Purchasing a home is a long term committment, and much like a relationship, the committment may be long lasting. And although long lasting, things change along the way as your interests and priorities change. So how do you ensure that your home is evolving with you? How do you ensure that your heart is in our home? Home renovations of course!
The scale and frequency of home renovations has grown in the last 20 years or so as more building companies have emerged, the volume of established houses climbs and the cost of renovating becomes more enticing than the (often) arduous task of building your own home. So whilst home renovations are nothing new, they are getting cheaper and easier to pull off. So, if you want to enjoy some extra convenience around the home, or simply add some value, below are some fantastic home improvement ideas that can quickly transform your home.
Time: 4 to 6 weeks
Cost: $10,000 to $30,000
Likely one you’ve heard of before, a kitchen remodel is a classic home improvement project. Either way, we all have to eat and having a beautiful, well functioning kitchen can make cooking meals a fun and exciting experience, as well as make life easier when entertaining guests. When you plan your kitchen remodel it’s natural to lean towards form over function; the first piece of advice is to always keep your kitchens functionality front of mind. Convenience through functional design is a blessing, that’s where you’ll get the most value, so how do you design an efficient kitchen?
A great way to start planning the layout of your kitchen is to consider how you’ll move around in it. Try to make walking spaces as wide as possible to make it easier to navigate your kitchen, especially when you’re carrying hot pots and pans around. And think about where you use the items you store in your kitchen. For example, storing bowls and cutlery close to the dishwasher and dining area can eliminate thousands of wasted steps!
If you have kids, be weary of where you position your stove top. You’ll want to put it somewhere where they won’t be able to pull all the pots and pans down when they inevitably run amok around the house. It’s also good to consider what you’ll let your children use in the kitchen. Whilst you might not want them playing with the stove, you might be okay with them using the microwave. If this is the case, try to keep them in mind when deciding the height of the microwave, if it’s too high up they might start climbing all over the kitchen to reach it.
Pioneer Tip: Whilst you are remodelling the kitchen, update any plumbing or electrics that may need tending to. It’s easiest to do this before you start to put your kitchen back together.
Once you have the layout of your kitchen down pat, you can start to get a little decorative. Roughly 60% of the total cost will come from the kitchen cabinets and the bench-tops so choose your fits and finishes wisely. Want your brand new kitchen to last as long as possible? Try to choose materials and colours that will last a long time and won’t look outdated in a few years. If you need a hand, you can always shop around at places like Bunnings where staff will be able to assist you in selecting the right bits and pieces for you.
Time: 2 weeks
Cost: $300 to $3,000
“Mr Gorbachev – tear down that wall!” – Ronald Reagan
Okay, so Reagan wasn’t talking about home renovations when he said this, but have you considered the benefits you can gain from when you knock out some walls to open up your home? Most people only consider open floor plans when they are building a new house, or extending their home, thinking that walls that are already in your house can’t be taken out. This isn’t always the case. Some non-structural walls can be moved quite easily, although a little bit more care will have to be taken with load bearing walls (a wall that supports the weight of the house). When you get a quote, your builder will be able to tell you if the wall is load bearing or not, so you’ll be able to get an idea of the overall cost from them.
One of the biggest reasons people are moving towards incorporating open plan living in their house is that it allows natural light to flow through the house better. Not only does this make it easier to see, it can add an element of beauty to your home, as the light will emphasise everything from your floorboards or tiles to the paintings and photos you have around the house. You may even find you save a bit of money on the electricity bill as the added natural light will remove the need to use the lights around your home.
But the benefits don’t stop there, adopting open plan living can be better for entertaining guests as well as just hanging out around the house with your family. In regards to entertaining guests, having an open plan living and dining room means that you’ll be able to cook meals or pour drinks for your guests without removing yourself from the party! This rings true for spending time with your family as well - imagine being able to cook and prepare dinner whilst still monitoring your children or helping them do their homework. Having some open plan living spaces can give you just that!
Time: 3 to 4 months
Cost: From $7,000
Despite their name, mudrooms are all about keeping your house clean and tidy. They’re a space for you to enter into your house, drop your bags, take of your shoes and coats, and store them all so that you don’t carry any mess further into your home. Recently, mudrooms have become increasingly popular as a way to easily maintain your home, gain added storage space and even add a bit of character to your home. It’s always nice to be able to cut down on cleaning, so how can you get the absolute most out of your mudroom?
Well, the most important thing to consider is foot traffic. Where do you and your family enter and exit your home? Whether it’s the front, side, back or garage, positioning your mudroom near that door is a surefire way to increase the value you get from it.
Once you know where your mudroom should go, it’s time to start figuring out what should go in it. For starters, it’s best to go with a floor that’s easy to clean such as tiles or hardwood. Then, common features include hooks for coats and bags, shelves with baskets for storing hats or dirty shoes and even a washing basket. Some people will even combine it with their laundry room to further squeeze the benefits out of their mudroom, although that’s not all you can do. If you have a four legged friend, you can even include a pet shower to ensure that they don’t track any dirt through the home either!
Time: 1 week
Cost: Dependant on item
Green conscious changes are an excellent way to add some value to your life by helping you save on bills! Whilst most environmental benefits are gained when you are actually building a house, there are still some great additions you can take advantage of. One of the most popular money saving techniques for home owners is the installation of solar panels. Not only can solar panels save you money off your power bill, some people are actually able to make money by pumping electricity they don’t use back into the power grid! In some states you can even take advantage of government rebates to save on installation costs.
Rain water tanks are another great way to cut down on bills and are an efficient way to store water running off the roof of your property. In Australia, rainwater tanks provide additional benefit due to the dry climate that we have. In times of drought or water restrictions, rainwater tanks offer a significant safety net. If you have access to water from your local government, it’s recommended that you drink the tap water and use the rainwater for cleaning, cooking and gardening.
On the topic of water, tankless water heaters provide extra savings on your electricity bill. Normal water heaters operate by constantly heating a tank of water. Tankless water heaters are far more efficient. Instead of heating water at all times of the day, a tankless water heater will provide hot water at the rate it’s needed. Let’s say you have one 4 minute shower a day and fill the sink to do the dishes once a day. That’s about 5-6 minutes worth of hot water that you need, so why pay for 24 hours worth of hot water!? Even better, due to not having a tank, a tankless water heater will save you some space outdoors.
While we’ve covered some handy reno ideas that will keep you busy indoors, we can’t neglect the outdoors! Take a look at our next blog where we’ll step outside to get some fresh air and some fresh ideas on how you can make the most of your backyard. After all, as summer gets closer, so will the outdoor entertaining.