Of course, you want your remodeling projects to pay off when you sell. But some luxuries just make your home life sweeter and easier — and there’s big value in that, too.
Here are some remodeling splurges that are great for your life now and someday may pique a buyer’s interest.
1. Steam Shower
What: A sealed shower attached to a steam generator that turns the stall into a steam room. You can build a steam shower from scratch or buy a prefab fiberglass unit.
Why: Steam relaxes, opens sinuses, soothes muscles, and cleans pores. Installing a steam shower is a major project that includes wiring for the generator; vapor-proofing walls, floors, and ceiling; installing a tightly-fitting door; and having a bathroom fan outside the shower to suck up the extra humidity.
Tip: A sloped ceiling in the shower room ensures that condensation runs off.
How much: Starting around $2,600
2. Heated Bathroom Floors
Thin, thermostatically-controlled electric radiant mats that install under tile.
No more cold feet when stepping out of the shower in the morning. Many systems come with timers so warm bathroom floors await you each morning.
Heated floors help stem mold growth in humid places.
$6-$16/sq. ft. for materials or at least $870 installed (not counting cost of tile or adding 20-amp GFCI dedicated circuit starting at about $125)
Upscale models feature insulated glass, solar-powered shades, and rain sensors that’ll automatically close an open skylight in bad weather.
Avoid dark, dreary room syndrome in areas you can’t brighten with windows — hallways, interior rooms, even closets Skylights save you money on heating, cooling, and lighting bills.
If you plan to open and close skylights, order screens to keep out bugs and roof debris.
$500-$3,500 (depending on size, glazing, and complexity) installed
4. Towel-Warming Drawer
A stainless steel, heated drawer that slips into cabinetry, plugs into an outlet, and warms towels.
Because there’s nothing more snuggly than wrapping a warm towel around you after a bath or shower.
Towels take time to heat up — some people say as much as 45 minutes — so you’ll have to plan ahead to have a toasty one ready when you are.
5. Central Vac (aka Whole-House Vacuum)
A super-suction, built-in vacuum system that features convenient inlet ports throughout the house where you plug in 25-to-50-foot lightweight vacuum hoses. The collection bin is usually located in a basement or garage.
No more dragging heavy vacuum cleaners up and down stairs and throughout the house. With central vacs all you need to schlepp is a lightweight hose fitted with a power brush.
Central vacs have up to five times the suction power of portable vacuums, and they store dust far away from where it’s collected — great for allergy sufferers. Some high-tech systems have retractable hoses that disappear into the wall.
Make sure you have enough ports — at least one for every 500 sq. ft.
$1,200-$3,000 to retrofit a house; add about $150 for retractable hose.