The past year or so has demonstrated our outstanding ability to withstand change and adapt to new and unexpected challenges. Given the current environment, we have found new ways to entertain ourselves from home, but welcoming a new baby presents another struggle.
For many, these changes have also included the adoption of new remote work, school, and child care routines. Trying to maintain stability and comfort in your family’s home during these challenging times is a top priority for us all, so it’s important our houses support our altered lifestyles. While you may not have chosen your current home with the idea in mind that you would be working, homeschooling, and more within the space, there may be some identifiable areas of improvement within your home that you can effectively update to better suit your family’s growing needs.
Planning financially responsible home upgrades begins with assessing your home and identifying which areas you find yourself spending the most time in, or repeatedly reorganizing to meet your needs. This can help guide your vision in determining what upgrades or additions will offer the greatest benefit. Depending on the current state of your home and your family’s specific needs, renovations can come in a variety of different levels and budget points. While some projects are inherently more involved, there are plenty of things you can do to your home that don’t require as much investment and still offer significant value.
- Home office: Adjusting to remote work can be a difficult task for many, for a multitude of reasons. Your home may not have adequate space for you to feel situated with your necessary supplies or there may not be enough privacy to escape the distractions of everything else going on around you, especially if you’ve welcomed a new baby into your family. Creating a dedicated workspace in your home not only improves your performance and productivity but can help you better mentally check-in and out of a workday. Depending on your current financial and spatial restrictions, there are a number of home office options to support remote work.
Creating a designated workspace can be as involved or as simple as your home allows
for. Ideally, a spare room may be converted into a home office with the addition of some proper furniture and storage space. Considering there is likely more action in your home during the workday than usual, ensuring you’re able to fully focus is important for a functioning home office. Soundproofing this room can help avoid the issue of outside noise interference. For smaller-scale projects, the installation of a screen divider within your living space can establish, at the very least, a secluded area that you can instruct your family not to interrupt you in when utilizing.
- Homeschool space: Your children’s education is incredibly important and with an unexpected transition to homeschooling, it’s not unlikely that your home is in need of some improvement to better support this new lifestyle. As difficult as it is for adults to focus in non-traditional environments, it’s even more of a challenge for kids, therefore investing in a proper homeschool room can both benefit your family and contribute added value to your home. Although you might think it’s too early to invest in a schooling space for a newborn, it’s smart to plan ahead and be flexible, as this area could also be used for crafting or other activities until your child is ready for serious learning.
Consider the key elements of a typical classroom and how your home can adopt some of those elements; such as alternative seating, instructional boards, storage and focus areas. An unfinished basement or insulated attic can be perfect canvases for this addition to your home. Explore some design inspiration to best determine a focus for your homeschool room plan. This sort of home update is additionally valuable in the sense that once your children outgrow homeschooling, you can easily convert this new space to whatever suits your family at that time.
- Recreational room: Recreation in this sense is used very loosely, as we are likely all finding we need different things when it comes to unwinding at home. For some this may involve the addition of a home gym or yoga studio, for others may be a home theater or luxurious reading and crafting space. Whatever your family’s outlet may be, updating your home to support this need can drastically help in managing stress and offer convenience by having access to these sort of accompaniments at home. Increasing square footage of your home with an addition is a more involved project, but can add significant value to your home should you choose to sell down the road. When planning your rec room addition, consider layout and functionality first, from there you and your architect can establish purposeful design.
Ensuring you’re able to complete your home upgrades without putting additional financial strain on your family is achievable with proper planning and flexibility. Depending on the level of investment your upgrade requires, there are several available options.
- Savings plan: Small projects can often be achieved on a low budget with the right prep and particulars. Once you’ve determined your project plan, estimate your costs and set a date to have reached your savings goal by. If you need a little extra accountability, apps like Digit can help you stay on track for saving. Once you’ve reached your goal, use those funds to shop and invest responsibility in your home updates.
- Personal loan: To avoid the wait time that comes with saving, a personal loan is a simple and effective way to access the funds you need now. For those with good credit, it’s fairly simple to receive a personal loan with no stipulations as to what the money is used for, making it a great option for home projects. A financial lender can advise you on the best loan and interest rate options available for you.
- Home equity loan: For larger projects such as home additions or advanced renovations, it may be worth considering a home equity loan. This option is great for homeowners, as you can usually secure a lower interest rate than a personal loan, and you receive the payment in one lump sum. This loan also prevents you from dipping into your personal savings or retirement accounts for these updates, and you can deduct the interest on this loan if you use it for home improvements.
Whether you’re looking to revamp your entire house or just make a few small tweaks, sometimes a refresh of your home is all you need to bring comfort and life back into your space. Don’t be afraid to start small with decor and design updates as you assess what sort of project will best support your family’s needs. As many of us are adjusting to these new work arrangements and lifestyles, there are numerous resources available to help you with your home upgrade planning process. If we have to spend more time at home, we may as well enjoy it!