Whether you go big or keep it simple, spring is a good time to make home improvements that can make your dwelling more valuable, more sustainable and more enjoyable.

Before you begin

Have a plan. The first step is deciding how extensive your project will be. Don’t begin work until you have a clear picture of exactly what you want to accomplish.

Set a budget. Do your homework and figure out what the job will cost. Include a contingency fund for unplanned expenses.

Know what’s DIY and what’s not. After identifying the work you want done, you’ll need to determine who’ll do it. If you’re handy with tools and the job is simple—say, hanging new window treatments—it may be worth doing yourself. If, on the other hand, you’re unfamiliar or uncomfortable with the work that needs doing, let a professional tackle it. You’ll pay more to contract the job than to do it yourself, but it’s more likely that the work will be performed properly.

Ready to get started?

Here are three popular reasons to renovate, followed by home improvement ideas that require different levels of effort.

Increase property value

Modest effort: Replace cabinet hardware. Sometimes all it takes to give things a new look is to swap out old handles on bathroom or kitchen cabinetry. There are different hardware sizes, so take measurements before you buy.

Medium effort: A pigment makeover. Bring color back to your home in time for spring with a fresh coat of paint. Consider staying on the neutral side of the color palette if you plan to sell your home soon.

Major effort: Upgrade the kitchen. A professional kitchen renovation (new cabinets, countertops and/or lighting) can give one of the biggest returns on your investment—but be ready for the work to disrupt your routine.

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Make your home more sustainable

Modest effort: Install smart lights. A good first step toward creating a smart home is adding smart lights and hubs (units through which the bulbs communicate with your devices). Control them with an app on your phone, smart speaker or even your smartwatch.

Medium effort: Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances. Ready to replace an older washer, dryer, fridge or dishwasher? A new energy-efficient appliance may cost more initially, but using less energy can save you money in the long run.

Major effort: Optimize your smart home. For convenience, security and savings on your electric bill, you can control nearly everything in your home remotely—including thermostats, air conditioners, door locks, lights and garage doors—with a mobile device or smart speaker. Online articles at tech sites like Wired can help you create your smart home, with everything from overviews of the different ecosystems (Google Nest, Amazon Alexa and Apple HomeKit) to advice for setting up and troubleshooting smart home devices.

Create a more enjoyable space

Modest effort: Add mirrors. A simple way to make any space feel bigger and lighter is to add mirrors. Don’t be afraid to use a large mirror in a small space or to create a gallery wall with several mirrors. They don’t have to be new, either; you may spot a great find at a thrift shop or garage sale.

Medium effort: Organize the clutter. Create your own storage solution in the garage or a spare bedroom with plastic shelving units, storage bins or a piece of pegboard with hooks. You’ll free up space, make your home more attractive and have easy access to items you’ve put away. Need help deciding how to best use the space available to you? Find storage solutions at retailers like Overstock—or consult an expert if you need help building shelves or closets or taking another approach that requires a lot of work.

Medium effort: Do you have a home office that’s more junk room than workroom? Give it a makeover and create a work-from-home space where you can do your job comfortably and efficiently. Get creative and upcycle or refinish furniture and fixtures; inspiration (and materials) can be found online at places like Pinterest and Facebook Marketplace.

Major effort: Install a skylight. Natural light can be an instant mood booster, and if you properly select and install a skylight, you can increase your home’s efficiency by reducing heating, cooling and lighting costs.

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