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12 Easy Ways to Increase Home Value: Your Room-By-Room Project Guide

At HomeLight, our vision is a world where every real estate transaction is simple, certain, and satisfying. Therefore, we promote strict editorial integrity in each of our posts.

If the idea of being knee-deep in demolition dust for weeks doesn’t excite you, there’s good news: smaller projects around the house can yield better returns at resale.

The trick is knowing those easy ways to increase home value that require little of your time, effort, and money. Luckily, we’ve done the legwork to provide you with a list of the best easy DIY and hire-out projects to add value to every room of the house.

Upgrading Your Home? First, See How Much It's Worth

It’s helpful to have an idea of how much your home is worth before embarking on a project. Enter your address and answer a few questions about your home, and we’ll provide a preliminary estimate in under two minutes.

We analyzed the results of existing home improvement studies paired with HomeLight’s Top Agent Insights Reports to select projects that attract buyers and recoup your investment. Each project includes estimated cost and time, tutorial links, and product suggestions.

We’ll also discuss whether the project has a high return on investment, will increase marketability, or both so you know precisely how your effort will pay off.

Easy ways to add value to the entire house

“A deep clean is one of the easiest things overlooked and one of the cheapest, most dollar-effective things,” says Simon Guy, a top-selling agent in Visalia, California, with 16 years of experience.

“It’s amazing how much better a home shows clean and decluttered than messy and cluttered,” he says.

1. DIY project: Deep clean and declutter

Put some gloves on and clean, knowing you’re paying yourself more hourly than your day job would. Follow our exhaustive deep house cleaning checklist to make sure you cover all the bases.

Give what you can to charities such as Goodwill and Salvation Army by scheduling a free donation pick-up service. If you anticipate many throwaways, you can hire a dumpster for around $300 to $500 weekly (most companies won’t offer day rates).

Alternatively, you can hire a junk removal company to collect and haul away trash in a 2-hour appointment window. They’ll do any heavy lifting for you and charge $50 to $150 for small pickups and $250 to $500 for large jobs. Consider your needs, estimate the quantity of waste, and get quotes to judge which option is best for you.

Once you’ve cleaned and decluttered, rent a carpet cleaner to remove stains and buildup on the floors; you can rent one all day for $30 from Home Depot or Lowes. Not all carpets can be revived with a clean, though — we’ll get into this in the following recommended professional project for your living room.

Estimated cost: $200

Estimated time to complete: 2-3 days

Value add: Marketability and 935% ROI

2. Professional project: Clean the windows

When your end of the cleaning is done, bring in a professional window cleaner to boost your curb appeal. A professional will charge $2 to $7 per pane, usually charging the same rate for tough-to-reach second-story windows.

Estimated cost: $150 – $350

Estimated time to complete: 2-3 hours

Value add: Marketability

Easy ways to add value to the living room

From entertaining to binge-watching Netflix, the living room is the place where families and friends gather. It’s also one of the easiest rooms to transform with just a couple of coats of fresh paint and the addition of new floors. Guy emphasizes the importance of making these changes before you list, warning:

“When the buyer sees carpet that needs to be changed or flooring that needs to be changed, they’re going to approach it saying, ‘Cool, how can I get this for a fixer-upper price, instead of for the full market value price.’”

3. DIY project: Give the walls a fresh coat of paint

Painting your walls is an easy way to refresh the living room. Paint the walls a light beige or gray shade to give the space a neutral, contemporary finish.

With a spot-on name, Agreeable Gray by Sherwin-Williams is the no. 1 paint color recommended by top agents.

If your home is more suited to a brown color scheme, Guy recommends beige, which never seems out of style. Accessible Beige by Sherwin-Williams is our highest-ranking beige paint. Watch this how-to video for guidance, and take your time to get the job done right, especially when applying masking tape for clean edges.

Estimated cost: $350 – $850

Estimated time to complete: 1-2 days

Value add: Marketability

4. Professional project: Replace the floors

Regarding flooring options, there’s no clear winner between carpet, hardwood, and wood finish laminate, with the ROI of each varying from source to source. Hardwood is traditionally king in marketability, which can help a home sell faster by 2.4 days.

On the other hand, carpet and laminate are the more accessible options since they cost less and can be installed by professionals in less than a day compared to the whole day or two it takes to install hardwood.

Evaluate the pros and cons of each option and ask your agent which material will play best in your local market.

When selecting a color, choose a neutral shade dark enough to hide dirt—buyers love low-maintenance homes. You can visualize the final design before you commit with Karndean Designflooring’s Floorstyle app, which lets you superimpose flooring over your living room.

Estimated cost for 300 square feet: Laminate: $1,100 – $1,300;  Carpet: $1,300- $1,800; Hardwood: $2,700 – $3,800 $3,800

Estimated time to complete: 1-2 days

Value Add: Marketability and 51% ROI

Easy ways to add value to the kitchen

Kitchen remodels notoriously add value to a house but surprisingly max out when it comes to return on investment.

To demonstrate, a minor kitchen remodel will, on average, yield an 85.7% return compared to the mere 41.8% return on a significant kitchen remodel. With this in mind, focus on smaller-cost upgrades for your best value return.

