story by Janice Henshaw –
Sometimes we need a break from our usual activities, especially this winter! So how about planning a cool home reno project? As we spend more time in our homes, reinventing our personal space becomes more of a priority. And it can be super fun! The first step is to carefully assess our home – what looks good, what is outdated, what do we like, what do we need, what makes us cringe?
Energy Efficient Upgrades
Good news! There are rebates available to help with upgrades. The Home Renovation Rebate Program and CleanBC Home Efficiency Rebates is a partnership between BC Hydro, FortisBC and CleanBC. They offer rebates to help residential customers make energy efficient upgrades that make our homes more comfortable year-round, save on energy bills and reduce greenhouse gases. A free or funded energy assessment gives us access to energy experts who can investigate how we use energy and identify ways to trim costs. There are rebates available for insulation (up to $5,500), doors and windows (up to $3,000), space heating (up to $2,000) and water heating (up to $1,000). They also have increased COVID-19 rebates if customers register before December 31.These items may not fit into the realm of “sexy” renos, but they sure can save heating dollars.
New Paint – Make it Fresh and Clean
Paint can make an incredible difference! If the walls look tired, take the time to patch all the little nicks and cracks, sand well, and paint. Painting is mostly about prep: the better the base, the better the finish. According to the major paint companies, warm tranquil colours are “in” for 2020. Their websites display modern colour palettes and most of them have software that allows you to virtually paint your rooms. Kitchens are a wonderful place to start – isn’t that our favourite place to hang out in and chat while dinner simmers away? Painting or staining cabinet doors, changing the hardware, adding self-closing hinges, a new sink or faucet are all good doable options. Upgrading a scarred and faded countertop makes a substantial impact in the room, although you might want to contract that job out to the countertop experts.
Lights Can Be So Beautiful
Look at your light fixtures. Are they a bit dated? Check out lights online – www.Houzz.com is a fabulous site for house design, decorating and remodelling ideas. Lights are not hard to replace, just make sure there is no power going to them when you are working on them! If the light switches have seen better days, replace them along with the wall plug-ins. And finally, if you haven’t done so already, replace all bulbs with certified LED energy saving bulbs.
Make That Bathroom a Standout
Doesn’t a luxurious looking bathroom sound better than a plain utilitarian one? A word of caution though: it’s easy to get carried away with high-end choices so be careful to stay within your budget. Multiple overages can turn into a nasty surprise! Is it possible to add a stylish glass door to an existing shower enclosure or invest in a full surround glass shower? The reflection of glass adds sparkle and makes a small room appear larger. Other ideas include paint, a new floating cabinet with under-mount lighting, or a different mirror. Replace a battered sink, install a new faucet or more efficient water-saving toilet. Give the floor a fresh look with tiles or warm it up with user-friendly laminate planks and trim. Now might be a suitable time to explore a deluxe under-floor heating system – wouldn’t that feel great in winter! To avoid falls in the bathroom, choose an attractive non-slip bathmat that adds to your new décor.
It’s Your Basement – Take Your Dream off the Shelf
Attractive shelves and colourful bins will help your family stow things away. Here too, new flooring, lights and paint will make a remarkable difference. Add a comfy sofa with cozy blankets and pillows, deep relaxing chairs for reading and a large TV screen for movies. The space for relaxation is enhanced with warmth – add a wall-mounted electric fireplace or TV console with an electric fireplace and media shelves. A small snack area with a beverage fridge and a shelf with popcorn maker and tea kettle will also be appreciated.
Other ideas for the lower level include a home gym with a good sound system, a climbing wall, and a weightlifting and stretching area. Is there room for one or more rousing games for after dinner fun: a pool table, table tennis table, foos table or a dartboard? A library or study area? Can you incorporate a designated kid’s play area, a colourful feature wall, new blinds, or an infrared sauna? Or if we look outside – how about a hot tub or “She Shed?”
Pick a Project and Go for It!
Create a plan and prepare a budget to see if it fits into your expense capability. If not, see if you can shop for less expensive items to make the reno happen or make the project less comprehensive. If it still doesn’t work, then put that reno on hold for now and choose another project that better fits your budget. Please don’t take on a project that could endanger you! If you are in a bit of a quandary, hire a professional; they can provide you with expert help and lots of innovative ideas. Buy or rent the necessary tools or even better, borrow them from friends, and away you go.
Don’t know how to do it? YouTube “How-To Videos” are simply amazing! Once you get started you may wish to donate your used or no longer needed items to ReStore, Habitat for Humanity, the amazing charity that helps families achieve strength, stability and independence through affordable housing. You can also shop there and get some incredible bargains on building supplies and furniture.
When your project is done, don’t forget to take time to admire it! No one other than yourself will notice tiny imperfections, so forget about them and be proud of your efforts. Once your energy returns, get out that reno list and decide what you will tackle next. The skills from one project will make the next one easier and your winter shorter. Good luck and enjoy the learning and doing!