Home Improvement

What’s the most practical changes you’ve made to your home?

By July 7, 2019 38 Comments

We’ve been in our home for 2 years now and I’ve finished all the big projects but still interested in making improvements. What are some cool/practical things you’ve done to your home that weren’t necessary but made life better?

For instance, I recently replaced our exhaust fan switches with timers in all bathrooms. Not necessary but definitely a practical improvement!

Edit: these are so great! Thank you to everyone for making my to-do list longer! I’m pumped! Keep the ideas coming!

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  • Jf2611 says:

    Night light outlets in the kitchen and bathrooms, as well as lighted switch for the main light in each bathroom.

  • hairyballzachh says:

    Smart thermostat to cut back on heat/aircon use when I’m not home.
    Photocell timers on all outside lights so I don’t have to remember to turn them on/off.
    In-wall speed controls for my ceiling fans so I don’t have to have chains hanging down.
    Dimmer switches on almost all lights.
    Keypad locks on exterior doors so I don’t have to take house keys anywhere.
    These have all worked great for me.

  • Mohawks-already-takn says:

    Home automation. All my systems are control and schedule-able. Hvac, lights, sprinklers, door locks, security and entertainment. Makes life super convenient and saves a ton on utility bills.

  • DylonNotNylon says:

    There was a shitty, not desirable “bedroom” built in the basement. No one would want to live down there. Less than 200 dollars changed it into a big ass walk-in closet with mirrors, clothing rods, and some shelving for storage. Perfect way to keep all of the clothes that I dont wear on the regular or that are currently out of season. Will it change the value of my home? Not at all. But the headache of packing clothes up into totes is gone forever and it was worth every penny.

  • imjusthereforlaughs8 says:

    Outlet plate night lights, so you have automatic light but it doesn’t take up any outlets, and Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0 wall outlets, which have 1 regular plug and 2 USB adaptive fast charging plugs.

  • Kv603 says:

    Replaced undersized storage tank water heater with tankless.

    Garage door position monitoring.

    Removed most of the lawn. Big portion became a paver patio with outdoor fireplace.

  • Notevenspecial says:

    Kitchen and closet organizers. Making your spaces work *for* you instead of against you is worth every penny. Two that I used were Rev-a-shelf and ClosetMaid, but there are many more out there to choose from.

  • boondoggie42 says:

    Motion sensor lights in the mudroom and all the closets.

  • emaz88 says:

    Replaced a bunch of outlets with the ones that also have USBs. Took an afternoon, super convenient. So glad we did it.

    EDIT: Sheesh, people. This was a low-effort, inexpensive project which has provided a lot of use to my family, in my house. I don’t need to hear all of the reasons you wouldn’t do it in your own home.

  • hellojuly says:

    WiFi “smart” adapters for outlets. I have a vent fan in basement I can turn on/off with my phone now plus set on a timer.

    Wall mount all TVs.

  • midgielou says:

    Keyless door entry is great when you’re coming home with both hands full of stuff.
    Replaced hinge doors with pocket doors on bedroom en suite and closet – makes the space feel much larger!
    Added bidets to 2 of our bathrooms.
    Paved the gravel driveway!

  • Roshamboagogo says:

    Installing a dishwasher has freed up about an hour of my time each day. Invaluable.

  • freewayrider says:

    One thing I’ve been doing recently is simplifying my home. Decluttering, plus some light remodeling that makes it easier to maintain (hardwood/laminate throughout home, etc.). Contrary to my geek-like ways, I’ve recently abandoned some of my IoT based automation, as the reality can be that it really doesn’t simplify anything. Surprisingly, it has been about as rewarding as some of the other decluttering.

  • Balloonflewaway says:

    We added a cat door in the wall from the laundry room to the garage. Then we put a dog crate against the wall in the garage so that the cat could go from the laundry room (through the cat door) right into the dog crate. Then we put his litter box in the dog crate.

    Now the house smells nice and our indoor cat is always safe inside.

  • Pigmy says:

    Replaced those shitty glass ceiling light fixtures with LED fixtures. No bulbs to replace and greatly improved the visibility in the area.

    LVP flooring was also not required but greatly improved cleanliness. There is more upkeep for having to sweep/dustmop regularly but thats just less shit in our carpet. Air filters are much cleaner as a result also.

    Next item is smart thermostats.

  • Fancypickles says:

    Our laundry room was downstairs off the kitchen. We didn’t have a pantry.

    We moved the laundry closet straight upstairs into an empty hall space and turned the laundry closet into a pantry. Or, as the contractors said: “Where it should have been to start with.” Improved both the laundry and the cooking chores. Only regret that we didn’t do it earlier.

  • 1320Fastback says:

    Ceiling fans in all rooms, updated all other light fixtures to modern, LED Lights EVERYWHERE but reasonable color temperatures, roll down patio shades to shade the houses windows in the summer and built a 18×18 shop for my tools and toys!

  • Exex123 says:

    I removed some of my front yard to give more car parking. Now, there’s less lawn to mow and we don’t have to play musical chairs with the two cars.

  • beaushaw says:

    I didn’t do this but the previous owner did. There is a small door in the garage that is exactly the size of two of the generic white plastic 6 foot folding tables. You open it up and slide two tables into a little cubby. Everyone who sees it is amazed.

  • skwolf522 says:

    I installed Motion switch to the kids bathrooms. Got tired of reminding them to turn the lights off.

