Improving your home has the obvious initial benefit of making it more comfortable and enjoyable to live in, but it also can be good for your finances by increasing your home’s value. A more valuable home has more equity, which you can borrow or turn to profit when you’re ready to sell.

Key Takeaways:

  • Home improvements can help you increase the value of your home and build more equity while making it more pleasant to live in.
  • Improvement projects don’t need to be expensive and can be made in every part of your home, including the kitchen, bathroom, interior, and exterior.
  • Systemic and structural improvements that improve your home’s functionality also can increase its value.

Why Increase Your House’s Value?

Some homeowners improve their home for emotional or practical reasons, such as expanding their living space to make life more comfortable. Other reasons are financial, such as maximizing home equity to borrow, or to keep as profit when selling the home.

Improvements don’t need to be expensive or extensive to make a worthwhile difference. Relatively minor and inexpensive “mini-renovations” drew a better-than-expected offer for Catherine Collins when she sold her first home in the Detroit area.

“I spent only $1,500 on bathroom updates, including paint, a new vanity, and new accessories,” says Collins, co-founder of an advice website called Millennial Homeowner. “I also spent under $100 on mulch and flowers for our front yard. With these updates, our house looked amazing in photos and during showings, and we received multiple offers and ended up accepting an all-cash offer $15,000 over asking.”

Here are 40 improvements for your home’s kitchen, bathroom, systems, structure, interior, and exterior that can increase its value.

Kitchen Improvements To Increase Value

Kitchen upgrades typically offer the best return on any kind of home renovation, increasing a home’s value between 32% and 86% of the amount spent on the remodel. A minor kitchen remodel can cost around $25,000, while a major kitchen remodel can cost anywhere from $75,000 to $150,000.

1. Replace or refresh cabinets

If your older cabinets make your kitchen look dated, then they might be worth replacing or revamping. The cost will depend on the type of kitchen and materials used:

  • Semi-custom cabinets: Between $150 and $400 per linear foot; between $3,000 and $8,500 for materials and installation.
  • Custom cabinets: Between $500 and $1,200 per linear foot; between $12,500 and $18,000 for materials and installation.

2. Repair or replace flooring

If your kitchen floors are worn down from kids, pets, and — let’s face it — thousands of trips to the fridge, then it may be time to replace them. This tends to cost between $6 and $10 per square foot. For a 200-square-foot kitchen, that’ll be between $1,200 and $2,000.

3. Update the appliances

Replacing your appliances can be a quick way to modernize your kitchen. While exact costs will vary depending on the brand, here are some average price ranges for new appliances:

  • Refrigerator: $500 to $4,000.
  • Oven: $400 to $1,300.
  • Dishwasher: $300 to $1,200.

4. Add new countertops

The cost for new countertops varies widely depending on which type of material you choose. Common materials include quartz, marble, and granite. In general, you can expect new countertops to cost anywhere between $1,200 and $7,780.

5. Upgrade the sink and plumbing fixtures

If you want to replace your kitchen sink with something more modern, expect to pay between $216 and $628. Installation can add $380 to $1,400, depending on the sink you choose and the plumbing work required to install it. To replace the plumbing beneath it, you can expect to pay about $1,000.

Bathroom Improvements To Increase Value

Remodeling an existing bathroom provides a strong return on investment, as does adding one. In 2023, homeowners increased their home’s value by more than 25% of what they spent to add a bathroom, according to Remodeling magazine.

6. Install low-flow toilets

Low-flow toilets help you save water, and are available for as little as $100 or $200. Fancier ones can cost up to $2,500 plus labor.

7. Replace the sink and plumbing fixtures

Replacing your bathroom sink can cost anywhere from $50 to $1,000 and up. The typical price range for installation is about $400.

8. Install a walk-in shower

If you want to add a walk-in shower to an existing bathroom, the cost will depend on the size and the materials used. The materials can cost anywhere from $750 to $6,850, with an additional $400 to $1,000 for labor.

9. Add a half bath

A half bath has a toilet and a sink but no shower or bathtub. Converting a closet or unused room into a half bath can cost as little as $4,000 and be one of the most profitable home improvements you can make.

10. Replace or refinish flooring

If your bathroom flooring is worn or its tiles are chipping, it might be worth refinishing or replacing it entirely. The cost will largely depend on the size and materials used, but the average price range for materials and labor is $14 per square foot. At that rate, a bathroom that’s 120 square feet will cost $1,680 to put in new flooring.

11. Put in new vanities

Adding a new vanity is another way to make a bathroom look more appealing. Replacing your vanity could cost as little as $300 or as much as $3,800, depending on the vanity you choose.

