Increasing your home value is usually a key consideration when choosing home improvements. Some rennovations can also help your home sell more quickly when the time comes. However you should also think about how a renovation can improve your life. Think how a remodel will improve your comfort, convenience and joy. These additions improve your overall quality of life without breaking the bank. We built our list around the average U.S. income tax refund, which in 2021 was $2,983 according to the IRS.
Bathrooms remodels are best home improvements
According to real estate database company Zillow, a mid-range bathroom remodel costs around $3,000. And they say it is one of the easiest ways to increase the value of your home. Upgrades can return $1.71 in home value for every $1 spent. For example, are your toilet and faucets dated? New light fixtures make a dramatic difference. Switch to a pedestal sink or stone countertop with double sinks. Upgrading to a frameless shower costs between $1,200 and $2,500. But it resulted in overall sold value increase of five percent above expected value. Plus, it led to a sale 38 days sooner, according to Zillow keyword research.
The life-changing value of a nicer bathroom goes unsaid. Even so, there are simple amenities worth considering. For example, a multi-function shower head costs very little. Think about next winter with heated towel bars. Or maybe dream of a heated floor. This is the most expensive of the home improvements recommended here. But how much time do you spend in your bathroom?
Kitchen updates range from simple to complex
Kitchens are one of the more critical selling features in homes these days. Plus, they have become the center of family activity. This makes them a major decorating point of difference in any house. A dated kitchen can be a home sale downer. Fortunately, you can give your kitchen a trendy makeover for not much money. Resurfacing cabinets is a job you can hire or do yourself. Or, just changing out the hardware makes a big difference. Adding subway tile or redoing the backsplash updates the look in a weekend. Often a good cleaning and a no-hands faucet make your sink like new.
Depending upon the size of your kitchen, these home improvements fit within our tax deduction investment. For life value you’ll soon appreciate how much time you spend in your kitchen when you update its look. How did we live with that old faucet all these years?
Fung shui your closet
Is your closet a nightmare? Do you constantly have to reorganize so you can fit all your clothes inside? A closet makeover might be the right step for you! We use our closets daily. That much traffic trying to choose outfits can cause chaos. Simple fixes abound. Start by organizing. Most people only wear 20 percent of the items in their closet. This according to a California Closets designer. You’ll love him in this Wall Street Journal article, “A Closet Filled with Regrets.” There are simple solutions. Install shelving to organize smaller items. A dedicated shoe rack minimizes time spent hunting for a matching pair. Organizers range from simple inserts you buy and install yourself to custom closets with built-ins galore. Closet remodels run from $1,000 to $3,000 for materials and installation, according to Home and Garden TV.
Number and size of closets are a big determining factor for your home value. Imagine a potential homebuyer looking into your closet. You also get immediate life value too. Mornings are stressful enough; having an organized closet is one way to start your day on a positive note. It’s one of our favorite home improvements.
Better Yet, “Clone” Your Closet
There’s also a cool idea to “Clone Your Closet“. It uses a SpaceLift attic storage lift and portable wardrobe. First, load portable wardrobe with off-season clothes. Second, load the whole wardrobe, standing up, on the SpaceLift platform. Third, push a button and the SpaceLift whisks the whole wardrobe up into your attic. Finally, roll off the lift and onto your attic floor.
Upgrade home and garage attic storage
Most of us face a conundrum: do we have too much stuff or not enough space? Reducing clutter is a goal for many homeowners. Being better organized creates more living space. Of course, your home shows better to prospective buyers if it is neat and orderly. Improving storage space in your home or garage attic is a fairly inexpensive option. Especially compared to others on our list of home improvements. Consider that it is a permanent enhancement. Plus, it costs far less cost than hauling your stuff to a storage facility and paying a monthly fee. Also, because home storage is more convenient, you’re likely to use it more too. (Here’s a blog post “Do the Self Storage Math.”)
If you don’t have one, you’ll need a floor. An attic flooring system can range from simple plywood to finished floors. There’s also an attic decking solution, Attic Deck by Metro Products. Snap-in panels are lightweight. They come in widths to match most attic floor joists. You can buy them direct or at Amazon, Home Depot, etc.
