Great home renovations should do two things. The first one is that they should please you as the homeowner; the second is that they should also please a prospective buyer. Here are five renovation ideas that should do both, and return the money to you when you sell.

Add light. If you have ever sold a home, you know that the first thing the realtor does before the prospective buyers arrive is turn on all the lights. The first time I experienced this I asked the realtor what they were doing.

“More light is inviting. Dark areas are depressing,” said the realtor. She went on to explain that dark areas are psychologically negative.

With all the lights on, I could see what she was talking about. But it worried me a little bit because I grew up in a home where mom said, “Turn off those lights!” every time I left a room with lights on. As a result all of the rooms in my current home are motion activated. But I am digressing.

The number one thing you can do to help your home appear bigger, brighter, and more saleable is to upgrade the lighting in the kitchen and family room areas. This upgrade can be extensive if you need an electrician, but it will be worth it. Simply replacing underpowered ceiling bulbs with dimmable LED bulbs of the right color temperature (you may need to experiment) will make a big difference. You can do the bulb changes yourself, and add a dimmer switch if you’re handy. Make sure you follow the directions for safety carefully, and if you are not sure about it, get an electrician.

Doing the same for the undercounter area in the kitchen will yield the same amazing results.

Update kitchen counter tops. If it’s been a while since you upgraded anything in the kitchen, take a look at your countertops. If you’ve already got stone (granite, quartz) installed, then read on. If not, I encourage you to head over to your favorite local home improvement store and take a look at the laminate countertops. Yes – laminates. You can now purchase laminate designs that have that wonderful random look of granite and quartz at an affordable price.

Add a deck or patio. If you already have plenty of deck and patio space, then read on. If you don’t, adding it will give you enjoyment and resale value. Here in the lovely four-season mountains our decks are functional through three seasons and provide respite from the rigors of the day.

Update a bathroom. Many older baths can benefit from the lighting tricks mentioned earlier and replacing pedestal sinks with a narrow vanity. Use a depth of 18 inches instead of 21 for a bigger bath look. Also consider converting a rarely used bathtub into a fiberglass shower unit.

Replace carpet with wood in central living areas. If carpet has been down for a long time, replacing it with new can enhance the room and please you. If you want to go one step further however, pull up the carpet and hire a pro to put down an oak plank floor. Wood floors are durable, easy to clean, and universally valued by buyers.

Remember to choose your contractor wisely by getting recommendations and at least three quotes for work. Ask for an insurance certificate, and verify licensing.