12. Mount a new mirror

Replacing your bathroom mirror typically costs between $150 and $350, and may cost more depending on the size, mounting, whether it includes a medicine cabinet, and labor for installation. In general, steel-framed mirrors tend to cost more than the wood-framed variety.

13. Add more lighting

The cost of light fixtures varies dramatically, usually running anywhere between $30 and $1,000. Electricians generally cost between $35 and $100 per hour, and it usually takes about two hours to install a light fixture.

Systemic Improvements To Increase Value

In addition to being essential to your home’s overall comfort level, an efficient home that’s cheaper to run will appeal more to buyers. Here are some systemic improvements you can make to your home to help boost its value.

14. Repair, upgrade, or add heating and cooling systems

Upgrading from a fossil fuel furnace to an electric heat pump costs on average $17,717 for a 2,000-square-foot home. While that’s a lot to pay upfront, you can more than recoup the cost by increasing the value of the home and saving on utilities. If your home has no cooling system at all, adding one could increase the property’s value by as much as 10%.

15. Modernize the electrical system

Rewiring your home’s electrical system can help make your home safer and more energy-efficient. The cost of the job will vary depending on its size and scope. While the average cost to rewire a home is about $7,000, it can come out to as little as $1,100 or as much as $13,000.

16. Install energy-efficient windows

The Department of Energy reports that about 30% of your home’s heating energy is lost through windows. Installing energy-efficient windows can help mitigate that loss, and typically costs between $320 and $2,000.

17. Buy an energy-efficient washer and dryer

An energy-efficient washer and dryer can reduce how much water and energy you need to do your laundry. A set of these appliances typically costs between $1,500 and $3,000.

18. Update the plumbing

If your plumbing system is prone to leaks and clogging, it may be time to replace your pipes. Because you’ll be overhauling the entire plumbing system instead of just a portion, the cost of replacing the plumbing in a 2,000-square-foot home typically is between $3,000 and $16,000.

19. Consider installing solar power

Solar panels can help you cut your carbon footprint and reduce your home’s energy bills. They can cost anywhere from $4,500 to $36,000 to install — the average is $16,000. Homes with solar panels can sell for as much as $15,000 more than similar homes without solar.

Structural Improvements To Increase Value

Now let’s discuss improvements you can make to the structure of your home to increase how much it’s worth.

20. Repair or replace the roof

The average roof lasts 25 to 30 years. Replacing a roof with asphalt shingles costs an average of $29,000, while replacing a metal roof costs an average of $47,000. The National Association of Realtors found that homeowners who put in a new roof recovered 100% of the value of the project. Even if you’re keeping your home, repairing or replacing the roof could boost your equity while protecting your home for years to come.

21. Refinish or install new flooring

Improving your flooring can mean getting new carpets, refinishing hardwood floors, or fully replacing the flooring to modernize your living space. Flooring improvements are some of the most effective upgrades for helping people feel happier in their homes, according to NAR. It also says flooring upgrades offer a good return on investment, depending on the type of project. Replacing the floors in a 500-square-foot space typically costs between $1,500 and $4,000.

22. Add on a room to increase square footage

If you’re staying in your home, adding space is generally cheaper than moving. And if you’re selling, you can make your home more attractive to buyers by adding a bonus room or finishing the basement, attic, or garage so it may be used as a home office, gym, or guest room. The cost of adding a room usually is between $80 and $200 per square foot. With additions running between 250 and 1,200 square feet, that means you could pay anywhere from $20,000 to $240,000.

23. Inspect the home for mold and pests

If you’re trying to sell your home and the home inspection reveals evidence of mold or pests, that can cut into how much you’re able to get for it. A small mold problem can cost $500 to $1,000 to fix, but a large mold problem affecting your entire home can cost up to $30,000.

Interior Improvements To Increase Value

There are some smaller improvements you can make to the interior of your home that could go a long way toward adding value.

24. Paint the walls a stylish color

Choosing the right color also plays a role in your property’s value. Recent research finds that buyers in 2023 are offering more for homes with dark gray or charcoal interiors. A terra cotta bathroom was found to increase offering prices by more than $1,600.

25. Install modern lighting

A brighter home with modern fixtures or recessed lighting can be more appealing. Fixture costs vary widely, while adding recessed lighting to your home typically costs between $100 and $480 per fixture.

26. Add smart technology and controls

The average American household spent $135 a month on electricity in 2022. In warm climates, costs can be higher due to cooling needs, while cold climates require homeowners to pay winter heating bills. Adding smart technology could boost a home’s value by lowering the cost of controlling its climate. Some smart updates — smart lightbulbs or thermostats, for example — can cost as little as $100, making them a potentially inexpensive and simple investment.