Next, easy attic access is key. Carrying storage bins, boxes, Christmas and Halloween decorations, et cetera up and down the attic ladder or stairs is a pain, even dangerous.
Attic Lifts make storage home improvements easy
These motorized platforms carry storage items between floors. SpaceLift Products makes a lift with computer controlled smart safety features. It has no restriction on how high you can stack items. Plus its low profile base makes loading and unloading easy. It carries up to 200 pounds and 24 cubic feet of cargo per trip. Transferring items to the attic and back down takes the push of a button. It travels smoothly at three inches per second.
SpaceLift attic lifts fit between attic floor joists. Installation is easy requiring basic carpentry skills. Many are DIY projects. Alternately, you can pay a bit more for installation. Most any handyman or remodeling contractor can do it. SpaceLift makes two models selling for $1,895 and $1,995. This includes free shipping and a two-year factory warranty. For prospective homebuyers, an attic lift is a unique solution to a vexing problem. You should also know it makes your home stand out from the crowd. And for adding value to your life? New York Times Bestselling Author Marie Kondo titled her book, “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up.” ‘Nuff said?
Consider an outdoor fire pit
Fire pits offer different pleasures in every season. Something primordial in us all makes gathering around the fire a special pleasure. In summer months the pit is a perfect place to roast marshmallows. Eat them right off the stick. Or build lots of gooey s’mores! The fire’s warmth makes your backyard the perfect place to relax. Chase away evening chills of fall and spring. It’s a great place to hang out with a hot chocolate on a snowy winter afternoon.
Fire pits run from $40 to $5,000. At the low end, $40 gets you a simple, transportable iron bowl you sit on the ground. You can pick one up at Home Depot, Lowes or TruValue. Or go cowboy sheik with a galvanized, made-in-America Behrens tub. Drill some holes in it for air to feed your fire. At the high end, for $1,400 to $5,000 you get a professionally installed stone pit or outdoor fireplace. Feed your fire pit real wood or opt for a gas or propane fueled model.
These are among the most popular outdoor living features, according to The Spruce. It is another unique amenity that makes your home more distinctive with prospective buyers. And it offers many memorable evenings between now and when you sell the house.
Add an outdoor dining area
Having special spaces beyond the walls of your home is exotic and fun. On a beautiful day it’s easy to enjoy the weather by adding an outdoor dining area. This improvement can be as simple or complex as you desire. Your outdoor space can be a table and chairs on the lawn. Or you can build. Some outdoor spaces are like adding an extra room to your house. Dining al fresco has been a hot restaurant trend for years.
A simple 10 by 10 tent costs less than a hundred dollars. To keep out mosquitos there are all variety of popup screen houses. There are all sorts of pavers for patios. Or maybe a wooden deck is your choice. At the higher end, people are building tree houses with electricity and running water.
A popular trend is creating a seamless transition from your home to your outdoor living space. People are using indoor-appearing furniture on their outdoor patios and decks. Country Living magazine says, “indoor steps outside.” Temporary or permanent screen houses extend the evening. Space heaters extend the season. Home Depot has outdoor furniture sets starting below $500 and going up to $3,500 and more. Designer furniture stores have even more expensive options.
Of course, adding a deck or patio has always added value to your home. Now, making it an outdoor dining and living area adds value to your home and your lifestyle. (Protect your outdoor living investment. Use your attic to store lawn items during the winter. A SpaceLift attic storage lift makes it easy.)
Install a bay window
A bay window is its own magic space. The extra panels of glass create panoramic views and pour extra natural light into the room. Its distinctive architecture becomes a focal point in your home. Exotic windows add curb appeal and memorability. They boost your home’s resale value. Add a cushioned seat and the window becomes a special nook for you. Maybe its a place for your cat to luxuriate in the sun. (Some models add a bit of extra storage under the seat.) The most common rooms for this feature window are bedrooms, home offices and living rooms.
Installation and window unit costs range from $500 to more than $3,000. The range depends upon window size, materials and other factors. Estimates according to Home Advisor. It is the least expensive of the home improvements recommend. Yet it adds a wonderfully dramatic touch.