5. DIY project: Paint your cabinets

Refacing cabinets with fresh white paint and new fixtures is one of the easiest, most effective projects to add value to your kitchen. Follow a DIY blog for a detailed supply list and instructions on the painting process.

Once painted, select new hardware for the final touch; simple chrome hardware is a clean look for contemporary homes, otherwise, add semi-gloss black knobs for a classic contrast.

Estimated cost: $200 – $600

Estimated time to complete: 2-3 days

Value add: Up to 85.7% ROI

6. Professional project: Install new countertops

To finish the facelift, bring in a professional to install granite countertops. Brown, black, or gray shades go with the widest array of kitchen styles so they are a safe bet.

Granite costs between $40 to $100 per square foot plus installation costs, with the national average of $3,250. While this is one of the more expensive projects, it is also one of the most effective ways to add value to your home with a high return on investment.

Estimated cost: $2,250 – $4,500

Estimated time to complete: 1-2 days

Value add: Marketability (buyers still love granite counters!)

Easy ways to add value to the bathroom

The small size of bathrooms lend themselves well to easy DIY revamps that require little labor. You only need some styling inspiration, online shopping, and an afternoon to put it all together.

7. DIY project: Cosmetic makeover

Bring bathroom design up to date with these easy steps:

Estimated cost: $200 – $300

Estimated time to complete: 1 day

Value add: Marketability

8. Professional project: Install a beautiful vanity light

Hire a professional to install a vanity light above the mirror to provide ample light in little install time (match the finish to the new hardware). An electrician can install this in one to two hours, charging an average of $88-$222.

Guy advises that good lighting is huge for marketability, and flattering lighting is especially important for bathrooms where buyers will imagine getting ready every morning.

Estimated cost: $88 – $222

Estimated time to complete: 1-2 hours

Value add: Marketability

Ways to add value to the garage

Unlock the hidden potential of this utilitarian space with easy upgrades buyers will love. It may come as a surprise, but replacing your garage door is one of the best home improvements you can make regarding return on investment, recouping 102.7% of the costs.

9. DIY project: Paint the floor

Painting your garage floor is a quick way to transform the room from drab to fab. The reflective surface will bounce light, making the garage appear brighter and more spacious. A good finish will also protect against oil and fluid stains from your car.

Comparing the range of products available, your best bet is epoxy or a stronger-than-epoxy alternative, as they are the most durable. Opt for neutral colors for mass appeal or faux metallic stone for a sleek finish.

The prices of these options vary, but most will take the better part of a day to apply. Follow a step-by-step guide and be sure to buy more kits than you need; the last thing you want is to bolt to the store for more supplies while in the “DIY zone.” You can always return extra kits after completion.

Estimated cost: $250

Estimated time to complete: 3 hours

Value add: Marketability

10. Professional project: Replace the garage door

When replacing your garage door, choose a model that will increase curb appeal and efficiency. Match the design and color to that of your home’s front door, windows, and trimmings for a custom look. Material-wise, shop steel models guarantee solid insulation, lowering energy bills and boosting comfort.

The best part about this upgrade is it’s easy, with little invasion of your space. A professional can knock out the job in 4 to 6 hours. Expect to invest between $1,400 and $3,000 between the door cost and labor.

You can quickly estimate the average installation cost for your zip code using Home Advisor’s Garage Door Cost Calculator.

Estimated cost: $1,400 – $3,000

Estimated time to complete: 4-6 hours

Value add: 97.5% ROI

Easy ways to add value to the outdoors

The outside of your home is as critical as the inside to attract buyers. Make a great first impression with a new entry door in the front and seal the deal with an outdoor entertaining space in the back.

11. DIY project: stage an outdoor entertaining area

Outdoor living areas are ranked high on consumers’ want list, yet conversely yield poor ROI. So instead of splurging on high ticket upgrades, get creative and fashion an entertaining space DIY style. Here’s a step-by-step for easy staging:

Estimated cost: $1,200

Estimated time to complete: 5 hours

Value add: Marketability (plus our survey found that staging can add 1%-5% in value to a home at resale)

12. Professional project: Install a new front door

Up your home’s curb appeal with a new steel front door like this best-selling JELD-WEN craftsman door. A quality door is an easy way to add value and marketability to your home, recouping 100.9% ROI.

Functionality-wise, new doors are better insulated and sealed, making them more energy efficient. This upgrade will set you back $100 to $1000 for a standard steel door, increasing to $150 to $5,000 for a design including fiberglass windows. If you purchase from Home Depot, they offer installation for just $368. Otherwise, you can easily find an installer using a site like Angie’s list.

Estimated cost: $400 – $1,000

Estimated time to complete: 5 hours

Value add: 100.9% ROI

Adding value made easy

Adding value to your home doesn’t need to be difficult. All it takes is a bit of research, some elbow grease, and, of course, a touch of professional advice.

Connect with a Top Agent

We’ve crunched the numbers on local housing market data to connect clients with top-performing agents in their area, who statistically sell homes faster and for more money than average agents.

“It’s really challenging for a lot of sellers to step back and take their bias out of the equation,” Guy tells us.

Bring on a top local real estate agent who can offer objectivity and experience to the remodeling process so you can get the absolute most out of your investment.

Header Image Source: (Josh Hemsley/ Unsplash)