A better home, inside and out
Home improvement trends during COVID
We’re all spending a lot more time at home these days. As people are looking to do more with what they have, it’s no surprise that home updates are on the rise. Whether you’re wishing for some resemblance of an office, great outdoor space to keep your kiddos entertained or just hoping to clear the clutter, we have some home updates that could help.
Tackle the home office situation
If you’ve set up shop in the middle of your dining room table for the past few months, you may be wondering what your options look like in terms of office space. A recent survey showed that, globally, 82 percent of people would like to work from home at least one day a week after the pandemic ends. If you end up working from home for any length of time, you’ll want to try and nail down your setup.
If you don’t have a spare room to transform into an office, consider setting up an “office nook.” There are desks you can buy that come with shelves to add on top so you have a small section of office space that can be added into any room of the house. A more invasive addition would be to have one actually built into your home. Some homes have these tucked away at the edge of a kitchen or dining room, etc.
Another idea is to repurpose a closet. If you’re working with a walk-in closet, you may be able to add in a full desk. That is, if you’re willing to clear away your shoe collection. Think about what you could put into storage, or which off-season items you could store in under-the-bed bins, etc. If you’re working with something really small, such as a linen closet, you can use already-existing shelves to set your office essentials and consider installing your own sliding barn door. Slide open the door, pull up a chair, and voilà—your home office.
Create your outdoor oasis
Outdoor space has never been so coveted. If you have a backyard, you’ll want to make the most of it. Requests for screened in porches, gazebos, decks, shade structures, privacy screening and gardens are at an all-time high. Other outdoor trends include investing in lighting, fireplaces and comfortable furniture.
Consider using greenery to add both some privacy and aesthetic beauty to your yard. And if that greenery includes a garden, better yet. Besides its aesthetic appeal, you’ll have sustainable fruits, vegetables or herbs to add to your meals, and gardening can be a kid-friendly activity, too.
Speaking of keeping the kids entertained, the backyard is key. Whether you’re looking to install your own swing set, or just set up a makeshift baseball diamond, the opportunities are endless.
Combat the clutter
With everyone at home all day, the clutter adds up fast. Notepads, headphones, stray papers, kid’s art projects and toys can take over your home before you know it. So, before you step on another action figure or jot down a grocery list on the back of your spouse’s budget meeting notes, step up your organization game.
Consider designating a basket or bin to each family member, or ensuring you have ‘user-friendly’ (aka 5-year-old friendly if you’ve got little ones at home) storage space. Anything that isn’t easily accessible will be quickly forgotten. It’s also a great time to ‘Marie Kondo’ your things and make sure you’re surrounding yourself with things you want to keep in your life. As Kondo refers to as things that, “spark joy.”
Boost your home’s energy
Everyone at home leads to more than just clutter. No, you’re not imagining things, you did just run the dishwasher and it’s full again. And your lights and appliances are getting flipped on and off constantly. If your utility bills are skyrocketing, or your spouse can’t take a shower while you do dishes in the kitchen, it may be time to consider an energy efficiency upgrade. Quick fixes could include DIY installation of new water-saving showerheads or low-flow aerators to your kitchen sink, while long-term fixes would require full bathroom or kitchen remodels or replacing old appliances with upgraded energy-efficient products—think refrigerator, washer and dryer, or dishwasher.
A recent trend for those considering renovations is to create a master plan but then tackle it piece by piece. Economic uncertainty due to the pandemic, and the fact that people have to be home all day while the work is being done, all weigh into this decision to take it one step at a time.
If you decide you’re going to go the renovation route, you’ll want to make sure you work with a renovation loan specialist. With their extensive knowledge on all the things that have the potential to pop up throughout a renovation, they can help ensure the process runs smoothly.
Guaranteed Rate's dedicated renovation specialists provide a transparent and simple process, while a consultant oversees the project to protect you as a homeowner. Speak with a Guaranteed Rate loan officer to explore affordable renovation loan options.