The decision to update your home shouldn’t be taken lightly. Renovations can be simple or complex, but nearly all of them are messy and many can be expensive. To make sure that your renovation will both add to the value of your home later and save you money now, consider the projects listed below.


It doesn’t sound like most home improvement ideas, but swapping out your incandescent light bulbs with CFL or LED bulbs now, rather than waiting for them to burn out, can actually be more cost effective. If your inner frugal fiend can’t justify tossing good incandescents, consider the spaces where you really need them. For example, if you don’t like CFLs or LEDs in your bathroom because it messes up the lighting for your makeup, carefully wrap the incandescents that are still good and store them in that room. Swap out everything else.

Install Remotes

If your home still has pull chain lights and you’re sick of them always being left on or of the pull chain mechanisms being damaged, invest in CFL remote bases to allow you to install a magnetized remote switch that you can turn on or off without yanking on the chain. You can also get remote bases for your outlets. If you’re tired of forgetting to turn off your curling iron or want a simpler way to shut down the Christmas lights, a Smart Plug will pay for itself within 6 months and save you worries about what you left plugged in.

Protect Your Property

If you have had problems with water leaking into your basement, consider investing in basement waterproofing products to prevent the destruction of the concrete or mold growth. It may take some prep work, but there are products out there that can turn a tired old basement into a usable space, both waterproof and attractive. While you are protecting your home, consider updating your door sweeps and weather stripping. Cold air, hot air and water coming in around your doors will eventually damage your home and reduce your comfort in your space, not to mention raising your utility bills.

Add Smart Tools

A smart thermostat that you can program, monitor from a distance, and lock to avoid changes by little fingers is a useful tool. By programming it to bring down the temperature in your home overnight on the hottest summer days, then letting the temp come up during the sunny times, can reduce your utility bills and increase your comfort. You can also incorporate your smart thermostat into other smart features, such as door cameras and outdoor motion sensor lights. If you have access to direct sunlight during the day, consider setting up solar-powered solar motion detector lights and solar security cameras. Once they’re securely fastened, you can keep your power costs down, save the hassle of running wires, and improve the security of your home. Once you have cameras up, make sure that you let your insurance company know. The addition of security cameras may help you qualify for a lower premium.

Replace or Update Windows

If your window frames are metal, check them for fogging. Many double-paned windows, mounted in metal frames, have lost their seal and are fogging up. This fogging is an indicator that your windows have lost their insulating power. If this is the case, then the foam sound insulating material in the frame is probably also done for. Updating the sealed glass panels and the insulation can make your home a quieter place to live and lower your utility bills. If you still have old wooden windows, it’s a good idea to update to vinyl, or get replacement wooden ones. Unless you’re a pretty decent carpenter, window replacement is a job to hire out. Replacing windows can be a fiddly business, there are no square corners anywhere, and it takes a great deal of time. If you hire a professional, you have someone to contact if the window leaks.

Improving your home can both save you money now and add to the bottom line of your home. Make sure that before you start any project, you have the funding in place, and that you’re ready for any delays. Home improvements seldom stay on schedule, and expenses you didn’t expect can crop up. Keep your eyes on your goal.