5 practical upgrades to increase style, function
(Family Features) Whether you’ve purchased a new house or are just looking to invest in what is likely your largest asset, home improvements can make your living space more comfortable, functional and stylish.
Homebuyers are looking for practical home amenities that allow them to live, work and play – such as dedicated home offices, backyard retreats, home gyms and more – without having to worry about any potential future restrictions caused by the pandemic, according to a survey by Zolo of more than 3,300 new homeowners and potential first-time buyers in 2022.
Consider these popular upgrade ideas to create a space built for your family’s needs that can also increase resale value down the line.
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At the height of the pandemic, many professionals found themselves working remotely – a trend that continued as restrictions were lifted. In fact, 46% of survey respondents listed a dedicated office space as a must-have when purchasing a new home. When creating this space, keep function and efficiency top of mind. Build your home office around a desk – either standing or traditional – then consider additions like an ergonomic chair and keyboard, soft light desk lamp, mood-boosting plants and a white board to stay organized. Don’t forget to add flairs of personality like artwork, knick-knacks or photos of loved ones to make it your own.
By improving the overall look and functionality of dark spaces, such as home offices where natural light can improve creativity and productivity, an option like skylights can increase the value of a home, and 55% of new homebuyers rated skylights as desirable or essential, according to research from the National Association of Home Builders. For rooms that need brightening, skylights can free up wall space for storage while adding abundant natural light and increasing ventilation. An option like Velux No Leak Solar-Powered Fresh Air Skylights help rid indoor air of bacteria, volatile organic compounds and carbon dioxide.
Over the long-term, high-quality skylights can also help reduce carbon emissions and home energy consumption, saving money on household bills, according to Urban Grade. Remote-controlled models can be opened to bring fresh air inside, and with light-filtering or room-darkening shades homeowners have maximum control over the exact amount of light they want. Plus, solar-powered shades come in more than 75 colors and patterns, allowing homeowners nearly endless customization options. Learn more at whyskylights.com.
Perfect for hosting friends, dining al fresco or simply relaxing with the backdrop of nature, 48% of survey respondents cited a backyard retreat as a must-have home amenity. Start with a deck or patio then customize your outdoor living space to meet your family’s wants and needs. Weather-proof furniture can add comfort while features like outdoor kitchens, fireplaces, fans and lighting can create a connection to your indoor areas that add both style and function.
If you want to add a pantry in your kitchen, you’re not alone. Walk-in pantries found their way onto 48% of respondents’ lists of must-haves. To get started, consider your storage needs to determine the amount of space you’ll require and remember to vary shelving heights to maximize space. Open shelving can also be combined with additional counter space, cabinets, pull-out organizers and other features to help match the design to the rest of your kitchen.
Another trend that rose in popularity amid the pandemic, home gyms can take on a variety of shapes and sizes, utilizing available space in the garage, basement, a spare bedroom or even the backyard. Providing more time to fit workouts into your schedule, home gyms can be customized with equipment most important for your lifestyle. From yoga mats, jump ropes and free weights to treadmills, ellipticals and benches and racks, your space, budget and goals can help in the creation or update of a dedicated, in-home workout space.