9 Home Renovations That Are Always Worth the Expense, According to Interior Designers

From bathroom upgrades to adding function to closets, these home renovations are always worth the spend.

The best home remodels satisfy at least one of three core needs: they make your space more welcoming and comfortable, they improve safety or efficiency, and they boost your home value.

"In general, updating areas of your home that feel tired with classic materials that stand the test of time can ultimately up your home's resale value," says interior designer Ariel Okin. "It also won't ever peg your renovation to a specific era." 

Curious which home renovations experts say are worth the time and effort? From the best bathroom upgrades to structural preservation ideas, interior designers share their insight ahead.

Bathroom renovation

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Give Your Front Entry a Makeover

Your front entry is typically the first area of your home people see, so it makes sense to wow them right from the get-go. It’s also the space that welcomes you and your family back home each and every day.     

"Breathing new life into the space can make it an oasis or a retreat upon entry," says Natalie Rebuck, principal designer at Re: Design Architects. “It can also pack a great deal of punch when visitors come."     

Some ideas for refreshing this space include installing a new door, which also gives you a chance to improve security and minimize drafts. Rebuck also recommends finding a gorgeous statement wallpaper, updating the light fixtures, and considering ways to hide clutter and improve function.     

"These little upgrades will bring cheer when entering the home, not to mention help with resale value, safety, and first impressions," Rebuck says.

Make Closets and Pantries More Functional

organized closet


What stays behind closed doors often remains "out of sight, out of mind," but that’s only the case until you open up said door. Pantries, hallway closets, bedroom closets, and even utility closets present a prime opportunity to improve function and value to your home.

"Closets can get overlooked in the bedroom renovation process, but they are essential to a functioning household," says interior designer Denise Kimani. "Give your old closets a makeover by installing a built-in organization system so that every article of clothing and accessory has a proper space."

For pantries, consider adding built-in shelving that maximizes storage and organization. The goal is to create a space that you look forward to utilizing.

Boost Your Curb Appeal

Curb appeal

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From a manicured lawn to a front porch that wows, the exterior of your home can make a huge impact on your home’s overall aesthetic and value. It’s also an opportunity to make a bold first impression with neighbors, visitors, and potential buyers down the road. 

"Think about updating the exterior color of your home as a worthwhile investment to modernize and enhance its value," says Beverley Kruskol, a Los Angeles-based contractor and owner of M.Y. Pacific Building, Inc. "Pricing depends on the size. However, this aesthetic change adds value for when you want to sell. You also could start small with making color changes to fascia or windows."

Also consider the landscaping itself. Trim any trees or shrubs, add new plants or bushes, and leverage functional items like walkways, well-maintained steps, and beautiful porch details.

Refresh an Outdated Bathroom

For an easy yet high-impact renovation that will make your home more appealing, Linda Allen of Linda Allen Designs recommends updating an outmoded bathroom. "Bathrooms add value because they're the first room you go to in the morning, and the last room you go to at night," she says.

If you don't have the budget for an entire bathroom overhaul, Brownhill says to focus on the areas that are subject to the most wear-and-tear. "For high-touch items, focus on materials that you'll love such as floor tile and fixtures," she says. "If you're looking for a way to save money, bathroom technology is here to stay but for now, can be limited or considered for a future time."

Modernize Your Kitchen

Modern, light kitchen with blue tile

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According to designer Allison Petty of Hyphen & Co., certain kitchen renovations can have a huge impact on the retail value of your home.

"Custom cabinetry really helps sell a house, especially if the drawer and cabinet inserts have been designed to assist in organization," she says. "Also, look to upgrade your appliances, as people will gravitate towards a kitchen with higher-end appliances (plus you'll get the benefit of using them)."

For a low-cost kitchen upgrade that will leave a lasting impression, Okin suggests updating your kitchen backsplash or countertops with fresh materials or finishes. "The kitchen is the heart of the home and making it as up-to-date and beautiful as possible will always help you in the long run," she says.

Invest in an ADU

If your state allows it and your property is large enough, Kimani says to consider investing in an Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU).

"Many homeowners are realizing the value of converting an old shed or garage into a guest house or ADU," she says. "Investing in an ADU can cost anywhere from $15,000 to $50,000 if you are building from the ground up, but this bonus room is an immediate return on your investment."     

Prior to building or renovating an existing unit, consider details such as plumbing, gas lines, electrical work, and insulation.

"Beyond the essential utilities, many homeowners want their ADU to feel like an extension of their own home and reflective of their personal style," Kimami says. "So whether they are renting it out as a means of extra income or creating a private space for guests, the space should feel inviting."

Preserve Architectural Details

If you have an older home with unique architecture, Petty recommends preserving the structural integrity as much as possible.

"There is nothing wrong with making your space feel more modern, but do your best to hold on to the character of the space," she says. "Switching out hardware and original light fixtures are fine, but if your house has original crown molding or incredible original floors, look for ways to preserve these details so they feel modern but also remain authentic."

Renovate Underused Spaces

Renovated attic

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If have an unfinished basement or attic, Brownhill says converting it into a livable space can make you loads of money in the long run.

"Transforming an underutilized space, such as an attic or basement, into a home office, extra bedroom, or playroom is a great way to add square footage to your home without enlarging the actual footprint," she says. "This will also increase the value of your home."

Create an Outdoor Oasis

Designers Penny Francis and Casi St. Julian of Eclectic Home believe that investing in your home's outdoor space is every bit as beneficial as an interior renovation.

"Outdoor spaces more than ever are important for the emotional well-being and the health of the family," St. Julian says. "Creating an outdoor spaces for dining, entertainment, relaxation, and play can supply emotional benefits that have far greater value than the financial investment made."

By designing an area that functions as a room outside the home, you can essentially create additional living space. "Consider adding a patio, or completing a porch renovation that allows for outdoor furniture and ambient lighting," says designer Christina Roughan of Roughan Interiors. "This way, you can create an outdoor oasis that feels like an extension of your home."

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