The list of essential ‘how to live’ facts that millennials weren’t taught in school is long. It includes everything from how to pay your taxes to what to do when you get a flat tire. Unsurprisingly, we were also never taught how to improve and maintain our homes.
Given millennials’ reputation as a non-committal generation that can’t find work you may think that we’d never need to know that last one. However, with millennials making up the largest share of homebuyers in 2015 it might be time to rethink those stereotypes.
But with millennials mostly buying homes valued at around $189,000, it’s clear that we’re not getting the cream of the crop. In order to make our homes the best that we can we’re going to have to do a little legwork. With that in mind, I’ve got three home improvement hacks for millennial homeowners.
Before You Do Anything
Before you start any home improvement project, though, think about whether or not you’d like to go the DIY route or hire a specialist for a little extra money. DIY is pretty hot these days, and for good reason, but this is one instance where you really need to know your limits. A false step during home renovation could leave you with a nasty hammer-shaped hole in your wall or worse.
If you’ve got limited time and budget, prioritize your projects. What’s most important to you right now? Some general ideas to keep in mind include:
- Start small. Do the cheap and quick things first, before committing to larger projects. You may find that your smaller changes get the job done by themselves, eliminating the need for a total makeover.
- Prioritize projects that will return your investments. For example, projects that will save you money on energy bills or boost the resale value of your home down the road.
- If you have issues that can cause permanent damage, nip them in the bud before it’s too late.
Do Some Painting
A new coat of paint can go a long way in covering up some of the wear and tear on a home and a new colour can undo some of the damage done by the last owner, who thought that faded purple would be a nice hue for your house.
Before you paint make sure that you:
- Identify the areas to be painted. What needs painting? Do you want to patch up a single room or give your house an entirely new look? If you’re just doing some cover up work make sure that you know the coat of paint that you’re matching. Try contacting the previous owners. They may have kept a record of the exact paint that they used. You should also check in the garage. Often times homeowners will leave extra paint cans from the last paint job there. If that doesn’t work out for you, take some photos and go down to a paint or hardware store. Someone there should be able to help you match your walls to a specific colour.
- Figure out the type of paint that works best for you. If you’re painting to cover scuffs and scratches, matte and eggshell paints are both affordable and great for the job. Here’s a great guide to paint types, if you’re not quite sure what you need.
- Batten down the hatches. Move furniture and other items out of the room and put tape down over door frames and other panelling that you don’t want to get paint on. You can touch those areas up later with a smaller brush and really be fearless with your broader tools.
Think About a Kitchen Makeover
Taking a look at the kitchen is an easy way to date a house. Many of the fixtures in your kitchen are semi-permanent, so it’s easy to have a house that looks great and modern… until you walk into the kitchen, where you’re confronted by that telltale ‘80s kitchen. Unappetizing beige, cabinets, stained wood borders, and a buzzing fluorescent light. Yikes!
A classic ‘80s kitchen
A kitchen renovation is a huge part of modernizing your house and it’s a great way to boost the value of your home, meaning a return on your investment whenever you decide to sell.
Some ways to renovate your kitchen on a budget include:
- Repainting unattractive cabinets. If you’re tired of that ‘80s vibe try some brighter colours in the kitchen.
- Figure out what you can do by yourself and what you’ll need a contractor for.
- Find items that can make a difference by themselves. For example, better lighting in your kitchen can liven up the entire room with just one change.
Insulate Your Home
Insulation doesn’t just matter for winter. My first experience living in a building with poor insulation was during a hot Colorado summer and it’s not one that I’d like to repeat. Before you commit to any expensive procedures, try out some cheap insulation tricks.
Fixing up your insulation is also a great way to save on gas and electric bills while doing your part for the environment.
These are my thoughts on home improvements for millennials (and anyone else, really). Let me know about your home improvement projects in the comments.