Homeowners are getting increasingly creative with their DIY projects, The New York Times (NYT) reports. While it was popular to upgrade homes in ways that were strictly practical or trendy, that is no longer the case, thanks to the global pandemic. The pandemic has inspired many to take their DIY ventures to the extreme and to do exactly what they want, even if that means getting a bit out there. Homeowners are adding new life to rooms with off-the-wall color schemes and crazy geometric patterns, installing ice skating rinks in their backyards, and creating at-home theaters that genuinely look like real movie theaters, complete with popcorn machines, soda machines, and an over-reliance on the color red.
Designer Ingrid Fetell Lee is “seeing a lot more color, a lot more of a sense of adventure in decor choices.” Lee theorizes that a greater number of homeowners are designing spaces to fully explore their creativity and keep them engaged while home. Further, the lack of judgment from outside sources, like friends and relatives, is spurring people on, encouraging them truly embrace their ideas in ways that they haven’t before.
Of course, you do not need to deck out the laundry room in all the colors of the rainbow or build your very own ice skating rink to add a little something extra to your home. In fact, in the long-run, your best bet may be focusing on projects that promise a sizable return on investment (ROI). To do that, consider the following list of the best DIY projects to improve home value.
Create More Space
According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), what home buyers desire most of all is wide open space. Buyers are looking for open floor plans or mostly open floor plans in the living room, kitchen, and dining room.
There are several advantages of moving forward with an open-concept floor plan, including:
- More light. Open layouts naturally invite more light into rooms and into your home. Any walls currently standing in between rooms not only make them feel smaller but also limit the amount of light that enters any given room. By opening it up, you allow more light in. Rooms will appear brighter, fresher, and more spacious.
- Larger spaces more suitable for entertaining. Talking about space, an open-concept plan is perfect for entertaining. Whether you knock down walls between the kitchen and dining room or between the kitchen and living room, you are making it easier to entertain. This way, you will be able to socialize with your guests as you prepare meals and make drinks. The gathering will be enjoyable for the guests and the hosts, and there will be no awkward moments when you are holed up in the kitchen without them.
- A promising return on investment (ROI). While the exact ROI will depend on the specific plans for your home, open concept kitchens, dining rooms, and living rooms are an extraordinarily popular feature. Half of home buyers prefer an open kitchen and dining room, according to Realtor magazine. By tackling an open layout, you will improve the utility and traffic flow in your home, while making it more attractive to prospective buyers down the road.
Keep in mind that your home will require the appropriate support and structural integrity for its new, comparatively spacious layout. Talk to a home builder about the practicalities of knocking down walls and making room for more space. Further, prepare for a large-scale project. Open arrangements take quite a bit of work. The conversion may take several months and involve a great deal of cleanup as you go. Hire special garbage hauling services to remove drywall, foundation, dirt, and debris.
The best DIY projects to improve home value also make it a more desirable and comfortable place to live. Invest in an open-concept layout for a home that is inviting, spacious, and well-lit.
Give Your Home’s Exterior A Little TLC
What are the best DIY projects to improve home value? Doing anything to improve your home’s curb appeal promises an impressive ROI and makes it more attractive to buyers when it comes time to sell. According to HomeLight, 94% of real estate agents recommend improving curb appeal to increase a house’s value. Up to 76% describe improving your home’s exterior as the best project to boost your property’s marketability. If you want to take full advantage of this particular DIY project, start with these ideas.
- Invest in your landscaping and lawn maintenance. Beautify your landscape by planting trees and flowers. Dedicate some time to tree pruning, fertilizing, and mowing the lawn to carefully maintain the existing landscape. Overhauling your lawn and greenery directly results in a sale for 17% of sellers, HomeLight continues.
- Swap out old hardware. The best DIY projects to improve home value and enhance the appearance of your home’s exterior do not have to be overly complicated. In fact, it can be as simple as replacing the door handle, knocker, doorbell, outdoor light fixtures, and/or house numbers. Use your best judgment. If anything looks outdated, if it is covered in rust or grime, or if the paint is peeling away to expose the metal or wood underneath, it is time for new hardware.
- Touch up paint and add some plants. Upgrading the exterior of your home doesn’t have to be prohibitively expensive. Make it look new by painting only the spots on the outside of your home that are chipping or peeling. Add a new coat of paint to doorframes, window frames, and trim. Add a burst of color — and do it quickly — by adding large planters to your entryway or front porch.
The best DIY projects to improve home value start from the outside in. Remember, prospective buyers will notice the outer appearance of your home first. Start there.
