Whether you’re thinking of selling your house this year—or just like the idea of a return on your investment (who doesn’t?)—certain ROI home improvements can not only make your house look better, but also increase its market value. “The value of making a home improvement varies significantly by two dimensions: your current home value and your location,” says Beatrice de Jong, broker and consumer trends expert at Opendoor, whose home improvement calculator can help you determine which renovation and remodeling projects might have the biggest impact on your house’s value. “Understanding how much a project could potentially add to resale value is the first step in determining whether or not the investment will pay off,” she adds. Read on for a few DIY projects that have proven their worth.
Make a good first impression
“Your entryway or foyer can be an incredibly important place when it comes to the value of your home, as it sets the entire tone for the rest of the space,” says Toronto-based interior designer Ali Budd. “Invest in beautiful tile and gorgeous lighting. Make sure the closets are done perfectly with a combination of hanging shelves and drawers. Typically, doors throughout the house should be consistent, with the exception of the foyer. Take this moment to do something special, like paneled wood, applied molding, and gorgeous hardware.”
Spruce up your outdoor space
According to de Jong, buyers can attach anywhere from roughly 5% to 12% more value to a home with a well-maintained landscape. The space doesn’t have to be large, but it does have to be well thought-out. Budd suggests incorporating four main elements: a place to eat, a place to lounge, lighting, and greenery for both beauty and privacy. “Mature trees can be hard to come by and are expensive, but even simple latticework with greenery intertwined can offer a lot of privacy between houses and add a big green punch,” she says. If you’ve got the budget, Budd also recommends installing ground lighting. “And, if your budget doesn’t permit it,” she says, “don’t underestimate the impact of some pretty string lights.” In the front, de Jong says, consider installing window boxes, “and don’t forget about your front door,” she says. “Make sure it has a fresh coat of paint and maybe even a seasonal wreath.”
Create more storage
“That sense of calm that comes with knowing there’s a place for everything is unmatched,” Budd says. “The biggest non-aesthetic question our clients ask is, will I have enough storage?” In living areas, freestanding cabinets with drawers allow for fast cleanup, especially for families with small children. In the kitchen, tall full-depth cupboards with pull-out shelves make for great pantries, as well as storage for dishes and small appliances. “They can also make your kitchen feel double the size,” Budd says. One caveat, she notes: “Open shelving is display—not storage.”
Give it a fresh coat of paint
A freshly painted room will look bright and refreshed—and is fairly easy to do on your own. “Paint changes everything!” says Portland, Maine–based interior designer Heidi LaChapelle. “Whether it’s picking the right shade of white or just reapplying what was there before, paint cleans everything up instantly.” For an easy, modern approach, she suggests painting the ceiling, trim, and walls all the same color and sheen. “With time and patience, even novices can make a fresh paint job look professional,” de Jong says. “You don’t need a ton of equipment, and there are tons of online tutorials that go into great detail. Light neutral colors have the widest appeal, and add significant value to a home.” Opt for higher-quality paint if you can, as low-quality paint chips more easily and will require more coats—and don’t skip the primer!