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Smart Remodeling: Top Renovation “Upgrades” to Avoid

A home remodel is a great way to transform your home to exactly the way you want it — and in ways that better meet your lifestyle. But you don’t need to opt for all the fancy amenities to reach your remodeling goals. Practice smart remodeling by avoiding these 5 renovation “upgrades.”

smart remodeling: you don't need to spring for expensive marble countertops

As you’re going through the design process of your remodel, it can be tempting to opt for all the bells and whistles. While top shelf product selections and other design choices can add to the wow factor of your new space, they may not result in a return on your investment. So which ones should you avoid? Here’s our top 5.

Marble countertops

In terms of sheer look, it can be hard to beat the eye-catching quality of marble countertops. The irregular veining, wide variety of colors, and natural stone durability are enticing. But marble does come with some downsides.

First, marble countertops can stain fairly easily, so you need to regularly seal them and clean them so they’re free of standing water or other materials that can leave a mark. They’re also more expensive than most other countertop materials. Installed marble countertops can range from $200 to $300 per square foot. In comparison, quartz counters average between about $90 to $145 per square foot. Granite is around the same price. Both options are also durable, customizable, and require less care than marble overall.

If you want a showcase countertop without breaking the bank, a smart remodeling tip would be to consider skipping the marble and opting for one of those other materials.

Large tub in the master bathroom

Large spa tubs used to be all the rage in the 1990s. A lot of new homes had one installed. These days, we spend much more time removing them during bathroom remodels than putting them in. Increasingly, clients and homebuyers would rather have a large walk-in shower instead.

smart remodeling: skip large bathtub

Tubs do have their upsides. They can be essential for families with small children. Plus, they can be great for people who exercise a lot and enjoy soothing those aching muscles by taking a long soak. And others may simply enjoy relaxing with a good bath.

But those large jetted tubs can take up a lot of valuable master suite square footage, especially for other things like walk-in closets. Plus, if you don’t use your tub, it may simply become more of a chore to keep around, as you may spend time cleaning it but never actually using it. And they can use a lot of water to fill up, particularly spa-style tubs.

Overall, if aesthetic and resale value are most important to you, consider opting for a large, sleek walk-in shower rather than an enormous soaking tub.

Media Rooms

Before the days of affordable large flat screens and sound systems, installing a dedicated media room in the home was one of the few ways to get close to mimicking a true theater experience. But that came with a cost. Not only were you setting aside part of your home’s square footage for the space, you also needed to spend on the related furniture and other amenities.

Nowadays, it’s much easier to turn your family or living room into a media room, as the technology has become much more affordable. And sound systems that once required hard-wiring now can be done wirelessly.

Sure, some homeowners and buyers are still looking for that true in-home theater experience, and in those cases it may make sense to splurge on a media room with all the bells and whistles. But a smart remodeling tip here would be to incorporate a media area into another renovation like a basement remodel. That way the space can serve multiple purposes and you can install things like soundproofing elements as part of the remodel project.

Built-in shelving

Many older homes, especially here in the Portland area, still have original built-in shelves which can add to the home’s charm. And while they can be real space-savers and add extra storage, they can also be limiting. They may frame a room in ways that can make it appear closed off or confining and they could prevent you from updating your space; for example your new large screen TV may not fit between those built-in bookshelves.

In addition, what may be one person’s style of shelving may not suit a future buyer, and removing those built-ins can be costly. Our smart remodeling suggestion: skip the built-ins and opt for free standing shelving instead.

buil in shelves
photo credit

Wine cellar

Wine cellars can be a unique selling point and add a bit of flair to your home. But their uniqueness also adds to their relatively low return on investment. They cost on average $45,000 to build. Chances are, buyers will be unwilling to spend extra for a feature they may not use.

If you’re a true wine connoisseur and simply need a place to store and enjoy those special bottles, and if you’re planning to stay in your home for a while, then adding wine cellar may be the right choice.

But if wine is more of a hobby than a true passion, it may be smarter to spend those funds elsewhere during a remodel on spaces your whole family can enjoy.

Are you thinking about a remodel and aren’t sure where to start? We’d love to discuss your project. Simply schedule a conversation with us!

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