10 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR HOUSE
Add fresh paint
What better way to make a fresh start in the new year than by adding a fresh coat of paint to the walls. Not only is it one of the easiest ways to improve your home, but it’s also a great way to make your home appear bigger and brighter. For smaller projects, such as powder rooms and bedrooms, try painting these rooms yourself. For larger projects, such as painting an entryway, staircases and living spaces, I strongly recommend hiring professionals to handle the job. Tip: those looking to sell their homes in the future should stick to neutral colors, such as light grays and beiges.
Invest in smart home devices
Outfitting your home in smart home devices is one of the best ways to improve your home in the new year. Adding smart home features to your new home can save you money in energy bills, improve your place’s security and make your life easier, overall. Several smart home devices to consider adding in 2018 include Philips Hue Bulbs, a Nest Learning Thermostat, automated window shades, a smart doorbell and a robot vacuum.
Organize your closet
One of the best ways to welcome in the new year is to finally get organized! To kick off the decluttering purge, start with bedroom drawers and closets. Sift through your belongings and ask yourself these questions: Have I worn this lately? Is it in style? Does it have sentimental value? Does it fit? Is it in good condition? If the answer to any or all of these questions is a resounding “no,” place the clothing item in either a donation pile, sell pile or trash pile. To donate gently-used clothing and accessories, head to Goodwill. To sell them, use either an online marketplace, such as Poshmark or a mobile app, such as LetGo. You can also head to a nearby consignment store. By eliminating excess clothing, shoes and accessories from your closets and drawers, you’ll be freeing up room for new trends and attire in the future.
Clean out your pantry
Speaking of organizing, it’s not a bad idea to clean out those pantry and kitchen drawers as well. This includes throwing out old spices, expired foods and unused cookbooks. Oftentimes, kitchen drawers become junked up with old receipts, worn out dish rags and unused utensils. To cut down on clutter and improve your home, I recommend throwing anything out that no longer serves a purpose. To keep kitchen drawers organized, try limiting each drawer to one or two item categories. For instance, one drawer could be designated for dish towels only, while another could be used exclusively for utensils.
Service your chimney
Planning on using your chimney this winter? I highly recommend having it serviced in the new year. Chimney maintenance helps to prevent home fires, soot build up and carbon monoxide poisoning. For this job, it’s extremely important that you hire qualified and certified chimney sweep professionals. Be sure to check the company’s BBB rating, as well as various online reviews.
Clean the grout
As far as cosmetics are concerned, cleaning the grout in your home is an excellent way to improve the look and feel of your bathrooms, mudrooms and tile flooring. Not only does dirty grout make your home appear unclean and unsanitary, but it’s also just plain unattractive. If the grout needs a deep clean, you’ll need to bring in the professionals. For grout that needs a light touch up, try cleaning it yourself with a toothbrush, baking soda and water.
Service your HVAC system
Keep your heating and cooling systems running smoothly by having them serviced and cleaned in the new year. According to Angie’s List, HVAC systems accumulate dust and dirt over time, greatly affecting their overall efficiency in your home. For this reason, it’s very important to have professionals thoroughly inspect your systems and replace all air filters throughout your home. This way, you’ll be breathing clean air and saving money on unnecessary heating and air conditioning bills.
Clean your windows
Chances are, it’s been a while since you cleaned your home’s windows. While usually at the top of the spring cleaning to-do list, there’s no reason why you can’t make those windows sparkle and shine this winter (weather permitted, of course!). To clean indoor windows like a pro, Bob Vila recommends first mixing liquid dish soap and cool water in a bucket. Second, using a sponge, thoroughly wipe down the window and frame. Third, spray the windows with either a vinegar and water mixture or a window cleaning product. Finally, wipe the windows down with a clean paper towel. The website recommends using a rubber-bladed squeegee when cleaning outdoor windows as opposed to paper towels.
Conduct a home energy audit
What better way to save on energy bills in the new year than by conducting a home energy audit. To do so, energy.gov recommends hiring a professional auditor to conduct an official energy assessment of your home. These assessments include a “room-by-room examination,” as well as an examination of utility bills. All in all, a home energy audit will determine whether or not there are any air leaks in your home. If there are, you’ll need to improve your home’s overall insulation by sealing your attic, drafty windows and air duct system.
Update light fixtures
Adding or improving both interior and exterior lighting is a great way to spruce up your home in the new year. Interior light fixtures should be added to the indoor entryway, living spaces and kitchen. Adding exterior lighting to the outside of your home will not only improve its security but also its overall curb appeal. Entryway fixtures, porch lights and landscape lighting can also make it easier for visitors and guests to find your home. Additionally, updating interior chandeliers, pendants and lamps is an easy way to transform the look and feel of your home.