3 Smart Exterior Home Remodel Ideas

Curb appeal should always be front of mind when you plan to sell your home and want to attract buyers, but it’s just as desirable when you want to boost your real estate’s resale value in general. It also makes your home a more appealing place in which to live in the interim, which is why you may want to consider these smart exterior home remodel projects in the future.

Ideas for Exterior Home Remodel Projects

No matter how beautifully you decorate the inside of your home, the outside offers up the first impression to visitors, and these exterior home remodel ideas can be great investments for you as a homeowner—whether you’re planning to sell your house now or not.

From adding texture to the exterior of your home to swapping out old windows for more contemporary ones to fixing up your front door, a home exterior makeover can be a smart way to make a lasting impact in a short amount of time.

Replace Your Front Door With An Inviting Style

Psychologists say that it takes just seven seconds to make a first impression, meaning your front door is one of the first parts of your house that a guest or potential buyer will see—the catalyst for making a snap decision on how they feel about the home in general. Thus, the front door should be one of the first places you focus your energy when tackling exterior renovations of your property.

combining cedar shingles and shiplap in the same color .

You can also mix and match levels of gloss, or shapes and lengths of bricks and stone.

For a baseline cost, installed vinyl siding can range in price from $6,116 and $16,143, with the average cost being $10,956. Your costs will depend on the thickness of the siding, how much added style you want as you mix and match textures, the size of your house, how standard the shape of your house is or isn’t, and any added details like moldings, trim, soffits, corners, or vents. If there’s old siding that needs to be removed first, you’ll also want to factor in the additional cost of labor (or consider doing it yourself).

Upgrading the Windows

credit card debt can be tricky to pay off. That’s because most credit card companies charge compound interest, which means you’re paying interest on the accrued interest, with the interest continually calculated and added to your balance. To make matters worse, the interest may typically be compounded daily.

Even if you make minimum payments, the interest just keeps compounding. In fact, it keeps doing so until the balance is paid off completely. If you miss a payment, the situation gets worse, with late fees and penalties often added on.

If you’d like to calculate what you’d actually pay on your remodeling debt, use our credit card interest calculator.

If you decide that it won’t make sense to use a credit card to pay for your remodeling, then consider comparing and contrasting home equity lines of credit versus personal loans. Under certain circumstances, a home equity line of credit (HELOC) may make sense; for example, if you have significant equity in your home, plan to borrow a large amount of money and/or want the potential tax benefits.

Benefits of choosing a personal loan include:

•  You won’t tie up any equity in your home.
•  Fees are likely to be less, and maybe you won’t have to pay any fees at all (like at SoFi).
•  Application and approval processes are typically faster than with a HELOC.

With a home improvement loan from SoFi (not a HELOC; rather, a personal loan for home improvement purposes), you can benefit from:

•  a quick process, one that typically takes seven days from online approval to funding
•  fixed payments, which makes budgeting easier
•  not having your home equity tied up
•  no fees, no surprises, no catches

The Takeaway

Considering exterior home remodel projects can be a way to increase your house’s curb appeal, while also adding value; they also are often the quickest way to turn a real estate investment into long-term value. Exterior home projects can be as simple as adding a fresh coat of paint to your existing front door or as complex as replacing all the windows in your house to be both contemporary and more energy efficient.

At the very least, tackling these smart exterior home remodel ideas should help you down the line when you decide to sell your house.

To get started, you can find your personal loan rate in just two minutes. Then, when you’re ready, you can quickly and easily apply.

Ready to get started? You can quickly and easily apply for your personal loan online.

SoFi Loan Products
SoFi loans are originated by SoFi Lending Corp (dba SoFi), a lender licensed by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the California Financing Law, license # 6054612; NMLS # 1121636 . For additional product-specific legal and licensing information, see SoFi.com/legal.

External Websites: The information and analysis provided through hyperlinks to third party websites, while believed to be accurate, cannot be guaranteed by SoFi. Links are provided for informational purposes and should not be viewed as an endorsement.
Financial Tips & Strategies: The tips provided on this website are of a general nature and do not take into account your specific objectives, financial situation, and needs. You should always consider their appropriateness given your own circumstances.

