Where Should I Splurge and Where Should I Save in a Home Remodel?

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Regardless of your budget, remodeling is definitely a balancing act. Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen, bathroom, or other area of your home, you’ll face a ton of options—and will have to make tradeoffs. You want to make all your choices really count, not just for your lifestyle, but also because these choices will likely affect the resale value of your home. No pressure, right? Don’t worry, here’s what you should keep in mind for just about any remodeling project.

Very few, if any, remodeling projects will return 100% of your investment, so the decision to remodel should be more about your enjoyment of your home and getting more out of it. For any space, think about your family’s lifestyle, and spend more on the areas that support those priorities. For example:

  • Kitchen: If you’re a gourmet cook, a professional range would likely be worth the investment to you. For busy families, a large kitchen island/breakfast nook might be more important.1
  • Bathrooms: In a high-traffic powder room, a high-quality low-flow toilet might be most important, whereas in the master bath you might focus more on a double sink vanity.
  • Other spaces: Sound, lighting, and Ethernet wiring might be more important in an entertainment-focused den—or if the space is used more for relaxing or hobbies you might make other decisions (a skylight, maybe, or more built-in storage).
  • Appliances: When it comes to appliances, you should likewise think practically. Spend more on those appliances and their features that you’ll use more often and get the most savings from upgrading. It doesn’t pay (in terms of energy savings) to replace a dryer, but other old appliances might be worth it, depending on how old they are. Bankrate has a great article on features to spend extra for when buying appliances (for example, choose the steamer function on a dryer to reduce wrinkles; skimp on the electronic features).

Remember to keep in mind how long you’ll likely live in your home and enjoy these upgrades, though, to make sure they’re worth it.

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