If you’re starting to feel like your home’s looking a little tired or old, maybe it’s time to update the place and perform some much-needed changes. Remodeling can do so much more than perk the character and ambiance of your home, though. It's also the best time to modify the place, so it accommodates your current needs and lifestyle better.

While most homeowners only focus on the aesthetics during a home remodeling project, you should take advantage of the opportunity to create a greener and safer dwelling -- especially if you're already aging or have older people living with you.

Here are several remodeling ideas to start with:

Update your walls using low VOC paints

Changing the color of your walls is one of the easiest ways to make your home look and feel like new. Adding a splash of color to one side of the room by creating an accent wall is another great idea that’s worth considering.

The thing is, most paints contain VOCs or volatile organic compounds, which come from petroleum-based solvents. When these compounds evaporate into the air, they can harm the environment and may have negative impacts on health.

Should you decide to breathe new life into those walls, use paints with low or zero VOCs. This will minimize the harmful emissions in your home and help lower the consumption of petroleum, which is a non-renewable resource.

Save on energy consumption with passive solar home design

Do you know that you can go solar without blowing thousands of dollars on solar panels? A passive solar home design allows you to use the sun's heat to warm your home during winter. When summer comes, however, it blocks that heat to keep the place fresh.The design helps lower your energy consumption by allowing you to regulate the temperature in your home.

You can create a passive solar home by using smart blinds that you can open and close as the temperature changes, or applying heat reducing films to your windows. Installing a solar chimney is another way to improve the heating and ventilation in your home.

Letting the sunshine in also brings glare-free light that helps aging people see better.

Give your bathrooms a makeover while making them safer

Many accidents take place in the bathroom, mostly because water makes a slippery surface more slippery. Making bathrooms as safe as possible should be every homeowner’s priority.

You can make your bathrooms safer by replacing glossy, ceramic tiles with slip-resistant flooring like vinyl or linoleum. These materials are also softer and more forgiving when someone falls.

Vinyl and linoleum come in plenty of shades and designs that can match whatever new look you're going for. If you've had a monochromatic bathroom for too long, try adding vivid colors or a fun design for a change. Or whynot go for a Zen or Scandinavian-themed bathroom this time around?

Upgrade to a more accessible kitchen space

More homeowners are going for kitchens with an open floor plan design because, aside from making the area feel expansive, it makes the kitchen more accessible for children and older people. However, converting an entire kitchen could be too costly for most families.Those remodeling on a tighter budget can consider adding lower counters – they require lower seats and are easier to reach.

You can also update the look of your kitchen space while making it more accessible by modifying your drawers and pantry cabinets. Generally, pull-out shelves and base drawers are ideal for convenient access.

Consider replacing old appliances.

Replacing old appliances may not be the most budget-friendly update, but it results to excellent ROI.

Getting rid of that outdated fridge or dishwasher can improve the energy-efficiency of your home immensely. Old appliances aren't exactly built with energy efficiency in mind, which means they could be sucking up excess energy by the minute.

Modern appliances with excellent Energy Star rating will help you save on energy bills. You may even get a rebate when you purchase them.

Invest in a smarter home

Not many homeowners invest in smart home technology, but they’re pretty convenient and beneficial, especially for aging people. Voice-activated controls for lighting and appliances will make it much easier to turn these fixtures on and off.

Smart home thermostats, on the other hand, are one of the best “green” additions to any home. They allow you to adjust your home’s temperature, even when you’re not there. Some models can even detect when nobody’s in the house and adjust the heating or cooling on their own. These smart additions help increase your home’s efficiency while decreasing your energy bills.

As you work on improving the feel and aesthetics of your home, take the time to improve its safety and energy-efficiency as well. Beauty, safety, and sustainability are not mutually exclusive. With some help from a reputable construction firm, your home can have all three and more!

About the Author

Victoria Grace is the Content Specialist for Nucleus Construction, a Phoenix-based company that specializes in remodeling and building custom homes. When not writing, she enjoys reading books and riding her motorcycle.

About Olga Lockhart

Olga Lockhart, Marketing Manager for Pathway Design & Construction, researches, analyzes, and writes about these key topics: Universal Design, Aging in Place, Northwest building & Seattle remodeling trends, air quality issues, and solutions, during construction. She's also willing to chat about travel and culture out of the office.