Home Improvement Tips to Help You Prepare for the Holidays

Americans are travelling in record numbers for the holidays. Gas prices may rise and fall, but nothing gets in the way of going “home for the holidays.”

Before your family crashes your pad, take a look around and consider what household projects you’d like to get done before the holiday hustle and bustle sets in. Here are a few popular renovation projects that can help you get more enjoyment out of your home before, during and after company.

For many families, the kitchen is the center of family life and entertaining. An appropriately sized center island with granite or marble surface makes a perfect location for guests to gather around, chat, sample hors d’oeuvres and sip wine. By adding or updating a center island, your contractor can also make space under that gorgeous new marble slab for a mini fridge, a wine cooler, refrigerated snack drawer and extra cabinet space. Above the center island you can add decorative task lighting or a suspend a chic gourmet pot rack to store pots and utensils, freeing up additional space in your cabinets where bulky skillets and pots may sit now. And have you thought about your backsplash lately? Eye-catching custom tilework can be the icing on the cake of home renovations.

If your house feels crowded around the holidays, you can create the illusion of more space by opening up your floor plan. Take down a wall, or leave half a wall to create a great breakfast bar or peninsula.  If there’s no room for a center island, this option can create the space for guests to still gather in or near the kitchen with the host. And after the holidays, it will make for a wonderful eat-in kitchen nook.  The degree of difficulty when it comes to opening up walls depends on many factors including whether the wall in question bears weight. An experienced contractor will make sure they take the safest and most cost efficient approach.

Where are your guests hanging out while the turkey is in the oven? The den or family room is one of the most heavily used rooms in the house, but is yours doing all it could to make you and your guests feel at home? Home theaters and media rooms are much more affordable today than they were a decade ago, and “big screen” TVs are no longer a luxury but the standard. Virtually any underutilized room – or even the garage – can be converted to a first-rate media room. The size of the room, existing wiring and location of windows will help determine how best to modify the room for entertaining and your contractor can install acoustic wall and ceiling treatments. To fully tailor the room to your family’s entertainment interests, consider custom cabinets with easily accessible space for audiovisual and gaming gear.

Want to keep the cooking noises in the kitchen and the screaming football fans in the media room? Consider pocket doors between rooms. They’re unobtrusive – virtually invisible when not in use – and do not require precious floor or wall space like traditional swinging doors.

And where do the kids play when your family comes over? A well-designed playroom can keep them out of sight (not that we don’t love kids!) and give them their own space for games and fun. Basement conversions are popular with families with young children. Constructed with colorful, durable, washable finishes, they can take the headache out of cleaning up after holidays and play dates.

If you’re an empty nester, maybe it’s time to convert an unused bedroom into a warm and inviting guest room for travelers. Bedroom remodeling is a great way to update your home. Remodeling a bedroom gives you an opportunity to choose new windows, design new closets, refinish hardwood floors and add custom molding.

This is also your opportunity to reallocate space. A guest suite is not complete without a private guest bathroom so it’s time to look at floor plans and see how you can shift the layout to create an en suite bath. Here’s an opportunity to add value to your home with a stylish guest bath featuring a walk-in glass shower and maybe even his-and-hers sinks. Your guests will appreciate the privacy and your family will appreciate not having to share their private quarters.

But the one thing to avoid: unfinished home improvement projects when the guests arrive for the holidays. It’s a good idea to view Fall as the beginning of your holiday prep time. And for some families, home improvement projects can be a practical and lasting holiday gift.  Often couples agree in advance to forego conventional gifts and “give each other” a major home improvement for the holidays.

Nothing beats being happily at home for the holidays in your own beautiful home.