Affordable Home Improvements You Can Make With Your Tax Return

If the deluge of commercials currently airing on TV tells us anything, it’s that tax filing season is officially here. While the paperwork associated with the filing process is dreaded by many, the reality is that the vast majority of Americans will get a tax refund — and this makes it a great time to think of possible home improvements.

In fact, according to data from the IRS, 73.2 percent of all tax filers (roughly 96 million Americans) received a tax refund in 2019. These refunds had an average value of $2,725.

Getting several thousand dollars back in your pocket to start off the new year is an exciting prospect for anyone. It’s a good opportunity to pay off debt, invest in a savings account, or splurge on something you’ve been wanting for a long time.

Of course, not all “investments” have to be in stocks or mutual funds. One great way to invest your tax refund is by making necessary home improvements — particularly in high-impact areas like the bathroom or kitchen.

While your tax refund may not provide enough funds to cover a full-scale remodeling project, it could be more than enough to take care of that one upgrade you’ve been itching to make. Here is a closer look at some affordable home improvements you can make using your tax refund.

Install a New Bathroom Vanity

The bathroom vanity is one of the most important parts of the bathroom, and it is also one of the areas where an upgrade will have the biggest impact on the overall look of the room. Many quality bathroom vanities are available for under $1,500, in a wide range of styles and configurations.

When installing a new bathroom vanity, it’s typically easiest to use your old vanity as a guideline. Selecting a vanity with the same measurements as the old model will make the installation process much easier, and could potentially allow you to complete the work without the help of a contractor. 

This could also serve as the time to make some needed vanity upgrades, such as replacing a single-sink vanity with a double-sink model, or buying a vanity with more organizational drawers. These changes can greatly streamline your daily routine. Be mindful of any additional work that might be needed to accommodate such changes. For example, an additional sink would require some plumbing updates. If you are switching to a larger or smaller vanity, take careful measurements so you know how the new model will fit with the overall layout.

As one of the visual focal points of your bathroom, you should also be mindful of how the new vanity will affect the room’s overall appearance. Whether you prefer a contemporary wall-mounted vanity or a traditional free-standing model, the vanity will set the tone for the rest of the room. The same is true of vanity color selection, which can be used to add a splash of personality to the bathroom.

Upgrade Your Kitchen Faucets & Sinks

While many kitchen home improvements are quite expensive, updating your kitchen faucets and sinks can be surprisingly affordable. Many high-end kitchen faucets are available for under $200, while new stainless steel kitchen sinks are often available for $500 or less.

With a new kitchen faucet and sink installation, convenience should be one of your top priorities. For example, sinks like the Kraus KWU110-32 Kore Workstation 32 Inch Undermount 16 Gauge Single Bowl Stainless Steel Kitchen Sink with Accessories allow for integration with included items like a bamboo cutting board and a multi-purpose drying rack. Such additions allow you to conserve counter space and make kitchen prep easier than ever.

Kitchen faucets are available in a wide range of configurations to better meet your specific needs. Pull-out and pull-down faucets provide a greater spray range, which can streamline meal prep and cleanup. Other faucets feature built-in filtering systems, or utilize electronic or touch controls instead of typical knobs or handles.

When selecting an upgraded kitchen sink and faucet combination, consider how you use your kitchen on a daily basis. Choose features that will best serve your family’s needs in the kitchen so that these home improvements can deliver the greatest possible impact. Upgrading to a pull-out or pull-down faucet is typically one of the best ways to make an impact.

New Shower Doors

While installing shower doors may require more work than some of the other home improvements in this article, there is no denying that they can help give your bathroom a much more luxurious feel. The shower doors themselves are much less expensive than most people would expect, with many falling between $300 and $800. 

Much of the cost associated with this bathroom upgrade comes with the labor required to install the new doors — especially if you are converting a tub/shower area into a walk-in shower (though tub doors are also available). You will typically be best served by getting quotes from local contractors so you can have a clear idea of just how much this upgrade will cost. Depending on the current configuration of the bathroom, you may also need to install new tile and a shower base.

Glass shower doors offer many benefits to your bathroom. They can help the bathroom feel bigger, and they tend to offer a more luxurious look than shower curtains. Most shower doors are also quite easy to clean, meaning you won’t have to worry about the potential for mold and mildew like you would with shower curtains.

Several different types of shower doors are available. You should make your selection based on your stylistic preferences and the layout of your bathroom. For example, neo-angle shower doors are a good selection for a smaller shower in the corner of the room. Sliding or bypass shower doors are a great choice for larger shower areas when you still want to conserve floor space in the rest of the bathroom.

