Cute little girls sitting on the floor and holding warm knitted clothes. Kids enjoying the winter.

The image source is Envato.

For many of us, 2020 has been a time to sit home and study our homes. If you’re ready to make some changes, you’ll need to decide how much you want to spend and how much disruption you want to face. Consider some permanent and some simple changes to boost your family home’s comfort and value.

Think About Air Quality

If you need to paint, look for a low volatile organic chemical or VOC paint. While big flooring changes can require you to use an oil-based product to get a good seal, water based paints with a low VOC can be used in a closed up house without too much impact on the air quality of your home. Pair your painting decision with some cleaning and redecorating. Move all the furniture in the space into the middle of the room. Take down all the decorative things from the walls and pull the nails or hangers. Patch all the holes and lightly sand before you paint the space. Once the paint is dry, re-hang artwork in a new spot. Carefully clean the baseboards and the floor next to the wall. Finally, put furniture back in a new arrangement just to see how you like it.

Warm Things Up

Review all the doors between your home and the outside. Install sweeps or invest in draft blockers to keep cold air out. If your house is older, old worn windows can cause excess drafts. You may need to cover windows with plastic or thermal drapes until you can get a quote on updating your windows. These plastic kits are actually quite easy to install and will come down quickly in the spring. 

If you’re adding a room or need to replace flooring, consider adding electric floor heating to the space while things are open. This mat style of heating is ideal in a bedroom or bath. If there’s a space in your home that isn’t easily heated or always feels cold, such as an addition or a loft space, consider adding an electric fireplace. These tools can serve well as a space heater and can even be programmed to show off a variety of lights and colors. You can also get a portable electric fireplace with a radiant heating element so you can enjoy having a mantel shelf.

Declutter and Rearrange

If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that having a home office is more than just a luxury. You can actually create a nice office in an empty closet, but first you need to create the space. Start with three containers. You need a box for the things you plan to keep, a trash bag for things you plan to sell or donate, and another bag for things that just need to be trashed. Open up the closet doors and grab the first thing. If it’s clothes, consider the last time you wore it and make your decision. Do this work in short bursts of time, preferably not first thing in the morning. Morning brain is more creative than decisive, and you can spend a lot of time dithering early in the day. If you wait and start this after lunch, your time will be used much more productively.

Don’t think of items to be donated as a waste of money. Just because you’re no longer getting value from an object doesn’t mean it’s no longer valuable. Celebrate the difference you’re making in someone else’s life. Anything that needs to go in the garbage can be celebrated as having had a useful life. Things you want to keep can go in the box until you can hang them back up. If you end up leaving them in the box, date the container. Should you find that, after 6 months, you haven’t opened the box, donate it.

You can set up your new office for very little money. Short shelving units can hold a slab door that can serve as a desk. Hanging baskets on the wall above can hold papers and pens, or you can put up shelves above your desk. Make sure you create a space to hang a light just for your use in the space, and consider a good pair of noise canceling headphones for privacy.

Final Thoughts

Using what you currently have and making small but useful improvements is a very good idea in these uncertain times. A fresh coat of paint can make an old home feel new. A heated floor in a bedroom can create a snuggly oasis on a cold day. A home office can make it easier to build another income stream. Whatever way you choose to improve your home, you family will enjoy the upgrade.