Words Louise Higgins
Whether you’re planning to sell a house or simply update it to maximise its potential, here are some simple suggestions that will add value and functionality to any home.
Rework the entrance
You only get one chance to make a good first impression and the same principle can be applied to your home. Visitors and potential buyers will make a judgement before they even enter the property. It’s essential that the garden and entrance is well presented. Cut back any large shrubs that may be taking up too much garden space or blocking light from the windows. A well-kept garden, nicely painted hall door and some potted plants or lanterns will instantly make the visitor feel welcome and eager to see the rest of your home.
Ensure that room layouts showcase rooms to their best potential. Consider rearranging furniture if it creates better flow or adds functionality in your space. These days many people work from home, so incorporating an office area is a good idea. Consider areas like a bedroom, landing, living room or even converting a storage cupboard as potential home office areas. Rooms with a dual purpose appeal to buyers, so adding a day-bed to an office or an office desk to a bedroom will help potential buyers visualise the space either as a home office or guest bedroom.
One of the easiest and most cost-effective ways to add value to a home is to give it a fresh coat of paint. While dark moody interiors look fabulous and may appeal to some buyers, the houses that sell fastest are those with more neutral colour schemes. Most estate agents will advise that a neutral palette is best when putting a house on the market, as this allows the potential buyer to visualise the space better. However, it’s easy to add spots of colour using artwork, scatter cushions, throws, rugs and table lamps.
Replacing an existing bathroom is a costly undertaking. However, it can make a big difference to simply change the bathroom fixtures, add a new light fitting or replace the wall tiles. Swapping chrome bathroom fixtures to matt black will give a modern look and is not nearly as expensive as a complete bathroom renovation. If budget and space allow, adding an en-suite or second bathroom can increase the value of your property by approximately five per cent. If replacing floor tiles, it might be worth investigating installing underfloor heating while you’re at it.
The kitchen is a room that buyers tend to focus on, so it’s definitely worth investing some money here. Changing layouts and replacing kitchen units, islands and appliances can be very costly and may not yield a return on investment. However, things to consider are repainting the kitchen units, changing worktops, updating press and drawer handles and adding some new lighting.
Add an outdoor space
Our climate is getting warmer, and last summer we managed to spend endless days enjoying our gardens. Adding an extra living space to the back garden will add value to the home while also providing a beautiful area to enjoy on hot summer days. Consider a relaxing living area with comfortable weather-resistant seating or an intimate dining space for al fresco dining. Either will be an instant hit with potential buyers.
Accessories are a must when styling a home for resale. A few very simple updates can make the home look more appealing. Consider adding a statement rug, textured throws, artwork, table lamps, scatter cushions and candles to create an engaging space. Appeal to all the senses by ensuring your home also smells beautiful. Some scents to consider are freshly baked bread, coffee and scented diffusers.
With an increased demand for energy saving and conservation in the home, it may be worthwhile to engage an independent energy consultant who can advise on which changes will give the best real return for your money. This may include airtightness (elimination of draughts), double-glazed windows and doors, heating and plumbing efficiencies, and electrical and ventilation systems.
Louise Higgins, founder of Perfect Headboards and Aspire Design, is an award-winning designer and a graduate of the Interior Design Academy of Ireland. Louise is a full member of the Interiors Association and is also a member of the Crafts Council of Ireland.