As real estate prices continue to climb, the cost to trade up to a larger home is on the upswing across the country, especially as markets remain hampered by tight inventory levels. As a result, more and more Americans are choosing to renovate their current homes instead of relocating. In fact, some forecasts predict that 2015 renovation spending could exceed the record of $324 billion set during the peak of last decade's housing boom. While the hunt for more square footage can be challenging, homeowners shouldn't feel like a costly second story or complete addition are the only options.
Here are five great ways to create or optimize space in your existing home.
1. Finish an unfinished basement. A basement renovation can hold limitless potential and increase the resale value or income potential of your home. Think about the possibilities: a home theater, office, spare bedroom, basement apartment or recreation room. The key to doing it successfully is to focus on what's behind the walls, especially since moisture is a common issue in basements. Choosing the right insulation is critical. Look for products that are vapor permeable, dimensionally stable and mold and moisture resistant. Many contractors use Roxul Comfortboard IS semi-rigid sheathing board paired with Comfortbatt batt insulation to combat thermal bridging and protect against mold and mildew growth. An added benefit of this type of mineral wool insulation is that it's also fire-resistant to 2,150 F. For interior walls and ceilings, Safe 'n' Sound insulation is ideal because of its ability to absorb noise and indoor traffic sounds, ensuring your newfound space is a peaceful one.
2. Create a more open-concept feel with light and color. If your home wasn't blessed with towering windows, installing French doors and pot lights can encourage light to travel more freely, creating the illusion of space. Likewise, choosing a paint color for walls, trim and moldings that is lighter and cooler in tone (think soft grays or blues) will help to reflect light and give the room a more open feel.
3. Remove non-load-bearing walls. Homeowners have the opportunity to rethink the layout of their home by removing non-load-bearing walls. Removing structurally unnecessary walls can make your whole home feel larger, improve flow, lighting and the function of your home.
4. Convert your garage into usable living or work space. For many homeowners, the garage becomes an overflow room for storage -- and is often a walk-in headache. Convert your garage (or a portion of it) into another living space, guest bedroom or home office. Install carpet and quality thermal insulation such as Roxul Comfortbatt to block outdoor noise and keep in warmth.
5. Choose furniture and accessories carefully. Adopt a minimalist's eye. Begin looking around your home for furniture or accessories that overwhelm the space. Interior designers recommend choosing low-profile or small-scale furniture for rooms with less square footage. Dual-purpose items, such as ottomans with storage chests inside, are a budget-friendly way to save on space while staying organized.