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6 Top places to spend money in your home, according to the pros

Julie Sprankles is a freelance writer living in the storied city of Charleston, SC. When she isn't slinging sass for SheKnows, she enjoys watching campy SyFy creature features (Pirahnaconda, anyone?), trolling the internet for dance work...

Thinking about tackling home improvements? Get the most bang for your buck with these projects

You've earmarked some funds to give your home a little face-lift, but it turns out accruing those savings was the easy part — the tough part lies ahead of you, in choosing which project you want to tackle.

Do you indulge in the kitchen overhaul of your dreams? Or how about swapping out that wall-to-wall carpet for the hardwood floors you've coveted since you bought the place? When it comes to spending your hard-earned reno savings, knowing what improvements will net you the biggest return on your investment can be invaluable in coming up with a game plan.

More: 10 Painting hacks that will make your next project super simple

Regardless of whether you are thinking about putting your home on the market now or simply considering the long-term possibilities, channeling your money to these spaces ensures you're spending your reno bucks like a pro — which is precisely why we turned to the pros to pick their brains.

Here's what they had to say about the six top places to spend money in your home.

1. The kitchen

Thinking about tackling home improvements? Get the most bang for your buck with these projects
Image: Photos provided by Getty Images; Graphics by Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

"I believe the most valuable renovation a homeowner can invest in is the kitchen; creating a space that flows and is logical is key," says Deidre Alexander, owner and interior designer of Leaf Interior Design. "Adding an island if space allows is a big plus. The kitchen is the heart of any home, and having an extra prep area that also doubles as a hangout will surely add value."

More: 11 Inexpensive ways to revamp your kitchen cabinets

The data certainly backs Alexander's theory. According to the 2015 national averages, even a minor kitchen remodel will yield a nearly 80 percent return on your initial investment.

2. Flooring

Thinking about tackling home improvements? Get the most bang for your buck with these projects
Image: Photos provided by Getty Images; Graphics by Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

If you're looking for inspiration for you next reno, just look down. "Floor coverings are an easy area," explains Duval Acker, Realtor and professional kitchen, bathroom and interior design expert. Swapping out your existing flooring is a simple way to effect noticeable aesthetic change in your home and build equity. Did you know that hardwood floors are the No. 1 request from both homeowners and tenants during the home search?

If you don't have the budget for an entire flooring overhaul, take Acker's advice and incorporate "tactile, warm, luscious wool rugs — some with deep pile. They feel so good to walk and sit on."

3. High-quality furniture

Thinking about tackling home improvements? Get the most bang for your buck with these projects
Image: Photos provided by Getty Images; Graphics by Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

You obviously want your home improvements to contribute to your home's value, but it's also important to factor in projects that pay in daily dividends such as comfort, versatility and livability. To that end, Acker recommends analyzing your furniture needs.

More: How to tell if your living room needs more seating

Investing in a gorgeous, high-quality couch that also happens to be comfy will maximize the way you (and guests) enjoy your home. Or, as Acker suggests, try custom furniture. "Solve a storage problem with a piece made to your specs — you'll never see another one like it and, again, it meets a need."

4. The exterior and landscaping

Thinking about tackling home improvements? Get the most bang for your buck with these projects
Image: Photos provided by Getty Images; Graphics by Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

There's no doubt about it — improvements to your home's exterior and landscaping virtually guarantee you'll nearly recoup the entire cost. In fact, replacing the entry door with a steel model actually brings you a greater return on your investment at 101.8 percent. Other high-return outdoor improvements include siding replacement, a deck addition and landscaping.

But even minor changes can have dramatic impact. Says Alexander, "Whether you add window boxes for a pop of color, paint the front door a new color or add a new walkway, the front of your house is the cover of your book. First impressions are everything."

5. The bathroom

Thinking about tackling home improvements? Get the most bang for your buck with these projects
Image: Photos provided by Getty Images; Graphics by Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

If you've ever spent any amount of time watching HGTV, you know how important a beautiful bathroom is to the overall appeal and equity of the home. And since a bathroom remodel brings a 70 percent return on costs accrued, it's a smart choice, too. Unsure of where to start? "Surfaces," says Acker, citing "countertops in luxe materials, gorgeous hand-applied Venetian plaster on the walls of a room and maybe a metallic finish on a ceiling." In general, if your bathroom's surfaces are pastel blue or pink, it's probably time to rip them out and give your bathroom a more current aesthetic.

6. Lighting

Thinking about tackling home improvements? Get the most bang for your buck with these projects
Image: Photos provided by Getty Images; Graphics by Becci Burkhart/SheKnows

You may or may not be feeling light-headed, slightly dizzy and disoriented. Don't worry — it's a totally normal phenomenon called sticker shock. Given that a bathroom remodel alone can run upwards of $20,000, it's natural to feel overwhelmed at first. One way to combat the panic is to dip your toes into the home improvement scene with a comparatively affordable undertaking, says Acker. "One great way is light fixtures. They offer lots of bang for the buck, with great new, fresh looks out there," she emphasizes.

This post was brought to you by Value City Furniture. For more inspiration, visit their Ultimate Comfort site, ultimatecomfort.vcf.com.

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