9 DIY Home Improvement Projects That Are (Literally) Worth Every Penny

Time Several Hours

Budget $ $$$

Skill Level

WORDS BY Kelsey Clark

Fill 1Created with Sketch.

Published on March 1, 2022

From at-home artisan pottery to an upholstered headboard, we love a DIY design project that’s purely fun, creative, and a touch therapeutic. But there’s also something to be said for home improvement projects with a purpose, particularly if you see a ‘for sale’ sign in your front yard in the next year or so.

Plus, just because there’s somewhat of an end goal in mind doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself along the way. Take it from Havenly lead designer Heather Goerzen — the creative behind this cost-effective kitchen makeover and longtime proponent of DIY home improvement projects.

Ahead, Heather shares the eight additional home improvement projects that are (quite literally) worth the time and money, from bathroom refreshes to front door upgrades.

1. Mini kitchen makeover

Home Improvement Projects

Kitchens are notoriously costly to update, so it’s no surprise that tackling a kitchen reno (or even a mini makeover) will pay off down the line. Per a recent HomeAdvisor study, the average kitchen remodel cost in 2021 was $25,656, with most homeowners spending between $13,486 and $38,101. Fortunately, real estate agents insist that you’ll recoup this value when you go to sell. 

But, what if we told you could dramatically change the aesthetic of your kitchen without breaking the bank? Rather than gut-renovating your cookspace, paint the cabinets, swap out hardware, upgrade the lighting, maybe refurbish the backsplash with this easy hack, and voila! You’ve given your kitchen a glow-up on a DIY budget. Want proof? Check out this dreamy kitchen DIY reno for under $300.

2. Bathroom refresh

Home Improvement Projects

In that same vein, a small bathroom refresh can also pay dividends down the line. While a luxury, spa-like bathroom is definitely important in our post-pandemic real estate market, you can easily give your half or full bath a second lease on life with minor updates. Some new tile, a fresh coat of paint, new vanity lighting, and a mirror upgrade can go a long way. Go for something timeless over trendy to ensure relevance for the next five to ten years.

3. Lighting glow-up

Home Improvement Projects

We’ve basically written a book on this topic over the years, but we’ll say it again: lighting is incredibly important when it comes to creating a cozy, welcoming atmosphere. It can also make a space feel more finished, elevated, and luxe, particularly if you’re down to invest in a fancy pendant or two. Swap out those dated boob lights and track systems for more current features. 

4. Fresh coat of neutral paint

Home Improvement Projects

If we learned anything from the recent Sex and the City reboot, it’s to never do business with friends (we missed you Samantha) and stick to neutrals when trying to sell your home (thank you, Seema). Check out our top 10 neutrals post for our full designer-approved list, and if you can’t skip out on color entirely, Zillow recommends going blue (specifically dark blue bedrooms and light blue bathrooms). 

5. Front door upgrade

Home Improvement Projects

If you’re actively looking to sell your home and want to make a good impression on prospective buyers, don’t sleep on curb appeal. Per the New York Times, a refreshed front door — particularly in slate black paired with modern sconces — can actually raise your home’s value.

6. Patio project

Home Improvement Projects

An outdoor oasis has always been a nice add-on, but thanks to the pandemic and a renewed interest in at-home entertaining, it’s now a hot commodity. So go ahead — take a stab at DIY landscaping, add a fire pit, or try your hand at brick pavers — it will increase your home’s value. Again, it doesn’t have to cost a fortune to be a real head-turner (see how our designers personal home patio hacks on a budget). 

7. New window treatments

Home Improvement Projects

If your blinds are dated, dusty, and falling apart, consider upgrading them for something fresh, quality, and timeless. While this can get somewhat costly depending on your chosen style and number and size of windows (custom blinds are more expensive), Forbes confirms that they’re a worthwhile investment.

8. Thoughtful storage

Home Improvement Projects

One of the most common pain points for homeowners? A lack of storage. Whether it’s a full California Closets-style upgrade or some clever cabinet and kitchen drawer hacks courtesy of IKEA, showcasing creative storage solutions can go a long way. Even if you lack closet space, your chosen decor can show that there’s more than enough room for extra coats, bathroom accessories, panty essentials, and more. 

9. Finished home office

Home Improvement Projects

Seeing as WFH life doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, creating a dedicated office space is a perk for both you and prospective home buyers. Whether turning a spare room into a home office, or carving out a little nook, showcasing there is a distinct space to support remote working is a smart move. 

Want expert advice on your actual home, straight from an interior designer? Let’s start your project. In the meantime, follow along on Instagram for even more fun home ideas. 

Words by Kelsey Clark