9 Worth-Every-Penny Upgrades for the Hardworking Parts of Your Home

Cost-conscious, savvy homeowners know that doing the grunt work of home improvement projects cuts spending. It also results in a more beautiful and functional house. However, knowing exactly where to commit your hard-earned dollars isn't the easiest task. So the team at has assembled some of the best picks for adding luxury, convenience, and efficiency to the most often used fixtures in the house.

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Spa Showerhead

Home improvement is hard work. Why not reward your yourself with a new fixture that makes every shower feel like a trip to the spa? The DreamSpa includes two chrome showerheads to use alone or together. Mount the larger, adjustable head to the wall, or pull down the handheld head for better reach. Make aches and pains disappear with settings like Power Rain and Pulsating Massage, or switch to an eco-friendly option to save water. Since the DreamSpa connects to any standard overhead shower arm without tools, you won’t need to work overtime to install this easy upgrade. Available at
; $34.99.

10 Quick Fixes for a More Refreshing Shower

American Craftsman Double-Hung Window

Replacing a window is a daunting DIY for most homeowners, but this double hung window from American Craftsman, designed to fit into your existing window frame, is a doable project. Dual-weatherstripping creates a tight seal on both sides of the glass, so you’ll save on your energy bills all year long. And since vinyl doesn’t need to be painted, you’ll never have to touch up the frame. Sure, you’ll still have to wipe down the window panes, but with a tilt-in top and bottom sash, cleaning is a breeze. Available at
Home Depot
; $167.00.

Garage Door Opener

Do the neighborhood dogs break into a barking frenzy whenever your garage door opens or closes? Being relatively uncomplicated machines, garage door openers tend to boast impressive longevity, often surviving up to 20 years. It’s hard to complain about that sort of long-term performance, but if it’s been decades since you last shopped the category, you may be surprised by how much things have changed. Today, smooth-running belt-drive openers are the widely accepted norm, offering not only quieter operation, but improved security as well. Available at Amazon; $275.

Programmable Thermostat

If your HVAC system were a car, the thermostat would be its steering wheel. Considering its pivotal role, it’s no surprise that you return to the thermostat day after day, year round, so as to guide the heating or air conditioning in the most comfortable direction. Of course, rather than continue to make those adjustments yourself, you can switch to a programmable thermostat, a device that automatically follows any schedule you set. Or you can opt for the Nest, which, in a manner of speaking, “learns” your preferences and effectively programs itself. Available at
Amazon; $217.95.

Related: 7 Tips for Keeping Cool Without AC

Garbage Disposal

Garbage disposals can decrease kitchen waste, increase functionality, eliminate odor, and improve the overall efficiency of any sink. If you’re looking to add a well-worth-it upgrade to your kitchen, consider the InSinkErator Badger Food Waste Disposer—which does all of the above, thanks to its galvanized steel construction and powerful induction motor. In addition to the 2-year limited warranty that includes free house calls, this easy-install helper also comes at an extremely affordable price to make cooking and cleaning as painless as possible. Available on Amazon; $109.

Related: 7 Kitchen Design Trends Set to Dominate 2016

Drying Rack

A drying rack is a necessity for any laundry room, but its unwieldy size can get in the way when not in use. Enter this amazing wall-mount solution that features a pullout 10-slot drying rack for when you need it, but collapses to form an attractive shelving unit when you don’t. With water-resistant wood and five hooks for additional storage, this multifunctional, space-saving buy is totally worth it, as it helps your hardworking laundry zone gain a lot more breathing room without sacrificing any function. Available at Wayfair; $100.

Related: 10 Laundry Room Storage Ideas That’ll Knock Your Socks Off

Stair Treads

Everyone loves hardwood floors and stairs for their beautiful finish, but the truth is that their slick surface ensures at least a few slips and falls. For homes with small children, dogs, or anyone who’s prone to life’s clumsy moments, stair treads provide a safe solution to that problem. Not only do the treads make staircases safer, but they cut down on dirt that might otherwise be tracked upstairs. The treads adhere easily with the help of double-sided tape, and can be removed for cleaning and then reattached when necessary. Available at Amazon; $89.99 for a set of 13.

Pull-Down Kitchen Faucet

The kitchen faucet is perhaps the most frequently used fixture in the entire house, standing by for meal prep, dish duty, and general cleaning. Not only that, but it makes a prominent design statement in the busiest room of the house. So it only makes sense to install a faucet you truly like. Hidden within this model by American Standard is a convenient pull-down sprayer with an adjustable spray pattern and pause feature. Plus, the brass construction and flawless finish make it corrosion- and scratch-resistant so it continues to look new even after prolonged use.  Available at Amazon; $157.50.

Related: 7 Kitchen Trends You Might Regret

Dual-Flush Toilet

When looking ahead the next big home upgrade, few homeowners consider the toilet. That’s a mistake for those with older toilets. Those water hogs account for up to 30% of a household’s water usage and can inflate the monthly water bill. Dual-flush toilets cut down on water usage, but if you don’t have plans to replace the toilet, a dual flush converter kit is the next best thing. These easy-to-install products replace a normal flapper and chain and can save the average household up to 15,000 gallons per year. The secret is in the handle, which has a button for both light flushes and heavy flushes and signals to the in-tank mechanism how much water to dispense. Available at Amazon; $20.88

Related: 7 Ways to Skimp on a Bathroom Remodel