Figuring out which areas of your home need to be updated is, arguably, one of the most stressful parts of the home renovation process. Should you replace your light fixtures? Or should you focus on updating your kitchen appliances instead?

While some renovation projects will give you a good return-on-investment, others simply aren’t worth your time or money. But how do you decide which areas of your home need updating, and which are better off left alone?

To take some of the stress out of your home renovation, check out this helpful list of what you should consider keeping in your home and what needs to go.

Keep: Hardwood Floors

If you’ve ever watched a little home improvement show called Fixer Upper, you’ve probably seen how excited Joanna Gaines gets after discovering hardwood floors hiding beneath old carpet. To be fair, she has every reason to be excited. Traditional hardwood floors are beautiful, long-lasting, and can help homes fetch a higher price when it comes time to sell.

While you may not be thrilled with the current state of your hardwood floors, a DIY refinishing job can go a long way in restoring them to their former glory. With a little elbow grease and a lot of patience, you can breathe new life into your hardwood flooring and give your entire living space a makeover.

Replace: Carpet

Unlike timeless hardwood floors, carpet doesn’t age gracefully. After 8 – 10 years, most carpets need replacing due to stains, damage, or outdated design.

While wood-look flooring is trendy right now, carpet still has a place in the world. With so many unique carpet styles on the market today, you can easily add a touch of soft luxury to your home and give your space a modern look.

Keep: Kitchen Cabinetry

New kitchen cabinets are usually the most expensive part of a kitchen renovation. Depending on whether they are custom, semi-custom, or prefabricated, you could be looking at upward of $15,000 for new kitchen cabinets.

Unless your cabinets are in bad shape structurally, you’re better off finding unique ways to upgrade them without replacing them. For example, you could always paint your cabinets in standout shades to give them a fresh new look.

From timeless neutrals to bold pops of color, painting your cabinets can easily give your kitchen a stylish look for much, much less. With all the money you save, consider installing a new backsplash or buying new kitchen barstools to further refresh your space.

Replace: Outdated Kitchen Appliances

Sadly, all home appliances break down eventually. If you’re hanging onto outdated kitchen appliances, they could be costing you a pretty penny by driving up your utility bill.

Replacing older and inefficient models with brand new kitchen appliances can save you hundreds of dollars each year and reinvigorate your entire space. On top of saving money, you’ll also be doing something good for the environment by reducing energy and water use.

Besides, as the true heart of your home, your kitchen deserves to be both stylish and functional. Just remember to look specifically for ENERGY-STAR-certified home appliances that exceed energy-efficient standards.

Keep: The Bathtub 

Thinking about swapping out your old bathtub for a deluxe shower? Before you do, just know that it may hurt your home’s resale value.

Traditional bathtubs are a must-have for homebuyers with young kids. Additionally, a lot of adults just want to take a relaxing bath to unwind after a long day.

Replace: The Showerhead 

If you haven’t upgraded your showerhead since you first moved into your home, it could be time for a replacement. Old showerheads are outdated, dingy-looking, and could be costing you by wasting water.

Upgrading your showerhead to a water-efficient model can save a considerable amount of water without impacting its performance. To maximize your savings and water use, look for the WaterSense Label to ensure that your new showerhead meets the EPA’s standards for water efficiency and performance. Overall, small updates to the bathroom can help increase the value of your home.

Keep: Landscaping

Though extensive landscaping can add serious curb appeal to your home, most homeowners don’t recoup much—if any—of their costs. Chances are good that your yard could benefit from a little TLC, as opposed to an upscale landscaping project.

To get more bang for your buck, consider focusing on xeriscaping instead. This landscaping technique minimizes or eliminates water from irrigation, benefiting both the environment and your wallet.

Replace: The Deck

If your deck has seen better days, replacing it with new wood decking could well be worth the time and money. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2019 Cost vs. Value Report, homeowners can expect to recoup just over 75 percent of their costs from building a new wood deck.

Before you splurge on a new deck, give it a close examination and check its structural support. Though a new deck can pay off, you might be able to get away with replacing a few boards or restaining it.

Keep: Windows

If you have an older home with its original windows, you may not want to replace them. Many old windows are stylish, well-built, and can easily be spruced up to improve their energy efficiency without costly replacements.

Instead, check all your windows for air leaks and use weather stripping to seal any gaps. You can also reduce your home’s energy use by installing energy-efficient blinds, applying window films to block solar heat gain and installing exterior shutters.

Replace: Air Conditioner

It’s hard to enjoy your newly renovated home when you’re sweating buckets from a lack of air conditioning. If your HVAC system is old, inefficient, or just plain non-existent, it may be time to bring your home back into the modern century.

Though it may not be cheap, getting new air conditioning is a must-have amenity for most homeowners. To get the job done properly and for a reasonable price, be sure to get at least three evaluations from reputable contractors before you hire someone for the job.

Research Before You Renovate

Renovating your home is exciting but also incredibly expensive. Doing your research is key to reducing your stress and getting the look you want for less. Find out whether your home improvement projects are tax-deductible, check for rebates on home appliances, and be sure to get multiple quotes for each project. With a little sleuthing, you can find clever ways to save and keep your expenses under control.

– This guest post is not written by the owner of this website.