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Home Help: Luxurious upgrades don’t have to break the bank

Tip of the Week
When it comes to home decorating, it’s easy to blow your budget on one or two upgrades. Too often, however, costly decorating ploys disappoint, wearing out or becoming dated before you’ve paid off the financing. Fortunately, a handful of upgrades just scream “luxury,” while the price tags quietly snicker “this look didn’t cost an arm and a leg.”

Skylights: Luxury, drama and energy efficiency are the trifecta of home decorating and improvement, and few upgrades deliver all three as well as skylights. Because they admit abundant natural light into a room, skylights have a powerful impact. Skylights can help reduce electric bills by providing natural light and passive ventilation.
Gas fireplaces: While adding a wood-burning fireplace to an existing home may be difficult or impossible in many scenarios, modern gas fireplaces can go virtually anywhere, including interior walls. Direct-vent fireplaces go on exterior walls and eliminate the need for a chimney. Although not a DIY job for most homeowners, installing a gas fireplace can cost as little as $3,000.

Granite bathroom vanities: Granite remains the gold standard of luxury, beauty and function when you’re talking about countertops. Installing granite in a kitchen can be costly, but with smaller vanities and less counter space, bathrooms cost much less to outfit in granite. Professionally installed granite bathroom vanities can cost just a few thousand dollars.

Home-Selling Tip
Kitchen upgrades increase value: Kitchen remodeling projects can significantly add comfort, improve functionality and increase your home’s resale value. “Projects including refinishing the cabinets, updating the countertops and installing new appliances all provide a high return without breaking the bank,” says HomeAdvisor CEO Chris Terrill.

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