Top 15 Amazing DIY Home Improvements that will Pay you back – Mostly, Plus ROI Details

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).

eclectic kitchen with a beautiful mosaic backsplash

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.

If all the houses in your area sell in the $150,000 range and you undergo a major makeover to increase the value of your home to $225,000, you may have priced yourself out of the resale market.

Also be careful of altering your living space if doing so violates the integrity of the house.

A bulky room expansion to a classic bungalow, for instance, will destroy its eye appeal to buyers in the market for period-appropriate houses.

On the other hand, time matters. If you are planning to stay in your home for a long time, the cost of some remodeling upgrades and renovations will start to look good, both in your pocketbook and your pride of ownership.

If you are looking to sell in the near-term it may be better to restrict your efforts to a freshening up, take a realistic price and let the next owner sink money into major improvements. Your best financial play may even be just offering a discount or credit for a major repair.

So knowing that you are likely never going to see the money you put into a home improvement going in, let’s look at what you can expect from some common home improvements…

1. Steel entry door. Ah, yes, the portal to your soul. An attractive entryway is never a bad thing. But to return the bang for your buck go with a modern insulated steel door. The energy savings and fresh look will return anywhere from 70% to 100% of its cost, depending on how grungy the front door looked at the beginning of the project.

2. Siding replacement. If your house’s skin is showing its age, new siding is a rational choice. It will bring back between 75% and 80% of its installation cost, more for fiber cement than vinyl among the mainstream siding options.

fiber-cement-siding

3. New roof. It does not matter what return this brings you. No one is going to buy a house with a leaky roof. The return a new roof brings you is the ability to sell your house and move.

4. Adding a Deck. A sharp looking new wooden deck can return about 80% of your investment, but this will depend on the region of the country you live in.

In the warmer climates of the South and Southwest where outdoor living is a way of life a deck will absolutely help at selling time. Plus, a deck is a great enhancer to your life while in the house as well.

hardwood-deck

5. Kitchen Remodel. The kitchen is the most popular target for upgrading – and also the biggest money pit. You may be lucky to get back 50 cents on the dollar if you go in for all the fancy bells and whistles for an extravagant kitchen and then have to sell your house in a bad market.

A better option is a partial makeover (think $20,000 range) that concentrates on improving the work flow in the kitchen space known as the “golden triangle” – the ideal positioning of the cooktop, refrigerator and sink.

Make your kitchen an efficient workspace marvel and you can see an 80% to 85% return on your buck. And make your own kitchen time that much more pleasant as well.

spacious kitchen with two backsplashes

6. Bathroom Remodel. Everything said about a kitchen upgrade holds for the bathroom, the second most fussed over room in the house. Think mid-range and sensible improvements and you will get a bigger bang for that dollar.

Bathroom with skylights for natural lighting

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Top 15 Bathroom Remodel Ideas, Costs, and ROI Details for DIY Enthusiasts

amazing-bathroom-design-and-decor

Your bathroom is the first thing you see every day. Bleary-eyed and groggy. And you are tired of it! What can you do? First, come up with between $6,000 and $20,000, which is the low-end cost most homeowners can expect to pay for a moderate bathroom makeover this year. Then consider the following upgrades many of which can be completed by a handy “Do It Yourself” enthusiast such as yourself! 😉

modern-bathroom-remodel via GuyCo Homes

1. Flashy Finishes:

When it is time to upgrade the industrialized look of your bathroom, a new finish to fixtures will put an exclamation point on any bathroom decor.

Chrome is still the shiny finish of choice, but the market leader is being elbowed by brass and copper and nickel and oil-rubbed metals. Depending on your taste, a finish can be shiny or matted, or even textured! The customized finishes can run from $40 for chrome to over $500 for nickel fixtures.

chrome-finish-faucet By WAM Interior Design

ROI: Your return on investment is the pleasure you get with handling a beautiful spigot handle several times every day. 😉

2. Fancy Faucets:

You can get a quick jolt to the look of your bathroom with an eye-catching new faucet. Go with a modern update of the classic spouts or search for antique replicas that are constructed from solid brass or nickel. An import from Europe can release your inner avant-garde. Expect to pay many hundreds of dollars more than your average water spout. Put on all the fancy fixings and an new sink complex can run in the range of $5,000.

fancy-faucet By Laguna Fancy Faucets

ROI: You may not get all your money back, but an updated look on your faucet will absolutely raise the value and enjoyment of your bathroom!

