A home improvement is one of the best ways homeowners can earn a return on their investments. The top five remodeling projects on the 2015 Cost vs Value Report were building an attic bedroom, installing a backup power generator, remodeling the basement, adding a bathroom and remodeling a bathroom.

The list goes on with dozens more home improvement projects boasting value increases at nearly 100 percent. And the good news is, they aren’t all as complicated as building a new room.

5 Affordable Home Improvements

1. Upgrade the Front Door

The report also lists homeowners as recouping between 70 and 97 percent of the cost of replacing their front door. But realtor Ron Phipps says painting the front door and refreshing the curb appeal of your property is a good investment in your home’s value too. He says that improving curb appeal helps the value of any interior remodeling, especially for resale.

2. Install a Brick Path

A paved pathway makes your yard and property more accessible while also boosting aesthetics. A brick path in the front yard provides not only curb appeal but, if you decide to extend the same path from the front of the house to the back, it’s more convenient and comfortable when moving quickly from place to place like the patio, garden or utility shed. Home improvement guru Bob Vila agrees that landscaping improvements are a good investment, especially hardscapes and softscape features like garden paths. Bob also says a good landscaping design can add up to 20 percent of value to your home, reminding homeowners not to take a piecemeal approach but rather develop a beneficial plan.

3. Deck Addition

Adding a deck is a project that keeps almost 80 percent of its cost at resale and turns an expanse of grass or patio into an inviting and attractive outdoor space. Adding a deck can be a simple do-it-yourself project or a more elaborate and costly contractor job, but no matter what, it adds beauty, value, and utility to your property and your backyard space. If you plan to DIY, you’ll need lumber, digging and tamping equipment and power tools. If you don’t own the large machinery, you can rent compaction and concrete equipment from local retailers.

4. Build a Fire Pit

If you like to spend time outside, building a backyard fire pit costs about $500 and takes two days according to “This Old House” Magazine’s Harry Sawyers. Homeowners can easily do this project themselves with minimal tools and materials.

The building process begins with digging around trench to your preferred size, then you fill it with gravel and tamp it down. After that, arrange stone blocks in the trench, cutting the longer ones to fit. Make sure they are level before placing the rest of the blocks in staggered layers with masonry adhesive between them to form the walls. Tap blocks in tightly with a mallet and line the bottom inside of the fire pit with six inches of gravel, place the cap pieces, and your fire pit is ready.

5. Replace Siding

This is one of the 36 highest ROI projects on the 2014 Cost vs Value Report.

Replacing siding is a double-win renovation, improving the curb appeal and providing a low maintenance seal for your home’s envelope to save energy. Homeowners save money on contractor labor if they have time and knowledge to do it themselves. The project involves removing old siding and underlay materials, putting on a house wrap sealed with foam, and hanging the siding panels.

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