What Is Home Improvement?

Home improvement is the process of enhancing one’s house through renovation and repair work. This includes the addition of rooms, improving existing structures, and making adjustments to the exterior of a dwelling. It also involves replacing or repairing existing home fixtures, such as windows and doors.

Many home improvement projects add value to a property, and can be lucrative for those who intend to sell their homes in the future. However, not all home improvements produce a positive return on investment. It is important to weigh the costs and benefits of a project against its impact on resale price before beginning work.

Experts recommend that homeowners hire licensed contractors for major work and obtain a contract with detailed cost breakdowns before starting any work. These contracts should state a deposit and payment schedule, and include warranties for materials and workmanship. The contractor should also have insurance and a business license, and may belong to a trade association or other industry organization. In addition, the contractor should be willing to provide references from past clients.

A growing interest in DIY, facilitated by popular television shows such as This Old House and Trading Spaces, has made it easier for homeowners to undertake some home improvement tasks themselves. For example, the emergence of home design software has enabled people to “virtually” transform their living spaces before they begin a remodeling project. A desire to historicize modern suburban homes has contributed to a growth in the market for products such as imitation molding and columns.