Not all home improvements are created equal. Sometimes it makes more sense to spend a little less on a simple improvement project to add value and aesthetic beauty to your home than to do nothing at all if you just can’t afford that home renovation of your dreams right now.
Here are five simple ways to improve your home and add value while you are at it:
Get out your paintbrush. One of the quickest cost-effective ways to brighten up your home is with a fresh coat of paint. Touch up colors you already have, take the plunge for a whole new color scheme, bold accent wall, or beautifully designed wall paper. You can do a professional-looking paint job yourself with some painting tools from your home improvement store. If you only have a little bit of money to spend on home remodeling, painting is a good place to start.
Tip: Look for low-VOC paints, which contain fewer volatile organic compounds than regular paint—chemicals that aren’t exactly safe for you and your family.
Create open space. Homes that make the best use of the space allotted are often the most comfortable to live in and visit. Consider knocking down a wall or two or turning a wall into a half wall to open up the floor plan of your home. You can also widen doorways by a few inches (even up to 12 inches) to give the illusion that there is more space in your home than there actually is.
Tip: Be sure to consult with a contractor to be sure there’s nothing hidden inside the wall you want to demolish.
Finish your basement. Consider all the space in your basement that is sitting idle. What could you do with all that square footage? Rather than create an addition to your home, reconfigure your basement into a living space. Add a bar, entertainment area and maybe even a bedroom or two. Avoid adding too many walls, especially since most basements have a boxy feel already. The more open your finished basement space, the better.
Tip: Be sure to follow safety precautions and check the code before starting your project.
Spruce up the outside. In order for any visitors or potential buyers down the road to see all of your indoor improvements, they will first see the outside. Ensure your home has curb appeal by taking care of the exterior. Touch up your paint, add new hardware like your address number, update your mail box, trim those hedges, plant some flowers, etc. A great way to gain perspective on your home exterior is to start at the street and walk to your front door. What do you see that could use an update? Be sure to pay attention to any back or side yards too.
Tip: Make your garden work for you. If you haven’t delved into growing your own food, now is a great time to start!
Add outdoor living space. Adding a deck to your home is one of the smartest ways to add value to it. A report by Remodeling Magazine found that 77 percent of wooden deck costs can be recouped when a home is sold. But if you don’t plan to sell your home, a deck is a wonderful place to enjoy your early morning coffee, family dinner, a barbeque, and a lazy Sunday afternoon reading your favorite book.
Tip: Check out a variety of materials for your deck. Each type has its benefits and drawbacks based on your climate and needs.
When it comes to home remodeling, spending more does not always mean adding more value. Look for small ways to improve your home over time and the end result will be space that better reflects your lifestyle—and will pay you back long term.