(BPT) - In previous years, home remodeling projects were often done with the goal of increasing resale value. Recently, however, homeowners have been staying in their properties longer and are making these projects a priority of functionality as well as a reflection of personal style.
Before homeowners begin thinking about the changes they’d like to make, they need to think about how a renovation may affect their home insurance policy. Their policy may need to be remodeled too.
“A common oversight when redesigning a home is the impact a new kitchen or bathroom remodel might have on their homeowners insurance,” said Bonnie Lee, Mercury Insurance Vice President of Property Claims. “If a renovation project leaves a gap in your existing coverage and is later damaged or destroyed, your insurance policy might not protect the upgrades you’ve made. You need to contact your insurance agent to discuss any renovations you’re considering.”
Two of the most highly used areas of the home are the kitchen and bath, places many people start considering when it comes to renovations. According to BluPeak Credit Union, the average loan for a kitchen remodel is $50,000 while the average loan for a bathroom remodel can cost up to $25,000. Most loans to fund the cost of remodeling the kitchen and bathroom area, including flooring, can total up to $100,000. Home improvement experts are seeing the following as an integration of personal style with form and functionality to these busy areas.
Opening up space – Open concepts throughout the home are still popular when it comes to remodeling the kitchen and bathroom. Giving a room an open feel can be as simple as installing mirrors or additional lighting to removing a non-weight-bearing wall or installing skylights. The idea is to create an environment that allows for a sense of space even though the square footage hasn’t changed.
“I consider the concept of an open kitchen as not only one of functionality, but also as a reflection of the homeowner’s lifestyle,” said interior designer Joy Cho. “When cooking you don’t want to feel isolated, you want to be a part of the interactions happening in your home. Think of the kitchen as more than another room, it’s the home’s heart where everyone gathers.”
According to the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA), homeowners are also looking to open up areas in bathrooms by incorporating more lighting in mirrors, vanities and showers, as well as accent lighting for ambiance. Larger showers or bathing areas with integrated seating are trending with homeowners. These spa-like upgrades can meet future needs as more people consider aging in their home.
Smart home technology – Another trend is in the area of smart home technology. Smart lighting and appliances offer ease and convenience but may also offer homeowners savings in the form or lower utility bills due to the use of energy-efficient technology. And while smart tech is synonymous with clean design and large screens, the look doesn’t always have to be futuristic. Many modern appliances incorporating digital technology still have a standard look and feel. Smart ovens that can be preheated from the touch of an app and give homeowners the ease of meal prep may easily integrate with a current kitchen design.
Sustainable materials and organic design – Today more homeowners are thinking about the impact their remodel or renovation can have to both the outer environment and the one within their home. Many are incorporating natural colors, designs and textures into their renovations by using more organic materials and paints that are practical and functional while sourcing them locally to reduce the carbon footprint created by transport.
Before trying to decide between granite or marble tile, however, consider the things that are behind the wall. Pipes and electrical wiring, for example, may need more attention and upgrading before other installations can begin.
“Make note of the items that need to be updated and that are relied upon on a daily basis before beginning any renovation,” said Lee. “A safety precaution to take when upgrading these areas first is having any wiring or plumbing projects installed by a professional. Secure any necessary permits if required by your community or municipality. A permitted home renovation project may qualify you for a homeowners insurance discount.”