Source: sofi.com

6 DIY Home Repair Mistakes to Avoid Before Selling Your House – Redfin

DIY (do it yourself) is a common approach to home repairs for a variety of reasons, from budget to perceived simplicity. For those preparing to sell their home, pinching pennies can be a common motivation for tackling fixes without professional involvement. In some cases, DIY solutions are a great way to save time and money with very little risk, but at times, neglecting the abilities of a pro can cause costly problems. 

home repair

home repair

Hire a Professional for These Home Repairs

Not all home repairs are made equal. Basic home projects, like putting up wallpaper, are relatively low risk and don’t pose the potential for big problems down the line. However, more substantial projects can require a level of expertise above and beyond what the average homeowner can accomplish. When not handled properly, these kinds of DIY fixes can result in serious damage that could cost a small fortune to fix. That’s why we created a list of projects that should be handled by the professionals, rather than doing it yourself.

1. Electrical Work

Dealing with any notable wiring issues throughout a home is best left in the hands of an electrician. While something simple, like replacing a lightbulb, is certainly possible without a pro, anything larger requires someone trained in electrical systems.

Accessing electrical boxes, installing new lighting fixtures, replacing wiring, adding new wiring, or anything else more complicated has the potential to harm both you and your property without proper oversight. Accidents with electrical work can cause electrocution or start fires, putting both your health and your home at risk. Without the expertise of an electrician, there’s no way to know whether the tutorials you’re reading or viewing online are appropriate for your property.

2. Plumbing

Plumbing, like electrical work, can be tricky to get right for those without formal training. It’s not unusual for DIY home repairs to cause burst pipes or leaks, opening the door for potential water damage to your home. When these leaks or broken pipes are found within walls or difficult to detect it can become a serious issue. 

Before trying to do something like replacing a pipe or installing new fixtures, contact a plumber to make sure your repairs are appropriate and up to code. It’s cheaper to hire a professional for small tasks from the start than to bring in a plumber once a problem arises. Installing a new faucet is much cheaper than to both install a new faucet and fix the problems caused by a DIY installation gone awry.

3. Full Bathroom Remodels

Bathroom remodeling projects often seem easy, but can actually entail much more than you may think. Oftentimes, these projects can require elements of other kinds of home repairs, like plumbing and electrical work. 

Tackling a bathroom from top to bottom can be an excellent way to boost your home’s value before listing it, but approaching a remodel in the wrong way can be disastrous. An error in plumbing, cabinet and counter installation, wiring, or anything else could be more costly than beneficial. When you want your bathroom to look – and function – it’s very best, you will want help from a licensed contractor or remodeler who can adhere to building codes and prevent major problems.

home repair

home repair

4. Foundation and Crawl Space Repairs

Little foundation fixes or crawl space repairs may look simple on the surface, but these kinds of projects can be serious endeavors and require the training and tools the average homeowner doesn’t have. This is particularly true with foundation repairs, especially if you live in an area with a wet climate like Seattle, WA. Failing to address signs of foundation damage can threaten the stability of your entire home. Additionally, an improper DIY home repair can yield more costly treatments down the road and leave room for much more serious damage. 

Identifying and fixing foundation problems can require anything from construction equipment to hydraulic lifts. Instead of taking the easy way out, partner with a professional to make sure these serious repairs are made the right way.

5. Roof Replacement or Repairs

Roofing is both challenging and potentially dangerous, making this a poor choice for a DIY project. Replacing shingles or repairing structural issues can be tempting – roofing prices can be steep – but these kinds of tasks are easy to do incorrectly. When shingles aren’t placed properly, insulation is lacking, chimneys aren’t adequately navigated, and safety precautions aren’t taken, big problems can happen. 

Climbing around on the top of your house with tools and heavy materials is a home repair project best left for a professional. The risk for improper insulation, wrong shingle placement, or even slips and falls makes roofing jobs far too challenging for a standard homeowner. Also, having a professional step in for a big project like this will ensure everything is done well and in a timely manner. 

6. Replacing Siding

The siding on your home looks deceptively simple, but replacing a whole house worth of siding can be a seriously challenging home repair. This task can take days on end, and placing siding straight and even is a much harder project than it may appear to be on the surface.

It’s also important to remember that siding is more than an aesthetic feature. Siding that’s installed incorrectly can cause water and weather damage, driving increased temperature control costs, the likelihood of pest damage, and potential structural issues. Simply put, if you are planning to replace your siding to increase your home value, make sure a professional is involved in the process.

There’s a lot to be said for the peace of mind that comes from partnering with an electrician, plumber, roofer, remodeling company, or contractor. Before charging ahead with a DIY home repair, make sure you understand the scope of the repairs you are trying to make, any risks, and the potential value of professional involvement.

