The comfortable Louisiana autumn is the perfect time of year to take on a home-improvement project.
If you decide to do some remodeling while the weather is so pleasant, you won’t be alone. More than half of homeowners across the country plan to make a home improvement or add a new room to their homes this fall, according to a survey by the real estate Web site Zillow.
In the survey, some homeowners said they plan to remodel every room in the house. But the bulk of them said they will focus on home offices and playrooms.
The reason? “Fall is a perfect transition time from outdoor to indoor activities,” notes Cynthia Nowak, a trend expert for Zillow. So parents are making sure their kids have a safe, indoor space to play. And they’re updating their home offices/workspaces so they can lengthen the workday, which in the fall tends to get interrupted by what Nowak calls “kid pick-up and drop-off duty.”
The survey shows that more people are building or remodeling their home offices this fall than in the summer. And most of those homeowners are designing the home office space for dual purposes: adding a daybed for power naps, choosing a desk that can do double-duty as a nightstand so the space can serve as a guest room when company comes, and even building in some plumbing, a countertop and a sink to create an in-room coffee bar.
Color trends: Neutral “menswear” colors, like warm grays, beiges, off whites and grayish-lavenders will brighten up a home office. Stay away from the dark hues that were more popular during darker financial days.
My tip for a home office that doubles as a guest room: Build in some storage space where you can stow your work folders and supplies when company stays overnight. You don’t want your friends and family to feel cramped or cluttered, or fear that they might accidentally mess up your “filing” system if a paper falls off of your desk as they walk by it.
Playrooms—the other popular remodeling project homeowners mentioned in the Zillow survey—are getting a bit more elaborate. Parents who answered the survey said they want play spaces that allow their kids to climb, slide, swing and jump—not just sit and work on puzzles or host faux tea parties. In addition, they’re choosing gender-neutral designs, eco-friendly materials and artistic touches like wall murals.
Color trends: purples, oranges and grays are playroom favorites this season, as is “chalkboard” paint—scrubbable, dark-colored paint that allows your little ones to write and draw on the walls with chalk.
My tip: Add some grown up tools like a pool table either in the playroom or nearby, so the grown-ups can stay close to the kids while playing pool or ping-pong, or running on a treadmill. And build the space so it will be easy to convert to another kind of room once the children grow up and move away.
The Zillow survey says families with children are much more likely than couples without kids at home to take on three or more home projects this fall.
As you plan your fall remodeling project, look online and in home-improvement magazines for ideas and inspirations, as the homeowners in the Zillow survey do. Then, find a remodeling contractor who can help you not only with the physical remodeling of the room, but who knows enough about design to help you create a space that’s perfect for indoor, cool-weather work and play, just in time for winter.
Jeb Breithaupt, B. Arch., MBA, has been president of JEB Design/Build, an Angie’s List Super Service Award Winner, in Shreveport since 1983. You can contact him at 318-865-4914 or by visiting www.jebdesignbuild.com.