5 Ways To Spend A Big Windfall At Home

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handing over the cash money

A rich relative dies and leaves you $100,000. How would you use that money to improve your home? What’s your dream project? Here are 5.


I asked on Twitter recently what folks would do around their home if money was no object.

A rich relative you’ve never met dies and leaves you $100,000, or you buy the right lottery ticket, and you suddenly get the chance to a house reno that’s been your dream for years. What do you do?

Here are some of the answers I’ve heard.

1. Make the attic into an office

A mid-century home in a great city is a hard thing to beat, so one follower’s dream would be to turn her attic into a home office complete with elaborate stairs, dormer windows, and more. Imagine the possibilities of a great peaked roof, exposed rafters, an ostentatious stairway leading up to a single-use attic.

Oh, to have a dream home office, let alone a large attic dedicated to it — a big spacious room to brainstorm and be productive in. What a glorious thought. I share my friend’s lusty love of this notion.

attic office with skylight


2. New hardwood floors throughout

Hardly original, this is a hugely popular answer. Wall-to-wall carpeting used to sound like such a glamorous thing in the commercials of the ‘80s, but today’s homeowner frequently sees hardwood, cork, and laminate as an easier floor to maintain and a solid investment when thinking of resale value.

It’s a pricey venture but also an installation that completely redefines any room. The leap from carpeted to warm wood tones is a stunner. Add in the benefits of ruggedness, the ability to refinish it before a home sale, and even the allergy-fighting aspects, and it’s hard to argue with this choice.

white oak unfinished hardwood floors

3. Dreamy professional landscaping

My friend Steph lives in a rural area and voted for total landscaping complete with ponds installed and a low-flow irrigation system for extensive gardens. It may not count as a “home renovation,” but it’s the kind of splurge that doesn’t really return much on resale value, so it needs to be a labor of love and a place of passion for those paying for this kind of work.

Sounds like a great way to spend a windfall to me! Besides, nothing says “newly rich” like a koi pond, am I right?

backyard landscape garden

4. Blow up that ‘70s kitchen

A few followers on Twitter said they’d do their kitchens over completely. One fellow wanted to nuke his ‘70s kitchen. Another said a kitchen is such a massive renovation investment that it keeps falling to the wayside when they use their money for all the other, smaller jobs that pop up for homeowners.

Counters, sink, hardware, appliances, floors — phew, you’re not kidding! It’s a big expense and a great investment, but with so many thousands needed for a good complete makeover, it’s no wonder the kitchen is wish-list territory for so many.

modern kitchen natural light marble floor

5. Gimme shelter (with a roof)

It’s not sexy, but replacing the roof made one follower’s list. And why not? You want to talk about a big investment, the roof is one, but it’s also one of the smartest ways to spend that windfall. A quality roof should last you 20 years. What other splurges are going to give you that kind of peace of mind for that long?

Similarly smart would be any work undertaken with reinforcing the foundation or any other structural components of the home.

Cashel Clay Roofing - Spanish Tiles

But if it were me…

I don’t own a home, but if I did and it were me that had come into all the cash, I’d probably spread the money around evenly to get more bang for my bank. A little outdoor kitchen, some home office improvements, a reading nook somewhere, a little kitchen upgrading. That is, if the floors and roof and everything else were fine!

If wishes were wallets

Unfortunately, most of us will never get such a windfall. When one lucky friend recently got a massive generous gift from an aging mother-in-law last year, they turned their windfall into a whole new basement (including an office and beer cellar) as well as a kid’s bedroom redo. Yesterday he posted images of his new kitchen cupboards being installed. Now that’s money well spent.

Instead of blowing a windfall on a new car, I’d always recommend spending it on your home and splurging for a nice vacation. Experiences and the home, these are expenditures that last and have influence on our lives for the long term, as opposed to a car that can get the job done as an economical purchase rather than a flashy, big-spending number.

How would you spend your windfall?

What project would you undertake if you came into some money?

Would you concentrate on the exterior or interior?

Would you take on one big project or several smaller ones?

Tell us all about it in the comments.

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Steffani Cameron

Steffani Cameron is a Victoria BC-based writer on a variety of topics. Here on the BuildDirect blog, she specializes in writing about smaller, urban spaces. How do you make the most of your smaller space? How do you decorate it to suit you? And how do you wage the war against clutter and win? This is Steff’s specialty.