Spring is here! With spring officially beginning on March 20th, it is the perfect time for homeowners to think about getting to those cleaning, maintenance, or improvement projects that sat idle all winter long.

A house is one of the biggest purchases a person will ever make, and most want to keep their homes looking beautiful not only for themselves, but also to entice future buyers. From time to time, it’s a good idea to invest in some home remodeling to add to its appeal. Of course, before making any major changes to your home, you’ll want to be sure you go through the proper channels—such as the association architectural committee for approval and the city for the necessary permits—to make sure that you don’t run into any legal issues.

So when it comes time to give your house a facelift, consider these touch-ups and renovations that will not only make your home look better than ever but also help increase its value:

Re-paint Your Rooms: One of the easiest (and cheapest!) ways to dramatically change the entire look of a room is to add a fresh coat of paint. Not only will it immediately make your walls look crisp and clean, but also, because wall color can greatly dictate the feel of a room, it’s a simple way to change the ambiance of your home. Since darker colors seem intense on walls and can make a room look smaller, it’s usually best to stick with lighter, warmer hues for your overall color to make your home feel open and welcoming. If you want to paint with darker colors, consider limiting them to an accent wall so that the color isn’t overwhelming and pops against the lighter colors.

If you’re doing the painting yourself, here are a few tips so your paint job looks professional:

  • Apply a coat of primer first so that walls won’t soak up as much paint. Use two coats of paint to ensure a rich, even coverage.
  • Use painters’ tape along the outside edge of the area you’re painting to get sharp, even lines.

Update Your Kitchen and Bathrooms: If your kitchen or bathrooms look like they belong in an era long since passed, it might be time to update them. That can be as simple as retiling the floor and replacing faucets and cabinet hardware or as complex as completely remodeling the rooms. When you remodel, consider avoiding too-trendy decor and instead stick with classic looks that will stand the test of time–this will keep you from redecorating again in five years and also make your home all the more appealing to potential buyers.

Add a Home Office: People’s work and home lives are drastically merging as more and more workers telecommute from home. Because of this, turning an empty basement, attic or bedroom into a dedicated home office can give you a peaceful place to work and also be a real selling point for potential buyers.

A good home office will have enough space to comfortably work in and have easy access to the Internet, electrical outlets and cable and phone jacks. Touches like built-in bookcases and desks can add that extra something that makes your home office a productive place to work.

Let There be Light: When a room doesn’t have enough light, it can feel very drab and enclosed. Bring in some much-needed brightness by adding new light fixtures to a dreary room. Don’t be afraid to use different types of fixtures to get the best results—for example, in a kitchen you could use a hanging pendant to spotlight a specific area (like the kitchen’s island), recessed light fixtures to spread the light  over the entire room and track lighting under the cabinet to make the kitchen feel open and bright. If you’re not sure which types of lighting fixtures will work best for you, consult a residential lighting designer to find out how to light your room just right.

Finish Your Basement or Attic: Utilize every inch of your home by turning your unfinished basement or attic into extra living space. These areas are untapped gems that can be used as game rooms or extra bedrooms, or, with enough space and the right design, a home all on its own complete with a living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedrooms. Basements and attics have special characteristics that need to be addressed. For example, basements are prone to water infiltration and attics often have slanted ceilings. It’s a good idea to bring in the professionals to guide you through these obstacles and make sure all major components like pluming, electric, walls and floors are done correctly.