Well, I am deep in the throes of remodeling angst so this is a house-and-home but also finance-related topic that people might like to discuss:
What do people think was the BEST money they spent on home improvement, and what do they wish they had left alone?
This is partially a cost/benefit question, because a lot of people think of owning a home as an investment (I think of it as a forced savings plan with really high barriers to entry), but also a Greatest Domestic Happiness question. e.g. I read anecdotally that people love the idea of a huge multi-stage bathroom (separate tub & shower, toilet in a little room with door, double sinks) but personally I see that as a gigantic waste of space. And from a ROI perspective it is also, not anecdotally, a waste of money. So has anyone done such a thing, are they happy about it a few years down the line, etc.
Note, as renters we are not considering any such thing. For us it’s more “do we get the entry door with sidelight that requires reframing or do we choose a standard door with half glass which would mean we can replace BOTH entry doors.” (You can probably guess which way I’m leaning.) :-)
This is definitely a personal question for each homeowning (or formerly home improving) individual of Grumpy Nation to weigh in on. We have done remarkably little home improvement other than replacing things when they break or when feral kittens or toddlers destroy them past the point of regular aesthetics. I guess our kitchen looks nicer without gingham wallpaper and our window dressings look better with new blinds.
We have one of those multi-stage bathrooms as our master bath. The first few years it made me feel kind of dirty, since it literally is the same size as our first efficiency apartment (100 sq feet). I’ve gotten used to it, but don’t get any additional happiness from it than we would get from a normal bathroom like we have in our MIL suite. I don’t feel at all deprived at hotels or visiting relatives. The water closet is one of DH’s favorite places to escape when the kids are going wild– if we can’t find him, chances are he’s in the water closet. But I’m sure a normal-sized bathroom would function the same way so long as there’s a door to close!
So, grumpy nation, what home improvements have you felt were worth it? What home improvements do you regret?