Owning an older house can be a wonderful thing. From their beauty to their quality woodwork, there is so much to appreciate. However, in many regards, they may need to catch up to life in the 21st century with the help of some smart home improvement projects.
Refinish and Refine
No one likes faded wallpaper or cabinets that have been sun-stripped of varnish by years of lack of care. Adding a few refinishes around your house is easy — and it doesn’t take a contractor to make things happen. Unfortunately, older homes are likely to have dark varnishes, which can mask a host of problems, such as mixed or poor quality wood. To counter this, sometimes all you need is a good cleaning, and thankfully, this should not impact overall costs. However, if the varnish is damaged or faded, you will have to carefully strip it, get down to the vintage wood itself, and add your own polish. You may also need to strip wallpaper, clean the wall, and either choose a new pattern or paint with a new color. These projects may sound involved, but they can be done regardless of your level of experience.
Expand Your Storage
Depending on the region and era your home was constructed, you may suffer from a lack of storage space, yet creating additions — particularly with older properties — can be costly. That’s why it’s better to find creative ways to add storage to the space you already have. Put up shelving where there is none, think about unused spaces, such as under the bed, and keep your closets organized with totes, boxes, and stacking hangers. These changes cost very little and could be done yourself without having to bring in contractors.
One thing vintage homes lack is efficiency. While updating or adding insulation can be expensive and needs professionals, it is an excellent way to use less energy during summer and winter. Luckily, there are cheaper, easier means if you do not have the funds for insulation. You can swap your light bulbs for LED models, add water-efficient showerheads and toilets, and even double-glaze your windows to prevent temperature change. Easiest of all, you can add window treatments (shutters, blinds, etc.) from companies such as Blinds & Shades by Martha to keep your rooms cool in summer and warm in winter. It’s effortless, quick and not going to break the bank the way more expensive efficiency add-ons might.
If you’re fortunate enough to have a garage, it may not be automated. This can be burdensome, especially as the seasons change. Adding automation isn’t an outrageous expense, but it will require a contractor to finish well. The older the garage door, the more work it will need, so be prepared to spend a bit more if your garage hasn’t been updated since the 90s.
No matter how you slice it, we have an aging population. With that in mind, one of the best ways to improve your home and get a good return on investment is to add accessible features to your property. Some are straightforward when you have informative tutorials, like putting grab bars in the bathrooms or adding a ramp to your front door to create a zero-step threshold. However, others can be costly, even if they offer good ROI later on, and need a professional touch, such as widening doorways or putting in a walk-in shower. Older homes are notorious for lacking in universal design, so if you’re looking to introduce upgrades, do so by improving accessibility.
There are many ways we can improve older homes, regardless of how magical and charming they already are. While it is an investment, many of these updates will pay off by making the home easier to navigate as well as increasing resale value. Nevertheless, make sure you bring in a professional when you do need one.
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