So many of us begin the New Year with the best of intentions. We plan to lose weight, eliminate one or more of our bad habits and acquire some good practices along the way. Unfortunately, resolving to make some needed changes in our home all too often doesn’t make that list. Here are 11 of our favorite projects that can have a real impact on how your home lives and feels as you head into the New Year. (We encourage you to call a Qualified, Professional Contractor to ensure that these projects are done correctly and serve you well for years to come!)

  1. Problem areas. Right after your holiday guests leave is the perfect time to evaluate exactly which spaces didn’t function as efficiently as they should and to resolve to make any necessary changes while they’re still fresh in your mind. Common issues include the need for improved lighting, larger work areas, and better organization throughout the home.
  2. Kitchen renovations. If the holidays revealed that your oven is outdated, your disposal too weak or that you lack refrigerator space, it may be time for more than a visit to the appliance store.  First, call a professional contractor to start off on the right path! Talk to them about changing out cabinetry, adjusting the layout and upgrading surfaces and fixtures. The result will be a space that’s designed around the way you cook, rather than the same room peppered with just a few new appliances.
  3. Electrical updates. Have you been tripping breakers thanks to the extra lights and all the additional activity your home has hosted over the holidays? If so, it’s probably time for an electrical upgrade to ensure that the same issues don’t return on a larger scale next year.
  4. Garage storage. If your decorations are crammed into your master bedroom closet, mudroom, and just about every other nook and cranny because nothing else will fit in your garage, this project is for you! Building or buying a simple storage rack system designed to accommodate the items your family actually stores in the garage will maximize the efficiency of this space.
  5. Weatherproofing. One way to see an immediate and tremendous impact on high heating and air conditioning bills is by insulating and then drywalling your garage. If you have a room above this space, you’ll notice a major change in your comfort level as well.
  6. Attic storage. For really delicate items, garage storage just won’t work. (Think candles and delicate glass ornaments that would crack or discolor in extreme heat or cold.) Frame out a section of your attic and make it climate controlled for walk-up or walk-in storage.
  7. Rework closets. To double your closet space quickly and easily, replace single-rack closet systems with double-hung systems. To improve their durability, opt for wood or Melamine shelving with wood, chrome or bronze hanging bars.
  8. Hidden usable space.  Sometimes a closet, panty or other needed storage area can be created just by tapping into the space under an existing stairway or an area where dead space exists behind a wall. A professional contractor can help you spot these prime areas.
  9. Open up the space. If your home’s flow isn’t working, it’s time to change it.  Have your contactor remove walls between compartmentalized spaces like enclosed kitchens, formal dining rooms and family rooms to create open areas that feel and live better.
  10. Add it up. As family members come back together for the holidays, more people are considering the possibility of joining households. Aging in-laws, adult children facing challenges in today’s economic climate, split households and other situations are requiring new and creative solutions. Adding an in-law suite or downstairs master makes sense to accommodate these family members. In some cases, these new household members can help finance the addition, making it a practical option as well.
  11. Outdoor living comes in. If you start to screen-in a porch or create a sunroom now, you can complete the project before spring and get a full season of use from the space. This is particularly true in our area, where the weather is suitable for January construction. An interesting side note, as more people work from home at least part of the time, we’ve seen an increase in sunrooms being transformed into home offices. This eliminates the traditional tradeoff of sacrificing a guest bedroom for workspace. It’s practical, too. Most times, heating and air conditioning systems are already in place, so renovations may be as simple as beefing up the wiring and removing a window or two to create more vertical wall space. The result is a functional home office that generally has a much better view than your traditional one.