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Best Home Upgrades and Additions for 2015

above via DECORPAD.com
With residential real estate values still low in some areas, many homeowners are exploring the benefits of adding to and remodeling their existing home. While making improvements to your home may or may not add immediate value on paper right away, there are other benefits to consider such as future value and personal comfort.

As a guideline, I’ve chosen the best, most beneficial interior additions and upgrades for the coming year and placed them in order of generalized importance. Obviously priorities vary slightly for everyone. Some people care more about home value while others are interested in lifestyle improvements.

Kitchen and bath remodels/ appliances

Attractive, quality flooring

Energy efficient windows and doors

Quality interior doors, casing and molding

Built-in book cases and hutches

Attractive fireplaces and mantels

Sky lights and solar tubes

Home offices
Green design (saving for a separate post)

These last four are more feasible for households that have sufficient value to justify them.

Media rooms

Wine cellars

French doors

Guest houses

If your home was built before the mid-nineties, your kitchen needs a cosmetic upgrade or a complete remodel. Some of today’s “standards” in kitchen design like granite counters and stainless steel appliances were set at that time and are usually requirements for today’s home buyer. These improvements add real value to your home whether you’re selling or refinancing, whether the home is large or small. I don’t feel the need to use granite counters in all my projects, but I’m aware that most home buyers expect them.


Flooring is not that difficult to choose if you have these easy perimeters to guide you. Stick with the basics. It’s been my experience that wool carpet looks better, is healthier, is environmentally friendly and stays beautiful longer. Choose neutral, one color carpets, not too dark or light; medium pile; and no sculpting. Carpets should be a tasteful background, not a focal point. Berber’s and sculptured carpets are not currently a popular design trend. Area rugs are however, and different guidelines apply to them.

You literally can’t go wrong with wood floors. The upfront expense will pay for itself in the long run. Wide or narrow plank, rustic or refined, dark or light: think about how it will relate to your architectural style, and your doors and windows. Tile, in my opinion, isn’t well suited for large spaces and should be saved for the bathroom and laundry. Some people love them in hot climates however.

above MISSZEIT.tumblr
Improving your home with new, energy efficient windows will of course add value to your home but choosing the right style is important too. Consider the architecture. Is it contemporary or traditional? Contemporary style windows don’t usually have grids or panes but rather large expanses of glass. What materials already exist in the home? If you have light floors, light wood windows will look best. Vinyl windows are easier to maintain, but wood windows are a natural product, are better for the environment, and are beautiful to the eye. Is it a formal or casual room? I like large picture windows in the living and dining room and smaller, more functional windows in the guest room and bath. Will sun or privacy be an issue? Protecting your floors and furniture will be something to consider, especially if there are no trees surrounding your lot. 

Built-in bookcases are one of my favorite architectural details. Without at least a few built-ins, a home lacks permanence or purpose. They aren’t that hard to design if you know where to place them, and what they should look like. Again, coordinate them with the molding, windows, and doors in the home. They are an excellent investment for a home of any size or value.

above via ELLE DECOR
The most inexpensive and astounding home improvement I’ve seen recently is a series of skylights my good friends and clients installed in their new, downsized home. The home is light filled on even the dreariest days and in the spring, you can see the tops of their stunning, flowering pear trees. Solar tubes are easy to install and add considerable light but don’t provide this kind of view. As we age, our eyes and moods require more light. Skylights are wonderful improvements to consider whether you’re selling or staying put.

Living in mountainous areas with occasional snow and power outages, wood burning stoves are very common place. I appreciate the practicality but dislike the way they look. Unfortunately fireplaces don’t provide the kind of warmth you get with air tight stoves. It’s function vs. aesthetics in this case and the homeowner must decide where the tradeoff lies.

My current design solution is to put the stove in the family room or den and the fireplace in the formal living room.  And if you don’t have a formal living room, I like to recommend a compromise with a fireplace and wood burning insert. You get the beauty of the fireplace with the function of a stove.

above via ZSAZSABELLAGIO.BlogSpot
If your home is beautifully landscaped with plantings, patios or vistas, French doors add tremendous beauty and pleasure to your home life. Virtually any room in the home will benefit from them. Match the materials to your windows, casing and molding. They are particularly in keeping with the California and Florida “indoor/outdoor” living style. When deciding on improvements, French doors are not the first, most important improvement for your home. They are something to consider “after” more important improvements have been made, such as updating your kitchen and bathrooms.

above via SWEETHOMESTYLE.tumblr
There is more to consider in home improvement than just adding to the dollar value of your home. Think about function and aesthetics, how long you’ll be in the home, the condition of the neighborhood, the “emotional” appeal the improvements will have on potential buyers, and the enjoyment you’ll derive from the improvements.

above via THEENCHANTEDHOME.blogspot


above via MYIDEALHOME.tumblr