Mistakes to avoid when upgrading a kitchen: Don’t get sucked into tempting, one-function items

Your household may have grown during the coronavirus pandemic as adult children who lost their jobs returned home. At the same time, your wallet may have become thinner during the economic fallout caused by the global health crisis.

Combine those factors and it’s easy to see that a study by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA) found that people want to improve their kitchen, especially with germ-avoiding, touchless technology, while adhering to a tight budget.

An overwhelming 99% of manufacturing, construction, design and retail businesses surveyed by the trade association said more consumers are requesting assistance with small-scale, DIY kitchen projects.

To reduce the risk of getting Covid-19, the survey found people want contact-less products with automatic sensors and antimicrobial surfaces as well as outdoor kitchens, where they can safely entertain while social distancing.

The pandemic also made people aware of the need to prepare for an emergency and store provisions. Improved water and air filtration systems are also part of the plan to hunker down safely at home.

“We’re breathing this air all day now and we’re wondering, ‘What’s in it?’” says Barbara Miller, design director for the Neil Kelly design and remodeling company.

In any size home, people are placing even more value on storage space and pantries to keep surplus food and water. It’s not easy to add cabinets, let alone counters, a sink and electrical outlets, to what’s considered the busiest and most complex room in any house.

Experts are available to advise you at all levels. A design consultation is free at Home Depot, either in the store or virtually. If you haven’t thought about upgrading a kitchen in a while, this is an easy way to be introduced to new materials and approaches.

The National Kitchen & Bath Association maintains a directory of 14,000 of its members. You can ask the policy on a complimentary meeting to discuss a potential project.

Home design and product experts with Neil Kelly will offer ideas and advice during a kitchen design and remodeling webinar starting online at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 10. Register at neilkelly.com/events.

For small jobs, TaskRabbit can connect you to people skilled to help with cleaning, furniture assembly and home repairs.

Stephanie Pierce, director of design and trends at MasterBrand Cabinets, offers these five tips to not overspending in the kitchen:

  • Before even starting a remodel, take stock of your current space. Capture “before” pictures and think about the objective of your project.
  • Create a checklist with your priorities including storage and organization, appearance and layout.
  • Avoid unexpected expenses by setting a budget for individual items rather than just the total project.
  • Allocate an amount to spend on the big items like cabinets, countertops and labor, but don’t forget about the hardware, lighting and a percentage held for miscellaneous expenses.
  • Finally, before beginning, it’s important to talk to a design expert. Whether at a showroom or virtually. Discussing plans and designs with an experienced professional is crucial
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Upgrading your space while stuck at home? Get it insured

As many Americans face months on end stuck indoors, some are using their time (and money) to create a change of scenery or upgrade their surroundings. Office equipment purchases are on the rise, and people are tackling more renovation projects than usual.

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But expensive new stuff and significant home improvements can leave you underinsured. If you’re considering making changes to your home — or if you already have — it’s smart to revisit your homeowners or renters policy. Here’s how to ensure it covers the new additions.

TELL YOUR INSURER ABOUT YOUR PLANS

There’s a good chance you’re underinsured before you even make changes, according to Don Griffin, vice president of personal lines at American Property Casualty Insurance Association. Talk to your insurer before making any expensive purchases or changes to your home to inform the company of your plans and clarify your policy’s current coverages and limits. If your home costs more to replace after you’ve improved it, some insurers will pay the new expense to rebuild, but “that’s not every policy, and it may not cover everything you need,” Griffin says. He also recommends once a year reviewing what your home insurance policy covers.

In some cases, you may need to change carriers to get the coverage you need. Frank Jones, an independent agent and partner at Mints Insurance Agency in Millville, New Jersey, has seen clients switch insurers because an addition wasn’t covered. “It’s in your best interest to have these conversations now rather than to have a claim denied,” he says.

A new desk and computer for remote learning, plus that monitor and chair in your home office will add up and could exceed your personal property coverage limit.

Renters insurance policies cover your stuff, but they have limits too. If you have new electronics or office equipment, check with your insurer to make sure you have enough coverage for them.

MAKE AN INVENTORY OF YOUR PROPERTY

To help you know if you’ve exceeded your policy limits, keep records of what you buy. In fact, Griffin recommends taking inventory of your belongings every year — a written inventory is best, but even a simple smartphone video tour of your home will suffice.

Losing a home is an emotional time, Griffin says. When it’s time to file a claim, “you don’t always remember what you have.” An inventory will clearly show what you had before a disaster and will make the claims process easier.

ADD SUFFICIENT COVERAGE

Structural changes, such as a full kitchen replacement or adding an in-ground pool, will have the greatest impact on your homeowners insurance. But even something as simple as adding a fence can change the value of your house, and if your home’s value increases, so should its dwelling coverage, Griffin says. Otherwise, in the event of a claim, your insurance policy won’t be enough to rebuild, according to Griffin.

When adding coverage, pay attention to how much it would cost to rebuild your home, not how much you

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Increase Value of Your House by Upgrading Your Bathroom and Kitchen

Is it time to sell your home? Whether flipping a house or trying to get a good price before a move, there are a few ways to gain value through a kitchen or bathroom refurbishment. Outdated kitchen and the bathroom styles are the quickest way to make a house feel older and more rundown. Here are a few ideas to get you started on your renovations.

Custom design

A made to order design makes the most sense when trying to get the most money for your home. Bespoke bathrooms are noticeable and make a difference in price. A real estate agent or home buyer will be able to tell if tiling and fixtures were simply placed in the space or made for the space. Avoid outrageous designs that might make classic homebuyers feel uncomfortable. You never want a space to only appeal to a particular type of style. Exquisite stonework with classics such as natural stone, granite, slate, and travertine are always a good idea.

Flooring

Flooring is important in a bathroom and linoleum is out. Linoleum in the bathroom or kitchen can make an entire house seem outdated, ugly and dirty. Hard wood can take a real beating in these spaces and look old and worn quickly, even after refurbishing it. The best idea is to put down ceramic or porcelain tiles or natural stone flooring instead. These will sustain heavy amounts of foot traffic, clean well, and always look nice. They appeal to a modern home design and can go with almost anything a home buyer may want to decorate with.

Bathtub

Bathrooms can be purely conventional, or they can be home spas and relaxation areas. One way to create a more elegant and expensive feel is to create a separate bathtub and wetroom. A spa tub can be a place to relax and separate from the conventional use of a shower. Travertine or marble make great custom tiling jobs for a bespoke bathroom bathtub. Mosaic tiles work well to add a decorative flair to the wetroom wall. IF the home buyer finds your space relaxing, they will feel excited about buying it. Make the bathroom, especially the master bathroom, somewhere they want to be.

Kitchen Counter Tops

Just like with the floors, linoleum is out. A granite kitchen worktop is your best bet. It looks nice and is extremely practical. Choose a neutral color that can go with any style your home buyer may have. Make sure it matches the cabinets, hardware, and floor. Replace old cupboard hardware to match your new counters. The kitchen is the most-used room in the house. Make as modern, comfortable, and conventional as possible.

Selling your home can be an overwhelming process. Start with these tips in the bathroom and kitchen to increase the value of your home. You can always add some of your own personal flair and ideas. With the right plans, rocks, and fixtures, you can easily gain the most for your dollar.

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