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10 Basic Upgrades to Consider When Building

Are you building a home, remodeling, or planning a big future project? There are so many decisions to be made throughout the process that sometimes we overlook simple additions or changes that can make enjoying our new finished spaces that much better. Here are ten, often forgotten, upgrades and improvements that can make a big impact towards creating more comfortable and more inviting spaces in our homes.

#1 Lighting
You can never have too much lighting in your home, and making those lights versatile makes it even better. Under cabinet lighting in the kitchen and backlit built-in shelving makes an enormous difference. These lights are practical and illuminate typically dark or shadowed areas, but also can create a very comforting ambiance. Install these with a dimmer and adjust as needed.

#2 Heated Tile Floors
When winter has been dragging on for two months longer than you had hoped, the last thing you want to do is get out of that warm bed and step right onto the cold tile on the bathroom floor. You don’t have to do that anymore. There are many electric floor warming systems available, most of which integrate with the appropriate underlayment for ceramic tile installations. Ditra Heat, by Schluter Systems, is recommended by many flooring retailers and comes with a touch screen programmable thermostat — so your floor can be toasty warm when you need it to be and then conserve energy when you’re asleep or at work.

#3 Remote Control Window Treatments
How about no cords, no windows that are out of reach, and no need to even be home to operate your window coverings? Hunter Douglas, the premier window treatment and shade dealer, offers Powerview on many of their style and design options. This upgrade also integrates with smartphones so that you can operate, receive maintenance alerts, or troubleshoot your windows from any device with an internet connection. Give yourself all the benefits and efficiency of great window treatments with the added convenience of Powerview Motorization.

#4 Programmable Thermostat(s)
Heating and cooling our homes is typically the largest single form of energy consumption in any residence, save money on your monthly utilities and make sure your home is comfortable year round with a programmable thermostat. Some thermostats, such as Nest, actually learn your tendencies throughout the seasons and adjust accordingly for optimal comfort.

#5 Battery Backup Garage Door Opener
The garage seems like an odd place to spend extra money, right? Not so fast… The garage has become the primary entrance point for the majority of residential homeowners as detached garages have become a thing of the past. Imagine coming home to a power outage in a storm and having no way to get in?

#6 Flooring Matters
The right flooring products for you and your lifestyle are essential for long-lasting comfort and durability. We’ve heard people tell us for years with carpet “get a good pad”, which is important, but equally as important is buying the right style and fiber of carpet for how we use our home, which will differ for everyone. You might love the look of wood, but maybe it isn’t the most durable option for you and your three large dogs. Do your homework when it comes to flooring and find out what is best suited for your needs, or contact your local flooring professionals to help guide you through the process.

#7 High-Tech Conveniences
Just like you cannot have too much lighting, you also can’t have too many places to plug in electronics or connect your tech. The best and least expensive time to run wiring is when your walls are opened up while building or remodeling. Run wiring for a future sound system, put an outlet outside on your soffit where you can plug in holiday lighting, add an outlet to the drawer or cabinet where you keep your hair dryer, the options and uses are endless. Nowadays, we seem to live off of handheld devices that require charging. Install outlets in your kitchen, or wherever you charge your electronics, with integrated USB plug-ins. Future you will be thankful for making these additions.

#8 Eco-Friendly Upgrades
Having a low impact on the environment is more important than ever, but it can also pay you back at the same time. Energy efficient appliances, windows and doors with high energy performance ratings, spray foam insulation, use of sustainable building materials, geothermal, solar, etc. are all things that may cost you a bit more upfront but can pay for themselves over time. Energy costs will continue to rise, guard yourself against higher future costs of consumption and make your home the most efficient house on the block.

#9 Backsplash
Nothing adds to the visual appeal of a kitchen like the perfect backsplash. If you’re going to install solid surface counter tops, that 4” strip of granite or quartz in place of a backsplash is expensive and you’ll likely replace it if you opt for tile later anyway. Do the splash now instead of spending more in the long run and having a useless strip of hard surface on your hands. There are many elegant and affordable backsplash options that compliment every design and style.

#10 Future Proof
Think about what ten-years-from-now you could need. You might not be finishing that basement at this time, but you can sub in the plumbing and electrical for future bathrooms or living spaces and make sure your HVAC system can handle your fully finished home square footage. Apply this concept to every area where you think there may be a future need for more space: enough bedrooms for children, enough garage space for bigger vehicles or outdoor toys, storage for all that we accumulate as we live in a home over time, etc.

Whether it is finding ways to be more efficient and save costs or finding the perfect mix of comfort and convenience, there are many ways to create the perfect space that is truly yours. Randy’s Flooring is proud to have helped homeowners through this process in Eastern Iowa for the past 41 years. Interested in what Randy’s can do for you? Contact us today.

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