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27. Improve the air quality

Not surprisingly, studies have found that house values increase as pollution levels in an area decrease. Homeowners are unable to change outdoor air quality, but they can take steps to improve the quality of the air inside their homes. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends removing pollution sources such as gas stoves, increasing ventilation by adding windows, using heating and cooling systems that bring air into the home from outside, and investing in air filters.

28. Finish the basement

Finishing a basement can add livable square footage to your home, which is another great way to improve its value. There are a variety of different costs to consider, including materials, labor, waterproofing, drywall, flooring, and permits. Finishing a basement can cost anywhere between $4,700 and $41,000 — the average is $22,850.

29. Clean and declutter

If you’re trying to sell your home, you want people to feel welcome and excited about the living space when they come for a showing. NAR found that homes that were cleaned and staged before showings sold for an average of 1% to 5% more when compared with similar homes that were not staged.

Exterior Improvements To Increase Value

Let’s go over some improvements you can make to the outside of your home to boost its overall value.

30. Freshen up the exterior paint

Slapping a fresh coat of paint on your home can give it a new glow. The exact cost will depend on the size of your home and the type of siding, so the bill can range anywhere from $1,800 to $13,000.

31. Refine the landscaping

A classic piece of advice for improving your house value is to increase its curb appeal. After all, the front of your home is the first thing that people see when they drive past or walk up the front path. According to NAR, standard lawn care service can return more than double its cost.

32. Install a new front door

If you live in an older home, your front door may be a little weathered from the elements and normal wear and tear. A replacement entry door costs on average $1,115. A new steel front door — typically a $2,200 job — is one of the few home improvement investments where you can recoup more than 100% of the cost if you sell the home.

33. Replace the garage door

The garage door can be one of the most visible parts of the house. As a result, it can have a big impact on your home’s curb appeal. A new garage door costs about $4,000, but the good news is you typically can fully recoup that investment.

34. Put on new siding

Over time, the siding of your home can be worn down by the elements. Replacing 1,250 square feet of vinyl siding costs an average of $16,000, while fiber-cement siding typically costs a little bit more, at an average of $19,000.

35. Add manufactured stone veneer

Manufactured stone veneer can add aesthetic appeal to any home. Removing 300 square feet of vinyl siding and replacing it with a manufactured stone veneer typically costs an average of $11,000.

36. Find extra parking space

Adding an additional parking area can increase the value of your home — especially if it’s covered. While building a full attached garage can cost an average of $26,000, simply paving a part of your property may cost between $2,000 and $7,000.

37. Add on a deck or patio

Adding a deck or patio can be a great way to enhance your outdoor space. A deck addition costs an average of $17,000 to $23,000.

38. Build a fire pit or outdoor fireplace

Adding a fireplace or fire pit can help make nights cozier. The cost of adding a fireplace will depend on whether it’s a wood, electric, or gas stove. Fireplace installation costs an average of about $2,400, though adding a fire pit can cost as little as a few hundred dollars.

39. Put in an outdoor kitchen

An outdoor kitchen is a great way to entertain guests — especially if you love to grill. The cost of adding an outdoor kitchen depends on the scope and materials used, but typically is anywhere between $6,000 and $25,000.

40. Put in an in-ground pool or hot tub

Building an in-ground pool is an expensive project that requires upfront and ongoing costs. However, a pool also can add a lot of value to a home. Building a pool typically costs between $50 and $125 per square foot — the average is $35,000.

FAQ: Home Improvements That Help Increase Value

Here are answers to some common questions about home improvements that increase the value of your home.

What home improvements increase property value most?

Some of the home improvements that give you the best return on your investment are:
— Updating your heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system.
— Replacing your garage door.
— Adding manufactured stone veneer.
— Replacing your front door.

What brings down the value of a house?

Some common factors that can hurt your property value include:
— Lack of curb appeal.
— Chipping exterior paint.
— Sloppy landscaping.
— Do-it-yourself projects done poorly.
— Lack of maintenance.
— Old carpet.
— Clutter.

The Bottom Line on Improvements That Increase Home Value

In the end, what increases home values? It’s anything that makes your home look better, operate more efficiently, and feel more enjoyable and comfortable to live in. Remember, when you’re thinking about how to increase property value, it’s almost always good to enhance the experience of living in the home — both for you as long as you own it, and for potential buyers when you’re ready to sell.

T.J. Porter contributed to the reporting of this article.