Source: redfin.com

Lessons From Listing Photos: Why This Modest Home Sold in 5 Days and Grew In Value

It doesn’t matter how perfect your home is—if your listing photos don’t stand out, potential buyers won’t come by to take a look. In our series “Lessons From Listing Photos,” we dissect the smart updates sellers have made to their homes, and how their listing pictures highlight the home’s best assets.

All over the country, housing markets go through boom and bust, even in normal times. But during a pandemic, you might expect that real estate would slow down, and that many buyers would hold their ground—and their cash, waiting for a moment with more economic stability.

However, last summer, when COVID-19 cases were surging and social restrictions made house hunting especially challenging in certain areas, home prices hit record highs.

In July 2020, the median home price hit a new all-time high of $349,000, according to realtor.com® data. Why? We chalk it up to a low inventory of homes, historically low mortgage interest rates, and people’s desire to own property in less crowded, less expensive locations.

In the suburban areas of Dallas, as in other suburbs around the country, home prices continued to grow as mortgage rates dropped, and city dwellers began to dream of the beauty of a little space.

That may help explain why this three-bedroom, two-bathroom home just outside the city was such a success when it hit the market in July 2020.

It took a mere five days for a buyer to come calling, and the sellers made a profit of nearly $200,000. They purchased the house in 2016 for $596,000, and just four years later, sold it for $779,000.

Of course, a popular housing market isn’t the only reason that this home sold so fast. We’re pretty sure the stylish home improvements, staging, and compelling listing photos had a lot to do with it, too.

Profits like that pique our interest, so we had to take a closer look at the interior changes that were made.

We asked our panel of design and real estate experts to pinpoint what you can glean for your own home projects from the updates the sellers made, as shown in these before and after photos.

Living room

“This room transformation is all about the magic of staging,” says Danny Davis, the owner/broker of San Diego Brokerage in Encinitas, CA.

“New shutters have been added to the windows, and the room has been painted, but beyond those smart upgrades, no major changes have been made to this lovely living room.”

Jonathan Spears, founder of Spears Group with Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty, says the new furniture makes a world of difference.

“The low-profile furniture upgrades are thoughtfully arranged to create a welcoming space,” he says, “allowing for a more comfortable atmosphere.”

As you can see, the color palette—seen in the wall paint, furniture, and accessories—has also been updated.

“They’ve used color in a really smart way,” says Nicole Michael, founder of the Los Angeles and Orange County-based interior design firm Nicole Michael Designs.

“These neutral colors, like the gray sofa, are far more in style than the colors used in the before photos, as are the pops of ginger-colored accents. Adding in pops of color to the bookcases makes them stand out as the great feature they are.”


Watch: Point, Shoot, Sell? To Show Off Your Home, Avoid These Listing Photo Mistakes



This kitchen update demonstrates that you don’t need to undergo a major renovation to make a strong impact.

“The cabinets, countertops, appliances, and even the under-cabinet lighting have all remained the same,” says Davis.

“Keeping the existing cabinets and appliances saved thousands of dollars,” says Michael.

“The use of aged brass finishes for the lighting, cabinet hardware, and faucet are right on trend. When you have the same color/material traveling through a room, it unifies a space and instantly elevates it.”

She adds that the new, lighter flooring makes the room feel much larger than it did before.

Davis also approves of the new banquette seating in the breakfast nook, which he says provides extra seating and storage.

“The result is a spacious, modern, light, bright kitchen that any home buyer could easily imagine themselves in,” he says.


Most of the home received merely cosmetic updates, and it’s likely that every penny saved was poured into the more substantial expansion of this bathroom.

“The bathroom has literally gone from eyesore to selling point,” says John Atamian, a Glendale-based real estate agent.

“And while this extensive renovation is somewhat costly, these upgrades will more than pay for themselves in value added.”

“So many elements in the before photo—the plastic laminate countertop, single-lever faucet, and molded sink—look like a rental apartment, not a single-family home. The after photo, on the other hand, has the spa feeling that home buyers absolutely love,” says Michael.

The experts agreed that the black and white color choices make the room feel crisp and clean, exactly the kind of vibe every bathroom needs.

Davis focused on the change he thinks made the biggest impact.

“Here is one absolute truth I have learned from my many years in real estate: Couples do not want to share a bathroom sink, and dual vanities are high on most home buyers’ lists for that reason,” he says.


While both iterations of this bedroom look cozy and comfortable, the after photo cultivates a more modern vibe, with boho-Scandinavian furnishings. The area rug, bench, and nightstands are all pieces we’d expect to see in current design magazines.

