Published on February 6, 2021

Tax season is nearly upon us, which means so are refunds. If you’re expecting one, you should receive it around two weeks after you file, giving you plenty of time to think about how you want to put that money to use. Rent, emergencies, groceries—these are all solid plans. But apparently so are renovations. Groundworks recently found that in 2021, about 20 percent of homeowners plan to use their tax refunds for home repairs or upgrades. That’s twice as many as the pre-pandemic level reported in 2019 by a National Retail Federation survey. 

The average refund, according to the latest IRS data, is $2,711, which leaves a ton of opportunities for DIYers to get scrappy. We did some research and rounded up a few projects you can tackle within this range.

Clad the Kitchen Floor in Hardwood

Labor and materials for a 200-square-foot kitchen add up to around $2,800, so you might have to throw in an extra $100 at the end, but it will be worth it.

Deck Out the Bathroom in Storage

New cabinets for this space can be as cheap as $250 or as much as $3,000, depending on how much stuff you’re looking to store. Stay well under that big number by combining vanity and freestanding solutions from IKEA’s Godmorgon line

Carve Out a Closet

Building a closet averages $2,013. The price depends mostly on size but also on finishes (solid wood doors can run the most). So look to add a luxe touch in other ways, be it paint or textured surfaces like caning. 

Build Bookshelves

The cost to have built-in bookshelves installed averages $2,563. If you buy the materials yourself, you can usually get a handyman to put them in for $30 to $130 per hour. You might even have some extra cash left over to buy a few new reads. 

Our Winter Renovation issue is here! Subscribe now to step inside Leanne Ford’s latest project—her own historic Pennsylvania home. Plus discover our new rules of reno.

Discussion