8 most overrated home projects (© Ivan Hunter Photography, Fuse/Getty Images)

In these uncertain times, remodels are more about wringing day-to-day enjoyment out of your house than simply boosting its resale value. But not every project delivers on its promise of luxury and enjoyment.

Some delightful-sounding home improvements can be problematic or overly expensive or simply wind up collecting dust while you're still paying the tab.  And some are destined to become white elephants, in the same kitschy category as that 1970s wet bar, sauna or intercom system.

MSN Real Estate consulted with contractors, designers and other home-improvement gurus — as well as homeowners themselves — to come up with a somewhat subjective "honey-do" list that's better left undone.

1. Whirlpool bath
This upgrade, which had become synonymous with luxury in years past, is now on the most endangered list, contractors say.

"We're taking out these bathtubs and making (walk-in) showers out of them," says Fred Spaulding of Quality Home Improvements in Kingwood, Texas.

Indeed, while they became a standard feature in many upscale homes, a hefty percentage of people who have these big whirlpool tubs report never having the time or inclination to soak in them, in part because of the noise and amount of water required to fill them and keep them warm.

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"In almost four years, I have never used it," says "sisb" on a home and garden forum.

2. Room additions
These days, the name of the home-improvement game is conversion, or using existing space in a new way, says Don Van Cura, a Chicago-area remodeling contractor who sits on the board of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

"The biggest thing I've seen a change in is less room additions," Van Cura says. "Before, it had to be bigger and more, more, more. Now we are seeing more people taking advantage of attic or bedroom space."

Dining rooms are becoming home offices. Basements are becoming family rooms, and there are a lot more unpermitted (and some legitimate) attic-to-bedroom conversions, contractors say.

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Forking over an average of $82,756 to build a new family room from the ground up —  including foundation, framing, drywall and electric — is more expensive, architects and designers say, than converting your basement. And the addition recoups only 65% of its value at resale, according to Remodeling Magazine's 2009-10 Cost vs. Value Report. That basement remodel, on the other hand, costs just $62,067 on average and recoups 75% of its value.

3. 'Versailles' kitchens
In contrast with Europe, Americans — with their comparatively shorter history — just love anything that looks old and ornate.

If you look at European design books or websites, you'll find page after page of simple, streamlined modern looks. Here, our McMansions boast elaborate Tuscan villa-style kitchens with ornate cabinetry, hardware and tile.

Call it the Bellagio effect.

"People will go into hock finding themselves surrounded by $150,000 of polished granite and fancy French or English cabinetry," says TV home-improvement veteran Bob Vila, who coaches people through remodeling projects on BobVila.com.

They'll wind up saying, 'I'm still paying on that and what the hell pleasure am I getting out of it?' Going overboard with any aspect of home remodeling can be a mistake."

Indeed, upscale kitchen remodels carried an average price tag of $111,794 last year, according to Remodeling Magazine, but recouped just $70,641, or 63%, of their value at resale, a decline from the 2008-2009 survey.

4. Marble counters (or other porous surfaces)
Marble is a luxurious material that has been long-favored in kitchen and bath remodels. But it is losing its luster.

Sure, it has a lovely, natural look and a rich history in castles and palaces, but it requires more pampering and attention than a spoiled princess, experts say. Marble can scratch more easily than other surfaces, get burned by hot pans and stain easily, just like limestone and other porous materials. That, coupled with a price between $50 and $100 per square foot, should persuade you to leave it to the museum.

Indeed, while much attention has been focused on the drawbacks to granite countertops, contractors say it and other nonporous surfaces such as man-made quartz counters are better long-term picks than marble, limestone or even heavy poured concrete, a trendy surface that can crack as the cabinets underneath shift over time.

"It's very dependent on well-built cabinets below it," Van Cura says.