Michael got into more details, explaining the the new gray walls appeal to more buyers. She also says the headboard—which is now the same color as the walls—blends into the room to make the space feel larger.

The sellers pulled a similar trick by changing the fan from wood-toned to white.

“Home buyers want the functionality of ceiling fans, but they don’t necessarily like the look of them,” she says.

So why do all these changes—both big and small—draw in so many more potential buyers? Davis summed it up best.

“A home buyer needs to imagine themselves living in a home when they view it, and ultimately, they want to believe their life will be better if they buy this home,” he says. “Adding glamour, light, and modern flair to a room will have a potential home buyer swooning.”

Source: realtor.com

Don’t Skip These 7 Home Projects Before Selling Your House – Redfin

January 19, 2021 January 21, 2021 by Mekaila Oaks

Updated on January 21st, 2021

Maybe you’ve decided it’s time to leave your condo in New York City for a more spacious house in Dallas now that you can work from home. Or, maybe your family is growing and you’re looking for a house with a larger yard or in a different school district. Whatever your reason is, you’ve decided it’s time to sell your current home. Whether this is your first time or you have experience, selling your home can be a big task. So, unless you’re in a major time-crunch or on a tight budget, it’s best to put a little work into your home before listing it for sale so you can sell your home quickly, and possibly for more money. 

From installing new flooring to making eco-friendly upgrades, there’s a lot of home improvements you can – and should – do to make your home stand out when it hits the market. But with so many potential home upgrades, it may feel overwhelming to know where to start. Luckily, we’ve listed out the top 7 home projects to consider if you’re selling your home this year.

high ceilings living room

high ceilings living room

1) Update your flooring

If the floors in your home are worn out or outdated, it can be a huge turnoff to potential buyers. Even if you’ve grown used to the stains on the carpet or you no longer notice the divet in the kitchen floor, you’ll want to have your flooring updated before listing your home for sale. 

There are many types of flooring and the right choice will depend on your home. However, you can never go wrong with hardwood. In fact, hardwood is the most popular and valuable type of flooring to potential homebuyers in the US. Laminate and ceramic are also great flooring options to consider. To be sure you’re choosing the right type and style for your home, it’s best to talk with a flooring professional in your area. 

designer bathroom wood cabinetry circle mirrors

designer bathroom wood cabinetry circle mirrors

2) Freshen up your paint 

Are your walls scuffed, scraped, or just an unappealing color? A fresh coat of paint is a simple yet effective home update, allowing you to maximize the look and feel of your space in next to no time. As people tour your home, online or virtually, they’ll notice the small details. You won’t want a poor paint job or an outdated, dark orange kitchen wall to be an influencing factor on their decision. Instead, opt for neutral paint colors to appeal to a wide range of buyers. 

Keep in mind that painting isn’t just for the inside, either. A fresh coat of exterior paint can do wonders for your home’s appearance and curb appeal.  If you’re crunched for time or this home project is too big of an undertaking, hire a professional painter so that your home is looking its best when it hits the housing market.

dark contrast cabinetry sleek kitchen

dark contrast cabinetry sleek kitchen

3) Give your kitchen a face-lift

The kitchen is the heart of the home and it’s often one of the top priorities for buyers. So a kitchen in need of a lot of work can be all it takes to turn a buyer off for good. With stylish, designer kitchens as one of the major home design trends this year, you’ll want to prioritize this home project to help your house stand out against the competition.

If a complete remodel doesn’t fit within your budget, don’t worry. Upgrading your kitchen doesn’t mean you need to go all out and buy brand new appliances – a few little cosmetic touches can go a long way. Things like new cabinet faces, drawer pulls or, if necessary, a new counter, can completely turn a kitchen around. Even adding a new backsplash or going bold with contrast cabinetry can make all the difference. If you’re not sure which upgrades are necessary, consider speaking with a contractor or real estate professional about current trends in your area. 

backyard oasis home projects

backyard oasis home projects

4) Enhance your landscaping: curb appeal is key

Many homebuyers want the complete package – inside and out. A beautiful home is only made better by a beautiful yard, so if your property is a little bland on the outside, the right finishing touches can spark buyer interest. That’s why landscaping is one of the most important home projects to complete before you sell your house.

Landscaping can be comprehensive – things like koi ponds and expansive patios – but can also be straightforward and simple. Planting shrubs along a sidewalk, adding a small flower garden, or even putting fresh mulch around trees can be affordable and easy ways to create eye-catching curb appeal. Whether you want to completely upgrade your outdoor space with an intricate landscape design, or your front yard just needs a well-manicured lawn with some fresh flowers, a landscaper can help you tackle this home project.

