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Ways to Spruce Up Your Home With Your Tax Refund

Mandy Edwards - Thursday, April 13, 2017

Hello, spring! It's the season of rejuvenation, regrowth, and (hopefully!) a tax refund.  

An annual tax refund is worthy of excitement because it’s like receiving "free" money, right? Of course, it’s always important to consult a tax professional about which tax decisions are best for you. 

But why not consider using your refund to make your home livelier, more colorful and more livable? There are many ways you can use the money to beautify and add value to your home.

Here are a few ways you can spruce up your home with your tax refund:

With a small-ish refund (up to $500) you might:

  • Touch up your home's interior and exterior paint: On the inside of your home, baseboards take a beating. Wash them with warm soapy water, allow them to dry thoroughly, repair cracks with caulk, and touch them up with fresh paint. Perhaps you can try using a new accent color! Use a strong but flexible straight edge to protect carpet, flooring, and walls when you paint. For exterior painting, scrape, sand and touch up any faded areas in the trim.
  • Add some "curb appeal": Have you looked at the mailbox lately? If it’s faded, leaning, and/or damaged, give the yard an instant upgrade with a new one. Plant some bushes and/or spring flowers around it to add some lively color! Add flower boxes under front windows or around walkways, too. It will refresh the entire look of your home.

With a big refund ($500 -- $1,000+) consider:

  • Upgrades to systems, like replacing the old water heater. A new high-quality water heater will probably cost at least $1,000. But think of how nice it will be to have hot showers for everybody! And a new, more efficient unit can save money on future energy bills.
  • Look up! How do you like the ceilings? In older homes, "popcorn" ceilings were very popular. But they don’t age very well and they're difficult to repair if damaged. So put your refund into renewing your ceilings! It’s best to hire a professional to smooth out the popcorn ceiling, but you can add your own touch with new crown molding and repainting.

With a larger refund ($2,000+) you can think even bigger:

  • Add some style to your interior by installing new lighting. Recessed or flush-mounted fixtures update the look and style of a room. They also tone down the harshness of light emitted by hanging fixtures. New lighting technologies such as LEDs are efficient and provide better lighting as well.
  • Replace wall to wall carpet with hardwood flooring. Wood floors upgrade and enhance the look and feel of a room. Add area rugs to bring back the cozy feel of carpet or for accent.

Use a "huge" refund ($3,000+) to add more value:

  • Put backsplash tile in the kitchen. It adds color, style and rich texture to the room. Smooth tile is easier to clean, but a rougher look like faux brick adds a robust feel.
  • Update floor tile and fixtures in the bathrooms. Styles are tied to the times. Don’t forget that updating the entire look of your home (including bathrooms) keeps it up-to-date.
  • Put in new exterior door walls or French Doors. Upgrading your doorways will add to both the natural light and the interior aesthetics of your home.

A lottery-level refund ($5,000+) allows you to:

  • Add lifestyle upgrades like an outdoor patio, a backyard privacy fence, or stone/brick barbecue/firepit. Add a grape arbor over the patio for protection from the sun and to add some natural plant cover.
  • Build a simple outdoor kitchen with a pre-built barbecue grill, a mini fridge and some stylish tables to match new patio furniture.

How do you plan to use your tax refund? 

Related Resource

Trulia 13 Ways To Spend Your Tax Refund On Home Improvements 

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