Install A New Steel Front Door
For a home improvement project that pays off, install a new steel front door. Steel is one of the most popular materials for front doors — and with good reason. A steel front door will block the cold, it is more energy-efficient, and it requires relatively little maintenance. Swapping out your old door for a new steel one will pack a potential ROI of 69 to 91%.
Most importantly, steel front doors are versatile. Steel front doors may mimic the appearance of wood and other materials and look refined and traditional. If you prefer something more contemporary, there are steel front doors that look industrial, like the product of metal fabrication or metal stamping, as well. Choose the steel door that matches your personal style or aesthetics.
Installing a steel door is one of the best DIY projects to improve home value. It is practical, improves energy efficiency, drives down energy bills, and it looks great, too.
Get A New Roof
When it comes to the outer appearance of your home, don’t forget about the roof. The age of roofing can make a tremendous difference when it comes time to sell. Georgia real estate agent Leighann Russell breaks it down this way: if there are two houses listed for around the same price and with the same specifications, the house with a new roof will sell first. Plus, a new roof will recoup 107% of its cost. The most popular roofing types are:
- Asphalt roofs. Traditional asphalt shingles remain the most popular roofing type. Asphalt roofs are relatively inexpensive and easy-to-install. Asphalt shingles are available in many colors and designs and will match with just about any home’s exterior.
- Metal roofs. Metal roofing is quickly gaining popularity, thanks to its durability and energy efficiency. Metal withstands heavy rains, strong winds, and hail. Metal roofs will not catch on fire, and they will not rot. Plus, installing a new metal roof can save you as much as 40% on your energy bills.
- Slate roofs. The best DIY projects to improve home value are projects you only need to do one time, but continue to pay off again and again. Slate roofs, for example, are water-proof, fire-proof, and immensely durable and protective. Once installed, slates rooftops are good to go and often require no further maintenance. What’s more, slate is an extraordinarily eye-catching material that will make any home look that much more sophisticated and high-class.
- Composite roofing. Composite shingles are a worthwhile investment for homeowners who want to pay less for the same sophisticated look. Composite shingles are markedly cheaper than slate and wood, but they can be crafted to perfectly mimic these materials. They are light, fire-proof, and they do not fade over time.
The best DIY projects to improve home value start outside. Maintain your lawn, make improvements to curb appeal, and replace the roof for that extra selling power.
Replace Your Air Conditioner
Some of the best DIY projects to improve home value are also the most practical ones. An outdated heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system or central air conditioning unit will drive up your energy bills, negatively affect the quality of the air surrounding you, and it will make you and your family less comfortable. If your unit continually malfunctions, it is time for a new one. Order a routine inspection to determine if it’s a problem that can easily be fixed or if your system needs to be replaced altogether.
If it’s the latter, don’t fret. Replacing your air conditioning will help you sell your home faster, and sellers recoup 85% of the cost, according to HomeLight.
Convert The Attic Into A Bedroom
For a more involved DIY project that will pay off, convert the attic into a bedroom. Whether you need the extra room for a guest room, children’s bedroom, or an adult’s bedroom, there are several advantages of taking on this particular home improvement project. These include:
- A room with a view. Because the attic is located at one of the highest points of your home, it also has some of the best views. Often, it is possible to see more from an attic window than from any other window in the house. Of course, existing attic windows may look plain or unembellished. Add attractive window treatments or decorative window blinds to dress up these windows.
- A more energy-efficient home. When you are converting the attic into a bedroom, take the time to make the space — and your home — more energy-efficient. Add any extra insulation as necessary. Make sure to install a foil vapor barrier to keep moisture out of your attic room. Additional insulation and properly waterproofing your home will drive down your monthly bills.
- Attic conversions are significantly more cost-effective than home extensions. If you want to add an extra room to your home, typically you have just a few options. Convert the attic into a bedroom, convert the basement into a bedroom, or shell out the cash for pricey home extensions. It is much more timely and cost-effective to use a current space in your home, like the attic, rather than to add to it.
Take On A Minor Bathroom Remodel
Lastly, the best DIY projects to improve home value are projects that enhance the appearance and utility of some of your home’s most frequently used rooms — and that includes the bathroom.
Complete a minor bathroom remodel by swapping out old cabinets for new cabinets with attractive, granite or marble countertops. Replace the sink, caulk around the tub and shower, re-tile the floor, and invest in new light fixtures. The venture will earn you an impressive 102% ROI when you sell your home.
What are the best DIY projects to improve home value? The most worthwhile projects run the gamut. Start by tackling projects that improve the outer appearance and exterior of your home. From there, work your way in, and devote your time to remodeling the bathroom, converting the attic into a bedroom, or replacing your HVAC system.