5) Replace your windows

Depending on the age and condition of your home, it might be time to replace your windows. Even if you’ve only lived in your home for 5 years, you should ask yourself how long the previous owners were living there and if they ever had them replaced? If your windows have minor damages, then they may just need a simple repair. But if the frames are worn, there’s leaking when it rains, it’s difficult to open or close, or there’s just visible damage – you’ll want to hire a professional to replace them.

contemporary home

contemporary home

6) Repair your garage door

Does your garage door squeak and squeal, or is it full of dings and scrapes? Then this is one of the home projects you’ll want to stop pushing off. If your garage door no longer looks or acts up to par, then a replacement is probably necessary – especially if it’s seen years of use with little to no maintenance. Potential homebuyers will notice these issues and may request that you repair them as part of the purchase agreement. That’s why it’s a good idea to get ahead of home projects like this before listing your home. And even if your garage door is functioning as it should, this can be a great cosmetic update to freshen up your home’s exterior.

open concept kitchen wood dining table

open concept kitchen wood dining table

7) “Green” home projects for an eco-friendly home

These days many buyers are looking for homes with eco-friendly features so taking the time to add some “green” upgrades to your home can be well worth it. And, luckily, there’s a handful of ways you can make your home more green. If your budget allows, then installing solar panels is the ultimate eco-friendly upgrade you could make. Solar panels can reduce the overall cost of electricity and energy bills, are a more environmentally-friendly energy solution, and can even increase the value of your home.  And if you live in a city like San Diego or Honolulu where it’s become a popular home feature, you’ll want to invest in this eco-friendly upgrade. 

If you’re unable to take on a larger home project like this, consider investing in other eco-friendly and energy-saving features like a smart thermostat, an ENERGY STAR certified washer and dryer, or installing a high-efficiency faucet aerator in your shower and on your taps.

Source: redfin.com

Why 2 Finance Experts Still Struggled To Buy This House

Think two seasoned certified financial planners would have an easy time buying a house? Tony and Barbara Matheson would beg to differ.

In fall 2019, these empty nesters found themselves itching to downsize from their large rental in the ultraexpensive San Francisco Bay Area. Hoping to buy a reasonably priced house within walking distance of restaurants and other amenities, they set their sights on Sacramento, CA. Armed with a healthy income, solid credit history, and a deep knowledge of personal finances—plus they’d owned property before—they figured they would sail through the home-buying process.

Six months and three lost bidding wars later, they realized that Sacramento’s real estate market was far more cutthroat than they’d imagined.

In March, the Mathesons finally purchased a three-bedroom, one-bathroom 1926 Tudor on a tree-lined street. With the closing papers signed, they figured they were home-free—but COVID-19 was about to throw another curveball into the picture.

Here Tony shares their story, and his hard-won lessons for aspiring first-time home buyers and others who want to learn what buying real estate is really like today.

Tony and Barbara Matheson's new home in Sacramento, CA
Tony and Barbara Matheson’s new home in Sacramento, CA

Tony Matheson

Location: Sacramento, CA
House specs: 1,225 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 3 bathrooms
List price: $550,000
Price paid: $580,000

Why did you decide to move?

We’d been living in the Bay Area and were looking to downsize since both of our kids had moved out. We wanted to be near downtown Sacramento, close to restaurants, bars, museums, and coffee shops.

I’d think home buying would be a breeze for two finance pros. How did it go?

I was really surprised by how tough the market was. After five months touring homes, we made an offer on our first house. This house went into a bidding war; we had to raise our bid five times before tapping out.

Next, we fell in love with a second home. This time, we offered the sellers $30,000 over the asking price. The sellers had so many other bids, they never even bothered to counter our offer.

We found a third home, and once again bid over the asking price. But after five tries, we lost out again. It was heartbreaking.

How awful! Why do you think these homes sold to other buyers?

We came prepared with what most consider strong financials for making an offer on a single-family home: great credit scores, a significant down payment, pre-approval for a mortgage. We offered good earnest money and 15-day escrow, didn’t include an appraisal contingency, and probably had a few other bonuses to the seller that I’ve forgotten. So we were doing everything “right.”

What we were finding is that we were up against some other buyers who were making all-cash offers, sometimes $50,000 above the asking price. How does anyone compete with that?

So how did you finally get an offer accepted?

We were extremely fortunate that we had a great real estate agent who was able to find a home that hadn’t been listed yet. We could negotiate one on one with the seller without having to compete against multiple offers.

