12 Home Projects Designers Say Pay For Themselves Over Time

You don't have to spend big bucks to make a big impact on your space.

home projects

It's normal to get the itch to update your home, especially when new trends are cropping up every day. But, sadly, even DIY renovations aren't free. So we asked some of our go-to designers which projects are worth the investment.

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kitchen
Eric Piasecki
Renovate the kitchen.

"The kitchen is the heart of the home and is where families come together, so if the room feels old, outdated, and things don’t work, a buyer will immediately feel it," says designer Gideon Mendelson of . Updated appliances, backsplashes, and countertops will immediately stand out.

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home lighting
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Install mood lighting.

"A well-lit space makes everything look better," says designer . "Consider adding dimmer switches in every room and be sure each room offers 'layers of light,' such as ambient, accent, and task lighting." She also warns that the style or finish of fixtures can date your home.

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architectural details
Eric Piasecki
Invest in architectural details.

"Millwork and trim give a home a sense that it is 'finished' and can make a buyer feel that the space has been carefully constructed with quality," says Mendelson. Think of crown molding like the cherry on top of an already high-quality room.

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closet
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Expand the closet.

This project can be relatively low-cost, but significant when you're looking to sell, Meadows-McAlpin says: "Creating an orderly place to start and end each day helps potential buyers envision their day-to-day routine in the home."

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mudroom
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Add a mudroom.

"Many newer homes have these rooms and, with today's busy lifestyles, having a convenient area to collect all of the 'gear' from work, school, and hobbies helps keep the rest of the house looking great and clutter-free," says Meadows-McAlpin. Plus, all the mess from rain and snow will stay in this room, so you'll save time cleaning in the long run.

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hardwood floors
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Refinish hardwood floors.

Yes, hardwood is a major selling point, but not all of these surfaces are made equally. "Getting rid of the orange-colored hardwood in that 1960s ranch can change the entire house and bring it into 2018," says designer Bradley Odom of .

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bathroom
Eric Piasecki
Clean up the bathroom.

"You often begin or end each day in your bathroom, but if it doesn't look fresh and clean, it's hard for you to feel that way too," says Mendelson. But it doesn't take a gut renovation to impress a buyer, even minor upgrades (like re-grouting floors or replacing an old exhaust fan) help.

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front door
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Paint the front door.

"Curb appeal is everything, but if you don't have the budget to fully update your landscaping or add new shutters to the front of the house, at least give a little attention to the entry," says Meadows-McAlpin. She promises a fresh coat of paint, polished hardware, and a tidy porch will catch the eye of buyers every time.

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built-in shelves
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Install built-ins.

To buyers, built-in shelves are more impressive than free-standing units, because they get to keep them. "Storage spaces always get filled, even when you think you have enough. Never underestimate the power of being able to tuck something out of sight," says designer .

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attic bedroom
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Convert the attic.

Kayla Hein, creative director at , knows that for many homeowners, the attic remains a cluttered mess for a dusty Christmas tree and old childhood toys. "If you don't need the storage, converting part of your attic into an additional bedroom or a bonus room is a great use of resources, space, and money."

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fresh paint
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Paint walls.

"A fresh coat of paint can breathe new life into a space, tidy up faded walls, and works to set the stage for the look and feel of the room," Hairsto says. A bold color can also help architectural details, like molding and unique windows, stand out to buyers.

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window treatments
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Hang new drapery.

"Updating floor-to-ceiling window panels with new fabric and hardware is imperative and helps to refine a space," says Odom. Even better: He says drapery will last for years, so you'll get to enjoy your new curtains for a long time before you sell.

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