Save Versus Splurge: Home Trends to Keep or Skip

These expert tips explain which home features you can do without and which most homeowners are willing to pay a little more to enjoy.

Everything In This Slideshow

  • Save

    Crown Molding

    Crown molding material and installation can be costly. Instead go with less expensive wainscoting or chair rail. If you just can't live without crown molding, consider installing it yourself to save money.

  • Splurge

    Ceilings

    If you're building a new home or adding on, consider a 10-foot or higher ceiling. It opens up a room, which is especially important in small spaces.

  • Save

    Tile

    Use ceramic tile in bathrooms, kitchens, and around fireplaces. Ceramic tile is cheap, widely available, and comes in a variety of colors.

  • Splurge

    Heated Bathroom Floors

    No one likes the shock of a cold bathroom floor in the morning, so many homeowners are willing to spend the extra cash on heated bathroom floors. Radiant heating systems warm a room via hot water or electrical wires installed beneath a finished floor. Ceramic tile, concrete, and wood floors are ideal surfaces for radiant heating.

  • Save

    Light Fixtures

    Choose eye-catching fixtures to light one or two main areas, but opt for basic fixtures, such as caninister or track lights, elsewhere.

  • Splurge

    Christmas Lighting

    Rather than having to strategize your outlet and cord placement each holiday, homeowners are having their homes permanently wired for Christmas lights.

  • Save

    Cabinetry

    Many cabinets come standard with built-in features, so select midrange cabinetry instead of top-of-the-line.

  • Splurge

    Pot-Fillers

    Take an idea from professional kitchens and install a pot-filler faucet in the kitchen. A pot-filler mounted on the backsplash makes filling a big pot an easy job.

  • Save

    Carpet

    Lay nice carpet rather than a more expensive alternative material. Your feet will love the soft surface and your wallet will love the price.

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    Splurge

    Media Room

    Whether it's for family movie nights or slumber parties, media rooms serve many purposes in a home. Keep all your movies, music, and books organized with built-in cabinetry.

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    Save

    Paint

    Color is the cheapest way to revamp a space. Add interest to the exterior or interior with color choice, color combination, and painting techniques.

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    Splurge

    Home Security

    Protect all the items in your home with a home security system. Electric alarm systems often include a master control panel, at least one keypad for arming and disarming the system, a selection of sensors at the doors and windows, motion detectors throughout the home, and a warning siren or light.

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    Save

    Freestanding Pieces

    Rather than spending the time or money on built-in shelving, use freestanding pieces to add storage space and interest to a room.

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    Splurge

    Towel Warmer

    Turn your bathroom into a personal spa with a towel warmer. Similar to the added comfort of heated floors, heated towels make the bathing experience cozier.

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    Save

    Change Hardware

    Changing hardware is a quick and easy way to update. New house numbers, a new door knob, and a fancy door knocker can give your front door a new look for less.

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    Splurge

    Three- or four-car garage

    Even if you don't have three or four vehicles, additional space in the garage will give you additional storage or hobby space.

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    Save

    Reline a Tub

    Give your bathroom an update for less by relining your bathtub. Relining cuts out costs associated with removing an old bathtub, tiling, and plumbing.

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    Splurge

    Walk-in Shower

    Universal design may cost more upfront, but the payback comes with the length of time homeowners are able to enjoy their homes. A walk-in shower is a great universal design element because it prevents homeowners from having to climb in and out of a tub surround as they get older.

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    Save

    Buy Local

    Getting material from a nearby source is often easier on the budget. It's also environmentally friendly. Stones from a local quarry create a visually interesting fireplace surround.

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    Splurge

    Wine Cellar

    Wine is a big investment, so protect your purchases with a climate-controlled wine cellar. Basements or butler's pantries are good places to convert into a private wine cellar.

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