6 Overlooked Home Upgrades That Are Totally Worth It

published Feb 17, 2019
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(Image credit: Jacqueline Marque)

There are quite a couple of “luxury” amenities in homes that are actually nothing more than a bother. Whirlpool tub expectation: Hop into a relaxing candlelit bath the moment you even begin to feel stress. Whirlpool tub reality: Who the hell has the energy to clean all those valves?

But then there are actually those that are, indeed, worth your time and money for the amount they make your life better. Here, six luxury home updates that are so worth it:

1. Dimmers

They’re probably the easiest and cheapest upgrade on this list to install; you can’t overestimate how much a dimmer changes the atmosphere in a home, especially if you can’t stand how harsh your overhead lighting is.

“You can literally transform a room with this quick installation,” says Bryan Stoddard who runs Homewares Insider, a home and design site.

(Image credit: Katy Cartland)

2. Heated floors

Sure, you can always slide on a pair of slippers—but have you ever been in a home with heated floors?

“It’s amazing to have warm feet when I wake up in the morning and walk around the house,” says Susan McVea, a business coach who lives in Vancouver. “It felt like a splurge but now we won’t live in a home without installing them.”

They might even be less expensive than you think over the long run: Radiant heating systems are actually more energy efficient than baseboard heating and most forced-air heating systems.

“Our heated floors have also saved us energy—our house now is two-plus times larger than our last one but our heating costs haven’t gone up,” McVea says.

3. Finished basements

You might think the space below your home is only good for storage—especially if your basement is unfinished. But Leslie Bowman, founder and design director of The Design Bar, an interior design studio in Burr Ridge, Illinois, says when this space is given a little TLC, it can immediately transform your home and how you live in it.

“My biggest tip: Section off spaces and create vignettes in your basement just like you’d do upstairs,” Bowman says. “That way the space will feel functional and you’ll want to spend time downstairs.”

(Image credit: Diana Paulson)

4. Upstairs laundry rooms

Having a dedicated laundry room can be luxury enough for some homeowners. But something that really ups the ante? Having one on the second floor, near the bedrooms, says Robert C. Nelson, a realtor at Center Coast Realty in Chicago.

“It’s so easy to do laundry, especially since walking up the stairs with large laundry baskets can be a little challenging,” he says.

5. Double sinks

If you’ve shared a single-sink bathroom with a partner or a roommate, you’re all to familiar with coordinating spit and rinse cycles. While it may seems only minorly annoying in the moment, don’t underestimate how much better having a double sink can make your morning routine.

“These are a time saver and a huge convenience,” says Emily McCrary-Ruiz-Esparza, editor at House Method, an interior design site. “I talk to homeowners and renters alike who say that once they’ve had a double sink, they can’t go back to a single.”

(Image credit: Lauren Kolyn)

6. A mudroom

Having a room that’s meant to get a little messy? Revolutionary! At least, according to Evan Roberts, a home designer at Dependable Homebuyers in San Antonio, Texas.

“As far as I’m concerned, a functional mudroom is one of the most overlooked features in a home,” he says. “Whether someone is shoveling snow, working in the garden, or returning from the gym, having a place to remove dirty gear and having a washing machine right there can keep the rest of the home clean without being an inconvenience.”

Roberts says that these rooms are especially useful if they’re accessible from the garage, have a utility sink, hooks for jackets, and as much storage as possible.

Looking for some additional ways to upgrade your home? These five home upgrades end up paying for themselves.