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When you have big dreams for your home but a limited budget, your design dollars should go where they'll have the biggest impact. We checked the cost of popular improvements against average Bay Area resale values to find the five areas where home updates are most likely to pay off.

The Heart of the Home

An upgraded kitchen is a great place to spend time with family and friends. It’s also a major asset to buyers if you end up selling your property. You’ll get back more of the costs of a style update than a top-to-bottom overhaul, experts say, so focus on high-impact changes like adding an eye-catching backsplash. Refresh old countertops and replace dated flooring with a modern material like Cote D'Azur Black Brushed Limestone Tile from Floor & Decor.

A Luxurious Bath

According to experts, homeowners can expect to recoup up to 50% of the cost of improving a bathroom. You can create a high-end look by updating walls, flooring and vanities with an effortlessly elegant material like Thassos Select Polished Marble Tile from Floor & Decor. This versatile natural stone can be incorporated everywhere from a functional backsplash to a one-of a-kind decorative mosaic.

Room to Breathe

You may not be able to make your living area bigger. But you can easily make it feel that way. Give the walls a fresh coat of light colored paint to make them appear to recede. Replace carpeting with large-format tile or wide-plank wood. A surface like AquaGuard Stark Greige Herringbone Water-Resistant Laminate from Floor & Decor can make small spaces seem more expansive.

Good Light

Natural light is a must-have for most homebuyers, and no wonder: it elevates moods, lowers energy and makes rooms feel more spacious and inviting. You can maximize the light in your home by creating as many reflective surfaces as possible. Use glossy paint on walls and mirrors and decorate with mirrored accessories. The floor is your largest surface area so change carpet and dark wood to tile or light wood like HydroShield Alabaster Oak Water-Resistant Laminate from Floor & Decor.

Go Green

Environmentally savvy homeowners are increasingly enhancing their homes with eco-friendly features. In addition to installing energy-efficient lighting and utilizing water-saving appliances, upgrading your flooring to a sustainable material is one of the smartest design choices you can make today. Options include cork, which is biodegradable and recyclable, or a durable bamboo such as Eco Forest Vintage Gray Hand Scraped Locking Stranded Engineered Bamboo from Floor & Decor.

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