The condition of your home's exterior is key to the overall curb appeal, so refresh that facade with a coat of paint. Fresh exterior paint will not only preserve and protect your home's exterior siding — the right paint color can make a dull home dazzling. By the same token, a house painted with an overly bright or overly bland color will make a house less appealing and hurt the value, so choose your colors wisely. Should you decide to put your house on the market and the exterior paint looks bad, a buyer will assume that the interior of the home has been neglected too and drive right past.
Air quality isn't just about the conditions outdoors. If you have older carpets in your home, they might be hiding contaminants and allergens. The first step to determine if these need replacing is to hire a professional company to test your indoor air quality. If the results prove that your carpets should be replaced, choose environmentally friendly natural products like tile or laminate floors. Hard-surface floors are much easier to keep clean, don't hold odors, give your home an updated look and, in general, are more appealing to buyers.
Dear Debbie: Tipping isn’t the standard in the home services trades, as it is in the restaurant and personal grooming trades. Still, it’s a question many homeowners wrestle with. To help answer it, Angie’s List recently polled nearly 5,000 home service professionals across the nation to find out if they expect a tip and if so, what they tend to collect.
Big projects or small, probably all of us could stand to learn some decent home repair or home improvement skills. (All around the home, there are things we should never have to pay others to fix for us.) Learn Bob Villa-worthy skills and help others at the same time by volunteering or through free clinics and other resources. Turn to great reading resources and try starter projects too. If you get stuck on a project, iOS app Fountain will connect you to a home improvement expert to answer your question for $5. (Also, did you know we have a home improvement subblog here at Lifehacker called Workshop?)
The size of your home dramatically affects the value, but square footage isn't the only space that counts. Visual space or how large a home feels also counts. The key is to make each room in your house feel larger. Replace heavy closed draperies with vertical blinds or shutters to let light in — a sunny room feels larger and more open. Also, try adding a single large mirror to a room to visually double the space. Finally, clear the clutter. The more clutter, furniture and plain old stuff you have in a room, the more cramped it will feel. For less than $400, add an attractive shelving unit to an underused space and store your clutter out of sight.
If you have moderate DIY skills, and want to take it up a notch—now’s the time! YouTube is your friend. As long as you have the availability to learn a new skill, and take your time to do it right, your determination is your biggest asset. If you don’t have the tools required, renting them from a local hardware store will still save you quite a bit of money, versus hiring someone to do the work for you. Plus, rental tool due-dates are great motivators to finish a job!
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Try to use all the space of your bathroom as much as possible, if your bathroom is on the smaller side, then you have to unleash your creativity in order to design the space and make it look larger. Glass doors for tubs and showers are perfect if your purpose is to open up the room, and the pedestal sinks are ideal since they occupy lesser space when compared to cabinets.  All cabinets and tower cabinets above the toilets, as well as towel racks are perfect for those who need storage, but who don’t have much space to work with.
Learning which items to spend your money on goes hand-in-hand with making a realistic budget and determining a sensible scope of work. The earlier you can make this determination, the more likely you will stay on track with costs. Think about which items you will use most frequently, as these are products that might be worth the higher price-tag. If you're on a tight budget, you might want to save on cosmetic finishings, as these items can be easily changed with time.
For those who are thinking of putting their home up for sale five years from now, then it’s important to ensure that the value of your property would increase over time, consider having your home renovated for that purpose. On the other hand, if you’re planning to live in your home for a couple of years, it’s very important to ensure that the design of your bathroom is something you would really love and fit with your style and preferences.

Whether your budget is big or small, the cost of a home renovation can quickly get out of control! I’ve gone through two budget-friendly kitchen renovations in the past three years, so I wanted to share some tips that can help you achieve and manage a renovation that works for your home and budget. Check out our first shoestring-budget renovation we did at our old home, and then see what we did in our newer home with a bit more money.
Traditionally, the bathroom is comprised of a variety of key components, such as the toilet, sink, shower, and tub. In other words, the bathroom is one of the easiest places in your home to break down into bits and pieces. This makes for an ideal DIY opportunity – you can tackle the projects you’re most comfortable with, which ultimately cuts down on your bathroom remodel cost, and then you can leave the other parts to a professional.
The size of your home dramatically affects the value, but square footage isn't the only space that counts. Visual space or how large a home feels also counts. The key is to make each room in your house feel larger. Replace heavy closed draperies with vertical blinds or shutters to let light in — a sunny room feels larger and more open. Also, try adding a single large mirror to a room to visually double the space. Finally, clear the clutter. The more clutter, furniture and plain old stuff you have in a room, the more cramped it will feel. For less than $400, add an attractive shelving unit to an underused space and store your clutter out of sight.
This might not save you money up front, but it certainly will in the long run! If you know you’ll be happy with patterned tiles covering most of your open-concept kitchen, then feel free to take that plunge. But removing tile, repairing walls, and replacing tile can be a big project, so if you’re not sure you can live with something so bold and permanent, make a safer choice you’ll be happy with for years to come. Obviously we’re seeing a lot of subway tile in kitchens these days, but to be fair, it’s a classic material that will age well, and it also provides a nice neutral backdrop for other easily changed trendy items like a candy colored stand mixer, pink painted walls, or a basket-style pendant light.

