From the best bathroom upgrades to structural preservation ideas, these improvements can increase the resale value of your home.

By Caroline Biggs
May 06, 2021
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The right renovations won't just make your space more comfortable to live in, they can also increase the overall value of your home. "In general, updating areas of your home that feel tired with classic materials that stand the test of time can ultimately up your home's resale value," says interior designer Ariel Okin. "It also won't ever peg your renovation to a specific era." Whether you're renovating a single room or considering a larger-scale layout switch-up, home renovation expert Jean Brownhill, the founder of Sweeten, says it's important to focus on the spaces that you (and future homebuyers) spend the most time in. "Update the spaces you see and touch daily, such as kitchens and bathrooms," she advises. "As spaces that you interact with every day, these renovations will not only increase the quality of the experience, but they are at the top of the list for return on investment."

Curious which home renovations experts say are worth the time and effort? From the best bathroom upgrades to structural preservation ideas, interior designers share their insight ahead.

two woman renovating bathroom
Credit: Guido Mieth / Getty Images

Update an old-fashioned bathroom.

For an easy yet high-impact renovation that will make your home more appealing, Linda Allen of Linda Allen Designs recommends updating an outmoded bathroom. "Bathrooms add value because they're the first room you go to in the morning, and the last room you go to at night," she explains. If you don't have the budget for an entire bathroom overhaul, Brownhill says to focus on the areas that are subject to the most wear-and-tear. "For high-touch items, focus on materials that you'll love such as floor tile and fixtures," she advises. "If you're looking for a way to save money, bathroom technology is here to stay but for now, can be limited or considered for a future time."

Upgrade the kitchen with modern appliances and finishes.

According to designer Allison Petty of Hyphen & Co., certain kitchen renovations can have a huge impact on the retail value of your home. "Custom cabinetry really helps sell a house, especially if the drawer and cabinet inserts have been designed to assist in organization," she says. "Also, look to upgrade your appliances, as people will gravitate towards a kitchen with higher-end appliances (plus you'll get the benefit of using them)."

For a low-cost kitchen upgrade that will leave a lasting impression, Okin suggests updating your backsplash or countertops with fresh materials or finishes. "The kitchen is the heart of the home and making it as up-to-date and beautiful as possible will always help you in the long run," she says.

Preserve interesting architectural elements.

If you have an older home with unique architecture, Petty recommends preserving the structural integrity as much as possible. "There is nothing wrong with making your space feel more modern, but do your best to hold on to the character of the space," she advises. "Switching out hardware and original light fixtures are fine, but if your house has original crown molding or incredible original floors, look for ways to preserve these details so they feel modern but also remain authentic."

Renovate an underused area of your home.

If have an unfinished basement or attic, Brownhill says converting it into a livable space can make you loads of money in the long run. "Transforming an under-utilized space, such as an attic or basement, into a home office, extra bedroom, or playroom is a great way to add square footage to your home without enlarging the actual footprint," she explains. "This will also increase the value of your home."

Create an outdoor oasis.

Designers Penny Francis and Casi St. Julian of Eclectic Home believe that investing in your home's outdoor space is every bit as beneficial as an interior renovation. "Outdoor spaces more than ever are important for the emotional well-being and the health of the family," St. Julian explains. "Creating an outdoor spaces for dining, entertainment, relaxation, and play can supply emotional benefits that have far greater value than the financial investment made."

By designing an area that functions as a room outside the home, designer Christina Roughan of Roughan Interiors says you can essentially create additional living space. "Consider adding a patio, or completing a porch renovation that allows for outdoor furniture and ambient lighting," she says. "This way, you can create an outdoor oasis that feels like an extension of your home."

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