When it comes to home improvements, you can spend money in two basic ways: on things that make your home look better or things that make it function better. Under the first category you'll find all the things you want to do like replacing narrow casement windows with a lovely bay window. Under the second, falls all the things you must do like replacing those drafty windows with something more energy efficient. When 'want-to' and 'have-to' meet, they create the opportunity to make a smart buying decision and choose an upgrade that will look good and improve the livability of your home. The key to making smart home improvement decisions is to recognize these opportunities and take full advantage of them.
Get some light in here! Do we really need a bunch of scientific studies to tell you that a home filled with natural light just feels better? Probably not. Illuminating your home with natural light is a smart buying decision on multiple levels. First you don't pay to power the sun. Second, natural light delivers a host of mood-enhancing benefits. If you have the wall space by all means add some windows. But for rooms where is impossible (like a powder room) or where you don't want to sacrafice privacy a tubular skylight is a good alternative. Some, like Velux's Sun Tunnel products, are easy enough to install that a seasoned do-it-yourselfer could accomplish the task. They cost less than traditional skylights and bring natural light to hard-to-light areas.