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Editor’s Note: This story originally appeared on The Penny Hoarder.
If you’re spending more time at home these days, you’re not alone.
With the rise of remote work, we’re seeing a lot more of the same four walls. It’s natural to want to spend your days (and nights) in a space you find both comfortable and stylish.
Home improvements can be a great way to renovate your space indoors and out, but beware that not all projects are created equal.
You can save on home improvements if you pick your battles, though.
The Most Popular Home Improvements for 2023
Houzz’s October 2022 survey of 4,000 homeowners indicates many are leaning into doing home repairs and renovations in 2023, with 23% attempting a major home improvement project this year.
After a hot housing market left many feeling burned in 2022, more homeowners and tenants are opting to stay put and improve the spaces they already live in.
Some of the most popular home improvement projects homeowners are investing in for 2023 include:
- Skylight installation
- Exterior door and exterior paint jobs
- Electrical system upgrades
- Plumbing system upgrades
- Decks and patios
- Bathroom and kitchen renovations
However, the same survey also indicated that 11% of homeowners are holding off on home improvement projects in 2023, citing inflation concerns as the primary reason.
Here’s how homeowners looking to cut costs in the near future can still save big bucks by choosing home renovations with a good return on investment.
How to Get the Biggest Return on Your Home Project
To save money and avoid unexpected expenses, look for projects that build home equity. Before you dig in, consider what’s worthwhile to upgrade.
Remodeling Magazine’s 2022 Cost vs. Value Report indicates you’ll get the fastest return on investment from these home improvement projects:
- Garage door replacement
- Stone veneer
- Minor kitchen remodel
- Window replacement
- Siding replacement
Consider a home renovation that has built-in incentives from local governments. For instance, many cities subsidize replacing grass with drought-resistant plants or landscaping, which can save money on maintenance costs.
Cut heating and cooling costs by upgrading old appliances like your water heater, getting your air conditioner serviced or even replacing light fixtures or ceiling fans to save money on utility bills.
12 Ways to Save Money on Home Improvements
Homeowners don’t have to save money for years to afford home improvements that make a big impact. Whether it’s doing your own demo or painting the kitchen cabinets, our tips for home projects focus on money saved instead of money spent.
Our top tips include:
- Organize your home without overspending
- Know which home repairs you need to address immediately
- Keep up with routine maintenance
- Know when to hire a pro
- Learn how to hire the best contractor
- Leverage home office deductions
- Remodel your bathroom on a budget
- Spruce up your outdoor space for $100
- Spend less at Restoration Hardware
- Choose a small home improvement project
- Lean into solar and other sustainability projects
- Invest in renovating spaces you live in
1. Organize Your Home Without Overspending
Keeping your home tidy doesn’t require a trip to The Container Store to spend hundreds on various organizational tools.
Browse this list of cheap home organizing solutions for ideas on how to neaten up your pantry, linen closet, junk drawer and more. Some more tips include upcycling items you already have at home or hitting the dollar store.
2. Know Which Home Repairs You Need to Address Immediately
It may be financially convenient to put off certain repairs around the house, but ignoring some issues can cause major problems and cost you more money in the long run.
These eight home repairs are ones you shouldn’t ignore. Get on them ASAP to avoid extensive damage, safety hazards or health issues.
3. Keep Up With Routine Home Maintenance
One way to avoid expensive home repairs is to adhere to a schedule of regular maintenance projects.
Letting little issues go untreated (like the fact that you can never get a hot shower anymore) can lead to a much more serious — and more costly — problem to address later.
We break down the four types of home maintenance priorities, including how frequently maintenance jobs should be done and an estimation of costs. Just putting aside $200 a month can help cover home expenses that come up.
4. Know When to Hire a Pro
Tackling home projects on your own doesn’t always save money. If you take on something you can’t handle, you could wind up making a costly mistake that’s more expensive than hiring a professional from the start. Like damaging a load-bearing wall. Yikes!
We explain which home projects can be safe to DIY and which ones you should leave to the experts.
5. Learn How to Hire the Best Contractor
Hiring a reliable contractor for a home improvement project can be a significant financial investment. You want to know you’re hiring the right person for the job.
Here are six questions you should ask when hiring a home improvement contractor. Make sure everyone’s on the same page about the work before signing on the dotted line.
6. Leverage Home Office Deductions
Did you know some home improvement expenses can be deducted from your taxes? If you work from home, investigate whether your big project could be eligible for a tax write-off of up to 20% of the costs.
This applies to more than just basic home decor improvements like carpet and paint. Upgrading heating or air conditioning systems can lower utility bills and keep the cool air (or the warm air) pumping in your home office. And these improvements also qualify for home office deductions.
7. Remodel Your Bathroom on a Budget
Making your bathroom feel like a sanctuary is important — especially when you’re spending so much time at home. But bathroom remodels can be expensive.
These tips show you ways to improve your bathroom whether your budget is $100, $500, $750 or $1,000.
8. Spruce Up Your Outdoor Space for $100
Big landscaping projects can cost big bucks. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to revamp your outdoor space for less.
This post shares six brilliant ideas for refreshing your yard or patio without spending over $100.
9. Spend Less at Restoration Hardware
Love the goods at Restoration Hardware but could do without the high prices?
This article spills 10 ways to save major bucks when shopping at this upscale home furnishing store. Never pay full price again.
10. Choose a Small Home Improvement Project
Avoid big projects that require building permits or more special tools, and focus on more approachable projects that have a low cost per square foot.
For example, you can turn the backyard or front patio into a haven with our inexpensive, easy tips for screening your home from prying eyes.
11. Lean Into Solar and Other Sustainability Projects
One way to save big on home improvement projects (and heating costs) is to look for federal, state or local subsidies.
And this applies to more than just upgrading old appliances to energy-efficient models or turning in all your old incandescent bulbs for LED bulbs.
Solar subsidies are still in full swing and should be for the foreseeable future. You can visit the Solar Energy Technologies Office at energy.gov to calculate the tax credit and crunch numbers on how long it will take for your panels to start turning a profit.
12. Invest in Renovating Spaces You Live In
There’s a difference between projects that build equity in your house versus home improvements that create an enjoyable living space.
Start by choosing a room you spend a lot of time in like the kitchen and think about minor changes like paint or new light fixtures instead of new hardwood floors or new countertops.
“I always tell people a little bit of paint goes a long way,” real estate agent Judy Anderson said. “It’s an inexpensive way to just totally change the look and feel of your kitchen.”
Eager to save money on home improvements? Don’t wait to build a big house budget or dip into your retirement savings. Instead, start small this weekend with one room in the house and see where a few dollars can make the most difference.