Whether finishing basements or updating bathrooms, Americans are making home improvements to accommodate more family members moving into their homes.

A combination of hard times and an aging population increased the number of U.S. households with multiple generations living under one roof, according to AARP. In 2010, 7.1 million U.S. households — or 6.1 percent of homes — were multigenerational. Compare that to 2000, when just 5 million households were multigenerational.

Remodeling tips


Considering remodeling? Check out the hottest small-project remodeling trends for 2011, from the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI). As you’re planning, incorporate universal design principles to help make your home safer and more functional.

Bathroom renovations

Updating bathrooms? Add slip-resistant surfaces to minimize potential falls in bathtubs and showers. Walk-in showers and safety bars are also smart choices.

Paint is an easy upgrade. One great bathroom paint idea is to use brighter colors like lime green, citrus yellow, butterscotch yellow or cream to create the illusion of space and make a small bathroom look larger.

Necessary repairs


As they update their homes, consumers are fixing problems, like replacing broken hardware and glass on windows and doors. For safety’s sake, make sure your windows and doors are not jammed, painted or nailed shut. If they are, it could be time to replace them.

Patio and outdoor rooms

Staying home more? Spending more time in the yard? Creating a new patio area off a kitchen or dining room can add space for entertaining. Install energy-efficient sliding or hinged patio doors, such as the Pella 350 Series vinyl patio doors, to help save energy and create beautiful views.

Opening up rooms

As you remodel, consider removing interior walls to create extra space in high-traffic areas like kitchens or bathrooms. Add 36-inch doors to make it easier to move about your home.

Adding bronze


Choose bronze finishes like oil-rubbed bronze, when replacing missing or broken hardware on windows or doors. Bronze is also popular in bedrooms, home offices and kitchens.

Go green and save

Now is the time to replace your home’s drafty single-paned windows with more energy-efficient wood, vinyl or fiberglass windows. You may be able to claim a U.S. energy-efficiency tax credit from $200 to $500 on certain ENERGY STAR-qualified windows and doors installed in 2011.