how to stain a deck.

How ambitious are you? If you don’t already have a deck to lounge on, building one may be a great spring home improvement project, too. While it may be pricey, according to Remodeling Magazine’s Cost vs. Value Report, a new wooden deck will net you a 69% return on investment when you decide to sell.

2. Add a new railing to your porch

If your front porch is looking a little ho-hum or drab, a new railing can make a world of difference. You could give your home a classic wood-tone railing for a natural feel, go with a colored railing to give your home a pop of visual interest, or go a little crazy with a Chippendale railing (a hot trend on HGTV).

“Designing a well-curated front porch not only adds value to your home, but it also creates another opportunity for [you] to increase your living space,” says Dawn T. Totty, a designer based in Chattanooga, TN. “Think of it as your outdoor living room.”

3. Install a new mailbox

Looking for an easy upgrade? A new mailbox—or an old mailbox with a new look—can add some delightful character to your front yard.

Consider giving your mailbox a new color, or planting some flowers around the base. Or perhaps you’d like a smart mailbox that’ll protect your deliveries. Whatever your reason, a new or refreshed mailbox can amp up your curb appeal, where first impressions really count!

4. Build a fire pit

A fire pit makes for a cozy ambiance, and it will certainly be a highlight of a weekend gathering once you bust out those marshmallows.

Best of all? You can even make your fire pit a DIY project.

Choose the right spot for your fire pit: a place in your yard that is flat, without low-hanging trees or branches nearby. Then, make sure you pick the right materials, either large stones or cast-concrete curved blocks. You’ll get to decide on the size and shape of your pit, plus choose if you want it to be gas or wood-burning.

5. Upgrade your garden

Of course, spring is a time to tend or replant that garden; but this year, skip the typical tulips and daisies and try something new.

For one, you can add some edible plants—a smart way to save money and indulge in the farm-to-table dining trend. Or you can build a butterfly garden, which is good for the environment. (What’s more beautiful than seeing butterflies flit around your yard?)

6. Update your address display

Spring is about new life, so why not give your doorway a fresh take with your address display?

If you have a picky HOA, it may be hard to change your address display too drastically, but for those who have the freedom to do so, upgrading those numbers can be a great way to personalize your doorway and brighten up your entryway.

And the best part is that there are so many different ways to do it: You could go full-out for spring and put your address on colorful planters, put lights behind the numbers for easy reading at night, or get artsy with colorful tile or painted bricks.



Smart ways to boost home curb appeal

Taking steps to boost curb appeal makes good sense for any homeowner. Not only does it help make a great first impression on guests and neighbors, but certain updates can actually increase your home’s resale value when it comes time to put your property on the market.

To maximize the time, money and effort you expend, consider the following remodeling projects, which were all ranked highly by Remodeling Magazine’s 2020 Cost vs. Value Report:


According to Remodeling Magazine’s findings, manufactured stone has the largest return on investment of all home remodeling projects with an average of 95.6 percent of the cost of the project recouped. There’s a good reason for this. High-quality manufactured stone is an eye-catching way to add beauty and elegance to interiors and exteriors.

When seeking out manufactured stone, look for long-lasting products that mimic the look of natural stone, such as those from ProVia, which combine deep shadow lines with authentic coloring to produce dramatic effects. The manufacturer has achieved an authentic look by selecting natural stones from unique geographic regions for every master mold and by using only raw pigments and oxides to attain a rich color that lasts for years.


If you are like many homeowners, you typically enter your home through the garage. Give yourself a treat to come home to each day with a garage door replacement, which provides the second largest return on investment, according to the report. Not only does this upgrade present an opportunity to boost your home’s aesthetic appeal, it also has the potential to beef up your home security and lower energy bills. Whether you want the garage doors to make a bold statement or blend into the woodwork, there are many ways to customize, including panel design, colors, hardware fixtures and window placement.


With a return on investment of more than 70 percent, there’s a strong case for replacing your siding with something new. Vinyl siding is an especially good choice of material for those who value easy installation, good value, durability and minimal maintenance. Many homeowners choose to even mix siding and manufactured stone on their home exterior for a unique facelift that’s sure to impress passersby and potential buyers alike.

By selecting home exterior projects that offer the greatest return on investment, you can be sure your renovations go far beyond what meets the eye.

Hot trends in kitchen remodeling

Year after year, the most popular home improvement project for American families remains the same: remodeling the kitchen. Today, kitchen makeovers are more ambitious than ever, with homeowners willing to spend larger budgets to upgrade both the aesthetics and the functionality of what is, after all, the most used room in the house.

“Many architects, designers and homeowners are specifying hardwood as an essential part of any kitchen refresh,” notes Linda Jovanovich, of the American Hardwood Information Center. “That’s because wood not only offers a wide variety of looks and design possibilities, it also exemplifies the kind of material today’s environmentally conscious consumer wants: One that’s renewable, sustainable, plentiful, durable and easy to work with — all of which makes it an excellent return on investment.”

Replacing tired old kitchen cabinets with stylish new ones is a favorite starting point, but there are several strategies to help maximize their impact. “I like to specify one type of wood for an entire kitchen — cabinetry, furniture, millwork and flooring — but use different stains and finishes on each element,” says New York designer Laura Bohn. “That creates visual interest without losing a sense of overall unity.” In one all-walnut kitchen project, for instance, Bohn painted the Shaker-style cabinets a putty tone for a serene background. But she stained the wide-plank floor a darker shade than the granite-top island so that the latter stands out like a beautiful piece of furniture.

In a similar vein, a recently completed 1920’s Bungalow house renovation had quarter-sawn white oak used throughout for floors, interior doors and kitchen cabinets. While the floorboards were lightly white-washed and given a protective coating to create the look of bare wood, the base cabinets, supplied by Plain & Fancy Custom Cabinetry, received a slightly darker cerused finish just different enough to distinguish them from the rest of the woodwork. The oak wall cabinets were painted white to match the kitchen’s shiplap ceiling. “It’s peaceful rather than exciting,” said the homeowner. “And that’s exactly what we wanted.”

If you’re after a livelier effect, you might consider another emerging trend: mixing up wood species and cabinet-door styles. Wellborn Cabinets demonstrated this strategy at a recent kitchen and bath show where their Rustic Global Spice Kitchen incorporated not only two types of hardwood — oak and maple — but also three door styles each with its own stain. “To make this look succeed, you or your designer will need to find common stylistic threads running through the various elements — underlying kinships of shape, color, texture and proportion that will pull the disparate parts together into a unified whole,” advises San Antonio-based designer Melissa Morgan. “It’s takes a certain amount of confidence, but the results can be spectacular.”