Nearly 83 percent of taxpayers will get money back from Uncle Sam this year, with refunds averaging $3,120. While you can’t go wrong saving the cash or using it to pay down debt, the money may be enough to cover a smaller home improvement project that could add value to your house or, more immediately, improve your quality of life.
Now that you’ve finally gotten that tax return filed, it’s time to start planning what you’ll do with your refund.
Even if these smaller fixes won’t suddenly make your house much more valuable, they can help maximize the enjoyment you get from your home. And cosmetic upgrades like a new coat of paint or updated landscaping could help you sell your home more quickly by boosting curb appeal.
While you should steer clear of projects that are significantly out of character for the neighborhood, think about the rooms or parts of your house that you use the most (or give you the most grief) when deciding the best ways to spend your money.
Here are 10 home improvement projects that cost less than the average tax refund.
- Refinish Your Cabinets - Average cost $2,489
Photo: Big Stock Luxury Kitchen
While you may not have the budget for a complete kitchen renovation, refinishing the cabinets — sanding and removing the stain and then repainting them — can provide a facelift for a dated kitchen.
- Install a generator - Average cost: $3,086
If you live in a part of the country that frequently loses power due to storms (or you’re worried about the Zombie apocalypse), having a generator installed can give you peace of mind all year round.
- Get new counters - Average cost: $2,822
- Get your closet organized - Average cost; $1,298
If your closets are crammed and messy, a professional closet organization system may be the key to maximizing the space that you have. You can customize the system to meet your specific needs, from organizing your shoes to storing suits.
- Paint the exterior - Average cost: $2,579
Whether you’re committing to a new color or putting a new coat on a peeling older layer, nothing quite brightens up a home’s curb appeal like a fresh coat of paint. Using a bold color on your front door and shutters can add visual pop.
- Get smart - Average cost: $1,291
The Internet of Things is here, and it’s about to make your life a lot easier. A home automation system give you control of everything in your home, from the temperature to the locks — all from your smartphone or tablet.
- Add a sprinkler system - Average cost: $2,449
Imagine never having to go outside and lug a garden hose around your lawn again. The newest systems are controlled via Wi-Fi so that you don’t waste water with timers going off after it rains.
- Install a patio - Average cost: $2,909
Space for outdoor entertaining is a trendy must in homes these days, and a patio is a much more economical option than a deck. Start planning your bar-b-cue menu now.
- Install a bath liner - Average cost: $2,545
Bath liners are molded to fit directly over an existing bath or shower, creating a watertight seal and concealing any grimy grout or cracked tiles that can become an eyesore. The acrylic liners come in an array of colors and can include features like towel bars or shelves.
- Get cleaning help - Average cost: $1,812 (for service once/month)
Photo: The Maids
While not technically a home improvement, hiring a maid service can help improve your life within your home. Get back some of the hours that you’d spend cleaning and let a professional take a turn scrubbing the toilets once in awhile.