By Scarlette Douglas, A Place In The Sun TV presenter and property developer
To many it may feel odd to spend money on making your home look nicer when you’re soon to be moving out. However, for every pound you invest in dressing your property, I can pretty much guarantee you’ll not only get it back when your home sells, but you’ll probably sell it faster and for a higher price.
It’s a common misconception that all potential buyers will be able to see past the clutter, the weird wallpaper that you’ve been meaning to change for the last 15 years and the old and outdated avocado bathroom suite.
The easier you make it for them to see themselves in your property, the more likely they are to put in an offer, and it doesn’t need to cost the earth to do it. Even just £100 can make a massive difference. So in addition to the usual advice of clearing the clutter and removing the chintz, here’s a rundown of what you can achieve with four levels of budget: £100, £250, £500 or £1000.
£100 – Get those paint brushes out and neutralise as much as you can
Paint is a magical thing – it can make a huge impact for next to no cost. With just£100 to spend, focus on making your walls as neutral as possible. White is the easiest colour as it’ll go with all your other décor, fixtures and furniture and it’s normally the cheapest option, but light grey is also very on trend at the moment – whatever you do, just don’t go for magnolia!
A fresh coat of a light coloured paint will do wonders for all your rooms, but it works particularly well for smaller ones as it will help to make them feel lighter and more spacious – two things buyers crave the most.
When it comes to the finish, I always stick to matte as it is easy to apply and looks great. Get those perfect straight lines by using some good quality masking tape and definitely invest in some tester pots (only if you’re choosing a colour obviously) before you buy the full sized pot.
With £100, you probably can’t paint all your rooms, so prioritise the entrance hall, the living room and the main bedroom to make a strong first impression.
£250 – Get crafty with colour schemes
The living room and bedrooms are normally the most lived-in rooms in the home, so for this budget, focus on making these rooms as strong as possible. Avoiding bright and garish colours, choose a colour scheme that features three complimentary colours that’ll work with your existing furniture and carpet. Light grey, blue and copper would work well for example.
Paint the walls in a neutral colour and temporarily put into storage anything that doesn’t fit in with your new colour scheme – then invest in bedding, rugs, curtains and cushions that fit with each room’s the new look.
There are plenty of shops with great deals for matching curtains, cushions and bed cover sets, and they’re a great way to completely change the look of a room in next to no time.
£500 - Replace that old avocado bathroom
Bathrooms are so important when selling your home and believe it or not, you can get a full suite (sink, toilet bath and shower) for as little as £300. Old fashioned and dated bathroom suites will put a lot of people off, especially the colour of them. The greens, the blues, the burgundies, in fact every colour other than white, just need to go!
Many buyers would be daunted by how much work they think it would be and how much it would cost to replace a bathroom, when in actual fact it’s much easier and more affordable than you might think.
Recent research from Bathrooms.com found that almost half of the UK said if a house had an avocado bathroom suite it would put them off from making an offer. So it makes sense to get rid of your old and outdated bathroom and replace it with a stylish new white suite to attract more buyers. Keep it simple, crisp, white and fresh, you need nothing more!
£1000 – Cheat your way to an upgraded kitchen
If you don’t have the time or budget to completely rip out your old kitchen and add a new one, then you can make a few clever changes to almost make it look like you have. Replace cupboard doors with fresh new white ones – or very dark blue is particularly on trend right now.
Replace your worktop with a clean and fresh white surface and either paint the tiles with specialist tile paint, or replace them to completely transform your kitchen. Consider replacing the floor with affordable but high quality laminate floor boards – some of them are so good now, it’s difficult to distinguish between real wood and the laminate.
Small touches like adding small potted plants or herbs to the windowsills, matching the colours of tea towels with place mats and stylish appliances such as kettles, toasters and coffee machines can make a big difference. And finally, get stick-on spotlights to place underneath cupboards to give an impressive glow to the work surfaces.
For help choosing your new bathroom, take a look at our buying guides. From eco-friendly bathrooms to bathrooms for first-time buyers and everything in between – we’ve got a buying guide for that!