The desert is an oasis for those who love the outdoors. There’s a copious amount of sunshine, the scenery is breathtaking, and there’s no better place to relax with friends and family than under a canopy of stars. For those who have invested in a desert home, there’s also something to be said about the amenities of their home. While it may be nice to step outside and feel the sun on your face during the day, sometimes you want to stay inside and enjoy your oasis.
Desert homes are some of the most beautiful in America and some of the most unique. When considering upgrading your desert home, here are a few factors to keep in mind.
CHOOSE YOUR BUILDING MATERIAL WISELY
One thing about the desert — it’s hot. The intense heat can be unforgiving to any building materials exposed to the desert rays. Heat waves can cause permanent fading, discoloration, and warping of the wood. Although wood finishings are classic and popular in cooler regions of the U.S., renovators should avoid using wood when building a home in the desert.
On the other hand, stone, granite, cement, and tiles are excellent choices for building your desert home. Likewise, adobe, a prevalent material used for homes built in the desert, can help keep the interior temperature under control. These materials are also easy to clean and maintain. Furthermore, the thicker the walls of your home, the better your insulation.
Insulation is necessary to keep homes warm during the colder months and cool during the extreme summer heat. If you insist on using wood while building your desert home, keep the material from direct sunlight and coat it with a protective varnish.
PAY ATTENTION TO THE WINDOWS
Since grade school, we have been taught that the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. This concept is fundamental when upgrading your desert home. Nearly 75 percent of the sunlight that passes through standard, double-pane windows enters the house as heat. A blazing sun plus several windows facing east or west can have your interior feeling like the inside of an oven, especially in the hot desert.
Many architects build desert homes with thick walls and small windows to keep the hot air outside and the cool air inside. If your home has numerous windows facing west or east that let in a lot of heat, consider resizing your window openings for better temperature control. This project will require a skilled contractor. However, treatments such as drapes, shades, and blinds that reflect the sun are easier to install, more affordable, and less time-consuming.
GO FOR LIGHTER PAINT COLORS
Adding a bit of paint to your home’s interior and exterior is one of the easiest ways to give your property that ‘just built’ feel. Color theory says darker colors absorb more heat than lighter colors because darker colors naturally absorb more light. Since temperature control is a critical factor while upgrading your desert home, painting the exterior of your abode in lighter shades can save you and your guest from a hot, stuffy interior. Neutral earth tones, soft greys, browns, and off-whites are popular choices as the colors are functional and complementary to the surrounding desert.
Additionally, the quality of the chosen paint matters — especially for the exterior. Similar to the impact the intense desert heat has on wood, it can also rapidly damage the vibrancy of your color due to constant sun exposure. A high-quality, all-acrylic paint with quality additives, pigments, and resins can adhere to most surfaces, withstand extreme heat, and remain colorfast longer than its lower-quality counterparts. Along with appropriate color choice, investing in the proper painting material will ensure you will not need a touch-up any time soon.
CONSIDER GOING SOLAR
The sun’s solar energy is plentiful in the desert. Renewable energy in residential properties has become so popular in the last decade that the use of solar panels has more than doubled since 2014. About one million installations occurred just in the previous two years. HVAC systems are constantly running in the desert climate, and electricity bills can skyrocket, especially during the hotter summer months. Using this natural resource to your advantage when upgrading your home can benefit your pockets and the environment. It will also increase the value of your home.
Though installing solar panels may cost a bit more initially, doing so can provide saving on electricity bills and reduce your carbon footprint. Of course, you do not have to tackle the project all at once. Instead, you can purchase one or two panels to begin and continue adding more until you are satisfied.
IMPROVE THE OUTDOOR LIVING SPACE
Trees are a rare sight in the desert, but that should not be an excuse to stay huddled inside all day to avoid the heat! In fact, one of the reasons people decide to live in the desert is because of the wide-open landscape. So why not make additions to your home that allow you and your guests to make the most out of the outdoors?
Your outdoor living design should add to the beauty of your home and be functional. This means remembering that not only can you experience extreme heat in the desert but also extreme cold — sometimes on the same day. If your home has an outdoor patio or seating area, consider adding charming decor like lights, torches, and lush greenery for an intimate, enchanting spirit. A splash of bright paint can also liven up your outdoor space.
Functionality is just as important as the visual appeal of your area. Consider adding built-in seating for your guests and an outdoor fire pit for those chilly desert nights. For the daytime, opt for wide umbrellas and water features to stay cool and shaded. It also goes without saying that home renovators should carefully select outdoor furnishings. For longevity, forego materials that cannot handle the desert elements. Instead, opt for upgraded outdoor materials such as steel, iron, synthetic resin, and plush fabrics.
A home in the desert is an excellent investment. As long as you have an experienced realtor on your side, you’ll be able to find the perfect desert home that is sure to make you happy for years to come!
Contact Maureen Robison at LV Real Estate today if you’re looking for a new home in the Las Vegas area.
*Header photo courtesy of Maureen Robison Real Estate