HomeInterior DesignSummer 2023 Upstate Lake Living Article

Summer 2023 Upstate Lake Living Article

Our article in the summer issue of the Upstate Lake Living article:

Easy ways to increase home value

In this day of headlines blaring about increasing inflation, high interest rates and fluctuating gas prices, many are looking for ways to save money and find alternative avenues to reinvest their savings. As the stock market is a bit shaky, and with the most recent bank collapses still on our minds, it’s understandable to consider shoving savings under a mattress. However, there is a particular investment that has one of the highest — if not the highest — return on investment: home renovations. Home remodeling soared during 2020’s Covid-induced shelter-in-place orders. And, while there has been a slight decline since then, a high percentage of homeowners are still renovating for investment reasons.

Renovations often target home interiors and, while this does increase a home’s value, studies show that focusing on the exterior and curb appeal can bring as high as 95 percent return on investment. A nicely trimmed landscape with a variety of plants will make the property feel more serene, and creating a well-lit, accessible walkway and driveway will enhance the home’s safety and welcome. Another way to increase value is to repaint the exterior. When undertaking this kind of “instant facelift” it is important to choose a color that enhances the architecture and complements the surrounding natural elements and other materials attached to the house, such as wood, stone, roofing materials, etc. Enhancing the front door is another way to strengthen curb appeal as it is not only the home’s exterior focal point, but it also directs guests where to enter. A door can be in natural colors, such as brown or black, or it can be a way to introduce a different color to your home’s palette. Adding a proportionally scaled handle and hinges can also make big statements, and selecting a door with glass will enhance the welcome. Additional exterior enhancements could include adding shutters, coordinating the colors of the other exterior doors (including the garage door), and adding exterior and landscape lights that are strategically installed to enhance the home’s appearance both day and night.

Interior remodeling can bring high return on investment, and kitchen renovations lead the
way. Kitchens were once designed to be secluded with walls and passageways creating specific areas for work and meal prep. Today, walls are being removed and kitchens are being opened to the rest of the home, creating welcoming spaces for social events and tasks other than just cooking. Because the space is open, it is important that a kitchen be designed to handle workflow that typically centers around the “kitchen triangle” of sink, cooktop and refrigerator. Each element should be within a certain range of each other and still allow enough space for the cabinetry each requires. If there’s room for an island or bar, be sure there is enough walking space to allow for additional seat ing area. Another important aspect of a kitchen design is to maximize the use and function of all the cabinetry, such as using narrow pullouts instead of fillers for spices, and installing soft-closing hinges, pullout organizers and appliance lifts. Materials also play an important role in the kitchen, such as quartz countertops that are less likely than other natural stones to stain and chip. Updating appliances and plumbing fixtures will not only increase value but will enhance energy efficiency.

The main priority before undertaking any remodeling or renovation project is to address structural issues. It is important to prioritize the function, safety and needs of the space first, and then finalize the design with aesthetics. Improving your home is one of the best ways to bring high return on investment, to say nothing of the personal gratification it brings. However, you should consider seeking out a professional who can help you create a plan, address visible issues and ensure that you hire reputable contractors to execute your design. Easy ways to increase home value.

This article was written by the design team at Wanda S. Morgan Designs, Inc. For over 40 years, the team at WSMD has been a solid resource for many in the Upstate looking to remodel or build a new home. The WSMD design studio in Seneca is a full-service design and drafting company that employs interior designers who can both design and project manage your interior and exterior needs, from concept ideas to a finished project. Contact WSMD at 864.973.8800 or visit