At the curb…that is always when a first impression begins. The appearance of a house from the street sets the tone for the home experience. It’s amazing what a few flowers and a new coat of paint on the front door can do to welcome your guests and/or potential buyers.
When customers ask me, “where is the best bang for the buck?”, I say painting your walls can give your house the face lift it needs… updating a “well-dated” home with a clean and fresh appearance.
But besides the obvious “new coat of paint”, the other areas of a makeover that can improve the value and design of your home are: shutters, granite countertops and hardwood or laminate floors.
While shutters are not always the best option, they add the most value to your home. Shutters add sophistication and elegance to any window while giving you privacy and allowing cross ventilation in your home. They finish off a window with architectural detail and provide energy efficiency. Some argue that a shutter can be an expensive window treatment. However, in the long run, a shutter is more cost efficient than custom made draperies and less problematic than the traditional mechanical window coverings.
Another way to update your home is by replacing those dated countertops with natural stone. These days, granite has become much more affordable. Don’t worry…it’s easy to take care of as well. Most granite is polished and sealed decreasing the amount of maintenance that it requires. Granite needs to be resealed once or twice a year depending on the wear. Sealing can be as easy as spraying on a sealer and hand-buffing dry. If you choose a leathered or satin finish you will have even less maintenance while hiding everyday living. Natural stone will last a lifetime while adding natural beauty to any home.
Now to the floors….Hardwood is a lifetime floor! Each lifestyle requires the right selection of hardwood species and finish. While an engineered floor has more stability, a solid hardwood can be sanded and refinished more throughout the years. A hand-scrapped or wire –brushed textured finish is the most forgiving choice; it will hide years of wear and tear. If you are lucky enough to have original hardwood floors hidden under that dated carpet, consider refinishing them! You can choose a new stain and finish to fit your life style.
The best flooring for families is not hardwood at all, but laminate flooring. When I have an active family that may or may not have pets looking for that beautiful wood look, I suggest laminate. It may not add as much value as a hardwood can, but the maintenance and durability can be a significant tradeoff. New laminates offer a very realistic look, traditional and trendy finishes, and with proper underlayment, noise reduction. Even most flooring professionals have a hard time telling the difference between a good laminate floor and hardwood after it has been installed. With a finish that is stronger and much more durable than hardwood, it is scratch resistant, yet it still adds the warmth of hardwood flooring.
New flooring in general can add perceived value to your home. If selling, it encourages higher offers and even helps a home sell quicker. For its cost, new flooring is the most dramatic and cost effective home makeover approach.
In design, form always follows function as it should in life. It is important to enjoy the beauty we create while minimizing the maintenance it requires, so that we may focus on the precious parts of life.