Tools for home renovation projectIt seems that we are all doing more with less these days, whether by choice or out of necessity. So as you weigh the value of the home improvement projects on your wish list, we thought you might want to consider these relatively small projects that reap a substantial return – both in monetary terms and in terms of how you live in and enjoy your home.

Color your world.
Never underestimate the impact of a fresh coat of paint. It can refresh a tired room, bring a cohesive look to adjoining areas, or lighten and brighten the feel of a space.

Change your outlook.
Repair any wood rot and replace damaged wood trim as needed around your doors, windows, soffits and fascia.  Finish off with a coat of fresh paint to further protect them from the elements.

Light up the night.
Updating the appearance of lighting fixtures can transform the ambiance of a room, while adding practical and well-planned fixtures can make critical areas of your home, like kitchens and baths, function far better. Switching out older fixtures with new, more energy efficient models can also reduce your utility bills.

Take a hard look at your hardware.
Nothing says dated quite like shiny brass, whether it’s on lighting fixtures, hinges, door knobs or cabinets. Switching out that old brass hardware can make a major difference in how your home feels.

Improve your security.
For better peace of mind in uncertain times, consider upgrading the quality of your exterior door lock systems. Many of the basic models used by some builders don’t offer the level of protection you’d like for your family.

Replacing worn or non-existent weather stripping around exterior doors can make a huge difference in your comfort. We recently were in one home where you could literally look at the door frame around the French doors and see daylight straight through it. Think of the huge amount of energy – and dollars – lost through those gaps.

Seal the deal.
A tremendous amount of heated and conditioned air – and money – is lost through poorly insulated attics. To make your home more comfortable and efficient, blow extra insulation into the attic. Take it one step farther by checking attic vent boots, because the rubber parts eventually will dry rot, and they need to be sealed or replaced.

Replacing old, standard-height commodes with new right-height fixtures can make a difference on several levels. The newer fixtures tend to better conserve water, thus saving you money, and the higher height makes them more accessible for everyone and especially helpful for those who are concerned with aging in place. While the plumber is there, consider having him update bathroom faucets as well.

Never run out of gas again.
While not all barbeques will accommodate this change, consider changing yours out from propane to natural gas if it can be done. The advantage is that you’ll never again put the steaks on the grill for your dinner guests only to realize that you are out of propane, which means a mad dash to the closest grocery, convenience or hardware store with empty tank in tow.

Spring cleaning.
While it might not sound as glamorous as some other projects, simply pressure washing driveways, walkways and siding to remove dirt and mildew can have a tremendous visual impact. Take the next step of resealing all brick molding and caulking around windows and doors to improve the aesthetics and protect these wood surfaces from water damage.

Simple changes like these can truly have a tremendous impact on how you live in and feel about your home.