Unless you’re a consummate traveler or office-bound workaholic, home is where you spend most of your time. That means it has a major impact on your overall wellness, in ways you might not even realize. From the pros at HomeAdvisor, here are five home improvement projects that will make your home a healthier place to spend your days and nights.
1. Turn your bedroom into a sleep sanctuary.
Upwards of 70 million Americans suffer some sort of sleep problem, according to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. If you’re among them, giving your bedroom a makeover could help pave the way to a good night’s sleep. Controlling light, sound and temperature are the three keys. Here’s how to go about it:
Install blackout blinds on windows to manage outside light pollution. Hiring a pro for the project will cost around $700, according to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide. If you live in a noisy neighborhood, deploy a white noise machine or air purifier to create a background hum. As for temperature, if you haven’t yet upgraded to a programmable thermostat, make the switch now so that your bedroom will automatically adjust to an optimal 65 degrees F during the overnight hours. Pros typically charge $165 for thermostat installation.
2. Update the cooking appliances.
Home cooking is healthier than eating out, plus it will save hundreds, if not thousands, over the course of the year. The stove is the engine of the kitchen, but don’t discount the power of small appliances to inspire healthful cooking. A new blender, for example, will whip up veggie-packed morning smoothies. Another favorite with nutritionists: multi-cookers, which make it easy to keep a steady supply of heart-healthy grains, such as quinoa and farro, as well as batches of homemade yogurt.
3. Bring in more natural light.
Windows always rank high on HomeAdvisor’s Homeowner Happiness Index, which identifies the home features that bring owners the most joy. Exposure to sunlight is critical to the control of the body’s circadian rhythms, which goes back to sleep quality. Natural light also cuts down on energy costs. The average cost to install windows throughout the home is around $5,000, according to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide, but a single unit can be added for just a few hundred dollars.
4. Clear the air you breathe.
When we think of air pollution, most of us imagine smokestacks belching toxic fumes into the sky. But indoor air pollutants are often two to five times higher than outdoor levels, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
To minimize pollutants, bring fresh air into the home by cracking windows when the weather is conducive. Exhaust fans are also essential for the exchange of indoor and outdoor air; installing a bath fan costs $375 on average, according to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Report, while whole-house systems start around $1,500. If your home has forced air heating and cooling, remember to change the filters regularly. Lastly, be diligent about vacuuming, especially if you have four-legged friends.
5. Create a connection to the outdoors
The technical term is biophilia, or the human desire to be close to nature. A walk in the woods is one form, but so is dinner with the family on the backyard patio or deck. It’s no wonder these outdoor structures rank as high as windows on HomeAdvisor’s Homeowner Happiness Index. Not ready to drop thousands on a new deck? A cozy seating area set around a fire pit will connect you to nature, in all its primordial glory, for as little as a few hundred dollars.