3 Home Upgrades That Deliver a Big Pay Off Without Breaking the Bank

3 Home Upgrades That Deliver a Big Pay Off Without Breaking the Bank

You want to make some upgrades to your home, but you’re not sure what direction to go and you don’t want to break the bank. You may be wondering: Which area should you focus on? What types of renovations deliver the best return on investment? Should you even consider certain upgrades unless there’s a big budget?

You’ll find answers to all these questions and more when you read on, but let’s start with the first question: Where to focus? 

Top Three Areas for Home Upgrades

The three parts of a home we always tell people to focus on: The front elevation, kitchen, and master suite. “The front elevation is your home’s first impression. And we all know first impressions matter,” says Tanya Mayer, Interior Designer at Prestige Custom Homes. “There are so many possibilities for improving curb appeal no matter what your budget is. 

“We also suggest making updates to your kitchen. Of all the rooms in your home, the kitchen is the most frequently used for many reasons—eating, socializing, working, and more. And investments made in the kitchen typically deliver a high return.”

“Last but not least, the master suite. Again, this is another high-use space and an area where you can make a statement without breaking the bank.” 

The Front Elevation: Amp Up Your Curb Appeal

Your front elevation is the straight-on view of the front of your home, which consists of elements like the front door, roof, porch, walkways, and windows. Why target this area? According to REALTOR® Magazine, homes with an appealing exterior sell, on average, for 7% more than comparable homes with a rundown appearance. 

Some updates to your home’s front elevation cost more than others. Any significant updates to the structure like moving the position of windows, extending the house upward, or adding a wrap-around porch are on the higher end of the renovation spectrum. But, if that’s not in the cards for your budget, there are several lower-cost options, including:

  • Front door: Paint your front door, add new hardware, or replace the door altogether for a completely fresh, new look. 
  • Windows: Replace any old, drafty windows, freshen up or add new cladding around the windows, or paint or replace your shutters.
  • Landscaping: Prune or thin any overgrown shrubs, trees, or plants, and add mulch or stone for a tidy appearance. Also think about adding statement plants, fixtures, or accessories to create visual points of interest.  
  • Exterior finishes: Repaint the exterior of your home, and replace or cover up any outdated elements—like cladding or rendering that doesn’t fit with the updated vision.

The Kitchen: Maximize Functionality and Style

When you think of kitchen renovations, you may immediately think of expensive upgrades like replacing cabinets, updating flooring, or adding an island. While all of these ideas are likely to improve your home’s appearance and value, they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to updating your kitchen. 

Keep in mind that whatever you choose should improve the appearance and functionality of the space. Here are a few ideas to ponder, particularly if you’re looking for quick upgrades that don’t cost an arm and a leg.

  • Lighting: Update any lighting fixtures that don’t fit your new decor scheme. Consider adding new elements like task lighting or under the cabinet lighting to improve the overall look and usefulness of the space.
  • Walls, Counters & Cabinets: A coat of paint on the walls or cabinets can radically transform the look of your kitchen. Replace countertops with new materials to freshen up the space. And don’t forget cabinet organization. Dividers and storage can really make a difference in how you use the space—and help you keep the kitchen clutter-free.
  • Appliances: Replace any old or outdated appliances with new options that are energy efficient. Or add appliance options like a wine refrigerator or a warming drawer to enhance the functionality of the space. 
  • Kitchen Sink: Update the kitchen sink and fixtures to give the space a new life. Think about adding convenience features like a hot water dispenser. 

The Master Suite: Add Distinction

There’s a reason why house stagers focus on making bedrooms look just right: Along with the kitchen, the bedroom has a personal, intimate appeal. That’s why it’s the perfect choice for updates. The good news is that it can be relatively easy and low-cost compared to other spaces in the home. A few areas to think about that can make an impact in a master suite include:

  • Lighting: Give the space some pizazz with a chandelier or hanging pendants, and replace or add new shades to table lamps or sconces. 
  • Flooring: Replace existing carpeting or flooring, or add floor rugs or runners to give yourself some extra softness underfoot.
  • Walls & Ceiling: Give the room a fresh coat of paint in a new color scheme, cover the walls in paper, or add an accent wall for visual interest.
  • Accents & Furniture: Update artwork, sculptures, pillows, throws, plants, or other decorative accessories to give the space a new look. Add a seating arrangement for a place to relax and unwind.

How to Get Started 

The secret to making updates to your home is sitting down and taking time to explore the possibilities. Once you select an area to focus on, look around your neighborhood or hop online to find inspiration. After you accumulate ideas, start to price out the costs and prepare a proper budget for your project. Or call a professional to get estimates if your project is outside the DIY realm for you and your family. Then, get started and bring your ideas to life.


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