High-Impact Remodeling Projects

Get the most out of your remodeling efforts by focusing on projects that make a statement and pay off when it comes time to sell your home.


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Home Exterior
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Get Your Money's Worth

    Don't move -- improve what you already have! We've compiled a list of projects, ranging in price from $500 to $10,000, that are sure to impress your guests, pad your pocketbook, and improve your personal comfort.

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Redo a Powder Room

    $500 or Less

    The powder room is probably one of the smallest rooms in your house, but it's also one that guests visit often. Cover the walls with fabric, paint, or a textured wallcovering. Add even more flair by changing out the fixtures, or turn a piece of furniture into the vanity.

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Spice Up a Surround

    $500 or Less

    Fireplaces are natural gathering areas even when a fire isn't lit. Turn yours into a crowd-pleasing focal point with a decorative surround and/or an updated mantel and attractive accessories.

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Refresh the Kitchen

    $500 or Less

    The kitchen is the center of family life. Give your kitchen a stylish, functional, and affordable new look the whole family will love! Replace dated countertops with a stone-substitute laminate. Create drama by hanging new fixtures and undercabinet lighting. Dress up cabinets with a fresh coat of paint and fashionable knobs or pulls. Add fun window treatments and colorful accessories to match.

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Make a Statement with Tile

    $1,000 or Less

    The shimmer, brilliance, and color of glass tile make it a dramatic and popular choice for the backsplash or countertop in the kitchen or bath. The bright colors and play of light explain the decorative advantage of glass tile, but recycled glass offers eco-friendly appeal as well.

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New Front Door

    $1,000 or Less

    Your front door is the one of the most visible parts of the house. A fairly easy and inexpensive door upgrade can make a huge difference in appearance, energy efficiency, and security. Door manufacturers now offer numerous styles to complement almost any home's architecture. Select from hardwood, composite steel, and fiberglass.

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Perk Up with Paint

    $1,000 or Less

    Adding color with paint is the quickest way to change the look of your home. How bold to go is up to you, and if you change your mind, it's easy to cover with another color. Limit your wall color choices to two or three related hues to unify your home's look from room to room. Painting trim the same color throughout your home helps tie everything together.

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Extreme Garage

    $1,000 to $5,000

    The market for garage organization and improvement products has grown as fast as garages themselves, with three-car structures becoming hot property in new homes. Complete garage systems include rolling cabinets, elaborate workbenches, even appliances. New epoxy paints for garage floors include urethane for durability. For a fancier look, buy roll-out floor mats made of resin composite or heavy vinyl.

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Smart Cooking

    $1,000 to $5,000

    Magnetic induction lets you cook with speed. Electricity creates a field of energy that produces virtually instant heat in the bottom of a steel or iron pot or pan, exactly where it's needed to cook food. There's no wasteful wait. In fact, cooking with magnetic induction is 90 percent efficient, compared with 65 percent for electric and 55 percent for gas.

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Solar Water Heater

    $1,000 to $5,000

    While solar-heating costs are still high for most whole-house applications, heating water with the sun has become practical. For $2,500 to $3,500, installed, an active, flat-plate solar collector system will produce 80 to 100 gallons of hot water per day. The payoff: Your water-heating bills will drop by 50 percent to 80 percent. Plus, you'll be shielded from future energy price increases.

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Take Cooking Outdoors

    $5,000 to $10,000

    Indoor and outdoor living spaces are blending, especially in the area between the kitchen and a covered patio or deck. An outdoor kitchen is a feature you can enjoy with a built-in grill set in a custom base and countertop; some stand-alone grills come with work surfaces and storage. Add lighting, a sink, and an outdoor table with chairs to complete the space.

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High-Efficiency HVAC

    $5,000 to $10,000

    Heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning easily represent the biggest portion of your home's utility expenses. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency strongly recommends that if your furnace or boiler is more than 15 years old, or your heat pump or air-conditioner is more than 12 years old, you should replace them with new energy-efficient equipment.

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Dress Up the Driveway

    $5,000 to $10,000

    Curb appeal begins at the curb, so it makes sense to create an attractive driveway. Adding color, texture, and pattern to poured concrete customizes the look and adds only a few dollars per square foot to the cost of a plain slab. Asphalt can also be stamped and colored to resemble brick, slate, or stone. Many homeowners are looking to these treatments for a decorative alternative to plain concrete or asphalt.

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