Projects That Are Worth the Time and Money

HGTV Magazine talked to HGTV and DIY Network experts to explain why spending a few hours on—or forking over some cash for—these projects really pays off.
By: Jaimie Dalessio Clayton
Test Paint Sampples

Test Paint Sampples

Photo by: Sydney Van Dyke

Sydney Van Dyke

Worth the time: Testing paints on a wall before committing to a color
“Paint can dry a shade lighter or darker than it looks on a chip, so bring home a few samples to try out. Paint a two-foot square of each color on your wall, let them dry, and check how they look throughout the day and night. I once had to part with a pretty light blue because it looked weirdly washed out in the midday sun. Remember to test colors with the lights turned on and off, too.”—Christina El Moussa, Flip or Flop

Worth the money: Hiring a window cleaner
“Depending on the number of windows you have and how big they are, hiring a pro may cost a few hundred dollars, but it means you don’t have to climb up and down a ladder, which is both tiring and potentially dangerous. Ask about discounts—some companies offer a deal if they’re cleaning both the insides and outsides of windows, as opposed to just the outsides.”—David Bromstad, Beach Flip

Worth the time: Mulching flower beds every spring
“This is an easy weekend DIY project with long-lasting rewards. Mulch helps prevent weeds, retains water for plants, and looks and smells great. Use a tool like a steel mulch fork to put down the mulch right over your existing soil, then spread it around evenly with a metal rake until the layer is two to four inches thick.”—Chris Lambton, Yard Crashers

Household Chores

Household Chores

Photo by: Bill Brown

Bill Brown

Worth the money: Getting your roof inspected
“Every three to five years, invest a couple hundred dollars on a professional inspection. A roofer can spot structural issues like sagging, water damage, and holes before they turn into much pricier problems.”—Chip Wade, Elbow Room

Worth the money: Sealing marble and granite countertops
“Although it can cost between $300 and $500, this is something I leave to the pros to make sure the job is done right. I have leathered marble in my kitchen and wouldn’t trust myself to preserve the texture. Do it at least once a year and you won’t have to worry about sauce splatters and coffee spills staining your counters.”—Alison Victoria, Kitchen Crashers

Worth the time: Measuring before you buy
“No one wants to have to return a sofa. Carefully calculate the space you have for furniture before you purchase it—including entrances, doorways, corners, and turns—so you know you can get it in your house. I keep these measurements stored on my phone so I can pull them up when I’m shopping.”—Taniya Nayak, HGTV designer

Worth the time: Restaining your deck
“Restaining doesn’t just make your deck look better. It also puts a protective coating on the wood that can prevent mildew, cracks, and warping. If your deck has a transparent stain, gets excessive sun, or sees heavy traffic, restain it once a year. If it gets plenty of shade, you can probably wait up to five years. Either way, it’s the kind of job you can tackle yourself. Plan to do it on a weekend when the forecast calls for dry weather and temperatures between 50°F and 90°F.”—Josh Temple, Beach Flip

Worth the time: Scanning important documents to your computer
“I’ve started using a NeatDesk scanner [$400, bestbuy.com] to upload paperwork like tax documents and my son’s report cards to my desktop. Then I store the hard copies in the attic so they’re not junking up my office. What a pleasure not having to dig through battered file boxes.”—Tiffany Brooks, HGTV Smart Home 2015

Worth the money: Installing soft-close cabinet hinges
“Soft-close hinges keep doors from slamming shut and wearing down quickly. It’s like adding a little pillow to your cabinets! Just unscrew your old hinges and screw in the new ones—they cost about $10 each at the hardware store. Even lower-quality cabinets feel high-end as a result.”—Matt Blashaw, Vacation House for Free

Worth the time: Changing the water in a vase daily
“Cut flowers last longer when they get fresh water every day. Their stems can’t soak up the amount of H2O they need when the liquid is gunked up with bacteria and debris. Changing the water every day also prevents a cloudy, smelly situation inside the vase.”—Vern Yip, HGTV designer

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