The home improvements that add the most value, like updated kitchens and baths, also cost the biggest bucks. But you don't have to shell out for a full-scale renovation to get payback for your remodeling dollar. Sometimes all it takes is one strategic upgrade to transform an entire room. If your home-improvement budget is limited, take inspiration from this list of the best ideas for every room in the house:
Kitchen: Replace the countertop.
There's no shortage of potential kitchen upgrades, but replacing the countertop is a sure winner. Cabinetry can be prohibitively expensive. Energy-efficient appliances are great, but most people justifiably wait until the old ones break down. A new countertop will immediately improve your kitchen's visual appeal while also adding convenience and efficiency to your food-prep routines. (Find highly rated kitchen countertop installers in your area.)
Bathroom: Upgrade the bathtub.
Maybe you want to replace the old tub with a jetted model or a freestanding soaking tub. Or perhaps you want to add a separate tub to complement an existing shower stall. Either way, the bathtub becomes the natural focal point of the bathroom. If a new tub isn't in the budget, you can refinish the existing tub so it looks brand-new. (Find highly rated bathroom contractors in your area.)
Bedroom: Buy a new bed.
The reason to buy a new bed is only partly about the comfort and health benefits of a plush new mattress. It's also about the advantages of modern bed design. New, high-quality platform beds don't require a box spring. So you get a sleek, modern look plus increased storage capacity. Some styles even have a hidden storage compartment beneath the mattress.
Living Room: Change the wall treatment.
Whether it's drywall texturing, a fresh coat of paint, crown molding, chic wallpaper, wood paneling, or just a new set of wall hangings, virtually every living room can be affordably transformed with new wall décor. And don't discount the possibility of improving the room's functioning, either. Adding or moving electrical outlets and switches can allow for easier access to electricity and fewer eyesores associated with running cords throughout the room. (Find highly rated remodeling contractors in your area.)
Basement: Add lighting.
This project is a great idea for both finished and unfinished basements. Because it looks clean and doesn't compromise headroom, recessed lighting is the dominant trend for basements. But don't just think about adding artificial lighting. By adding new windows or expanding existing ones, you can add both brightness and value to subterranean spaces. Glass blocks are another great option for adding natural light without sacrificing privacy. (Find highly rated basement remodelers in your area.)
Garage: Change the garage door.
Too many homeowners fail to appreciate just how big an impact their garage door has on home appearance and value. After all, it's often the first thing that visitors see. It's also one of the first lines of defense against home intruders. Your garage door needs to be handsome, sturdy and, if the garage is attached to the house, well-insulated. It also needs to have a reliable garage door opening system. As an entryway into your home, your garage door needs to enhance, not detract from, your home's curb appeal, in much the same way as your front door. (Find highly rated garage-door installers in your area.)
The Best Project for Any Room in the House
As a bonus, we thought we'd offer up this tidbit. New flooring has to be the best project for any room in the house, whether it's plush carpet in the bedroom, ceramic tile in the bathroom, hardwood in the kitchen, cork in the living room or laminate in the basement. Flooring is one of the only home features that people constantly see and touch. New floors can improve the value of the home: Prospective buyers are guaranteed to consider flooring when making a decision. Plus, it will enhance your enjoyment of your home every day. At a reasonable cost, this is the one can't-miss project for any room in the house. (Find highly rated flooring contractors in your area.)