The devil is in the details

Sure, kitchen and bath renovations get all the glamour and credit for offering high returns on your investment when it's time to sell your home.

But a host of other, often-overlooked improvements can also offer great returns while completely changing the look of your home at a fraction of the cost of bigger projects. If you're looking for home improvements that will pay off in the long term, consider these high-impact, lower-cost upgrades:

Change the front door — The door to your home is not only a key element of its exterior look, the door can set expectations for what guests will see inside your home as well. A new front door makes a statement for both the inside and outside of your home.

When you sell your home, that new front door can return as much as 73 percent of the initial cost for steel doors and nearly 54 percent for fiberglass doors, according to Remodeling Magazine's Cost vs. Value Report.

Layer and upgrade lighting in key rooms — Replacing outdated lights can create a fresh, appealing atmosphere in a room. But don't stop at overhead fixtures. Layer your lighting by adding new floor lamps and table lamps. A variety of lighting sources and types allows you to change moods in a room with the flip of a few switches.

Repaint ceilings and baseboards — While you may be aware of the benefits of painting walls, many homeowners overlook the value of painting ceilings and baseboards. Repainting a ceiling, even if it's plain white, dramatically brightens a room. The same is true for painting trim; the freshness of updated trim can draw the whole room together. So, the next time you paint a room, be sure to do ceilings and trim as well.

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