Featuring Designer Joy Cho
Remodeling your home can be an exciting opportunity to create a space that reflects your personality and style. While color schemes and interior design are always a part of the conversation, it is equally important to address other renovation elements when it comes to modifying your living space, including how these changes will impact your homeowner’s insurance policy.
“It’s important to review any home renovations or upgrades you are considering or have recently completed with your insurance agent,” says Mercury Insurance Product Manager for Homeowners Adam Bakonis. “Ensure that the replacement cost estimate for your home reflects the potential increased costs for any newly remodeled space.”
Designer Joy Cho offers these tips to consider when undertaking a home renovation project.
Add value to your kitchen
Kitchens tend to be the focal point in most homes and one of the most important rooms noticed by homebuyers. “The function of the kitchen for many homeowners is for more than cooking,” says Cho. “Even if you choose certain appliances and decorative statements that functions for your needs, make sure it can easily be switched up by a future owner if desired.”
Focus on storage
Storage options are frequently a high priority. If your home doesn't have ample storage, consider ways to add or renovate to increase storage. Storage can help you make the most of your space, minimize clutter, and create a more efficient and comfortable living environment.
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Can your renovation make an everyday task easier? Joy was able to create a passageway from her closet to the laundry room by opening up a space in the wall, allowing her to slide a laundry basket between the rooms instead of having to carry it from one room to another.
Know where to spend money
Invest in practical items that get used the most often, serve lots of function, or require specialty installation, such as toilets or lighting. “Improperly installed plumbing fixtures, electrical fixtures, and other items could result in failures, from a water leak to an electrical fire,” says Bakonis. “Spend money to have a professional install or upgrade fixtures if you are unsure about an installation to avoid a potential loss. Obtaining the appropriate permits may qualify you for an insurance discount when the permitted work is completed.”
Stay on top of repairs and maintenance
Waiting until a problem has worsened can cause the eventual solution to be more costly or difficult. Completing maintenance earlier rather than later can save you money in the long-run.
“Handling day-to-day maintenance items can keep them from becoming expensive and involved issues,” says Bakonis. “It’s best to take care of any needed maintenance as part of a renovation or before beginning renovation or remodeling projects.”
Consider the flow of the home
How do you and your family utilize your living space from the moment you enter? Do you drop off coats and bags in a foyer or do you immediately enter a common area? In what room do you and your family spend the most time? Examine these types of question before you begin your home improvement project. They could help you prioritize which renovations to make.
Be consistent in style
Homes with distinct architecture may benefit from interior designs that complement its architectural style. “A home’s style is a representation of the owner and should feel like it connects throughout,” says Cho. “Choose paint that complements the home’s framework and incorporate decorative architectural accents and décor that reflect the homeowner’s personal style.”
Increase natural light
Allowing natural light into your home creates ambiance and also provides value if you ever decide to sell. Skylight renovations are an option to consider if your home allows for it, but even furniture repositioning can increase the amount of natural light in a room. When planning a major renovation or new construction, evaluate how you might be able to increase natural light entering the space.
Maximize outdoor space for entertaining
When creating an outdoor area, think of the space as more than a place for your guests to sit, but also add in the things they might need while they're there. “If you love having people over and have an outdoor area to host, think of what can you add to that space to make it more convenient,” says Cho. “Consider how the space could benefit from the addition of an outdoor fridge, sink, or counters that allow for accessibility to food and drinks.”
Build for your climate
Take into account the climate you live in when remodeling your home. This applies especially to outdoor projects such as landscaping or deck building. Climate conditions and how they will impact the way move in and around your home are important to keep in mind when planning or designing your living space.
Photo of Joy Cho by Lily Glass for Oh Joy!