Home Improvement 101

Home improvement is the process of upgrading various aspects of a house, such as decor, structure and utilities. In general, home improvements increase a property’s value and make it more desirable to potential buyers when the homeowner is ready to sell. Home improvement projects can be expensive, and it is important to do research on the return on investment (ROI) of specific improvements before undertaking them.

The home improvement market was booming through much of 2022, as consumers spent on everything from a new kitchen to replacing a roof. But now, the pace of such spending appears to be cooling. Both Lowe’s and Home Depot have reported that sales of remodeling supplies are falling, suggesting that households are putting the brakes on more ambitious home renovation projects.

But it’s important to note that most planned improvements aren’t targeted toward future home buyers. Instead, many homeowners cite motivations such as making their homes more comfortable for themselves and their families (54%), adding features and improving livability (42%), and simply feeling more satisfied with their home (39%).

While some improvements are necessary to maintain the safety of a household, others might be made to improve accessibility or reduce energy costs. These types of upgrades often have a high ROI and are likely to appeal to a wide range of prospective home buyers, including people with mobility impairments or those looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Some examples include installing grab bars in the bathroom, replacing old windows and doors with energy-efficient ones, or converting a tub to a shower.

Homeowners should also consider the neighborhood and its median price when planning home improvements, as improvements that are out of sync with neighboring homes can detract from a property’s value. For example, a pool in an area where most homes don’t have one may not add value. Likewise, a master suite that is significantly larger than the average for the neighborhood might be difficult to sell.

Finally, it’s essential to hire reputable contractors when completing home improvement projects. This can be done by asking for references, verifying license and insurance, and researching the contractor’s background online before hiring them. Alternatively, homeowners can use an aggregator service that bundles home improvement services and acts as the middleman between contractors and homeowners.

The Home Improvement encyclopedia is part of the Gale Reference Library, which includes more than 4.5 million articles from more than 200 reference sources. It covers topics such as architectural techniques, tool and material selection, zoning requirements and more. The library also includes access to thousands of video tutorials and a mobile-optimized interface.

The dictionary definition of home improvement is “the act or process of repairing or improving a home.” However, the phrase has also come to encompass an array of other activities, from painting and carpeting to landscaping and plumbing. The most common home improvement tasks are repairs, replacements and maintenance. Other types of home improvements include alterations and additions, such as changing the layout of a room or building an addition onto a house.