New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home

We guilt trip ourselves to eat less, exercise more, and generally be a better person when the New Year rolls around, but what kind of life-altering pacts do we make for our homes? From ripping out walls to installing a new doorbell, here’s a list of the most common New Year’s resolutions for your home:

1). DECK THE HALLS…WITH NEW COLORS:  Those white walls can look pretty austere in winter’s cold color temperature, so why not change the shade?  Rodda Paint, a paint store that opened its doors in Portland nearly 80 years ago, offers color palettes specific to the Northwest.  And Rodda’s Adam Havens says an important tip in changing the colors of you walls is to fully test the color sample.  “Rodda was first to recognize the need for consumers to check their colors with actual paint color samples, “he says.  Havens adds, “We provide 75 square feet of color in a full quart to help narrow down consumers’ choices before a major paint project is started.”  In other words, make sure your paint splotch is a big splotch or you may buy the wrong color.

Besides our walls, our home’s floors are usually the next thing that attracts attention.  That white carpet in the dining room may have looked regal as you moved in, but during the last year your dogs and /or kids have probably turned that classy carpet into something remarkably smelly.  And if Fido didn’t foul that carpet, an errant glass of red wine probably finished the job.  So why not start the year off with flooring you actually enjoy — and which can make the surface easier to clean? The hot new flooring trend for 2013 is pre-finished and engineered wood flooring.  Both provide a hard, durable finish, are installation time-savers, and eliminate the muss and fuss of sanding dust. Neil Kelly Design Consultant Karen Richmond says that installation of traditional wood flooring can cause a hardship for some families. “If a family can time it to coincide with a vacation, great, but for 95% of our clients it becomes a bit of a hassle,” she says. “This makes a pre-finished floor a great solution for an attractive and durable floor with the added benefit of less bother, time, and inconvenience over a finish-in-place floor.”  Then there’s the issue of cost.  Kathleen Donohue, Design Consultant in Neil Kelly’s Bend Design Center, says there’s no contest between prefinished floors and finish-in-place. “Often times, we find some pre-finished woods priced about the same as unfinished wood.”

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home3). COUNTER THOSE BORING COUNTERTOPS: Switching the counter tops in your kitchen and bathrooms can drastically affect the appearance of the entire space.  And in cases of crusty old grout lines, putting in new countertops can be a health and safety improvement in addition to sprucing up your space.  According to Neil Kelly’s new design trends of 2013, granite countertops are no longer king.  The royal heir is quartz composite—the closest surface to no-maintenance, bullet-proof and flat-out gorgeous countertop material available today.  You can see examples at American manufacturer Cambria. And when it comes to bathrooms say hello to Calacatta.  It is a rarer stone than its ancestor, Carrara marble, but it is quarried in the same region and valued for a whiter background and bolder grey veins.

4). SORT, PURGE, STORE!  Nothing will make you feel more liberated than getting rid of clutter, and winter is a perfect time to take charge of that messy garage, closet, or “junk” drawer.  Storage shelves may not sound that sexy, but think of what you’ll do with all that extra room you have after everything is off the floor and nicely organized in shelves.  Maybe you’ll have enough space to finally get that treadmill you’ve always wanted!  Besides the workout, treadmills can make excellent clothes hangers once you’ve decided that running is only a preferred activity when you’re being chased by a tiger.

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home5). FLOWERS CHASE AWAY THE BLUES.  It is simple, and it doesn’t require you to lift a hammer or rotate a screwdriver:  Flowers.  That’s right, buy more flowers.  There’s just something about having fresh flowers in the house every day to make you feel like spring has already arrived.  For less than $10 dollars a week you can spruce up the look and feel of your home, and you can change your mood just by changing the color of the floral arrangement.  And the nice fact about flowers is that they’re not limited to home, condo, or apartment life.  No matter where you live, flowers will fit.

6). LET SAFETY BE YOUR GUIDE.  If peace of mind is on your list, consider installing new smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.  And, with all the attention focused on our recent “super storms” it may not be a bad idea to make sure your disaster kit is up to date.  Remember, the American Red Cross advises that you need to be able to support yourself for at least three days before emergency crews can lend assistance.

No one likes the idea of breathing in toxic fumes or being surrounded by a list of chemicals that we can’t even pronounce, so the idea of sustainable design is here to stay.  In fact, the number one trend for 2013 will be to create a healthy living environment, free of toxins and harsh chemicals.  Whether it is cleaning your ductwork to minimizing the use of materials with higher VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds), the desire to improve indoor air quality is a new “must” for many homeowners.

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home8).  STAYING PUT:  Whether it’s the economy or the realization that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the fence, Americans are staying longer in one place. And an experienced design group like the Neil Kelly Company is helping the growing trend of aging baby boomers to safely “grow old” in their own homes.  They are called CAPS, or “Certified Aging-in-Place Specialists”, and they specialize in kitchen and bath upgrades that enhance the functionality, comfort, and safety of your home. Barbara Murphy was one of the first Neil Kelly Design Consultants to be CAPS-certified, and says remodeling with the future in mind can save a lot of money. “Simply adding backing in the walls for future grab bars while you are remodeling is cheap and easy”, she says. “If they are needed later it is a snap to install grab bars.”

New Year’s Resolutions for Your Home9). “IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS”:  You’ve heard the phrase “The devil’s in the details”?  Well, we sure don’t want to start a dialogue about good and evil but the notion that we can change our space with simple little improvements sure seems like a divine concept.  Let’s use the simple example of a doorbell.  Installing a new tone costs very little and is a relatively easy DIY project.  The same goes for lampshades.  You would be surprised how dated and UV-stained our lampshades can become over time.  It’s a relatively quick change that can update the look of a living room.  Again, little projects can equal big changes.

10). FINISH WHAT YOU STARTED:  This one seems so simple, so outright OBVIOUS that we shudder even having to assign it a spot on our New Year’s Resolution list.  But the concept of finishing one project before starting another is one that—even for the best of us—has proved elusive.  But nothing can make your home feel more claustrophobic and cluttered than having multiple, unfinished, projects lying around.  If you do nothing else in 2013—complete that nagging project and you’ll feel like a winner in the New Year!

Credit: Neil Kelly