Don't Do That: 5 Bad Home Improvements That Don't Add Value To Your Home
DIY Bad Home Improvements

Don't Do That: 5 Bad Home Improvements That Don't Add Value To Your Home

February 7, 2023 at 3:42 PM PST
DIY Bad Home Improvements

Don't Do That: 5 Bad Home Improvements That Don't Add Value To Your Home

February 7, 2023 at 3:42 PM PST

There are good home improvements — and there are bad home improvements.

Despite what the myriad of reality shows on certain networks say, not every bit of work on your house will result in a net positive. In fact, there are some home improvements that will actually decrease the value of your home.

So before you start swinging that hammer and ringing up your big-box store credit card, make sure you’re not making one of these 5 home improvement snafus — because yes, folks, there is such a thing as bad home improvements.

“Unique” Wallpaper


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If you believe the milieu of home renovation shows blaring on your preferred network of choice, wallpaper — the bane of many a homeowner’s existence in the 1980s — is making a comeback. And unlike the wallpaper of yesteryear, today’s wallpapers are in fun and funky colors featuring wild and outrageous patterns designed to cater to every homeowner’s whim. Also, unlike the wallpaper of yesteryear, today’s wallpaper can run several thousand dollars per roll!

Unfortunately for trendy homeowners, unique wallpaper is one of the many bad home improvements whose return on investment (ROI) simply isn’t there. According to Fixr, the average homeowner spends between $800 and $1200 to wallpaper an average-sized room — and this isn’t a cost that will be recouped upon the sale of the house.

Put simply: “unique” wallpaper is just that. It’s a highly personal, niche choice — one that varies from homeowner to homeowner, and that’s assuming a homeowner even likes wallpaper in the first place. What’s more, trends of today will likely be out of fashion tomorrow — and it won’t take much for your unique wallpaper to look dated down the road.

That’s why real estate agents recommend that homeowners avoid this overpriced home renovation and keep their walls in neutral colors if they wish to get more value for their dollar.

“Older wallpaper can make a house look and feel outdated,” said the real estate agents at Preferred Properties of Texas. “While this may not directly affect the value of the house, it might affect the marketability. Most buyers prefer to paint since it’s easier to change without a massive hassle. Buyers will pay less for dated homes. Clean walls are a fantastic way for a buyer to look at your home as a clean slate.”

Swimming Pools


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Nothing says summertime like a fresh dip in the pool. Many a homeowner’s swimming pool fantasies involve lounging on a flotation device, fruity drink in hand, and wide-brimmed hat on head, soaking up the summer rays as the pool splashes beneath their feet.

But aside from the gobsmacking cost of swimming pools — with prices starting in the tens of thousands of dollars for a proper inground pool — this falls under the category of “bad home improvements” because its costs don’t justify its perceived improved value.

“When a pool does increase the value of a home, it’s usually no more than a 7% boost—not necessarily an amount that would make it worth the cost,” reports Investopedia. And while there are some exceptions to this rule — such as if you live in an area where it’s warm for most of the year, and you live in a high-end neighborhood that demands investment in such luxuries — swimming pools are more of an investment in a lifestyle, not an investment in a home’s value.

Converting a Bedroom into a Closet

Thanks in no small part to “clothing hauls” on TikTok, everyone’s a fashionista today. Influencers love two things: likes on TikTok and boxes full of fast fashion that they’ll only wear once for a selfie photoshoot. And because such hauls often take up too much space in a traditional closet, it’s become en-vogue to convert an unused bedroom into a luxurious walk-in closet. And hey — what better place to shoot some content, right?

Unfortunately, real estate experts say that not only is a bedroom conversion clearly a bad home improvement but it’s actually considered one of the worst home improvements because turning a bedroom into a loft or a walk-in closet will actually decrease the value of your home. The more bedrooms a home has, the higher the price it can command — and you can remove as much as $100,000 off the price of your home simply to keep up with this ridiculous social media trend.

“When you start eliminating bedroom space, you’ve completely changed the comparable value of your home in the neighborhood,” said David Pekel, president of Pekel Construction and Remodeling, to MarketWatch.

Converting a Garage into…Anything, Really

Thanks to the pandemic, many homeowners have turned storage spaces into offices, gyms, and even spare bedrooms. Our garages — especially if they were fully detached garages — were the first spaces to get converted, and on the surface, converting a garage into additional living space seems like a good idea.

Unfortunately, converting a garage into anything besides a garage falls under the “bad home improvements” category.

“Converting a garage to a bonus room, like a gym or playroom, is one of the homeowners’ most popular remodeling ideas,” reports GoBankingRates. “However, it doesn’t always sit well with potential buyers who want to keep the garage intact for their vehicles, especially if they have more than one. Moreover, you’ll also need a garage conversion permit to go through with it, which can cost you well over $1,000. In most cases, converting your garage can drop your home’s value by as much as 25%.”

“Open Concept” Everything

First popularized by popular renovation shows, “open concept” has now become the catch-all home improvement phrase of the 21st century. Today’s modern homeowner hates a dividing wall like a fitness influencer hates gluten: sledgehammers come out and everything gets torn down to the studs to create one huge kitchen-dining-living area. And don’t forget the shiplap!

Unfortunately, despite what some renovation gurus might have you believe, “open concept everything” falls under the category of “bad home improvements.” And yes, in fact, they do decrease the value of your home.

“A homeowner might not be able to change the layout if they decide to sell in the future, limiting their ability to appeal to buyers who may have different preferences,” said Mark Wolens, the Principal and Director at Woden and Weston Creek, to Home & Gardens. “Potential buyers may be turned off by the lack of privacy or the potential for increased noise levels. They may also be concerned about the difficulty of managing an open-plan space. As a result, a home with an open-plan layout may be valued less than a traditional home with separate rooms.”



Whether it’s luxury or ease, every area of your home should be as fabulous and unique as you.



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