The sellers had planned to invest $30,000 to $40,000 on home improvements before putting it on the market. We offered to buy the house as is, without the improvements. After going back and forth a few times, the sellers took our offer.  

What did you like about this house?

We knew within 5 seconds of walking into the house that this was the one. It was the perfect neighborhood. We were close to everything, within walking distance to plenty of bars and restaurants. The outdoor area is gorgeous. Beautiful trees surround our house, and the house is the perfect size for us.

The living room of Tony and Barbara's Sacramento home
The living room of Tony and Barbara’s Sacramento home

Tony Matheson

So once your offer was accepted, what happened next?

The sellers weren’t prepared to move immediately. They needed time to prepare. So we rented the house back to the sellers for a month after closing. We closed on Valentine’s Day, but we didn’t move in until mid-March.

Little did we know what was about to happen.

Tony and Barbara love this window in their Sacramento home.
Tony and Barbara love this window in their Sacramento home.

Tony Matheson

March is when the coronavirus really hit. What was it like moving during that time?

It was difficult and terrifying in the beginning. We moved in ourselves without hiring movers. Then, after we moved in, it was quite an adjustment. Simple things like calling an electrician or completing other minor home projects were enormously difficult.

Did you make any renovations to your home?

We put $10,000 to $12,000 into the house so far. The major issue after moving in was electricity—it needed to be completely reconfigured. For example, the second bedroom, which became my office, only had two plugs. Between my monitors for work, computers, Peloton, cellphones, and other devices, I needed 12 plugs. We also wanted to put in a tankless water heater for more space, and install a security system.  

During the COVID-19 shutdown, Tony and Barbara painted their new home.
During the COVID-19 shutdown, Tony and Barbara painted their new home.

Tony Matheson

How did quarantine affect these repairs?

It was horrible. We couldn’t get anyone to come out to do any work for at least three months. For the first month, no one was booking. Then, when we could finally get through, the businesses were overwhelmed with requests.

Tony and Barbara celebrate finally closing on their dream home in Sacramento.
Tony and Barbara celebrate finally closing on their dream home in Sacramento.

Tony Matheson

What was it like when you finally settled in?

It was exhilarating, exciting, and weird. Exhilarating because we got the house we wanted. Exciting because we were beginning a new phase in our lives. And weird because we moved in at the beginning of the pandemic. We wanted to have a housewarming party, but of course, we couldn’t.

What is your advice for aspiring home buyers?

Even if your finances are completely buttoned up, be prepared that buying a house may be a difficult and even painful process.

Tony and his daughter on game night in their new home
Tony and his daughter on game night in their new home

Tony Matheson

Emotionally it does get hard. As much as you try not to get attached to a house during the negotiation process, you can’t help it. And there is a competitive drive that kicks in when you are in a bidding war with others. It’s draining.

Still, in the end, knowing that you’ve overcome challenges along the way just makes you more appreciative of the reward at the end. We have a place to call home amidst all this craziness. It’s all worth it.

Their parrot Kiwi also enjoys the new home's view.
Their parrot Kiwi also enjoys the new home’s view.

Tony Matheson

Source: realtor.com

Update: See What COVID-19 Has Done to 2021’s Colors of the Year>

The coronavirus pandemic has affected every facet of our lives—even, apparently, the colors we should paint our walls. As proof, look no further than the colors of the year for 2021.

The time has arrived when paint companies start rolling out their top hues that embody the era’s zeitgeist. And, with 2020 being unlike anything we’ve experienced in our lives thus far, it’s no surprise that COVID-19 has had a palpable impact on which colors are predicted to dominate fashion and home decor next year.

So far, many of the prevailing shades are warm and comforting, and tie back to nature—which makes sense, given that many of us have been cooped up at home and craving more time outdoors, says Debra Kling of the eponymous color consultancy.

So if you’re craving some color therapy in the form of a fresh coat of paint on your deck or in your home office or beyond, check out which color(s) of the year have been announced so far below.

Sherwin-Williams 2021 Color of the Year: Urbane Bronze

This calming gray hue feels both modern and timeless.
This calming gray hue feels both modern and timeless.


Urbane Bronze is the oh, so sophisticated pick of the year from one of the biggest paint companies, Sherwin-Williams. And a dose of this earthy shade is just what the doctor ordered as it “encourages you to create a sanctuary space for mindful reflection and renewal,” says Sue Wadden, the company’s director of color marketing.

