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Home design trends are constantly changing. Even Carol Brady’s once fabulous orange and avocado kitchen could easily win an ugliest room contest today. If you’re a long-time homeowner, you’ve probably lived through several of these evolutions — from pastels to bold paint colors — Formica countertops to quartz — ranches to McMansions and back again. The one trend that never goes out of style is the way we want to feel at home — comfortable, cozy, and relaxed. Regardless of how you define these feelings, spring is a great time to take stock of how you like to spend your time at home, and what changes will help you enjoy it even more. Before you worry about return on investment, 2016 “must haves,” or even what the neighbors will think, focus on what means the most to you and your family.

open floor plan

Enhance Your Leisure Time

How you like to spend your free time can reveal the biggest opportunities for your next home improvement project. When you envision your sanctuary, does it include entertaining 50 friends or game night with just the family? Consider some ways to make leisure time even more enjoyable:

  • Create an open floor plan: If your house was built before 2000, it likely has smaller individual rooms that may not work well for large gatherings. Opening up the floor plan can be a great way to enhance the flow of your home, help the space feel larger, and make entertaining more enjoyable. For example, consider opening up the kitchen and dining area into the main living area to create one larger space. That type of change may even allow you to enhance the overall functionality by making room for a center island, turning an unused corner into built-in shelves, or even to keep an eye on the kids or grandkids while making popcorn for movie night.
  • Convert an unused space: If you have a spare or underutilized bedroom, perhaps it’s time to change the space to better fit your current lifestyle. Building a nice nook into the window area for a plush bench seat for reading could be a great addition, not to mention ultra-relaxing. If treadmills or weights are more your style, consider relocating and upgrading your basement workout space to the main level.

Transform Your Outside Space

Warmer weather is just around the corner, so remember to include your outdoor spaces when planning. Take advantage of all your property has to offer and create an environment that fits the style in which you like to relax and enjoy. Transform your yard and your leisure options:

  • Renovate your deck: Love the outdoors, but not the bugs or rain? Create a screened-in porch or three-season room where you can spend time, rain or shine.
  • Make your pool a destination: Relaxing poolside is even better with a resort-style environment that includes an outdoor kitchen and comfy, functional beach furnishings. Grab a refreshing drink and a nice magazine, kick up your feet, and enjoy!

Pursue Peace of Mind

Many of us find ourselves caring for children and parents, often at the same time and under the same roof. With some thoughtful renovations, you can create a place for comfortable multigenerational living or allow a family member to safely maintain independent living.

  • Create a safer environment: Modifications like wider doorways, built-in shower seats, grab bars, and better lighting can make all the difference to someone who needs a little extra help in caring for themselves without intervention.
  • Add more room: If your home can’t accommodate more residents, you may want to consider more substantial changes such as building an attached apartment or converting a basement into extra bedrooms for the kids to make room for aging parents. These options can provide privacy while allowing for additional care.
kitchen shopping

Invest in Efficiency

Sometimes the best way to enjoy your home is to invest a little money now so you can spend less money over time. Making your home more efficient can afford you extra comforts now and well into the future.

  • Replace windows: Changing single pane windows to a more energy efficient model can help you save money on your heating bill – not to mention make you more comfortable with less drafts throughout the house. Also ensuring doors and other exit/entryways (i.e., attics) are properly sealed can make your home more cozy and efficient.
  • Upgrading appliances: Replacing your major appliances with newer, more energy-efficient ones can also save you money and use less resources.

Once you settle on the renovations that make the most sense for your needs, you’ll want to create a plan that includes how to finance it. If you’ve owned your home for several years, you may have hidden equity that you can tap into. A home equity line of credit can be an affordable way to help you make your home fit your changing needs.

Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union is a full service financial organization extending membership to individuals and businesses in Dutchess, Orange, Ulster, and Putnam counties. HVFCU has 17 branch locations and a call center that are open late on weekdays and all day on Saturdays; 82,000 surcharge-free nationwide ATMs; and a full suite of online, mobile, and text banking services. Visit www.hvfcu.org, stop by any branch, or call us at 845-463-3011 to learn more. Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union is an Equal Housing Lender.

Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union
845-463-3011 (contact center)

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Hudson Valley Magazine editorial staff.