I figure it’s high time for me to create my own “top 10” home improvement ideas, but since it’s 2011 now, I thought I’d do a “top 11” list :-). There are some things that will always be at the top of any list, but I’ve thrown in a couple of home improvement ideas that probably won’t show up on any traditional “top 10” list and may be relevant for this year… So let’s jump in:
Fix the cracks in your walls and paint them! Okay, this one probably makes every DIY ideas list, but it really is the best way to get the most for your home improvement dollar. Keeping good paint on both the exterior and interior walls actually saves money in the long run as well. If you want to do it yourself and don’t think you have the time, try a room at a time.
Caulk and Weatherstrip. Make sure your windows and doors are sealed against the weather. A good trick you can try is to hold a candle or lighter near the edges of your exterior doors and along the edges of your windows to find drafts. A sensitive hand works well too. With the soaring cost of energy, this is an often over-looked home improvement idea that doesn’t take a lot of money or time to address.
Insulate your attic! Most homes are inadequately insulated. Insulating your attic will pay for itself in the long run and reduce the energy you’ll burn heating and cooling the inside. While you’re at it, attic heat exhaust fans or wind turbines will keep hot and cold air from remaining trapped in your attic. If you live in the south, this rates at the top my home improvement ideas for 2011.
Update your fixtures! Walk through your house and see what fixtures need updating or repair. When I say fixtures, I mean faucets, ceiling fans, flush-mount and hanging lights, drain assemblies, toilet tanks and tank kits. (Make sure your toilet works properly and there are no leaks under any sinks). That covers what I mean by “fixtures”….
Check the functionality of all those gadgets! Like garage doors and openers, windows and sashes, doors and doorknobs (oil that squeaky door hinge already), fence gates, plugs and switches.
Landscaping! Mowing and trimming is fine, but putting in some flower beds or a rock garden can really spruce up the curb appeal of any house and possibly set your home apart from the rest of the neighborhood. Especially a good idea if you’re getting ready to sell.
Update your kitchen! A new counter top and cabinets may be great, but if you can’t afford that kind of renovation you might look into refacing your cabinets. There are some really awesome new products on the market that are surprisingly inexpensive.
Add an alternative energy source to your home! Heating, cooling and lighting your home is not getting cheaper. There is a trend beginning to add solar panels to help defer the cost of electricity. Some systems are very expensive, but if you are considering making such a move, a little research might prove that it’s not too bad of an investment. Keeping a backup gas-powered generator comes in handy too, when the power goes out.
Increase storage! There are three places that are often over-looked when it comes to optimizing storage area in a home; garages, sheds and closets. You can add shelves to a garage, build a shed, and usually add a shelf or two to at least one or two closets.
Programmable thermostat! Most people leave the house for a large portion of the day. You can switch out that old mercury thermostat for a quality digital and programmable thermostat. The most common are daily, 5-2, and 7-day programmable. I prefer the 7-day programmable thermostat, and you can choose what suits your needs best.
Add an electrical outlet! This may seem like a silly idea, but take a look around your house and see if you are using extension cords or if you need to unplug one thing to use another. It’s a purely convenience oriented tip, but one of my pet favorites. Adding an outlet isn’t too hard, but if you are unsure how to accomplish it, an electrician can do the work for you.
Well, that’s my list for the new year. I’m betting there is at the very least a couple of good home improvement ideas you probably hadn’t thought of in there yet.