Turn your stay-cation into a home makeover

(ARA) – Nearly 49 percent of us are planning a summer vacation, while one-third are preparing for “stay-cations,” according to Burst Media’s Summer Travel and Vacations 2011 survey. If you’re skipping airports and resorts and opting to stay home, treat yourself to a home or room makeover.

Big or small, a home improvement project can dramatically improve your living space and, potentially, lower your energy bills, too.

“Summer stay-cations are a great time to make home improvements to make it more enjoyable and more energy-efficient,” says Kathy Krafka Harkema, spokesperson for Pella Windows and Doors.

Ask yourself: Where do we spend the most time? How can we improve those areas? What rooms or spaces are not used? How can we transform them into a more inviting space?

Consider these stay-cation makeover ideas:

* Seldom-used formal dining rooms can be opened up to enlarge your kitchen or transformed into a casual family room with extra storage space.

* Add a patio door in a kitchen, dining or family room to increase living area and create a better view. Hinged or sliding – patio doors provide easy access to the outdoors plus invite in more fresh air and natural light.

* Bathrooms can become at-home spas by adding a soaking tub, upgraded vanity and dramatic lighting. Consider a custom-shaped window or groups of windows over the tub for added natural light and architectural interest.

Need more inspiration? Enjoy top kitchen and bath trends from the National Kitchen and Bath Association (NKBA):

The case for space

Open up and expand your kitchen by knocking down a wall or two. Or, expand into an outdoor area with a new patio door, like the durable, low-maintenance Pella 350 Series vinyl sliding patio door.

Shades- or blinds-between-the-glass options control sunlight plus add privacy. They also reduce the need for cleaning – a perfect recipe for high-traffic kitchens.

Shake it up

Shaker-style kitchens – an organized, wood-paneled, cabinet-centric design – are making a major comeback. While many still lean toward traditional models, 55 percent of kitchen remodelers adopted the Shaker utilitarian approach last year, NKBA says.

“Energy-efficient wood windows like the Pella Designer Series with between-the-glass blind or shade options will complement your new kitchen and may also help reduce your energy bills,” Krafka Harkema says.

Relax in style

People pamper themselves at home, NKBA says. From spa-like bathrooms to wine cabinets, homeowners are creating spaces to simply relax. Enjoy the outdoors? Add a new deck or patio.

Complement it with new Pella Architect Series patio doors that feature enhanced air and water performance with a low sill height to help reduce potential trips or falls. They’re available with HurricaneShield impact-resistant glass options, ideal for hurricane-prone areas or virtually anywhere you want added soundproofing and security.

Going green

From bamboo flooring to LED lighting, remodeling is turning sustainable, reports NKBA.

Ready to improve your home’s carbon footprint and energy efficiency? Replace your single-pane windows.

Upgrading to new ENERGY STAR-qualified windows may save you $146 to $501 annually on energy costs and reduce your carbon footprint by 1,147 to 3,839 pounds of carbon dioxide – equivalent to 59 to 196 gallons of gasoline, according to energystar.gov.

American homeowners may claim an energy-efficiency tax credit from $200 to $500 on certain ENERGY STAR-qualifying windows and exterior doors installed in 2011. Visit Pella.com for qualifying wood, vinyl and fiberglass products, and for more home improvement inspiration.

“Whether you tackle a home improvement project during your stay-cation or hire a trusted contractor to do it for you, now’s the time to improve your home’s living space and its energy efficiency,” Krafka Harkema says.