5 Home Improvement Projects That are Always Worth the Investment

Source: Thinkstock

Not sure if your home improvement project will pay off in the end? These five always do.

1. Upgrade from Carpet to Hardwood

Every room has a floor, but it is rare that every room has the best flooring possible. For homeowners with carpet in the majority of living areas, an upgrade to hardwood is nearly always a good investment in at least a few of these spaces. Hardwood adds value to your home, looks beautiful, and will be a selling point if you ever decide to move. Additionally, carpet rarely lasts for more than 10 or 15 years (and often declines in appearance well before that). Though a more expensive initial investment than carpet or laminate, hardwood flooring can last for decades.

2. Increase Energy Efficiency

The road to a more energy-efficient home can be costly, which is a definite turn-off for many folks. However, when you finally decide it’s time to take the leap, you’ll find that your home functions better, costs you less, makes less noise, and is an overall more comfortable place to be in. If your home wasn’t designed to be energy efficient, there are probably several areas where you could use an upgrade. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, replacing an existing 75 percent efficiency furnace with a new 95 percent efficiency model can easily save you $21.10 for every $100 of fuel you burn. Combine that with installing more efficient appliances and upgrading your air conditioning condenser, water heater, windows, and insulation, and the results can be remarkable.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

3. Enhance Storage Areas

For many homeowners, there are few things that can make as big of an impact as more storage space. Though adding more square footage can be very expensive—and stealing living space to create more storage is generally not a pleasant option—most homes don’t use the storage areas they already have to their fullest. Attics, basements, garages, and closets can often be reworked to provide far more storage space and even make finding the items you need easier.

4. Repair Your Walkway

As one of the first things that people will see when visiting your home, your front walkway can make a big impression. Unfortunately, many homes (particularly those in colder climates) have walkways that are far from attractive after spending years out in the elements. The average cost of repairing pathways is around $2,800, which makes this a quick and relatively inexpensive way to enhance looks and make your property safer.

5. Create a Place to Relax

If your home doesn’t have a place where you can unwind, you don’t know what you’re missing. This can mean a lot of things to a lot of different people, but spending money to improve the quality of your life is never a bad investment—no matter what form it takes. Whether it’s a new deck, home theater, hot tub, hammock, basement bar, or small putting green, having a place where you can truly get away from the hustle and bustle of the work day is something you’ll thank yourself for.

More From Life Cheat Sheet: