We get it—you just made (or are about to make) a huge move and, chances are, you just need a minute to breathe. Our advice? Take a beat, assess the property you’re considering or are already locked into and ride out your new-to-the-suburbs momentum to make a few major home updates—updates that won’t break the bank or your back but will add serious personality and serious value to your new home. Really, what could be better?
#1. Get your green on
Landscaping has an average resale return of 100%. Even if you aren’t planning to sell anytime soon, though, there’s tons of value that comes with getting your exterior in order. The more comfortable and clean your space, the more time you and your kids will likely want to spend out—a major plus as we head into the warmer months.
Better still, landscaping doesn’t need to be a hefty investment. Most local gardening centers offer free design services, weekend tutorials and more, all designed to help would-be green thumbs get started. Another bonus? If you get into the gardening scene, you’ll not only be boosting your curb appeal and your property value, but you’ll reap tons of benefits from lower stress and anxiety levels to a healthier heart and more.
#2. Paint your front door
It may sound crazy, but painting your front door can instantly enhance your entire exterior, adding curb appeal and, depending on the finish, serious personality. There’s nothing more upbeat than a bright yellow door—and, even though it’s no more than a weekend project, this quick coat of paint will make your entire exterior feel fresh, new and modern.
#3. Living room upgrade
While you might be dreaming about a new living room, the next best thing—and the most affordable option—is a quick “wall and floor” update. Start by painting walls in a light or neutral color, and brighten trim with high-gloss white paint, being sure to caulk any seams between the molding or baseboards and the ceiling.
After that, hit the floors. For just $3 to $8 per square foot you can install hardwood—add about $2 to $4 per square foot if you want a pro to handle the installation. Have carpet? Spend $100 to $150 and get them professionally cleaned. It’s another weekend project that, instantly, freshens up your space, makes it feel more “you” and, yes, even adds to your home value.
#4. Illuminate your sleeping space
For as little as $100, you can easily swap in new lights and light fixtures in your bedroom. Want something dramatic? Opt for a chandelier in place of an older, smaller light fixture—to find the right one, simply add the room width to the room length (in feet) less the chandelier diameter in inches. Even if you don’t go for such a big, sweeping addition, swap in dimmers, add new fixtures or add a few floor lamps—the difference will no doubt surprise and delight.
#5. Make your outdoor space evening-friendly
While you’re on your lighting kick, consider illuminating your outdoor space, too, and adding a few touches to make it evening-friendly. Some bright outdoor lights make your back deck or yard usable post-sunset and a fire pit—installed or purchased as a stand-alone piece—can keep your space warm and toasty so your family and friends want to hang a little longer. A few comfy outdoor chairs and a couch or two, a portable bar and some decorative planters and you’re done.
There are hundreds of towns to choose from. How do you figure it all out? You simply don’t, without getting a Suburban Jungle Strategist to help you through it all. Schedule here for your strategy session with our innovative suburbs strategy team. All services are completely free.