Sweet dreams are nearly guaranteed in a soft gray cocoon.
Sweet dreams are nearly guaranteed in a soft gray cocoon.


And if you’re tired of those same cold grays slapped all over builder homes and new-construction condos, you’re not alone. This pivot to a warmer, more natural version is a welcome surprise across the board.

“We in the design community are just so done with cool, icy grays—and Urbane Bronze, which is actually a deep taupe that combines brown and gray, is a warm color that can both cheer and ground us,” says Kling.

Interior designer Ana Cummings agrees, and says the comfort of this rich and glamorous shade speaks to achievement, longevity, endurance, and standing tall through the storm.

PPG 2021 Color Palette of the Year: Be Well

Three shades in one batch that channel well-being
Three shades in one batch that channel well-being


Yup—PPG’s color of the year is actually a trio: Transcend, a subtle sandy hue; Big Cypress, which is tinged with ginger, and one from under the turquoise sea, Misty Aqua.

This grouping also feels extremely of the moment, given the fraught times in which we’re living.


Watch: How to Hang Pictures With Toothpaste (Really!)


“Our global color stylists were drawn to these colors as they evoke feelings of compassion and comfort, which resonates and represents the shifting mood of society,” says Amy Donato, PPG’s senior color marketing manager.

This palette hits both restful and joyful notes.
This palette hits both restful and joyful notes.


Misty Aqua gets big raves from the design world, in part because it adds a playful, vibrant element, while the warm pink undertones of Transcend and Big Cypress are soothing and speak to positivity.

“Misty Aqua is lively and refreshing, and it fits with the trend of blues and greens that most people have been choosing over the last few years—and it would be perfect in a coastal home in Florida or California, or in a bedroom, sunroom, or home office,” says Amy Bly, the design genius at Great Impressions Home Staging and Interiors.

PPG suggests trying these shades with the 60-30-10 design rule, which means 60% of the room is painted in a dominant color, 30% in the secondary one, and 10% as an accent. The Be Well collection pairs nicely with greenery and blond or natural brown wood tones, too.

Behr 2021 Color Trends Palette

Maple Glaze is an uplifting copper tone.
Maple Glaze is an uplifting copper tone.


Not content with just a few shades, Behr has thrown wide its design doors and embraced 21 colors in a special collection for the coming year. This company’s shades also mirror our nation’s plight and encourage us to view our home as a place of refuge and rejuvenation.

The Behr collection is “a new, elevated articulation of comfort that goes beyond traditional beige, gray, and green hues, and embraces color in a way that can redefine and enhance any type of space,” says Erika Woelfel, the company’s vice president of color.

Bright Dayflower is a reassuring blue for bedrooms and baths.
Bright Dayflower is a reassuring blue for bedrooms and baths.


From quiet neutrals to bolder hues, Behr’s 21-color salute has been sorted into six accessible themes that touch on optimism, calm, and quiet, with shades for each that are made for mixing and matching.

For example, the theme Casual Comfort might live well in an updated farmhouse with the modern neutrals Almond Wisp and Sierra. Or if your rooms are craving a more moody design, look to the Quiet Haven combo of Royal Orchard, a forest green, and Broadway, a mysterious steely gray.

HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams 2021 Color of the Year: Passionate

This next paint brand went in the opposite direction with its color of year, choosing a deep-red tone called Passionate. Available only at Lowe’s, this color acknowledges that even though homeowners have been holed up for many months because of COVID-19, they still want (and deserve) to push the envelope a bit when it comes to interior paint shades.

Crimson walls highlight classic molding and window frames.
Crimson walls highlight classic molding and window frames.

HGTV Home by Sherwin-Williams

Because of the constant state of chaos and uncertainty in our country right now, “consumers are eager to streamline and simplify their lives and homes—but that doesn’t mean we need to forgo having fun with color,” says Ashley Banbury, the company’s senior color designer.

Valspar 2021 Colors of the Year

As with other paint companies this year, no single color rose to the top of the heap at Valspar. Instead, the company has put together a pretty paint palette of 12 shades that evokes mindfulness and well-being. With these simple yet contemplative hues, homeowners can create a sense of calm.

Channel serenity at home with this delicate light green.
Channel serenity at home with this delicate light green.


To craft this special dozen, Valspar took note of web searches and upticks on key words such as “meditation”  and “home improvement” early in 2020 as a reaction to the stress related to the global pandemic.

“These lifestyle changes coupled with a surge in DIY home activity helped guide our selection of a range of colors that can not only transform your space but also elevate your mood,” says Sue Kim, Valspar’s color marketing manager.

