The average tax refund this year is about $3,000, so if you're lucky enough to get that much (or even if you get less) and want to invest it in your home, consider one of these nine home improvement projects—many of which can be done in a weekend.
HomeAdvisor found the national average for several popular home improvement projects, and many of them are in the $3,000 range. Let's dive in:
Install New Floors: $3,000
If your floor has been bugging you for years—peeling linoleum, warped wood, highly questionable carpet—now might be the time to replace it. The national average of $3,000 seems surprisingly low for an entire home full of new floors, so it's important to note that the total will vary depending on where you live and what materials you choose.
And if your budget is a bit tinier, consider doing something similar to the floor in the laundry room above, from Stars + Field. That delightful pattern is stickers, and it only cost $300. For even less, you can go the paint and stencil route.
Refinish Cabinets: $2,600
$2,600 seems like a high price for stripping and re-staining/re-painting existing kitchen cabinetry, but it's certainly less than ripping everything out and installing brand new.
Of course, labor is a big part of the price tag, so you can save on the cost by doing it yourself. Consider something like chalk paint, which requires very little advance prep, aside from cleaning and degreasing the cabinets beforehand.
Install Countertops: $2,900
Would you choose updated cabinets or new countertops? If they were both unattractive, worn out, and damaged, I would probably choose countertops because they're so intimately involved in food production, whereas cupboards are more about just the visual.
Don't have quite $3,000 to drop? Consider resurfacing your existing countertops like this kitchen transformation, which used faux marble epoxy for an amazing effect.
If you don't have the $10,000 for a whole new bathroom, replace the part you spend the most time in.
Landscape Your Outdoor Space, $3,300
If you're lucky enough to have an outdoor space, now is the time to get planting—the more time you can give your plants, the better!
Don't have a whole backyard? No worries. There are tons of ways to create an urban oasis in your small back patio or balcony? Create a small garden using what space you do have, or plant something indoors instead.
Replace Light Fixtures: Up to $3,000
There's a huge potential cost range here, depending on if you need help from an electrician to relocate wiring, or if you want a particularly amazing chandelier that costs thousands. If you're comfortable rewiring a basic pendant, you can pull this off for much less than $3,000.
Note that this is also a relatively renter-friendly option, as you can remove your apartment's light fixtures, replace them with ones you actually like, and then swap the original ones back in when you move. It's a bit of a pain, but new lights can totally change the look and feel of your home and you can take them with you to your next home.
Refurnish: Up to $3,000
If you're a renter, furniture, rugs, lamps, and decorative accessories are even easier to take with you when you move. They might not suit your next place absolutely perfectly, but they'll still be yours. This studio apartment was totally furnished and decorated for $1,700, thanks to affordable pieces from IKEA, Amazon, World Market, and Target. Spend the weekend shopping, whether in-person or online, then have everything delivered or use some of that $3,000 to treat the friend who let you borrow their truck.
Paint Your Home Interior: $1,800
If you do all of the prep work (taping, furniture-moving, tarp-laying, paint-buying) ahead of time, you might be able to paint the interior of your home in just a weekend. Unless you live in a huge 4,000-square-foot-house perhaps. Paint-and-primer in one will save you time, and buying larger buckets of paint will save you money. If all goes well, you'll have plenty of money left over to do some additional sprucing—or to buy dinner and drinks for the friends who helped you.
Paint Your House Exterior: $2,800
Actually, this one is more like Have Your House Painted, because hiring a pro is highly recommended, especially if you're trying to get it done quickly. And as Home Advisor points out, "You may be able to cut costs by doing some of the prep work yourself."
Read more from Home Advisor.