Five renovation projects that experts say just aren’t worth your time (or money).

By Allegra Muzzillo
Updated January 29, 2009
Depending on the type of door you have, repainting or staining and refinishing it is a simple upgrade that can really make a huge difference—and you’ll only spend $20 to $50 in the process.“Colorwise, it’s O.K. to choose something interesting to draw the eye to the entrance, but don’t go crazy with fuchsia or hunter orange,” Wilson says. “Whenever somebody needs advice on choosing a paint color, I tell them to use the color wheel they learned in third grade.” For instance, if your home is brick red, a complementary color would be a bluish gray door or a golden hue, suggests Wilson.If you really want to go all out, you can install a brass kick plate (about $30) and new latch hardware (from about $50)—and still stay within a reasonable budget.Total DIY time: Up to 3.5 hours, with 1 hour of prep, 1 hour for priming and painting, ½ hour to install the kick plate, and 1 hour to install the latch hardware.Price: $30 to $200, depending on whether you add hardware.
Aimee Herring
  • Home office: “If you convert a bedroom into an office, your home will be listed as having one less bedroom―big mistake,” says CNN’s Gerry Willis. Barbara Corcoran, founder of the Corcoran Group, a Manhattan real estate firm, agrees: “People try to envision a room for little Jenny but can’t make the leap past your piles of messy papers.”
  • Concrete patio: “It’s almost guaranteed to crack,” says Corcoran. “And there’s no good way to repair it. Plus, it reflects light, causing a harsh glare.”
  • Green marble counters: Steer clear of boldly colored finishes and materials. “Loud patterns can be off-putting, so don’t do anything radical,” says Vern Yip, a designer and the host of HGTV's Deserving Design. “If you’re going with granite counters, choose solid black.”
  • Tennis and basketball courts: Not everyone is a sports fan, and these eat up large amounts of yard space.
  • Wall-to-wall carpeting: “It’s a personal choice that likely won’t appeal to the majority of buyers, especially if it has stains on it,” says John Gidding, a designer on HGTV’s Designed to Sell.