  • CMWalsh88 says:

    I installed a heating element to the back side of the master bathroom mirror. It keeps the mirror from fogging after a shower. $60 and a little work well worth it.

  • TheSkonz says:

    I replaced my toilet seat with a slam-proof model.

    I’ll be the first to admit I’m easily amused, but watching this thing slowly pivot down – and come to a nice soft landing with an oddly-satisfying “thonk” sound – still blows my mind.

  • VirtualMess says:

    For installed lighting the bedrooms only had ceiling fan lights. Adding to that, the rooms had popcorn ceilings that soaked up what little those fan lights put out.

    The ceilings have been smoothed, and recessed lights have been installed in all of the bedrooms. They feel twice as big and I can actually see! The only downside is that means I can now see the history of the house in every patched area of drywall.

  • StartingOverAccount says:

    Put a hot water spigot outside.

    It’s been wonderful. The hot water makes cleaning off anything greasy much easier. Can have warmer water when washing the dog (Main reason I put it out there. I was tired of a wet bathroom when the kids washed the dogs) I’ve used it with the pressure washer when waxing the cars (there’s debate if hot water is bad for a pressure washer. I don’t know if it’s recommended but mine is five years old and still works great.)

  • Lehk says:

    Re-keyed all the locks including the garage to take one key

  • b6passat says:

    One of those touch faucets in the kitchen. So much more sanitary when cooking. Chicken covered hands? Just touch with the forearm.

  • Hrekires says:

    wall storage, everywhere

    giant pegboard in the garage for all my tools. pegboard (painted white) in the kitchen for storing cooking tools. pegboard behind the door in my home office for computer parts.

    I get lots of compliments about the kitchen pegboard. it was inspired by [Julia Child’s kitchen](https://pursuitist.com/julia-childs-kitchen-pegboard/).

    also, smart/voice activated lights in nearly every room.

  • 73IRS says:

    Got rid of two 58″ ceiling fans with lights and put in two 68″ ceiling fans and installed recessed LEDs in the ceiling.

    WiFi light switch for the living room lights, ceiling fans, and fireplace.

    Stacking the washer and dryer to make better use of our laundry room.

    Humidity switches for bathroom fans.

    LEDs. Everywhere.

  • alexwasnotavailable says:

    We’ve done a ton of stuff to our house in the 6 years we’ve been here. Some of the smallest things are the ones I appreciate the most: 1) put a motion activated light in our stairway, 2) keypad lock on backdoor, the main one we use, and re-keyed everything so one key opens all doors 3) wall mounted all tv’s and hid all wires behind 4) living room lights are on timers, 5) wall-mounted drying racks for laundry to take up less floor space, 6) smart thermostats I guess, 7) hung a light string under back porch balcony,

  • colinmhayes says:

    I added air conditioning. It’s fucking awesome.

  • blbd says:

    Replaced an ugly patch job next to the back door with a French door with integrated blinds. Much nicer looking inside and out. More light in the kitchen. A nice big door for moving large items in and out.

    Got rid of the back lawn and replaced it with low water fruit trees and garden and herb beds. The house produces some of its own food 4 seasons a year because of a southwestern afternoon exposure.

    Purchased a Tuff Shed (not the crappy imitation brands because they’re badly made) and upgraded the insides to make a second office. Upgraded the garage electrical service to accommodate it and hookups for some big power tools. Cheaper than even buying just materials to do the job myself.

    Used the welder so far to construct safety rails for outdoor stairs, a vise tripod, and for this latest four day weekend I am making a massive fucking garden trellis because my tomatoes hate cages and want to be free.

    Replaced the average shitty kitchen faucet with a high end Swiss one made by KWC. It’s one of the most used items in your house. The extra few hundred is totally worth it. Same for replacing the shitty base model Frigidaire dishwasher with a midrange Bosch. Simply no comparison how much cleaner the dishes grt and how much less noise.

    Added a whole house fan. I can make the place cool at night in about 15 minutes max. Amazing!

    On the example OP gave. Added Panasonic’s awesome bath fans as mine had none. And timer switches for them. An excellent small fix, I can confirm it.

  • iwilltellyoufacts says:

    Ran ethernet to most rooms and the living room a couple of weeks ago.

  • glassy_mango23 says:

    I switched the refrigerator door from right side open to left side open. It’s much more practical now because the counter is only on the left side.

    I realize this is not applicable to many refrigerator models, but it made life easier while this one lives out its life in my house. Moved in with appliances convey

  • icebourg says:

    Just got a whole house fan installed a few weeks ago, wish I had done it years ago.

    Last winter we increased our attic insulation.

    These two things have made a big difference in the comfort of our home.

  • Sleestacksrcoming says:

    Found a bidet/toilet on clearance at local box store out the door for around 75-80% off retail and there was a rebate, all in all it was about 150-200$ more than a regular toilet. It has revolutionized my bathroom time.

  • UngluedChalice says:

    I flipped the door on the dryer so it no longer blocks the path of the clothes from from the washer into the dryer.

  • fourbetshove says:

    Under counter mounted garden sink in the kitchen. One giant tub instead of two. Can fit a whole cookie sheet in the sink flat.

  • Spoonbills says:

    This is the dumbest thing ever but I love it every day: When I put a new fence up, I had them extend a little section about three feet perpendicular to the fence so I could hide my trash and recycling bins behind it. I’ve planted a trumpet vine against it so I have this pretty flowering climbing plant that hummingbirds love against a wood fence AND I CAN’T SEE THE TRASH BINS.

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