There are two primary reasons people choose to renovate their homes; maximize efficiency and increase the value of their home. The longer you live in a house, the more projects you can come up with to fit these requirements. While each renovation has its own special challenges (not being able to shower or cook dinner for a length of time) the fact remains that you’re going to shell out a mighty amount of dough in the process. That fact alone can make entering a home renovation a little daunting, especially if your wish list is extensive (we’re looking at you Starter Homes). Here’s a helpful list of renovations that will earn back almost as much as you spend, and help prioritize what projects to tackle first.

Minor Kitchen Remodel

When we say minor we mean minor. Forget knocking down walls and creating a fabulous open floor plan (although that does have its own certain appeal). Painting or replacing the facing on your cabinets and drawers, updating fixtures for your sink, switching to a sustainable click-lock bamboo flooring, laminate countertops. Simple things that don’t involve a lot of demolition will bring back around 98.5% of what you spend.

Minor Bathroom Remodel

Bathrooms and kitchens are pretty much neck and neck in terms of popular renovations as well as return value. The same concept applies from the kitchen to the bathroom, mostly cosmetic features like a new sink, vanity, tub, or tile will bring about a full return (if not a little extra). As long as you aren’t moving around the plumbing you’ll be able to enjoy a new bathroom and really get your money’s worth.


Another top tier renovation is redoing your front or back yard. For the environmentally forward thinker, you can even opt to drought proof your yard with vegetation that occurs naturally in your local area. There are many types of ground cover that don’t involved rocks or mulch. A fresh new walkway to your front door amidst a yard that needs less water than your grassy lawn, not only can you expect a full return on your initial investment, but your water bills will drop as well.

Basement or Attic Conversion

For many homes these rooms are glorified storage units. But converting your basement or attic into a guest, entertainment, or game room will make every room in your home feel more like a home. You’ll also be able to bring back a percentage of what you spend in the 90s for either project. But what about your stuff? You can factor in clever, hidden storage areas like closets that blend into walls, window benches with a hinged seat to reveal a trunk-like storage space, or even furniture with its own hidden compartment. You can also take this time to discard your unused items and donate them to a shelter.

Replacing Windows

Falling into the energy efficient category, like drought-proofing your yard, will recoup about 89% of your initial investment and reduce your energy bills. It’s estimated that around 35% of your heat and air is lost through drafty windows and gaps in the walls. New windows will seal those drafts. They also come with Energy Star ratings such as special UV coatings to keep the heat from the great outdoors at bay as well as fillers that act as extra insulators.

These are just a few options to contemplate when deciding which home renovation projects to tackle. It ultimately depends on your needs and your judgement. But you can feel secure in these choices for how they’ll improve your daily life and recover the costs.