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If you’re a tax procrastinator and you’re just now finding out that you’re getting a refund, it might be tempting to use the financial boon for something frivolous. Instead, why not make your home more comfortable—and valuable—with some smart improvements?
The IRS estimates that the average tax refund in 2023 will be $1,997. That’s a healthy chunk of change that you could use to upgrade your space and add value to your property. But no matter the size of your refund—whether you’re expecting just $100 or anticipating a $10,000 windfall—there are plenty of ways that money can enhance your home. Read on for some of the best home improvement ideas for any tax refund budget.
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1. Improve Your Kitchen Storage
Even a small tax refund can make a big impact in your home. One place where a small investment goes a long way is in kitchen organization. With less than $100, renters and owners alike can buy products for storing sheet pans, pot lids, dry goods, and more to make their kitchen drawers and cabinets easier to navigate.
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2. Invest in a Robot Vacuum
Sweeping and vacuuming quickly become tedious, but now that robot vacuums are readily available, you can delegate the task to a machine instead. Robot vacuums can be set to clean at a certain time so that your home is always spotless, even when you’re away or too busy to do it yourself. Many also have intelligent mapping technology that allows them to identify the most efficient paths and avoid obstacles while cleaning. There are many options on the market, including the eufy G30 from Anker, available for less than $200 at Amazon.
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3. Install Peel-and-Stick Wallpaper
Looking to make a big aesthetic impact with a modest tax refund? Consider transforming a space with peel-and-stick wallpaper. While wallpaper used to be difficult—and messy—to install, today’s peel-and-stick styles are easy to apply and remove. The total cost of the project will vary, depending on the size of the space, but average wallpaper prices range from under $1 per square foot to $5 per square foot. Those on a tighter budget should consider using peel-and-stick wallpaper for an accent wall or in a smaller space like a powder room.
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4. Have Rugs Professionally Cleaned
If you have carpets or area rugs in your home, it may be time to invest in having them professionally cleaned. While it’s possible to clean rugs yourself, nothing can compare to the results that the pros can deliver. The national average cost for carpet cleaning is $178 per carpet, but it’s well worth it. DIY solutions can potentially damage certain fiber types, whereas professional cleaners have access to specialized equipment and techniques so they can safely treat each material according to its specific needs.
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5. Add Home Automation
Tech lovers looking to indulge in the latest home gadgets may want to consider adding smart home automation this year. This technology allows users to do tasks like turning on lights, adjusting the temperature, preheating the oven, and more from their tablet or smartphone. Users can also set schedules to completely automate the process. The average cost of installing home automation is $835, but it can run significantly higher for more sophisticated systems.
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6. Get a New Mattress
We spend a third of our lives sleeping, so having a comfortable mattress is paramount. To ensure a good night’s rest and adequate comfort and support, mattresses should be replaced every 7 to 10 years. Having a good-quality mattress in tip-top shape is especially important for those who suffer from chronic pain or discomfort, as it can alleviate stress on pressure points and help improve sleep. Expect to spend about $1,000 for a mid-range mattress.
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7. Upgrade Light Fixtures
Good lighting is one of the unsung heroes of any well-decorated home. Consider using your tax refund to upgrade light fixtures throughout your house, swapping out builder basic models for picks that have more style and personality. Since working with electricity can be dangerous, it’s probably best to have the new fixtures installed by a pro. As you’re budgeting, keep in mind that while having a single fixture installed could cost as little as $75, heavier, more complicated installations could cost upwards of $2,000. The cost of the fixtures themselves, of course, will vary widely in price, depending on style and materials.
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8. Hire a Gardener
While some people treat gardening as an enjoyable hobby or a way to relax, others find that lawn care is simply a chore. Consider using your tax refund to outsource the task. Depending on your budget, you can just call in someone to set up your garden for the season or hire a professional to perform year-round maintenance. Expect to spend about $225 a month, or $2,700 a year, for basic garden upkeep. Those with bigger budgets should consider investing in professional landscaping. Calling in the pros to redesign your landscaping adds major value to your home and is one of those decisions that homeowners never regret.
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9. Refinish Hardwood Floors
Those lucky enough to live in homes with hardwood flooring know how much warmth and character genuine wood adds to a space. Make those floors shine like new or have them stained to fit your current taste by using your tax refund to have your floors refinished. For an entire home, this project typically runs between $2,400 to $6,000, depending on the size of the home.
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10. Invest in New Appliances
Using a tax refund to invest in new, energy-efficient appliances can actually save money in the long run when it comes to energy costs. Not only will you lower your monthly bills, but you’ll also know that you’re playing a role in protecting our planet. Expect to spend $1,500 each for a refrigerator and stove. Many states and municipalities offer tax holidays and financial incentives for purchasing energy-efficient models, so be sure to research local options before making a purchase.
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11. Build a Deck
Expand your living space into the outdoors by building a new deck this spring. You can use it for hosting barbecues, parties, and family gatherings, and it’s a great place to relax and watch the sunset or gaze at stars at night. The average cost of a new deck is $7,500, though prices vary based on size, style, and materials used. Not only will a deck add an aesthetically pleasing outdoor living space to your home, but it will also increase the overall value of your property.
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12. Replace the Windows
In terms of energy efficiency, one of the smartest improvements homeowners can make is replacing their windows. Installing well-insulated, airtight windows can help reduce heat loss, and this can save you money on your energy bills. Today’s windows are designed with sustainability in mind, with low-emissivity coatings and other treatments that help your home stay warmer while letting in plenty of natural light. Replacing an individual window, including labor, costs on average about $800. Depending on the number of windows you need to replace, this project can quickly set you back between $8,000 to $10,000. But what better way to spend a tax refund than on a satisfying project that consistently ranks high on homeowners’ to-do lists?Consider windows from the best window brands or the best window replacement companies such as Renewal by Andersen, when planning this high-ROI project.