Change is a good thing, but — when it comes to home renovations — it can be challenging to know where to focus your efforts (and your reno budget). For a reno to have maximum impact, there’s a fine balance between projects that offer the highest possible return on investment with those that will help you fall that much more in love with living in your home. If you’re weighing your options when it comes to home updates, we’re keeping our money on these 12 big impact renos.
Refresh Your Kitchen Cabinets
If you’ve checked out any of the best home renovation websites, you already know that updating your kitchen is one of the most common (and biggest impact) ways to transform your home. But that doesn’t mean that you have to totally gut your cooking space to make it feel new. Updating your kitchen cabinets, as Samantha Pynn and Sebastian Clovis did with this Save My Reno refresh, is a lower-cost way to hugely refresh the space. Swapping out your cabinet hardware is an even simpler project that you can DIY. But you can also try refinishing your cabinets with paint for a more dramatic difference (tip: read Bryan Baeumler’s step-by-step guide first).
Build a Better-Than-Before Backsplash
Because it tends to take up a lot of visual real estate in the kitchen, your backsplash is another high-impact area that can give you a lot of bang for your buck with a home renovation. Especially when paired with neutral cabinetry, a backsplash is a great place to add style and personality – as this charming patterned tile backsplash shows in this Vancouver heritage home’s kitchen. Whether you want to try a DIY update or you want to have something more luxe installed, we’ve rounded up some seriously splashy ideas to spark inspiration.
Try (Kitchen) Island Living
If you’re looking to invest a bit more in a home renovation, an entirely new kitchen is a smart home renovation for the best return on investment. A quality kitchen reno can bring as much as a 75-to-100 per cent return on investment. If you’re creating a new kitchen, adding a functional kitchen island (as Jonathan and Drew Scott did with this Property Brothers: Forever Home kitchen) is a great example of a good investment that can also bring more style and livability to your home.
Go for a Fresh Coat
Painting your home’s interior is the ultimate triple threat when it comes to home renovations: It’s cost-effective, it can dramatically change the look of a room, and it delivers one of the best returns on investment. As Scott McGillivray and Debra Salmoni beautifully showed with the soft blue walls for this Scott’s Vacation House Rules reno, a fresh coat can make a major difference.
Expand Your Bathroom
There’s a reason why people say “kitchens and bathrooms sell houses.” These functional rooms can make your home feel outdated in a hurry, while updated kitchens and bathrooms can make a house look luxe (which means major ROI). With that in mind, expanding your bathroom – as the Save My Reno team did here by taking closet space to make room for a double vanity and glass shower – is a home renovation win-win.
Heat the Bathroom Floors
Updating your bathroom flooring is a great way to make a big-impact style statement, and it’s also an opportunity to add spa-like comfort and energy-efficient value with heated floors. Check out the heated concrete floors in this eco-conscious Montreal home’s bathroom. Because bathrooms tend to be smaller spaces, installing underfloor heating is a relatively cost-effective home renovation (particularly if you’re already tearing up and replacing old tile). It’s a little luxury that will bring a lot of comfort on chilly mornings.
Fix Up Your Flooring
If your flooring is damaged or severely out of date, installing new floors can become a bit of an investment. However, it’s likely a wise one, with new flooring offering a potential return on investment of between 100 and 150 per cent. Case in point? The beautiful new floors Dave and Kortney Wilson used in this Family Home Overhaul living room. Not sure which type of flooring to choose for your home renovation budget? We break down the common renovation costs of different flooring options for you here.
Wall-Mount Your Bedroom Lights
There’s not much you can do to increase the square footage in a compact bedroom (unless you’re ready to tear down some walls). But there are a few tricks you can use to make a small bedroom look bigger: E.g. Swapping your bedside lamps for wall-mounted sconces. You can opt for corded plug-in models (as seen here with this modern-boho bedroom), or have an electrician install sconces.
Prioritize Privacy Outside
Home renovations don’t need to be limited to what’s inside your walls. Updating outdoor spaces can make a huge difference in the overall livability of your home (especially during sunny seasons). Even if you love your neighbours, adding a stylish and privacy-enhancing fence (like the modern engineered fencing that Brian McCourt and Sarah Keenleyside used for this Backyard Builds space) is a smart investment. With more privacy, you’re more likely to enjoy your outdoor oasis. Here are more ways to add privacy to your patio, backyard or other outdoor space.
Replace Old Windows
When it comes to home renovations, replacing old windows might not sound super high-impact, but it’s actually a project that delivers huge visual transformation and plenty of livability benefits. From windows that are drafty or damaged to low-insulation single-pane windows, older windows can slowly cost you a lot with your energy bills. If you replace your home’s windows with more energy efficient models (like the Scott’s Vacation House Rules team did here), you’ll get more than just a clear view and fresh look – you can also save money on energy costs, reduce your carbon footprint and get better sound insulation.
Finish the Basement
If you own an unfinished basement, you’re basically letting livable space collect dust. While a basement renovation is typically a larger expenditure of time and budget (especially if you have to lower the basement), it can also be a great investment by giving you more useable square footage for anything from a rec room, to a home gym or even a guest suite for friends and family (like the Save My Reno basement shown here).
Create a Dedicated Space
After spending more time at home recently, many of us have learned the value of making the underused areas in our homes into functional (or multi-functional) spaces that let us do what we love. Whether it’s turning a nook under the stairs into a home office, organizing the garage to do double-time as a gym or turning a spare room into a colourful craft room (as Rock Solid Builds‘ Randy Spracklin did for his family here), a customized reno that makes it more comfortable or convenient to follow your passion can totally transform your home.