Here are the top 5 ideas:
1) Spend an hour with a real estate pro: Invite over your favorite realtor or call in a designer to see your home. Many experts will do this at no charge or designers will have a small hourly fee. They can provide you a ton of ideas and suggest improvements that have a big punch - like moving furniture or paint colors (see #3). Many times this will improve the look and feel of your home, without making any major changes.
2) Have your home inspected: Not all home improvement needs are cosmetic. Many times you won't know when something is broken. Bringing in an inspector to check the areas of your home that are out of site can point out areas that would negatively impact your home's value.
3) Paint! Paint and More Paint! Simplest and most cost-effective improvement is paint - with a gallon as little as $25, you can value without breaking the bank. Freshly painted rooms look clean and fresh - that spells value! Neutral colors will appeal to the largest number of people and that can make your home more appealing. Strong colors make a statement - awesome if you are staying in your home.
4) Look for inspiration: There is so much on the web that can provide you inspiration. I love Houzz.com for ideas on the look of a home and Build.com for the best value on items. Pinterest is also an amazing place to find inspiration. If you need a laid back day in bed - binge watch DIY shows.
5) Reduce your energy costs: Check out the deals from your energy provider - many times they will pay you to install energy efficient appliances. They will also have ideas to reduce your energy consumption. Having an energy-efficient home will save you money, that you can put towards an update project in your house.