The start of a new decade is a perfect time to bring positive change to your life. Home improvements are one way to instill that positive spirit. When discussing home improvement projects, many of us think about the major renovations that are more likely to require financing. However, this year’s trends also include simpler changes to your home’s interior.



Financing

Taking out a loan against the equity in your home is a common method of financing a home improvement project. This approach incurs financing costs, so you should use it only for essential repairs or remodeling that will increase the resale value of your home. Bear in mind that prospective home buyers won’t necessarily value a particular improvement as much as you do.

The methods of using your home equity to improve your home can be divided into home equity loans and home equity lines of credit (HELOCs). They’re similar in that they use your equity as collateral, but the ways in which they disburse the funds are different. A home equity loan is like other secured loans in that you receive the funding up front as a lump sum. A HELOC, on the other hand, creates a line of credit that functions more like a credit card.

Some lenders offer financial products with characteristics of both home equity loans and HELOCs. Figure’s HELOC is unique because it pays a lump sum upfront, like a home equity loan. However, it also allows you to continue drawing on the line of credit as you repay the loan*.

Foilage

The current trend toward environmentally friendly design will definitely continue in 2020. Designers are integrating green plants into personal spaces rather than placing them in separate areas. Any area that receives direct sunlight for a large portion of the day should contain some greenery. In addition to the aesthetic improvement that plants provide for your home, they can offer shade and refresh the air. Lights can further highlight plants at night, in addition to helping them grow.



Backyard

Backyard improvements such as a wooden porch are one of the strongest current trends in home design. Such a porch can be especially attractive if your backyard gets a lot of sun most of the year. Even if you aren’t physically active yourself, a porch swing will provide a comfortable location to watch your children play. You can further make your back yard more appealing by adding features such as a deck with built-in amenities. Other possibilities include adding a fire pit or outdoor kitchen to your patio, which increases your home’s livable area and resale value.



Family Room

A family room is often a home’s focal point, especially for large families. This type of project may involve creating a family room from an unused space such as a basement, but it can also consist of customizing an existing living room or den. An entertainment center with a TV can be the centerpiece of your family room, but board games and other forms of entertainment work well, too. Another option is to design a family room strictly to promote conversation.



Kitchen

Kitchen projects don’t need to involve a complete remodeling. Simply painting the cabinets can have a dramatic effect on your kitchen’s look. Updating other features such as the backsplash, countertop and cabinet hardware also can give your kitchen a new look. Major kitchen renovations include adding areas for working, storage or even a separate dining room. A raised bar that frames the kitchen is another growing trend in remodeling.



Bathrooms

Bathrooms are making a comeback in 2020. Many bathroom remodeling projects add amenities that are designed for family members to enjoy spending time there, such as a larger tub for long, hot baths. Less ambitious projects can add closet space to ensure that grooming and wardrobe essentials are readily available, reducing the need for you to leave the bathroom when dressing for work.



Energy Efficiency

Projects that reduce your home’s energy consumption are the easiest to justify because they provide a direct financial benefit in the form of lower energy bills. Government incentives such as rebates and tax deductions add to the appeal of energy-efficient projects. Start with an energy audit of your home to help you identify the most cost-effective improvements to undertake first. Common energy-efficiency projects include new HVAC systems, window replacement, and insulation installation.



Front Door

Updating your front door can be particularly beneficial if you’re selling your house, since prospective buyers often make their mind up about a house within seven seconds. This can be as simple as a fresh coat of paint. A larger project that can greatly increase your home’s curb appeal is a covered doorway entry. This feature fell out of fashion during the 1990s, but is now making a comeback.



Shelves

Not only does adding shelf space increase your home’s storage capacity, but it also gives it a multi-dimensional look that’s becoming more popular in 2020. The most common places to add shelves are bedrooms and living rooms, where shelves often are installed directly into the walls. Free-standing shelving also can provide extra storage space.



Flooring

Replacing the flooring is one of the most effective ways to give your home’s interior a new look. If your home still has old-fashioned linoleum tile in the kitchen and bathroom, consider replacing it with faux wood and stone tiles that are hard to tell from the real thing. Durable laminate flooring and modern carpeting that’s easier to maintain will also be popular improvement options in the new year.



Summary

As the cost of a home improvement project increases, adding to the resale value of your home should become a priority. Be sure to take into account the financing costs for your project when you calculate how long it will take you to recoup your investment.



*The Figure Home Equity Line is an open-end product where the full loan amount (minus the origination fee) will be 100% drawn at the time of origination. The initial amount funded at origination will be based on a fixed rate; however, this product contains an additional draw feature. As the borrower repays the balance on the line, the borrower may make additional draws during the draw period. If the borrower elects to make an additional draw, the interest rate for that draw will be set as of the date of the draw and will be based on an Index, which is the Prime Rate published in the Wall Street Journal for the calendar month preceding the date of the additional draw, plus a fixed margin. Accordingly, the fixed rate for any additional draw may be higher than the fixed rate for the initial draw.