Recession-Fuelled Remodeling Trends

A major aspect of the recession-laden economy is the sluggish housing market. That factor has meant a boom for home remodels, since many homeowners realize that doing so can be more economical than trading up. In addition to an increase in renovations in general, certain types of additions or changes reflect our difficult economic times.

Additions of In-Law Quarters

While these attached apartments have traditionally been referred to as mother-in-law quarters, they’re being inhabited by extended family of all types.

Some families are building these to make room for aging Baby Boomers who can’t quite make it completely independently and yet can’t or don’t want to swallow the high monthly cost associated with retirement communities or nursing homes. Younger Boomers are increasingly opening their homes to their jobless or underemployed adult children, many of whom have partners and/or children of their own.

The rising normalcy of such additions is helping them to be seen as assets, rather than detractors, when it comes to resale values. At a time when many Americans have extended family members living with them, and others realize that such a need may arise, these separate living spaces offer privacy and boundaries that can help keep family ties from snapping under the pressure of too much closeness.

In-law quarters can consist of only a bed-and-bath suite, but they ideally include a kitchen and living area, as well. While unattached in-law quarters offer more privacy, retrofitting unfinished space within your home can mean a lower-cost home renovation that will meet your family’s needs now and increase your home’s selling potential when you’re ready for that step.

Increased Storage & Everyday Efficiency

Today’s homeowners are a bit more frugal and utilitarian than those of yesteryear. Instead of hosting formal dinner parties, they’re having friends over for a backyard barbeque. Instead of grocery shopping for the week at high-priced specialty stores, they’re buying in bulk from warehouse outlets. What does this mean for home design? A lot, actually.
While the gourmet outdoor kitchen may not be financially realistic, today’s families are traveling less and staying home, more. That often means having outdoor living space available.

In the mean time, that formal dining room has got to go. “It’s wasted space,” say many homeowners. An increasing number of people are taking down that wall between the kitchen and dining room for an open-concept eat-in kitchen that’s easier to clean. The added space can allow for a larger pantry that has room for all those bulk purchases, and a computer station from which recipes can be viewed is a nice perk, as well. For homes that already have spacious eat-in kitchens, dining rooms are morphing into mud rooms or laundry areas, showing how practical day-to-day family life is prioritized above the occasional holiday meal.

Are you considering a remodel, in the midst of the recession? If so, you’ll want to consider these trends that are likely to continue and add value to your home.

Photo credits: Top © Darcy Finley by Marti / Fotolia. Middle © Cherry-Merry / Fotolia. Bottom © Tiero / Fotolia.

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