Be sure to get the most bang for your buck with these 7 Home Improvement projects.

Best Home Improvement Projects for the New Year

Whether you’re trying to sell the home you've got so you can get a new one or trying to breathe new life into the one you're in- Here are the top projects you can can undertake to increase the value and transform your home.

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1. Clean and Declutter. Boost the value of your home by decreasing the amount of stuff that’s inside it. Declutter and Downsize. Decluttering can prevent pests and reduce dust, mold and mildew- not to mention the benefits it has on your mental health and general well being. Less Stuff means less to clean - less to maintain- less headaches and less drama! Get rid of all those things that no longer serve a purpose. Let your home's character stand out instead of being drowned out by all the stuff you own. Once you've pared down to the essentials, a little elbow grease can go a long way. In addition to the regular cleaning chores of dusting, vacuuming, and mopping, make sure you tackle rarely cleaned areas including vents, baseboards, cabinets, blinds, and doorknobs. Steam-clean the carpets, wash the walls and windows, and replace any broken blinds or window screens. Your home can never be TOO CLEAN!

2. Increase your home's USABLE square footage. Homes are valued by the livable square footage they contain: the more livable square feet, the better. You can do this by finishing that basement or attic, adding an accessory dwelling, in law suite or addition. Got a den or bonus room? Frame in a closet and you've got yourself another bedroom. The price difference between a 3-bedroom home and a 4-bedroom home is significant and much greater than the cost of adding a closet.

3. Go Green. Lowering your home's energy costs will save you money for as long as you live there and will be a major selling point, adding value to the home down the line. Projects that lower utility bills are a smart way to increase the value of your home all the while enjoying the savings. Install a smart thermostat, replace weatherstripping and seal windows and doors, switch out your appliances for more energy efficient ones, install solar panels or add some insulation. Increase the value of your home while decreasing its footprint.

4. Spruce it all up with fresh paint. Add a fresh coat of interior paint in a neutral color like white, sand, beige or an agreeable gray. A semi-gloss paint will make the walls seem brighter while an eggshell finish can hide minor imperfections in drywall or small cracks in plaster. Start with the room that has that odd color scheme or the bedroom you let your 13 year old daugher paint fuscia. Scrape off that popcorn ceiling and paint it a clean ceiling white. Enough can't be said about the transformative power of a bucket of paint!

5. Work on your curb appeal. Power wash your driveway or hire someone to wash your windows and mow your lawn. It's all about curb appeal. Power washing can transform your home from bland to beautiful and increase the overall curb appeal of your house. Foucs on your home’s exterior siding, sidewalks, driveways, and decks.Upgrading your landscape can also go a long way. Good landscaping signals a home that has been well maintained and cared for. A few new shrubs, sod, or other plants can really jazz up the curb factor. Focus on pruning the shrubs and trees you already have and clear away patches of unsightly overgrowth. Group some potted plants around the entryway to add a pop of color, throw some mulch down. Adding curb appeal doesn't have to mean hiring a landscaper to redo your landscaping. Small changes can have a big impact. Remember first impressions are very often the lasting ones. Upgrade your exterior doors. Enhance the exterior appearance of your home by replacing entry doors, screen doors, and/or garage doors. If you can't afford to replace the whole door, just upgrade the hardware. If your doors are in good shape, give them a good power washing or a nice coat of paint to freshen them up.

6. Kitchen is still King. Any realtor will tell you that it's kitchens and bathrooms that sell a home. You can start small by painting or resurfacing your cabinets and/or switching out the hardware. Replace your countertops, install a backsplash, switch out your appliances with a sleeker, more energy efficient suite of appliances or install new flooring. In the bathroom you can simply throw in a new toilet seat, a fresh shower curtain or add rugs. Small changes can go a long way to making a dated bathroom feel more current. Replace that old vanity, switch out the fittings or fixtures and install a comfort height toilet. If you're going to pick just one room to renovate, the Kitchen or the Master Bathroom are you're best bets. .

7. Lighten and Brighten. Junky light switch and outlet covers can age a home, so install new ones to upgrade your space.This is a relatively easy and inexpensive project that will subtly improve your home's overall vibe. Consider dimmer switches and replace old janky light fixtures. Brighter is always better. You'd be surprised at how much good lighting can change the look and feel of your home.

With the new year fast approaching, it's the perfect time for new beginnings. Breath new life into that old home. No matter which project you decide to undertake, any one of these seven ideas can totally transform the look and feel of your home.

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