Home Renovation 101: 10 Simple Upgrades That Aren’t a Waste of Money

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Looking at your home and realising it needs a bit of reshaping should feel exciting — not overwhelming. Not only are you adding to its value for when you eventually sell, but you’re also making it a more comfortable space for you to live in while you’re still there.

In saying that, though, it can be tricky to know where to start. How do you even know what’s possible? To help you out, we tapped Josh Blackburn, renovation expert at Evolving Home, for some ideas. Read on for 10 simple upgrades to consider — all of which are totally worth it.

Create More Usable Space

One of the most efficient ways to improve a home, both for when you sell and for living in, is to create more storage space, says Blackburn.

“Adding more storage space can be done in a number of different ways, some of which you might not have considered before,” he says. “Of course, it is always possible to simply add more shelves or a kitchen island, but you could also turn a neglected closet into a fantastic pantry or turn the space under your stairs into the perfect hallway wardrobe.”

Choose New Colours

Next up, what Blackburn says is probably the most simple — but significant — change you can make in a room: repainting the walls.

“You might find out that an accent wall or a fully blue living room is all that you needed to reinvent not only your home but also yourself. You can choose any colour you wish as there is no rule to creativity and it’s a great way to express your personality.”

If painting the walls is a commitment you’re not ready to take, there’s always the option to experiment with wallpaper, Blackburn says. For example, try using round shapes in a room full of rectangles, or decide whether you’re looking for order or action when choosing between geometric or funnier shapes.

Make the Most of Lighting

“An extremely simple way to create a magical atmosphere is to illuminate it with natural light,” says Blackburn.

“Adding new windows is as possible as the next project and by doing so you can elevate the environment of any room, as sunlight peeking in in the morning — as well as during golden hour — is one of the best feelings one can create.

“Skylights can be a great addition too, and if none of this is possible, even artificial light placed in the right way can create the most welcoming atmosphere.”

Build a Glass Link

Speaking of renovations on the more expensive side, adding a glass link to your house that trails to a studio or any other structure is a great alternative to a boring corridor, as the glass can give you the illusion of being outside without exposing you or any part of your house to the weather, explains Blackburn.

Image: Instagram @interiorglobe

“This idea is perfect for old farmhouses or any property with multiple buildings,” he says.

Consider Eco-Friendly Renovations

Eco-friendly renovations can be done in two ways: the first is by keeping the changes easy while saving money and the planet at the same time, the second is to completely renovate your home and lifestyle for an almost zero carbon footprint.

“In the first case, which is the most feasible one and a good way to start, you can consider installing solar panels on your roof, insulating the walls and floors to consume less energy or changing your windows to double-glazed ones to save on heating,” says Blackburn.

Create a Connection to the Garden

The connection to the garden we’re suggesting is not a patio (although that’s not a bad idea either), but rather the other way around, and have the garden reach into your home subtly.

Try placing plants, big or small, anywhere it might bring joy to create a sense of wilderness around you, at the same time improving your mental health and your daily mood.

Update Your Flooring

It could surprise you how much flooring contributes to the feeling of a whole room and updating it might be the key to solving all your ‘problems’, says Blackburn.

“This can also be taken to the next level by adding some fancy floors, using tiles that once put together create a picture, for example, an optical illusion,” he says.”

Use Mirrors to Create Volume

Mirrors can help to make a smaller-size room much larger, and so Blackburn says they’re definitely worth installing or adding.

Image: Instagram @nordic_design

“Through them, you can create volume and add space that isn’t really there, like an optical illusion,” he says. “This can be done to great effect, for example, in a narrow hallway. If your goal is to make a room appear smaller, you can do so by painting either a wall or the ceiling with dark colours to narrow the area.”

Make the Most of Sloping Ceilings

“If there’s a part in your house that might look unusable because of the weird shape of the ceiling above it, don’t give up hope, as these corners can still be used both practically and aesthetically,” Blackburn says.

“You could add a small chest to improve even further your storage space, or you can use it as a decorative space, creating feature ornaments or beauty spots to tie the room together.”

Use Stencils on Walls and Furniture

Lastly, Blackburn says stencils are a great way to add character to a room while keeping the costs very low.

“You can either make stencils or buy them and use them to revitalise old furniture or any wall,” he says. “Because this renovation only requires painting, it is also a low-risk idea, as you can always paint over it again if you don’t like the result.”

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