3. Saucy Sinks:

The sink will often be the style leader in any bathroom makeover. A pedestal sink will give a old-timey look to a bathroom, as will a console sink with basin and legs.

Note the handy lack of under-sink storage space with these models. Textured drop-in sinks impart a contemporary look and feel. A countertop vessel sink with waterspout can make a statement about the American frontier or an upscale European resort. Price options range from $100 and up.

fancy-sink By Kurmak Builders

ROI: A sink replacement will likely be part of an overall bathroom decor overhaul, which seldom pays for itself.

4. Welcome storage:

It is easy to get carried away with the glamorous options to outfit a bathroom and forget about the importance of storage. A vanity cluttered with cosmetic bottles and stacks of toilet paper on the water closet comprise any decor.

New cabinets can cost as much as $2,500 or more to be installed, if a lot of custom woodworking is required for tight spaces and depending on the woods selected. At the low end, expect to pay between $2,000 and $4,000.

bathroom-cabinets-and-creative-storage-space By GuyCo Homes

ROI: The full cost may not be recouped at the time of sake, but the utility of bathroom storage space is priceless. 😉

5. Elbow Room:

Why would you punish yourself like this!?

no-elbow-room-tight-space-bathroom

That space premium holds for counter space as well. The days of the double sink have vanished in favor of more counter space. The range of vanities is limited only by the imagination, from high style to refinished salvage models. Installing countertops at the low-end will cost between $900 and $2,500.

spacious-bathroom via Monarch Kitchen and Bath Centre

ROI: New buyers always like to see extra space that can be used to plop things down on. Modestly-priced vanities will likely pay for themselves both in current use and future value.

6. Smart Lighting:

Bathrooms are workspaces above all – shaving, makeup application, etc. Lighting should always be functional, but it can be attractive as well. First off, do not put a light above the bathroom mirror since it will cast shadows onto the face.

Start by making sure all task lighting is properly oriented over the toilet and shower and then turn to accent lighting and decorative lighting for visual impact. New lighting fixtures can be installed for under $1,000 or as much as $4,000.

contemporary-bathroom-lighting By Claudia Interior Design

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Top 15 Amazing DIY Bathroom Design and Remodel Ideas

Your bathroom isn’t just a pit stop room, it’s a sanctuary for relaxation, an oasis of self, and a retreat from reality. The bathroom is not only one of the most used rooms in your house (second to the kitchen) it is also one of the rooms you stand to benefit considerably from putting a few pennies into. Bathrooms have anywhere from a 60%-100% return on investment, assuming you make the right choices. 😉

This list will help guide you in the right direction with smart design ideas that will give you the most bang for your buck, whether you’re selling or staying put.

Remember to keep in mind what is reasonable when redesigning your bathroom. It wouldn’t make sense to do a $40,000 bathroom renovation on a $100,000 house. You want to stay within the range of your neighborhood and home. Sometimes the slightest improvements will make the most significant differences.

fancy-bathroom-sink

This year is the year of texture, neutrals, minimalism, technology, and sustainability. What is trendy today is a timeless look. Styles that will look good forever, are durable enough to outlast trends, and simply put – simple. Our lives are the decor in this day and age.

Neutral tones serve as the back drop for pops of color that are incorporated seamlessly through interchangeable pieces. When designing, be aware the best designs are those that assert function and longevity over trend.

1. Flooring:

When it comes to making dramatic changes in a room as small as the bathroom, the best place to start is at your feet. Floors set the tone for the entire room, so it’s essential that you begin with a color that will work well in your space. Play with lighter hues to open up a smaller space. White is trendy right now, but also happens to be timeless, an important factor when it comes time to sell.

loomis-industrial-eclectic-bathroom By Nar Fine Carpentry, Inc.

