From a strictly dollars and cents analysis, almost all (but not all) home improvements make no sense (DIY projects should be judged differently than home improvements done by professional contractors, since they will have an inherently higher ROI on dollars invested).
In most cases, you are not going to get the money back you put into them. But is a home improvement going to perk up the quality of your life, make you proud of your house, improve your lot with the neighbors, make your life more fun? You cannot put a price tag on those.
However, be aware that even that emotional boost aka “enjoyment factor” will not always make a home improvement worth it. Take a hard look at the real estate market in your neighborhood before plunging into a major home remodeling upgrade.
Ready to remodel that basement? What should you do with it?
Did you know? That dark, cold, and empty basement can deliver some of the best returns on your home improvement dollars and time! In fact, basements are some of the most underutilized spaces in our homes, often left neglected despite all the great benefits they have to offer.
Finishing the basement is one of the projects homeowners frequently procrastinate on. Seize the moment and make this year, the year you not only finish the basement, but rocket the enjoyment of your home, increase your property value, and add some serious wow factor when your friends come over! 😉
ROI: A well carried out basement refinishing project can offer a cost to value return of 70 to 75%
What will you do with your basement remodel this year? What’s the best way to unlock the value of this space?
Fifteen Basement Renovation Ideas:
Many of these ideas can be completed by a handy do-it-yourself homeowner who is comfortable with tools and enjoys being and active participant in the home improvement process.
If you are the type of person that gets super-excited every time you head to Lowe’s or Home Depot, then you surely have what it takes to tackle some of these home improvements on your own, while saving big bucks in the process! 🙂
1. Bedrooms and Bathrooms
Bedroom and bathroom counts (along with finished square feet) add the most tangible value to homes. This is real money that can be cashed in on when it comes time to resell.
There are many uses for this space. You can make it a decadent second master suite, sound proof room for those noisy teens, a truly separate living area for aging parents that may need to move in, or rent it out on Airbnb and bring in extra money each and every month.
HGTV estimates basic DIY finishing of a basement can run as little as $30,000, though it can reach over $80,000 depending on what you do with it.
Home offices are quickly becoming the most important room in the house. According to Gallup, Forty-five percent of full-time U.S. employees worked from home either all (25%) or part of the time (20%) in Gallup’s September, 2021 update. The home office will make or break the mortgage payment each month, will make all the difference in quality of relationships in the home, and is increasingly becoming one of the most important features when it comes to advertising homes for sale.
A real office with plenty of space, high speed internet, and quiet, is a must, and the basement is the ideal space to accomplish this. The latest Cost vs. Value Report places a home office remodel as one of the least expensive at an average of $30,000-$40,000. However, don’t expect much return on this particular upgrade should you decide to sell your house. The ROI in terms of costs recouped is less than 50%.
3. Crafting Caves
Crafting Cave in a large basement by RossMonster Design
‘She sheds’ and crafting corners have been trending as moms seek an escape, get to work documenting their family’s lives with scrapbooks, and flex their art talents and sell their work via online shopping boutiques like Shopify and Etsy.
Turning the basement into an art studio can prevent having to freeze your behind off to get out to a shed in the colder months, provides more room, and is a far more lasting and sustainable option.
Expect to spend between $50 to $150 per square foot, if you are starting from scratch with your basement remodel, in addition to your interior design touches and accessories.
4. Spiritual Spaces
The Wall St. Journal has noted that ‘spiritual spaces’ have been trending for a couple of years. This can be as complex as designing a full on detailed chapel with stained glass windows and a Michelangelo worthy painting on the ceiling, or as simple as a Zen dojo with authentic Tatami mats where you can just soak up the quietness. Tatami mats run as little as around $150 for a 3’ x 3’ from Wayfair.
5. Home Gyms
Luxury real estate agents continue to highlight the home gym as one of the best-selling rooms in a property today. This doesn’t have to be absurdly expensive, but don’t ruin it like many cheap hotels by simply sticking a treadmill in the basement and calling it a ‘gym’.
Wall mirrors can make a big difference and improve the feel of a basement space. Ceiling mounted boxing bags appear to be trending again. And lightweight equipment from yoga mats, to Bosu balls, to free weights can all be taken with you to your next home when you move.
6. Home Spa
Those looking for truly mind-blowing room ideas to boast about should consider a home spa. High-end home and condo builders are increasingly modeling bathrooms after the most luxurious resort spas. This includes marble countertops and walls, decorative sinks, room for massage tables, and super-sized walk-in showers.
Of course, most don’t have the space to expand their existing bathrooms enough to replicate the ambiance of a true spa. This makes the basement the ideal space to incorporate this home design trend. A simple basement bathroom may start at $20,000, the sky is the limit when talking about a 5 star resort worthy spa! 🙂
Wine cellars are still hot. They continue to be one of the most boasted features by new condo developers, so why not install one of your own? If wine isn’t your thing, and you really want to stand out consider a cigar room, complete with humidor, and well stocked bar of fine spirits?
For those with smaller spaces and on a tight budget this may be accomplished with a wine cooler, DIY bars, and opting for a standalone air purifiers.
According to JR Cigars an acceptable air purifier may be as in expensive as $150 to $750. At the higher end a full air handling system for those planning to have lots of smoking guests may run $10,000.
For those that really want to show off these basement spaces and make them a focal point of the home consider adding glass flooring on the upper level. Glass is green, and a lot stronger than many think.
Home energy efficiency is both a journey and an objective. The objective is as simple as going Green. You optimize the resources of your home while saving money. Those savings are part of the journey.
Green living is smart living. Truly, the journey is never ending. There are steps you can take today to achieve greater resource efficiency in your home. It’s important to remember that energy efficiency is for everyone and not just those with ‘best practices’ in mind, or those who can afford the right technology.
We list 15 green home improvements or major renovation projects popular today. More importantly, these are considerations for truly increasing your home’s energy efficiency and reducing its environmental footprint.