Many homeowners are open-minded when it comes to making home improvements, but want to spend their money wisely. It is key to invest in renovations that will add value to your home. If you are thinking about selling your home in the near future, it is even more important to think twice about the type of renovations you take on. There may be some projects that you see online or TV that looks good, but they may not actually add value to your home. This list of 7 home improvements will help guide you into making sure the renovations you choose to tackle actually add value to your home, so you get a strong return on your investment.

You’ll probably notice these projects don’t include basic home maintenance. One of the toughest pills to swallow in homeownership is the money you will need to invest in your home to cover maintenance. Tending to the basic needs of your house is essential and is the single best way to maintain the value of your home. To put it simply, no one will care about the show-stopping kitchen you updated if your roof is leaking and your siding needs to be replaced.

Our first four home improvements that will add value to your home are in the kitchen. Whether you like it or not, the kitchen is the room where you probably spend most of your time. It’s no surprise that kitchens are typically the most important item for buyers. Kitchens are definitely one of the most expensive renovations, but they tend to pay off if you spend your money wisely.

1) Replace kitchen countertops

Replacing your kitchen countertops can make a dramatic difference by completely changing the overall look and feel of your kitchen.

  • If you are thinking about replacing your kitchen countertops, go with a low maintenance option like quartz.
  • Stay away from the trends of concrete countertops or the hard-to-keep-clean white countertops.
  • The color of your kitchen countertops should work with the overall theme and color scheme of your home.

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2) Replace (or paint) kitchen cabinets

Along with the kitchen countertops, updating your kitchen cabinets will totally change the aesthetics of your kitchen.

  • Think about functionality first when it comes to replacing your kitchen cabinets. Is there a logical place for the silverware drawer? Is there a cabinet for dishes near the dishwasher?
  • Don’t be afraid to use specialty cabinets in your design. They can separate a standard grade design to a personalized one.

Replacing your cabinets comes at a pretty penny though, so if your cabinets are in decent shape, you could also paint alternatively.

  • White cabinets are certainly pretty, but remember that darker colors will show fewer smudge marks and other grime.
  • You definitely want to use high-quality paint in a semi-gloss or gloss finish for durability.

Whether you replace or paint your kitchen cabinets, you definitely want to finish it off with new hardware. Installing new hardware to your kitchen cabinets is an easy (and usually fairly inexpensive) way to refresh the space. It is truly the finishing touch.

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3) Install kitchen backsplash and flooring

Adding or replacing your kitchen backsplash and/or flooring is really the icing on the cake for kitchen renovations.

  • Once you install a backsplash, you get a “complete” feeling to the kitchen.
  • Not only does a backsplash improve the overall look of the kitchen, but it can be helpful to prevent damage to your walls from kitchen splatter and water splashes.
  • Tile is considered the best type of flooring in the kitchen. It is durable, water-resistant, and easy to clean. Resist the urge to use light-colored grout to prevent stains.
  • With all the types of tile you can get for your floor, the design possibilities are endless.

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4) Update kitchen appliances and fixtures

After you have invested in a kitchen renovation by updating your countertops, cabinets, backsplash, and flooring, your old kitchen appliances will stick out like a sore thumb.

  • Stainless steel appliances are almost a standard for residential kitchens.
  • The kitchen appliances will likely grab the eyes first, then the rest of your kitchen will continue to impress.
  • Consider shopping for new appliances around holidays with major sales at home improvement stores (like Black Friday, Labor Day, and Memorial Day) for great deals.

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5) Open up and connect your living areas

An “open concept” floor plan is at the top of wishlists for today’s home buyers. Opening up your floor plan by knocking out a couple of walls or creating pass-through or cased openings is relatively cheap, even if they are load-bearing.

  • An open concept can drastically change the feel and flow of a home.
  • An open entryway is inviting, whereas a closed-off entryway has an unwelcoming feel for your visitors.
  • Opening up your living areas can make your home feel larger.

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6) Increase your curb appeal

If you are thinking about selling, increasing your curb appeal is one of the easiest things you can do. You can judge a book by its cover in real estate and it happens all the time. They say humans form an opinion about someone in the first 7 seconds and the same goes for homes. First impressions are very important for the resale value of your home.

  • There are many inexpensive ways to add curb appeal that can be done in a weekend.
  • Generally, no real structural changes are required to increase your curb appeal. A little can go a long way. A general clean up of your landscaping is essential.
  • Repainting your exterior is a more intensive and costly way to increase your curb appeal, but can make a huge difference to your first impression.
  • Even painting your front door or getting a new mailbox can add value to your home and make it look more welcoming.

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7) Update your bathroom

Similar to kitchens, one of the more expensive rooms to renovate are bathrooms, but are a large factor in the resale value of your home.

  • You can make a big difference in most bathrooms by simply swapping out the lighting, updating the faucets and showerhead, and adding hardware to the cabinets.
  • Depending on your home and neighborhood, adding luxuries (heated tile floors, jacuzzi bathtubs, or double showerheads) to your bathroom can make your home more attractive to buyers.
  • A simple way to increase the appeal of your bathroom is by adding simple storage (like these floating shelves above the toilet). This is especially important in smaller bathrooms.

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If you are preparing to sell your home or looking to just invest in your home, it’s important that your money is spent wisely on renovations that will add value to your home. Even if you are looking to turn your home into a rental, these projects will likely allow you to earn more in rental income. These 7 home improvements that will add value to your home are a great place to start if you are thinking about what renovations to complete on your home to get a return on your investment.