You don’t have to be an interior designer to change the feel of your house with these top five interior remodeling tips. These projects can update an old look and return the most on your remodeling investment if you decide to resell. It may be tempting to renovate your  kid’s  bedroom but experts say you should spend your resources on the kitchen and bathroom first.

According to the 2013 Cost vs. Value Report, kitchen remodels and bathroom fixes are among the most cost-efficient interior projects for your home. The Cost vs. Value Report, produced by Remodeling Magazine, in partnership with the National Association of Realtors, measures the cost of a project and the estimated return.

“I’ve been working as an agent for 30 years and the two areas buyers are most concerned with are kitchens and bathrooms,” says John Kmiecik, a regional vice president for the National Association of Realtors and a Chicago-area real estate agent. His clients typically want to know if the inside of the house is conducive to their lifestyle. This differs for each family but Kmiecik has five interior remodeling tips that he says will please buyers.

 Tip #1: Replace kitchen appliances. The first place to start with a kitchen remodel is the appliances: replacing the refrigerator, oven and microwave.

“A lot of people don’t cook anymore. Everyone’s working and wants to maximize their use of the microwave,” Kmiecik says. An updated dishwasher is also a concern but not a top priority because it often takes up valuable cabinet space. Minor kitchen remodels usually cost around $18,000 and could recoup up to 82 percent of the cost.

Tip #2: Makeover the bathroom.  While it’s not the most attractive or fun feature, families who have lived with faulty or insufficient bathrooms know the cost.

“When you have two bathrooms, you don’t want to go back to one; so adding a second bathroom always gets your money back,” Kmiecik says.

Adding a bathroom will recoup up to 60 percent of the costs, while remodeling will gain 72 percent back. Buyers are attracted to bathrooms with a natural feel in the colors or type of stone. People also like spa-like bathrooms with top-notch shower heads or heated floors, Kmiecik says.

Tip #3: Add extra closet space. Most buyers, according to Kmiecik, are also concerned about adequate closet space. He says adding closets or investing in organizers will make your home more valuable. This could be as simple as going to the Container Store for shelving or as complicated as hiring a professional to carve out part of the attic for a walk-in closet.

Tip #4: Remodel your attic and basement.  Adding square footage to your house will always increase its value. Basement remodels earned owners 77 percent of their original value back. Kmiecik warns that basement bedrooms do not always add to the total count.

“As an appraiser, I’ll give little value for a bedroom in the basement because it doesn’t count toward the square footage unless it’s above ground,” he says.

If the buyer wants it, that doesn’t matter so much. Remodeling the attic, however, will almost always be worth the cost, if you have the space. Before you start, make sure the attic meets building code standards and you can fit it into your budget. An attic bedroom addition can cost almost $50,000 but you will likely recoup 84 percent of that.

Tip #5: Redo your whole kitchen. While a minor kitchen remodel will update your appliances, gutting the kitchen can change the atmosphere of the whole house. It can cost around $54,000 but the difference it makes could lead to a recovery of 74 percent of the costs.

“I always recommend an open floor plan kitchen because people love the flow, it looks larger and people like to be together,” Kmiecik says.  

Overall, interior projects came in second to exterior remodeling projects in the report. While all the projects improved in value from the year before, eight of the top ten projects were exterior renovation items such as adding a new door or a deck. Interior projects, however, can really change the feel of the house, Kmiecik says.

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