Home Easy Upgrades That Can Add Value to Your Home

by Ari Bendersky | March 30, 2023

Whether you’re looking to sell your home or just spruce it up, there are lots of ways to update your space. But which ones are worth the time and money?

Boosting curb appeal is generally a smart move because a beautiful exterior makes a good first impression on potential buyers; it’s also the first thing you see when you leave and return home each day. Simple interior switch-ups (new fixtures, hardware or tile, for example) can refresh your rooms too.

To pin down some of the best projects to tackle, we tapped five pros — including a realtor, a stager and a landscape artist — to share their value-adding favorites.  

Level-up the entrance

A well-cared-for path to the front door instantly elevates the look of a home, so consider putting in a new brick or stone walkway, suggests David Migdal, president of Highland Park, IL-based Garden Consultants. If that’s not an option, you can also make this spot more welcoming by setting up a seating area with a few chairs and a small table.

And don’t overlook the front door, says Migdal. “You could paint it so it stands out or replace it with a glass door if the house is modern.” To dress it up even more, add some stylish accessories; think earthy planters, an elegant new mailbox or sleek address numbers.

Focus on the foyer too

This often-underrated area sets a tone for the whole home, so if yours feels spare or uninviting, it may be worth a refresh. “Look at ways to simply activate that space,” says Brian Wickersham, founder of AUX Architecture in Los Angeles, CA. “Hang fixtures, put art on the walls, have fun with paint color. It can give punch and life to that space immediately when you walk in.”

“Hang fixtures, put art on the walls, have fun with paint color."
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Give high-traffic spots a little love 

When it comes to improving your rooms, you can maximize your efforts and budget by putting yourself in the mindset of a potential buyer. “Most buyers are unwilling to do the work and want to walk into a home that’s move-in ready,” says Brad Lippitz, president of Chicago-based Brad Lippitz Group, Compass. “The whole idea is balancing your return with what you put out.”

To help your home feel move-in ready, suggests Lippitz, your best bet is to concentrate on key areas like these two:

  • Bathrooms. These spaces get a lot of use, so any spruce-ups will make a noticeable difference in your daily life. Plus, run-down bathrooms can be a big turnoff. “The worst thing for a buyer is to walk into a bathroom and feel like you’ve walked into someone else’s used bathroom,” says Lippitz. Giving walls a fresh coat of paint and buffing floors so they are scratch-free can go a long way, he says. And it's a good idea to re-caulk bathtubs and showers so they look ”crisp and fresh.”


  • The kitchen. A kitchen is the hub of the home, and because the backsplash is a focal point, it warrants special attention. If yours is outdated, consider changing it out for one that's more current, Lippitz suggests. When in doubt, white subway tile is a timeless and universally appealing choice.
“Most buyers are unwilling to do the work and want to walk into a home that’s move-in ready.”
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Make some fast fixes

A few simple solves can help a room feel notably more polished, which is why it’s important to look around your home every once in a while as though you’re a visitor; otherwise, it’s easy to miss details that are feeling dated or shabby. “Like any other relationship, over time you get used to it and take it for granted,” says Amy Bloomer, owner of Baltimore, MD-based home organizing company Let Your Space Bloom.  

It’s quick and easy to change your hardware, Bloomer says, and replacing your brassy kitchen cabinet handles or old-school wooden knobs on a dresser can modernize the whole room. Look for clean-lined hardware in muted metals or an edgy matte black.

Lighting is another update that can make a dramatic difference. Consider swapping out an ornate chandelier or floor lamp with sleeker versions or plug-in sconces.

white and light wood kitchen with a honeycomb pattern white tile backsplash

Streamline your spaces

When professional home stager Justin Riordan, founder of Space and Archer Design Agency in Portland, OR, and Seattle, WA, preps clients’ homes for sale, he’ll often take a “less is more” approach to furnishing a vacant space or reconfiguring the home and existing household items. 

That can mean stripping out some decor in a family room. “We tell everyone to take down their window coverings and bring in as much light as possible,” Riordan says.

Or it can be as simple as removing shelving from the walls of a basement. "Making the basement clean and empty so people can see exactly what they’re getting will make for a faster sale,” he notes. Another top tip: Play up the plants in your yard, Riordan suggests. “Put down mulch that’s almost black to make sure your flower beds look rich.”


— With additional reporting from Life and Money by Citi editors

white walled living room with a gray couch, a low wooden table and a gray wooden cardboard deer head mount on the wall
Ari Bendersky

and his husband continually update little things throughout their home to keep it fresh. The Chicago native has written for the New York Times, WSJ magazine, Men's Journal, Departures, Wine Enthusiast and Crain's Chicago Business.