I’m planning a pretty huge renovation project that goes completely against your #11. We have a laundry room adjacent to a sauna (that’s not been used for about 30 years other than for storage haha) adjencent to a smallish bathroom. The plan is to tear down the sauna and then swap so that the bathroom becomes the laundry room and the sauna/laundry becomes the new, bigger bathroom (I originaly just wanted to tear down the wall between the sauna and bathroom, but it’s a load bearing wall so no can do). Where do you even begin to figure out a budget for a project like that?
Home renovations have been some of the most exciting, but also most trying times in my life. My biggest advice is to just know yourself and what you’re cut out for, and don’t get in over your head, budget-wise. No beautiful home is worth the anxiety that comes along with consumer debt! If you have the extra money, it’s worth saving yourself the stress and hiring out the work, as long as you found someone good and trustworthy—otherwise it may equal even more stress! Sometimes homebuilding also equates to character building, and I’m talking about personal growth here, not investment growth. But the two aren’t mutually exclusive.

Thanks for talking about the small details like air circulation in bathrooms. I never knew that you have to plan things like the mirrors around circulation, but now that I know that, I definitely want to get a professional remodeling contractor to do it for us. They would know what to look for and be able to do it well, so I’ll just leave it up to them! The air circulation in our bathroom right now is not very good, so that’s something I’d like to fix in our remodel.

If you have a larger budget and can afford to hire a carpenter to make custom-built shelves for your library, that’s amazing, and I 100% wish I could do that. But for those of us who are trying to stretch our dollars, there’s IKEA! I’ve used IKEA pieces as the base for my projects many times, from my cabinet workspace solution to my kiddos’ toy storage, and soon in the study at my new house.

Replacing the cracked concrete surfaces around your home can cost a small fortune. But for a fraction of that cost, concrete can be resurfaced in a multitude of colors and finishes. Consider adding a cobblestone finish to your driveway, a brick look to an old walkway or a slate finish around the pool or patio. Whichever texture you choose, it will be a huge improvement over standard concrete and potential homebuyers will really take notice.
Inspect prior work. When you talk to potential contractors, ask them for examples of work they have done that is similar to what you want. Find out if it is possible to contact previous clients and to inspect the work that was done for them. You will also want to ask the client if the project was finished on time, if they were satisfied with the work, and if there were any unexpected costs added during the project.

It might sound simple, but paying for your project with money you already have will save you a significant amount of money you’d end up paying in interest if you take out a loan or put things on a credit card that you can’t immediately pay off. If you’re renovating in order to sell your home, it might make sense financially to take out a loan when you know there will be a return on your investment and the loan will be paid off quickly. But in general, paying in cash is the best way. If you can’t afford it now, begin thinking about ways you can trim your household budget to save money for your project.


We used a hole saw to cut into the drywall between every stud, which should be placed every 16″ on center, but you should check with a stud finer first. You can rent blowers at hardware rental places, and then we bought some curved PVC pipe pieces to connect the blower to the holes we drilled. Then we dumped the shredded insulation we had bought into the blower and just blew it in! Pretty simple. The trickiest part was just patching all the drywall, but I’m sure you can find some drywall patching tutorials on YouTube. 🙂
Try to use all the space of your bathroom as much as possible, if your bathroom is on the smaller side, then you have to unleash your creativity in order to design the space and make it look larger. Glass doors for tubs and showers are perfect if your purpose is to open up the room, and the pedestal sinks are ideal since they occupy lesser space when compared to cabinets.  All cabinets and tower cabinets above the toilets, as well as towel racks are perfect for those who need storage, but who don’t have much space to work with.
Realtors agree that top on most homeownes' list of wants is ample storage space. For less than $5,000, consider upgrading your home's storage by adding custom shelving systems to a closet or garage. The first step to really getting organized is de-cluttering. Start by sorting your belongings, then stash them away in your new organized closet or garage to really maximize your home's value.
As a licensed general contractor, I highly recommend doing more than asking friends for referrals (although, that is a good place to start collecting names.) After getting several recommendations, it’s impertinent to ask a series of questions that will weed out the good from the bad contractors. You can see that list of questions in my article about how to hire great contractors here: https://www.prettyhandygirl.com/how-to-hire-great-contractors-questions-you-need-to-ask/
Invite a realtor or interior designer over to check out your home. Many realtors will do this as a courtesy, but you will probably have to pay a consultation fee to a designer. Check with several designers in your area; a standard hourly fee is normally less than $100, and in an hour they can give you lots of ideas for needed improvements. Even small suggested improvements, such as paint colors or furniture placement, can go a long way toward improving the look and feel of your home.
I love your tip to talk to everyone that will be regularly using the bathroom space for ideas on what you want the remodel to look like. It would be important to make sure everyone will be happy with the remodel and that it will fulfill everyone’s needs! I’m planning on remodeling my guest bathroom, but I’ll make sure to talk to all my roommates before I call a remodeling company. Thanks!
I really appreciate your awesome 7 must-know bathroom remodeling tips! At the moment, I am helping my sister in renovating their bathroom. I am gathering more ideas on how could I help her and I definitely agree that considering the use of a heated floor, maximizing the space and choosing an appropriate, yet durable flooring will make it done perfectly!

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Not a fan of your ceiling lights? By all means, replace them if you have room in your budget. But don’t just throw away the old fixtures. If you need the money, try selling all of your old fixtures on buy/sell/trade sites like Craigslist, OfferUp, or Facebook Marketplace. Old kitchen cabinets, appliances, doors, hardware, and lots of other materials might be of interest to someone else out there scavenging for materials, but if nobody wants your junk, you can sell metal items to scrapyards in exchange for cash. If you don’t need the money, definitely take care when removing old fixtures so you can donate them to your local Habitat for Humanity ReStore.
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