5 Home Improvement Projects for the New Year.

It happens every January. Motivated by the sense of a fresh start for tackling those home improvement projects that never got done the year before, many of our clients come to us with a wish list of to-dos--primarily inspired by the latest trends in design and remodeling. This year I thought we would beat them to the punch and compile our own list of what I think contractors will be called upon to do the most in 2016.

1. Install Garage Organization Systems

Why it’s popular: Getting organized is probably the top New Year’s resolution of home improvement enthusiasts. What’s great about starting out with the garage is that the area can then serve a workshop for other projects. Our trade partners at Palm Harbor Kitchens have helped many of our clients design functional spaces for their garages. I myself am restoring a 1949 Mercury in my garage and already have plans myself for the new year for making a truly workable space.

Expert tip: It may sound obvious, but remember to leave room for car(s).

2. Update Lighting

Why it’s popular: Again, because there are so many great options to select from. Home owners can add recessed lights, spotlights, ceiling fans (with light fixtures), under cabinet lights… the list of interesting styles of lights available looks to continue to grow in 2016. My personal favorite for really making an impact fast is the addition recessed LED lighting. You will find with a lot of the homes around Tampa Bay either have fluorescence lights or traditional recessed lighting or 'high-hats'. We have seen a trend toward recessed LED and continue to see it move in that direction.

Expert tip: Be warned, when you add or modify lighting in your rooms, be prepared for drywall repairs and painting.

3. Open Spaces

Why it’s popular: Everyone needs more room for entertaining and one of the easiest things you can do is open up your living spaces to give it a more modern look. We get so many requests from clients wishing to make half walls where full walls are currently at and take half walls and completely remove them to open up the space. No matter what you choose, this will only add value to your home.

Expert tip: Before embarking on this type of project, make sure the walls in question are not load bearing. This could add thousands of unexpected costs to your project.

4. Replace Windows and Doors

Why it’s popular: Fresh start. The beginning of year always has people thinking about ways to make their home more energy efficient. Air leaks from your old windows and doors are taxing on your central air and expensive on your utility bills. Replacing the old with new materials and solid seals will save you money in the long run and improve the look of your home. This will take from a weekend to a week to complete, depending on the size of your home, but the benefits will last for decades.

Expert tip: In Florida, make sure you consider the differences between impact and non-impact glass as this could add a generous cost to your project, but could also lower your insurance rates.

5. Renovate the Kitchen and Bath

Why it’s popular: With simple solutions like just adding trim molding and cabinet pulls or adding a backsplash, to larger projects like gutting whole kitchens and baths, these two rooms are without a doubt the first to be focused on when planning out a year in home improvement. We have teamed with the experts at Palm Harbor Kitchens to be able to bring you the kitchen of your dreams. They have a plethora of cabinet designs and styles to choose from and also have over 30 years experience in kitchen and bathroom remodeling. With DCI Home Improvements and Palm Harbor Kitchens, you have a winning combination.

Expert tip: Plan well in advance before you make any changes to your kitchen. You might be without the use of your kitchen sink or appliances for a short period of time.