The result? Colors like this fresh and natural shade, Garden Flower, above, that would feel right at home in a bedroom or bath.

A pale latte shade pairs well with greenery.
A pale latte shade pairs well with greenery.


Or consider taking these hues outside to enhance your curb appeal this season. We love Maple Leaf for a front porch, especially when flanked with natural plantings and dark rattan seating.

Benjamin Moore 2021 Color of the Year: Aegean Teal

Soothing and harmonious, just like the warm, blue-green waters of a far-off locale you’re dying to visit—that’s the vibe channeled by Benjamin Moore’s 2021 color of the year, Aegean Teal. This paint company has selected a classic shade that can stand on its own or play nicely with others as we settle in for a long winter’s (coronavirus-induced) nap at home.

Blond wood and metallic accents play up the beauty of this quiet aqua.
Blond wood and metallic accents play up the beauty of this quiet aqua.

Benjamin Moore

“Amid uncertainty, people yearn for stability—and the colors we surround ourselves with can have a powerful impact on our emotions and well-being,” says Andrea Magno, Benjamin Moore’s director of color marketing and development.

And in case you’re hoping to pair this on-trend teal with other hues in your home projects, Benjamin Moore has also released a dozen complementary shades in its Color Trends 2021 palette, including Atrium White, a rusty red called Amazon Soil, and Kingsport Gray, a tone that’s equal parts mocha and cocoa.

Amazon Soil is an orange-red hue that pops out among dark wood cubbies.
Amazon Soil is an orange-red hue that pops out among dark wood cubbies.

Benjamin Moore

According to Magno, Aegean Teal and its corresponding group of 12 hues are both modern and time-tested, making them ideal for paint upgrades that “celebrate the connections and real moments that take place within the home.”

Pantone 2021 Colors of the Year: Ultimate Gray + Illuminating

Since 2020 was a complete wash and much of 2021 is likely to be challenging, color giant Pantone has picked not just one, but two colors of the year: Ultimate Gray and a cheerful yellow called Illuminating. The selections are meant to ground us while also encouraging folks to look forward to a brighter future.

Gray and yellow are two sides of the same coin.
Gray and yellow are two sides of the same coin.


According to Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of the Pantone Color Institute, the marriage of these two hues is one that’s “practical and rock solid but at the same time warming and optimistic.”

Using gray as the base or dominant color with contrasting pops of yellow for accent, homeowners hoping to rehab their abodes this winter can’t miss with this invigorating palette. Because let’s face it, don’t we all need a little more sunshine in our lives right about now?

Source: realtor.com

Hidden Costs of Homeownership Typically Top $9,000 a Year

Prepare yourself by knowing the less-obvious costs of owning a home. Insurance, maintenance and more add up faster than you think.

Buyers too often focus on a home’s list price or mortgage payment to determine what they can afford. However, the numerous less-obvious costs associated with homeownership can affect the monthly bottom line.

To help home buyers budget more accurately, Zillow and Thumbtack identified several common but often overlooked home expenses and calculated what homeowners around the country could expect to pay for them. The analysis also included utility cost estimates from UtilityScore.

While each extra expense might seem small, they cost U.S. homeowners, on average, $9,080 a year, according to the report.

Unavoidable costs

Nationally, homeowners pay an average of $6,059 a year in unavoidable costs, which include homeowners insurance, property taxes and utilities. Since nearly half (47 percent) of home shoppers today are first-time buyers, many of these extra costs may come as a surprise.

San Francisco homeowners pay the most of the metros analyzed ($13,019 on average), primarily due to the market’s high home values and property taxes. Indianapolis homeowners pay the least ($4,699).

Maintenance expenses

Nearly all homeowners (96 percent) have made some kind of improvement to their homes, according to the 2016 Zillow Group Report on Consumer Housing Trends. While many complete these projects themselves, those who pay professionals can expect to spend an average of $3,021 for the six most common hired home projects requested by Thumbtack users: carpet cleaning, yard work, gutter cleaning, HVAC maintenance, house cleaning and pressure washing.

Labor costs can vary significantly by region, with Seattle homeowners paying as much as $4,052 a year on average for those six projects, while San Antonio homeowners pay an average of $1,962.

Budget planning

More than a third of buyers go over budget on a home purchase. In addition to the mortgage, the price includes estimated property taxes, insurance, PMI, utilities, taxes, HOA fees and closing costs.

Curious how much these hidden homeownership costs are in your area? Here’s a breakdown of the metros analyzed in the report:


Source: zillow.com