Frameless shower doors are another upgrade to consider. The elimination of the frame gives a sleek, contemporary look to the shower doors. Thicker glass ensures that the doors are sturdy, stable, and built to last.

Upgrade Bathroom Hardware

home improvements

Upgrading your bathroom hardware may seem like a small change, but it can have a surprisingly big impact in helping the entire room have a more cohesive look. Replacing door handles, bathroom faucets, and even shower heads can help unify the separate elements of your bathroom.

For the best results, try to get a matching finish for all hardware components. Blacks, nickel tones, chromes, and bronze tones are among the most popular colors/finishes for bathroom products. If you are starting your bathroom upgrades with a new shower door or a vanity, use the finish for that product as a guideline for selecting the rest of your upgrades.

There’s more to hardware style than the finish. With bathroom faucets, you should also consider the theme and handle style of the faucet, as these can go a long way in giving your bathroom either a contemporary or traditional look. Make sure that you select a faucet with an installation type that matches the pre-drilled holes in your vanity countertop.

While looks are certainly important for achieving the desired look for your bathroom, you should still prioritize functionality — especially when it comes to shower panels and sink faucets. Many shower heads offer multiple spray settings so that each user can adjust the water flow based on their own preferences. If you are planning to age in place, it may also be good idea to consider hand showers like the Grohe 27736000 Power & Soul Shower Set, which are easier to use for elderly individuals.

Splurge on a Luxurious Tub


A soaking tub may feel luxurious, but its price isn’t going to use up your entire tax refund. Many freestanding bathtubs are available for less than $1,000, so these home improvements fit well within your tax refund budget. As with other bathroom upgrades, various styles of tubs are available to help you achieve either a contemporary or traditional look for this part of the house.

The right materials and design will go a long way in ensuring that your new bathtub delivers the style and functionality you desire. Available bathtub materials include fiberglass, acrylic, cast iron, and even stone. Different materials offer varying levels of non-porosity and stain resistance. If you are replacing an existing bathtub, you should also be mindful of drain and pump placement. Matching placements with your old bathtub will make the installation much easier and cheaper.

There are a wide range of luxurious features that can make your new bathtub even more enjoyable. A bubble massage can create a true spa-like atmosphere. Many tubs are designed for ADA-compliance, ensuring that you will be able to continue enjoying your tub as you age in place. Added lighting and included hand showers further improve safety and convenience. Some tubs even include electronic control systems!

If you don’t already have a standalone tub in your bathroom, you will need to work with a contractor to determine how you could make a tub work with your current layout. Depending on how radically you need to alter your layout to fit your dream tub, your budget might go a bit beyond the amount you received for your tax refund.

Update Your Mirrors & Medicine Cabinets

Mirrors and medicine cabinets are often overlooked when making lists of possible home improvements, but updating these areas can have a significant impact on your bathroom’s overall style. Many bathrooms could be completely transformed simply by switching out an old bathroom mirror that doesn’t fit the space as well.

With medicine cabinets, you get the benefit of improving on your old mirror installation while also adding new storage space. Medicine cabinets are available in widths of up to 72 inches, and smaller cabinets can frequently be “ganged” together to better fit your available space. Interior shelves make it easy to keep toiletries organized so that you don’t run out of space in your bathroom vanity.

Many modern medicine cabinets offer exciting features to give your bathroom an even more high-end feel. For example, medicine cabinets in the Robern Uplift lineup include tech enhancements such as perimeter lighting, a glass defogger, night lights, and even additional USB and electrical outlets.

While the highest-end medicine cabinets could use up most of your tax refund, there are also many budget-friendly models available for under $400.

What Home Improvements Will You Make?

Whether you plan to replace your bathroom vanity or finally get that luxurious soaking tub you’ve always wanted, your tax refund can go a long way in helping you upgrade your bathroom or kitchen. By investing your tax refund on something you will be able to enjoy every day, you’ll get real value for your money.

Best of all, at Kitchen & Bath Authority, we will help you stretch your tax refund even further. We offer a wide range of kitchen and bathroom products, some of which are as much as 57 percent off MSRP — allowing you to save hundreds and sometimes even thousands of dollars on your purchase.

Add in free shipping on all orders, special discount codes for select offers, and even lower pricing with our exclusive membership program, and you’ll find that transforming these frequently-used parts of your home isn’t nearly as expensive as you might think.

Don’t waste your tax return on something frivolous. If you’re going to splurge, use your money on something that will deliver lasting value in the years to come. The right home improvements will make your living space more enjoyable than ever.

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