7 Things Home Experts Say Are Always Worth the Extra Money

updated Oct 14, 2020
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Credit: Minette Hand

Buying a home is expensive. Then, the actual process of moving there is also expensive, not to mention stressful. So by the time you’re ready to do a few upgrades, it can be tempting to go with the lowest-cost items that are gentle on your budget.

But there are some instances where skimping does you no good—and have the potential to make your home look cheap. To help avoid this, home experts shared a few areas where you should splurge if you can. Here’s what they had to say.

Smaller appliances

Whether it’s your coffee maker, microwave, toaster, or rice cooker, these small-scale appliances are the workhorses of your kitchen. Go with a cheap version, and you might find yourself needing to replace it soon, says New York City real estate agent Kaitlin Tang of REAL New York. “Higher-quality appliances often offer a warranty or repair service for their products if they do break down,” she says.

Faux hardwood floors

Let’s say real hardwood floors are out of your budget, so you’re opting for faux ones. Know this: There’s an enormous difference in quality, appearance and sturdiness along the price spectrum of the fake hardwood, says Brian Davis, a real estate investor and co-founder at SparkRental.com.

“Lower-end faux hardwood just looks cheap and it bows easily,” he says. An alternative to hardwood that can look great is bamboo flooring, Davis says. It’s more expensive than fake hardwood, but less than other hardwoods and looks great.


Carpet is one of the cheapest and easiest upgrades you can make in your new home because higher-end carpet doesn’t tend to be much more expensive, says Andrew Chen, a landlord and investor in San Francisco, California who runs the personal finance site Hack Your Wealth. “By investing in a bit higher end, softer carpet, you can make your home feel more luxurious,” he says.

Washer and dryer

Again, these are appliances that get a lot of use, so they’re worth investing in, says Mystique Rumps, a realtor in the Chicagoland area and owner of My First Home Tours, which runs trolley tours for first-time homebuyers.

Unless you’re short on space, consider a maximum-load capacity, she says, so that you can launder plush comforters and duvets which are usually too much for a typical washer or dryer to handle.

Custom cabinets

Custom cabinets might be a costly initial investment, says Brett Elron, the owner and lead designer at Barter Design in New York City. But they have a huge design impact on your kitchen and they tend to last longer because they are built out of a higher-quality wood, he says.


Cheap upholstery fabrics tend to look worn out within a couple of years and can really date the whole room, says says Erin Hayes, owner of Woodland Road Design, LLC, an interior decorating firm in the greater Boston area.

“This is an instance where spending a bit more gets you a lot more in terms of comfort and longevity,” she says. Hayes likes to nudge her clients to invest in a high-quality couch because she wants them to be comfortable in their main seating area since that’s where they’ll be spending a lot of their time.

The ‘bones’ of your home

We’ve mostly focused on specifics. But, as a general rule, it’s never a good idea to cut corners on the “bones of your home,” says New York City Broker Tania Isacoff Friedland of Warburg Realty.

That’s to say you should be splurging on flooring and windows, as well as the kitchen and bathrooms, because these are areas that are important for resale. So, high-quality windows, and maybe even marble countertops in the kitchen, are worth the extra money, but then you can mix in less expensive light fixtures, hardware or accent furniture pieces, she says.