Make Over Your Kitchen-Sensibly. You can't go wrong renovating an outdated kitchen-especially if you resist the temptation to splurge on pricey items like hand-painted tiles and built-in cappuccino makers. Focus on the basics: refacing existing cabinets; installing a new wall oven, cooktop and sink; putting in new wallpaper and flooring. Last year, the nationwide average cost of these changes was $15,273, according to Remodeling. Average resale value added: $14,195. But in strong markets, the project more than recouped its cost. In Chicago, for example, this new kitchen cost $17,313 last year but added $23,464 to the resale value.
Give Your Old Bathroom a New Shine. Remodeling an old bathroom is always a good idea-and it costs much less than updating a kitchen. Last year, this popular project typically included installing a new bathtub, toilet and vanity counter with a double sink, plus a recessed medicine cabinet, ceramic-tile floor and vinyl wallpaper. Average cost: $9861. Average value added: $8887.
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