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Home improvements that give you the most bang for your buck

(BPT) – Prioritizing a home-improvement wish list is never easy. Do you put design and aesthetics ahead of functionality? Or do you choose comfort and convenience over energy efficiency and cost savings?

If you’ve found yourself trying to figure out which home improvement project to tackle next, take another look at your list and see if some of your projects could actually double up on the benefits and give you style, comfort and energy efficiency all at once. The following projects are designed to do just that by giving you the most bang for your buck:

1. Appliance update – Does your dishwasher make so much noise you have to move to another room to have a conversation? Have you replaced the inner plumbing of your toilets at least once? These are indicators that you have older appliances in your home, and it may be that they are guzzling water, draining electricity and even disrupting your life. Installing new, Energy-Star appliances can save you money on electric and water bills, and also give your home a new, fresh look. Today’s appliances are styled to give your bathroom or kitchen a beautiful new look, matching any color or style theme.

2. Redecorating – To some homeowners, redecorating equals added and unnecessary expense. But some quick and simple updates can dramatically change how you feel in your space. Fresh paint and rearranging can do wonders. Add window treatments to bring a look of luxury into your home and motorize them with Somfy technology to ensure a larger return on your investment. Motorization not only offers comfort and privacy at the touch of a button, but also makes your home smarter by reducing energy costs with sun sensors that automatically adjust your window treatments. Did you know the U.S. Department of Energy claims that closing draperies can help reduce heat gains in the summer by 33 percent and that opening drapes in the winter can reduce heat loss in a warm room by 10 percent?  Motorize your shades or draperies to prevent the money figuratively going out the window. Plus you don’t have to worry about kids or pets getting tangled in those dangling cords.

3. Back splashes – Installing a back splash around your kitchen will provide something more than just a nice-looking space. Back splashes are also good for protecting your walls from food stains, water damage and scratches caused by active cooks in the kitchen. They’re easy to clean, too, saving you the expense of having to repaint the walls frequently. And they can increase your home’s value just by giving your kitchen an updated look. If you notice good success with back splashes in your kitchen, consider carrying the project through to your bathrooms as well.

4. Ceiling fans – Give your furnace or air conditioner a break by circulating the already warm or cooled air with ceiling fans. They’re designed to spin in one direction in the winter months, drawing down the warm air that hovers by the ceiling; conversely, they spin in the other direction in the summer to spread cool air throughout the room. Plus, ceiling fans come in so many styles and colors; you can easily find one to blend in with the theme of your rooms and decor.

5. Reusable plants – Home improvement projects aren’t just for the inside of your house – your landscaping might be on the list, too. To make the most of your landscaping, choose perennial plants you can propagate over the years, saving you the expense of needing to buy new or replacement plants. Plus, by using plants like hostas, irises, lilacs and even roses, you can grow your gardens over the years to look exactly the way you want in shape, color, size and height.

With these five home improvement projects that give you more, it will be easier for you to prioritize your to-do list and really make it count.

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