When you live somewhere, you want to see the best in it. You want to set down roots and really invest in the area so you can feel part of something bigger than yourself. There’s only so much you can do to represent your country, but regionally you can do so much more: get involved in local government, support the local economy, get to know your neighbors, etc.
In this article, we’re going to focus on how you can add some local flavor to your home by engaging in some home improvements.
Decide what you intend to do
There is an almost endless list of improvements you can make to your home. To help kick-start your inspiration, here are some viable suggestions:
- Invest in local building materials. Working with local tradespeople is one thing, but using materials from the area shows a further level of commitment. If your region is known for oak trees, for instance, you can buy local wood and ensure that your renovation feels entirely appropriate for the area.
- Paint your house in local colors. If you really want to get eyes on your house, you can paint it in local colors. If there aren’t any obvious local colors, look for local patterns or shapes you can work into your design. The aim is to match an aesthetic common to your area so it doesn’t feel out of place (that includes avoiding any color clashes with nearby homes), but throw in a fresh twist to keep things interesting.
- Set out some local memorabilia. Through garage sales and even online auctions, you can find interesting local memorabilia that you can proudly display. You could also just buy new local products and display those, showing a more modern allegiance. Installing shelves on your outside walls will give you fun opportunities to show them off.
- Harken back to a bygone era. This is where a big budget would be useful. What did houses look like in the area a hundred years ago? You could put in the time and resources to give your house a retro design (though with better fireproofing). And if you don’t want to do this, you can at least avoid adding any modern features that would look out of place in your neck of the woods.
- Mirror the work your neighbors have done. Has everyone in your street had the same type of exterior home improvements done? If so, being the sole holdout will leave your home sticking out like a sore thumb. You don’t need to make your house exactly the same as the others, but implement common structural elements to whatever extent you can.
- Cultivate flora that suits the area. Every area offers distinct wildlife, and one of the best ways to show local flavor is to maintain trees and plants native to your area. Your front lawn is a particularly good place to work on because it’s visible to everyone who passes by, though your back garden is also worth your effort.
Get suggestions from area experts
In addition to your own ideas, seek advice from area experts. Whether it’s your next-door neighbor or the head of your local museum, there are people all around who can tell you about local history: everything from architectural design to chief exports (Work + Money has an interesting piece pertaining to regional products). Over the years, they’ve surely seen countless homes decked out in all manner of ways, and can tell you about the highlights. What have people truly invested in the area done?
They can also give you some suggestions based on your circumstances. What are you willing to do? How far will you go? What do you ultimately hope to achieve with the project? If you do want to make your house a local landmark, let them know. Listen carefully to what they have to say, and use it to inform your ideation process.
You should also seek pitches from local tradespeople. What projects have they worked on before, and what can they do for your home in particular? They might not have the best prices around, but remember the point of representing your community and do what you can to invest in them. Working with a company that actively pursues community engagement will lead to a win-win result — and cultivating a good relationship with them will pay off, too.
Allocate (and use) a suitable budget
Before finalizing any big decisions you need to figure out how much you’re willing to spend on the project. If you simply happen to have $50 to spend on something small, then you won’t be doing too much and can keep your expectations as such. But maybe you’re flush with cash and want to do something truly elaborate. You might even want to establish a local landmark.
If the idea is to go big with home improvement, you need to ensure before you begin that you have the money to make it happen. It would be awfully frustrating to get part of the way through the project and run out of money. Do you have assets you can sell? Overtime you can take? There’s even the option of remortgaging your home: there are online mortgage brokers that can quickly get you options, though you must think carefully about going down this route to generate funds.
Once you’ve arrived at a workable figure, fully commit to not exceeding it. Home improvement is fantastic (and the project could even raise the value of your home, depending on what you do), but it isn’t worth spiraling into serious debt. Don’t take it too seriously.
Talk about the project in your community
Once you’ve figured out your plan, you should talk about it with other people in your community. See what they think, ask for their ideas, and generally get them thinking about what they could do to show more local pride. If you do a really good job with your home improvement project, you could start a positive trend in your neighborhood.
It’s possible that you could even pool your resources to achieve something that would benefit you all. It may be cheaper to hire tradespeople to overhaul all your fences as part of a single project, for instance — and then there’s the prospect of renovations for a shared area (such as a communal garden) that could introduce some local flavor for everyone.
About The Author: Laura May is Digital Editor at Just Another Magazine. We write about beauty, fashion, lifestyle, relationships, travel, trends and anything else that matters to you. Name throwing you off? Don’t take it too seriously — we intend to stand out from the crowd.
Photo by Trinity Nguyen on Unsplash
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