Which Home Improvement Projects Are Worth It?

Home improvement is more than just painting or replacing the carpet—it’s about adding value and functionality to a house. It’s a popular project that can improve your quality of life, but it’s not always easy to know what projects will pay off and which ones you should skip.

It’s a big decision, and the most important factor in determining whether a renovation is worth it is your budget. The best way to avoid overspending is to choose midrange options for things like floors, cabinets and fixtures, rather than high-end choices that will quickly add up. Also, be sure your project fits in with the style and character of the neighborhood. If you build an expensive fountain or hot tub in a neighborhood of modest homes, it’s not going to appeal to buyers.

During the Great Recession, many homeowners put off home improvements and now they’re in the mood to make some upgrades. Spending on renovations has increased more than 50 percent since 2010, with homeowners 55 and older the driving force behind that surge. The categories that are surging the most have to do with work outside of the home, such as building decks and fences.

The number one most valuable home improvement project is installing manufactured stone veneer, which recoups nearly 96% of its cost. It’s a relatively simple DIY project that can boost curb appeal and make a house look more luxurious without breaking the bank.