Home improvement is the remodeling, repair, renovation, redecoration or addition to a home or building. It also includes the installation of fixtures, equipment, or systems, such as lighting, heating, ventilating, air conditioning, electrical and plumbing. Home improvements can be either minor or major in scope. Some examples of minor home improvements include replacing light bulbs, painting a room, or adding window treatments. Major home improvements are often structural in nature, such as rebuilding or replacing an existing kitchen, bathroom, or bedroom.
During a time of shaky economic conditions, some homeowners may be hesitant to invest in a major home renovation project. But rock-bottom interest rates are making home improvements more appealing. Anderson says several categories of home improvement are surging this year, including deck construction (up 275%) and fence construction (up 144%).
Many of the most popular home improvement projects offer a good return on investment. Sparkling bathrooms top the list, followed by basement and kitchen remodels. However, homeowners should beware of overbuilding, or investing in renovations that exceed the price of comparable homes in the neighborhood.
While the increased popularity of DIY television shows and websites has encouraged more people to take on home repair and improvement projects themselves, it can also be dangerous. Some projects require extensive knowledge of carpentry, electrical work, drywall repair or installation, plumbing and roofing. These skills can be learned from a variety of resources, including books, television shows, and YouTube “how-to” videos.