With the new year fast approaching, you’re probably already thinking about potential resolutions. 2018 is going to be an excellent year for remodeling your home, so it’s time to make “new home, new year” your mantra for the foreseeable future.
Don’t let the apparent size of that commitment intimidate you, either—the truth is that home improvements don’t have to be complicated or exhausting.
We’ve come up with a list of our favourite renovation ideas for the new year. Our picks run the gamut from easy and convenient to ambitious and awe-inspiring, so you can choose the ones that best suit your budget and schedule. Use this guide to make your home more energy efficient, raise its value in the real estate marketplace, or simply update your style for the times! If you decide to be a dynamo and check off every box on the list, you can even do it all at once.
Our 10 Favorite Home Improvement Ideas for 2018:
1- Skylights for Bathrooms.
If you have a bathroom on the uppermost floor of your home, consider installing a skylight. Skylights can help open up smaller rooms and create the illusion of more space, which is a key concern for modern homeowners. Better yet, a skylight can provide you with free lighting in the bathroom during daylight hours, which helps you cut down on your electricity bills.
2- Paint (or Repaint) with Bright Colors.
Black and white is a major upcoming design trend, but black walls shrink the space and absorb all the light. Instead, consider installing a darker floor and painting your walls in a brighter color. The contrast will prevent white walls from looking institutional, and you can even go for off-white if it seems more down-to-earth. Also, don’t forget that white or bright walls will reflect light, reducing your need to use high wattage bulbs in larger spaces.
3- Use Bamboo in the Bathroom.
Hardwood is coming into the bathroom in a big way next year, but it brings certain challenges along with it. Wood isn’t always the most resilient material, and it certainly isn’t the most environmentally-friendly decorating choice. That’s why bamboo is an excellent alternative. Bamboo grows extremely fast, which means that you won’t be contributing to deforestation by using it. It’s also highly resistant to moisture, which means it will likely live longer if you’re using it in an area with plenty of water fixtures.
4- Install a Smart Thermostat.
Not all home improvements are aesthetic in nature. Some things you just feel—like the temperature in your home. Smart thermostats automatically adjust the temperature to keep you comfortable, but they also make your climate control systems more efficient. Some of the most popular options can save homeowners 10-12% on their heating bills, and 15% when it comes to cooling.
5- Replace Your Windows.
Putting new windows in living rooms or kitchens can completely change the look and feel of those spaces. You can make this aesthetic upgrade a money-saver too if you use energy efficient windows with wooden frames that naturally insulate better than aluminium ones.
Do you know that 25% of the average home energy budget is spent on electric lighting? One of the best ways to cut that number down is to replace your incandescent bulbs with LEDs. LED bulbs last far longer than incandescent ones, and use less than one third of the electricity.
7- Go Solar.
If you haven’t already, 2018 is the year to embrace solar technology in your home. Why is that, you might ask? Simple: because the government will pay you for it. You can receive a 30% tax credit for any systems that are placed in service prior to December 31st, 2019. Solar water heaters and solar-electric systems are both eligible, so don’t be picky!
8- Try Low-Upkeep Furniture.
Sick of having to scrub stains out of sofas with chemical solutions—or worse yet, replace them entirely? You’re not alone. Look for vinyl and faux-suede when you’re shopping for living room furniture. They’ll be all over stores next year, and you’ll be able to clean stains with little more than dish soap and a towel.
9- Pay Attention Outside.
The interior of your home is far from the only area to consider during a renovation. You might also want to do some planting in the yard—especially when it can cut down your utility bills. Using trees to shade your east and west windows will prevent you from losing AC efficiency during the day due to invasive sunlight and the greenhouse effect. Just make sure to prune those lower branches so that the view isn’t completely obstructed. Plant a few more trees to shade your outdoor AC unit, and you could cut down on your summer cooling costs by up to 35%.
10- Replace Ancient Equipment.
If your HVAC is more than a decade old, you’re probably spending more money than it’s worth to keep it running. Likewise, old showers and toilets waste huge amounts of water whenever they are used. A single new low-flow showerhead can save up to half a gallon every minute, and will also accent your bathroom with its sleek, modern look.
Want to know how much you could save by implementing the above suggestions? Why not use an energy audit of your home for convenient before-and-after comparisons? You may be shocked at the amount of power (and money) you can conserve by implementing just a few of our suggestions—and of course, you’ll also be able to bring your home into the future with some of these stylish new features.