July 20, 2023 Bailey Strobel


By Teri Silver

Keeping up with the trends of today’s housing market is one way to add value when renovating your home. Wide-open spaces, bright light, energy efficiency, and artificial intelligence (AI) are only a few of the features today’s homeowners want. Even if you’re not looking to sell right now, boosting equity in your home is important — and you’ll enjoy the perks.


When it comes to home upgrades, remodeling and renovating are similar words that have different meanings. A renovation means to restore or update a room (or two or three) in the house. The room will have the same function, like a bedroom or the kitchen, but it will look different. A remodel changes the entire design and purpose of the room. Be specific about what you want when talking about the project to a professional contractor –– it may make a difference to the overall cost of the job.


House models vary, but many older homes have separate dining rooms, small kitchens, and compact living areas. Today many people want large kitchens where they can hang out, socialize, cook, eat, work, and watch television. Creating an open floor plan in your home depends on the structure of the building, but you may be able to remove non-load-bearing walls.

Consider opening up closed-in staircases by removing solid-wood backing and replacing it with flat planks. Install sliding glass doors for easy access to the deck or patio. Kitchens are less crowded when you remove all the clutter –– do you really use all of those countertop appliances? Paint walls with neutral colors to keep the room from looking (and feeling) closed in.


Brighten up the house by turning dark, dreary rooms into cheery and energizing spaces. Natural lighting, also called daylighting, brings sunlight into the house through skylights, solar tubes, and windows. The more natural light in a room, the less need for turning on electric lights during the day. This energy-saving solution reduces utility bills while exposing us to natural light. Sunlight provides our bodies with Vitamin D, which improves sleep, focus, and productivity

Windows are thought to be the “eyes of the home.” On average, house windows last 15 to 20 years before seals start to crack or break. Whatever you’re looking for, consider the Return on Investment (ROI) of your purchase.

Choosing the right kind of windows for your house depends on the building’s structure, location, and the direction of the sun. Double-pane windows are more protective than the single-pane types used in the past.


Environmental concerns and today’s economy are reasons to cut down on utility bills.

Caulk, sealant, and weather stripping are simple (and inexpensive) ways to regulate the airflow in and out of the house. Structural insulated panels placed on ceilings, floors, and walls cut down on wasted electricity.

Fluorescent light bulbs use about 75% less energy and last about 10 times as long as the “old fashioned” incandescent ones. Nearly half of U.S. households use LED bulbs for some, or all, of their lighting — and the trend is increasing. LEDs don’t get hot to the touch, and they fade over time instead of burning out unexpectedly.

Energy-efficient appliances are more than just “trendy,” now. Solid and sturdy washing machines, dryers, dishwashers, and hot water heaters are must-haves for families.


New buildings have it, and if your older house doesn’t, it’s time to smarten up. Technology is more than just a trend –– it’s a lifestyle. We’re all on cellphones, and the world is using more AI for everything we do. Consult a tech pro to prepare your house for smart thermostats, doorbells, locks, windows, light switches, and just about anything else you can think of. Want to turn the outdoor sprinkler on?  There’s an app for that, too.


As a homeowner, you want to get the most out of your investment when it’s time to sell.  But don’t wait — enjoying your property right now is the reason you bought it. Life is too short to depend on the what-ifs of tomorrow.


Teri Silver is a journalist and outdoor enthusiast. She and her husband live on 5 acres with a vast lawn, three gardens, a farm, a pond, many trees, and a lot of yard work! The best parts of the year are summer and fall when home-grown veggies are on the dinner table.