Whatever the future holds, I think it’s true to say that we’re all spending more time at home these days so whether you’re eligible for HomeBuilder or not there’s never been a better time to bring out your hidden Chip and Joanna Gaines.
So with all of this extra time we’re spending inside, you may find yourself bored and brooding. Instead of looking at social media for the hundredth time, try directing your energy into something productive — like tackling projects around the house that you’ve been putting off forever. Here are some ideas for easy spruce-ups that you can pull off while social distancing, and a few projects to start planning now to take on in the post-pandemic future.
Whether you’re planning on selling your home or simply wanting to future-proof your property, there are plenty of ways to add value without embarking on any major renovations. If your home is structurally sound and well looked after, you should be able to get away with a few easy updates, a fresh coat of paint and a bit of garden maintenance. Not only will these home updates make your property more appealing to potential buyers, they will most likely increase the value of your home, meaning more money in your pocket come sale time.
As I write this there’s a plumber in my bathroom finally replacing the shower that’s not worked properly for far too long and with these cold mornings, I continue to pat myself on the back with my warm hand for taking the plunge and having air conditioning installed earlier in the year before i started working from home.
GET THE PAINTBRUSH OUT
Painting your house can lift the mood of your home and it’s inexpensive if you’re willing to do the work. If your budget allows, tackle walls yourself and get professionals in to do the ceilings, as these can be hard going on the neck! You might be able to get away with giving skirting boards, doors and window and door frames a good clean with sugar soap or a natural alternative such as washing soda. If you’re taking the DIY approach, tackle one room at a time. Choose a warm, dry day to start, move all of your furniture into the middle of the room and do the first coat in the morning. As most paint needs only a few hours between coats, you can do the second later in the day and have the room finished by the evening.
MASTERCHEF OR KITCHEN NIGHTMARES
The rule of thumb is that kitchen and bathroom renovations always give the best return on inverstment. Like most things in life though if you buy cheap you buy twice but that said it’s paramount that you stick to your budget as it’s very easy to get ahead of yourself and over capitalise with lots of shiny new applinaces or a quartz benchtop. Stay in budget and pretty much whatever you do in the kitchen, you’re going to get your money back out of again.
Planning tip 101 (recruiter hat back on!), unless you’re in the business, you’ll need to hire a professional for the big jobs. Ask around, just like the world of recruitment, word-of-mouth referrals from your friends and neighbors are your best source of information. Check out the contractor’s references, look at their projects and talk to them about their experience. Ask tough questions: What’s a bad experience you had? What’s your history of sticking to a budget?
Now you can cook up a storm – cooking need not be a solo endeavour—involve the kids, partner or roommate by splitting tasks or call a bunch of friends on a group video call. Even if you’re by yourself, put on some music, pour some wine and you’ve got a socially distanced party!
THROW OUT THOSE NET CURTAINS!
Updating your curtains or blinds is an effective way to transform your home’s style. With so many options now available, there is a value-adding solution for every room of the house. Window treatments aren’t something we change often in the lifetime of the house, so just like your LinkedIn profile picture, selecting a quality timeless style is a must!
JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER(LETTER)
First impressions count, particularly if you’re about to put your house on the market. By painting the front door in a strong colour, such as red or blue, updating doorway furniture and the entrance mat, you’re sending a message that your home is up-to-date and well maintained before anyone even crosses the threshold. First impressions count! Make your home’s entryway welcoming with artwork, furniture and other finishing touches.
This is one of the easiest and most impressive DIY renovations you can do and if planned well you can knock it out over a weeked. I’ve even managed to do this before and here are my top tips – make an early start on Saturday because you’ll need to remove the door hardware and scrape and sand the door and trim. Take your time with this prep work, because it will make the completed job look better and last longer. Try to paint the door before lunch so it has time to dry before the evening, when you’ll have to replace the door handle. You can leave the trim until after lunch. When the painting is done, enjoy the afternoon until the paint sets. Replace the hardware so your home is secure that night. On Sunday, all you’ll have to do is remove the hardware and apply a second coat of paint. You’ll be finished by lunch time and have the whole afternoon to crack open a beer and enjoy.
Winter is the perfect time to pull on the garden gloves and get stuck into the backyard. After a general tidy up, look at any gaps in planting that need to be dealt with. If you’re putting the house up for sale, gather reasonably established potted plants to fill up these holes as you can take them with you when you go. If you’re staying put why not pimp out the shed – a lick of paint, shelving, cushions and a little imagination is all it takes to turn a humble shed into a cozy hideaway. Bring home the outside – with all the time spent at home, it’s a good idea to bring the outside into your living spaces, and the easiest way to do that is by growing a home garden. Not only do plants make your home more aesthetic, they purify the air, give you a fun way to stay fit and add to your meals as well (house plant sales are growing by about 2% a year – it’s a $1.3 billion industry and the biggest increase in buyers has been from the 18 to 35 age group so it must be a good thing!
So whether you’re Bob the Builder or more of a DIY SOS and while every home is different, here are a few simple ways to update and add value to your home without spending a fortune and with these you can even get the kids involved.
Spruce up your WFH station – the beauty of working from home means that your office can be anything you want it to be. Try adding storage, swap your desk for a sleek table and add as many shelves as you need.
Create a unique coat rack – making a stylish coat rack couldn’t be easier – just find a fairly straight piece of wood or branch, ensure it’s dry and free from rot, slick on some weatherproof paint, then add some butcher’s hooks and hang using some old leather or canvas straps.
Hang a gallery wall – whether you have acres of wall space or just a special spot, a gallery wall is a great way to fill them. Gather favorite photos, pictures and treasured mementos, lay them out on the floor to work out the best configuration and just get hanging.
Transform a cabinet – need somewhere to stash your clutter? Turn a plain wooden cabinet into a statement piece – just swap the handles for slim, elegant bars, paint the legs and add simple stripes or a bold stain.
Make your own herb planters – bring the outside in no matter how small the space by constructing wall planters – perfect for everything from houseplants to herbs. All you’ll need is some wooden crates, a memo board, strips of leather (an old belt might do), a utility knife and some rivets.
Travel the world without taking a step outside – think about your favorite places around the world every time you sit down in your home office or at the dinner table by adding maps to old wooden chairs.
Create a tester pot feature wall – if you’re clearing out the garage, don’t throw away all those tester pots. Instead, use them to get creative with colour – just mark out a pattern or shape with painter’s tape and get painting all the colours of the rainbow.
So whether you’ve got to apply for DA approval or you’re just tired of seeing the same old furniture arrangements, day in, day out? With a lockdown in full progress, this may be a good time to rejig the decor and give your home a fresh new look. Change the curtains, move your tables, chairs and sofas around the house to try out new combinations. Besides burning good calories, who knows, this activity could help you hit the reset button and let you escape the drudgery of same-old-same-old.
Change is inevitable, lockdown or no lockdown. Economic turbulence, advancing technology, automation and long-term working patterns will keep changing over the course of a lifetime. Business owners forced to make changes have been adapting in impressive ways. Altering their layout, business model or product range. Incorporating delivery, take-out or remote working. Changes that will mean they survive this crisis and many more. Perhaps they’re in a stronger position than ever before. So what are you waiting for, you’ve already got the keys so it’s time to get to work – what’s the worst that could happen?!!