Although some home renovations can take up to a year to finish, conjuring up chaotic images of a dusty, noisy worksite, there are many improvements that either you or a contractor can complete in just one day.
“Smaller, inexpensive improvements paid for out of your savings can actually add many thousands of dollars more to the value of your home,” says Melissa Urquhart, senior manager at State Custodians Home Loans.
“In particular kitchens and bathrooms are very important rooms in terms of value and appeal, so these should be top priority.”
Here then are our tips for simple updates in keeping with this season’s hottest decorating styles.
Update door and cabinet handles
Regularly used handles will soon start looking worn the more that you touch them. However new handles will instantly lift a room. If you’re on a budget, Bunnings sell handles for just a few dollars each.
Different metallic shades are still a huge trend according to senior buyer/stylist Stina Eriksson from online homewares store Zanui.
“Whereas copper has been all the rage, I think the next big trend is brass and gold,” she says.
Replace old tap fittings
There are currently many amazing tap fixtures on the market. One of the hottest looks at the moment is matt-black tapware. Finish the look with other black accessories, or else metallic candlestick holders and vases which will dramatically pop against it.
Slap on a new coat of paint
Neutrally tones such as white and grey are always a great blank canvas for most homewares.
However you can still paint a feature wall a totally different colour for impact.
Plus if you change your mind you only have to re-paint one wall! “One of this season’s big colour hits is pink in slightly fleshy tones,” says celebrity stylist and Rugspace ambassador James Treble from Network Ten’s The Living Room.
“If you’re not keen on pink for a wall, add some pops of pink with some cushions. It’s cost effective, and will allow you to work with your existing colour scheme.”
Revitalise your kitchen benchtop
A dated, damaged or plain ugly kitchen benchtop is a huge turn off. If you love the look of on-trend marble, companies such as Granite Transformations can pop a new slab over your existing countertop. Or else you can re-spray the surface with new paint. Re-surfacing companies have a big variety of colours to choose from.
Revamp your kitchen splashback
Stylist Stina is a fan of the minimalist look: “I love the clean look so my preference is to always go for a tiled splashback in white or black.”
However an eye-catching splashback can really lift the area.
“You could even go for wallpaper covered with a clear sheet of glass which is becoming popular,” Stina suggests.
“Don’t be afraid to embrace patterns. As long as it’s not covering everything in sight.” Or if you’re looking to save, Ali Express has a multitude of tiled contact paper from about $30 a metre. Simply peel and stick over the old splashback!
Make ceiling fans a feature
Traditionally the aim has been to make fans “disappear” into the ceiling by making them all white. However this doesn’t have to be the case. You can get ceiling fans with brass or wicker detailing reminiscent of a 1930s style which can be particularly eye-catching.
Install hooks for art and wall decoration
People can be quite nervous about installing hooks into walls fearing that once a hook is in, it’s a hassle to patch and re-paint if you change your mind. However if you’re selling your house, the new owners will probably be appreciative of existing hooks so they don’t have to install them!
“Showcasing your home with art is one sure-fire way to add impact to even the most boring of rooms,” says James. “Large canvas prints are a great, cost-effective way to pick up on the colours in your accessories or styling. And being light weight they are easy to install on any type of wall.”
If your house is up for sale James suggests choosing abstract pieces. “They won’t come across as being too ‘personal’ and will still appeal to the largest market and prospective purchasers.”
Another way to add some texture James says is to hang a rug. “It adds interest as well as being a great way to absorb sound if the room is large, or if you have echoing floor tiles!”
A beautiful detailed mirror such as one from the Gallery Home range, framed photographs or a wall hanging made from natural textiles, which have been popular this year, will also add interest to a room.
Choose attractive light fittings
The popularity of light fittings has grown enormously in recent times. “Concrete pendants are still really in demand,” says Stina. “Clustering multiple lights together above your kitchen benchtop can create a great focal point. We’ve also seen a trend for light fixtures with the cord exposed and no lampshade which lends itself to the minimalist look. Or else if you’re a fan of something with more texture, the tribal, look showcases eye-catching natural fibres. ”
There’s nothing as off putting as seeing a house encased in daggy carpet, grubby vinyl, sterile tiles or scuffed floorboards. New flooring can strip years away from a dated home. One popular choice is floating floorboards. These come in fantastic finishes and are so simple to install you can do it yourself.
“Once you’ve spruced up the floors you can add pattern and texture with a fabulous rug,” says James. “They can also clearly define ‘zones’ such as living and dining spaces. If you have an odd shaped room, or a large space, overlapping two rugs is a nifty way to deal with size and awkward shaped spaces.”