  • Ceramic/Porcelain Hard Wood Tiles: Love the hardwood look but can’t justify materials prone to warping and swelling in a humid space such as the bathroom? The solution: woodgrain tile. It’s more durable than hardwood and needs less maintenance, a major selling point in this fast paced day and age.

    It also happens to be on trend these days, with the same cost and installation prices as hardwoods, ranging from $10-$20 per sq ft., it only makes sense that wood grain tiles would have the same ROI as hardwood flooring. Did I mention you get the appearance of hardwood floors without cutting down a single tree?

  • Large Tiles: Tiles are tending toward larger sizes these days. Mosaics are out and 24” is the new standard size for tiles. Keep this trend classic by opting for a polished marble or natural stone. Large tiles can cost anywhere from $7-$20 per sq ft. including installation.
  • Unique Tiles: This year has seen a surge in patterned tiles. If you cant resist a good pattern, opt for classic colors like black and white, or a neutral grey. Like the look but can’t quite take the plunge? Try it out with a border or small backsplash area. Or skip the flashy tile and try a herringbone pattern with plain subway tiles for a unique yet non color committal look. Patterned tiles generally cost $11- $17 per sq ft with installation.

The downside to opting for tile is keeping grout clean and cold feet, but in a small space like the bathroom you can easily remedy these issues. Opt for a darker colored grout such as black.

You’ll still need to clean regularly as you would with any surface, but at least stains won’t be an issue. As for keeping your toes warm, add heating components under tiles or the old fashioned way with a nice cozy rug. Heated floors attract buyers like bees to honey.

2. Textured Walls:

3D-bathroom-wall-tiles

  • Textured Wall Tiles: Textured walls are all the rage, adding depth and intrigue to a once bland surface. Textured wallpaper in the bathroom may sound like a good, cost-effective idea, but the humidity will certainly undermine the adhesive and end up costing you more in the long run. If you’re looking for longevity, opt for dramatic 3D ceramic or porcelain wall tile.

    Textured tile was on the rise last year and will likely continue growing in popularity this year, and with a good reason. Geometric, waves, high-low patterns and more all add a greater range of depth and intrigue. Find your favorite and give it a go for $15 – $30 per sq ft.

  • Textured Wall Panels: 3D wall panels range in cost from $30 – $200 per sq meter depending on the material and method. Bamboo, gypsum, glass, pulp, aluminum, plastic and so on, all vary in price.

    Panels can be highly custom and employ a number of professionals, from artists to designers and developers. The completed look is seamless and bold. An alternative to textured panels are smaller scale wall panels. With a wide range in repetitive textures starting from $8 per sq ft and up, they can be a good option for smaller areas.

3. Lighting:

bathroom-lights By In Detail Interiors

Nix the single source lighting and bring on the beams. Smaller spaces require brighter light to open up the space.

The bathroom has tons of opportunity to create an atmosphere of both relaxation and function. Install dramatic fixtures with LED bulbs for a greater ROI.

LEDs save on energy and can last about 50 times longer than regular bulbs.

  • Vanity lighting: When designing lighting for the vanity/sink area, it is key to eliminate shadows and dark corners. Light should be coming in from all angles, enabling a practical application of the space. Brighten up the vanity with pendant lights, sconces, and vertical lighting mounted on either side of the mirror will spread even light where it needs to. Accomplish flawless lighting for around $150 – $300.

bathroom-sink-lighting By In Detail Design

  • Overhead: Illuminate the entire room with a striking yet purposeful centerpiece. Minimalist chandeliers are a perfect way to do just that. Clean lines with clear glass or non existent shades/bulbs or a bare bulb cluster lend an industrial and sophisticated touch. Sometimes less says so much more. Ranging in price from $250 – $1,000 including installation.
  • Shower: Normally not a focal point for lighting in the bathroom, showers are stepping into the spot light. Instead of relying on overhead lighting from beyond the bathtub, make a point to incorporate a practical fixture such as recessed canned lighting to avoid electrical mishaps. There are also more decorative options specifically designed for a wet area, ranging from $320 to $440 available from Creative Systems Lighting.

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