Investing in your home is one of the best investments you can make. Not only will it usually pay for itself and then some, but you can also enjoy that added value while living in your home. You stand to make the most money from your home investments on big-ticket projects like a kitchen or bathroom remodel or upgrade, but there are still lots of other things you can do yourself without a contractor to give your home’s value a little boost.

Cover the ugly and dated with paint.

In older homes, there are often elements that are still in good working order; however, they aren’t too easy on the eye. More often than not, these things can usually be easily updated with a coat or two of paint. My home was built in the ’70s and sports that not-so-pretty-anymore metal handrailing along the stairs. The railing itself is fine, but it was a huge eyesore. I painted it all black to help it blend in with the rest of the house. See how I did it here. The same is true of doors-both exterior and interior ones; give them a coat of paint, and suddenly, they aren’t so dated anymore.


Install decorative wainscoting and trim.

Besides the usual baseboard and door trim, installing wainscoting and decorative wall trim is another relatively easy way to increase your home’s value. You can buy prefabricated decorative wall squares, beadboard and other types of wall trim at local hardware stores. Simply nail it up, fill your nail holes and paint it-and you have yourself some upgraded details. In my home’s half-bath, we installed stained luan panels along the lower half of our walls with a chair rail to give it an extra touch. Find out how we did it here.

Install or update built-ins.

Built-ins can be a hot selling point when you go to sell your home. Built-ins add storage and character to a space. In our previous home, we had built-ins, but they were in desperate need of a makeover. We painted them, modified them to hold a drink refrigerator and did a DIY project on the countertop of the cabinetry to give it a soapstone look. In our current home, we had room in our bedroom to add in a sitting area with built-in cabinetry, a drink refrigerator and a television cabinet. See that space here.

Switch out cabinetry hardware and doorknobs.

Doing a simple switch of your cabinet handles, knobs and interior doorknobs is a great and relatively inexpensive way to increase the design appeal of the interior of your home. If you choose to go with cabinet hardware that doesn’t have the same hole locations as your previous hardware did, you can use this tutorial for how to fill and cover the old holes. If you have plain interior doors, a great way to jazz them up is to replace the ho-hum doorknobs with more decorative ones, as I recently did to our kitchen pantry’s door.

Add extra storage and workspace in the kitchen.

Although a full kitchen remodel may not be in your area of expertise, you might be able to add more workspace and storage pretty easily with a kitchen island or peninsula. We made the kitchen island ourselves that we used in our last home, and here are six more kitchen island ideas that are pretty easy to tackle as well.

Do you have any other easy ideas for increasing your home’s value?

Jenna LaFevor rants on at Rain on a Tin Roof about DIY projects, junk d├ęcor, thrifty finds, crafty creations and other decorating dilemmas. She went to UTC, where she got a teaching degree that now collects dust. When she isn’t trying to keep her kid from climbing out of the circus ring or making sure her husband’s shirts are taken to the dry cleaners so she gets out of ironing, she can be found with a paintbrush in one hand and a cheap beer in the other. But if you’re buying, she’ll have a cosmopolitan. You can email her at [email protected] or you can connect with her on Facebook, Twitter @raintinroofblog or at her blog. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not or its employees.