Touchy, feely reno se­crets

Herald Sun - Property - - OPINION - AN­DREW WIN­TER An­drew Win­ter hosts Sell­ing Houses Aus­tralia on the Life­style Chan­nel

MANY home­own­ers con­sider adding a touch of class to their property, whether you’re about to sell, are ren­o­vat­ing a re­cent ac­qui­si­tion, plan to build, or just want your home to feel a lit­tle up­graded?

As a fre­quent flyer I would best de­scribe this as tak­ing your home from econ­omy to busi­ness class yet achiev­ing this at a pre­mium econ­omy rate.

Can this really be achieved? Is it pos­si­ble or even vi­able to up­grade a home with­out blow­ing the bud­get or com­mit­ting the ul­ti­mate sin of over­cap­i­tal­is­ing?

I be­lieve it is but the vi­a­bil­ity is the chal­leng­ing el­e­ment here.

Per­haps you’re wish­ing to up­grade the feel of your home for your own en­joy­ment.

If you’re pretty sure this is your for­ever home, the ex­act bud­get is not quite so cru­cial as time and long-term mar­ket growth might cover a bud­get blowout on any slightly self in­dul­gent or un­nec­es­sar­ily high-end fit­tings.

But please note, mar­ket growth may not al­ways cover your mis­takes, this will de­pend on the mar­ket cy­cle and when you de­cide to sell.

What are the key ar­eas to fo­cus on to en­hance the qual­ity feel of your home?

Even though we de­scribe this as a “feel” for that up­grade suc­cess this whole touch ex­pe­ri­ence should be com­bined with the aes­thetic — what we can see.

In my opin­ion, the se­cret to adding qual­ity is en­sur­ing the money is spent in ar­eas that can be touched and seen. Yes, this is a to­tally shal­low per­spec­tive to em­brace but a fun­da­men­tal el­e­ment of our hous­ing mar­ket.

It’s a fact and it works — you and I sub­scribe to this — so let’s not fight it and per­mit me to ex­plain how you can play the game too.

Avoid stan­dard ver­ti­cal blinds — they have had their day. The trick is to spend the ex­tra money in key ar­eas such as liv­ing spa­ces and the main bed­room, for ex­am­ple. Full height and full wall cov­er­age cur­tains or sheers, plan­ta­tion shut­ters, or con­sider the whole ar­ray of stylish blinds now avail­able on the mar­ket.

Light­ing is a topic dif­fi­cult to sum­marise, but for adding that up­grade feel, this should be given care­ful con­sid­er­a­tion. If the bud­get is tight fo­cus on en­try ar­eas, liv­ing spa­ces and the kitchen pri­mar­ily, as bed­rooms can use soft mood light­ing in the form of ta­ble lamps to keep your fi­nances on track. Pen­dants, up­lighters, down­lights, task light­ing, the list goes on. Get ad­vice, it really is worth­while.

Even the colours you use can have a sub­stan­tial im­pact on your home. The sin­gle coloured fea­ture wall trend is very last decade. It’s whole room colour or two walls, wall­pa­per or fea­ture al­ter­na­tive ma­te­ri­als now and there are many op­tions. My tip is trawl the in­te­rior mag­a­zines and on­line home listings with hefty price tags or up­scale dis­play homes for in­spi­ra­tion, then seek the cost-ef­fec­tive al­ter­na­tives.

The stan­dard alu­minium sliding win­dows are ab­so­lutely fine, but we all know they are the ba­sic prod­uct. To up­grade, con­sider prime sec­tions of the build­ing such as the win­dows on the fa­cade, the front door, the liv­ing ar­eas where you can spend more and cre­ate im­pact.

From your kitchen sink, the taps, to floor­ing choices, to light switches, even robe doors, in­ter­nal doors, han­dles, fit­tings are both vis­ual and tac­tile and play a ma­jor role in cre­at­ing a high-end fin­ish. The list is end­less and so can be the cost. Shop around and start with the spa­ces seen like liv­ing and kitchen ar­eas.

The com­mon thread is the fo­cus on prime ar­eas of the home, the space seen by ev­ery­one, but also to con­cen­trate on what can be seen and what can be touched.

Con­se­quently, your dou­ble brick con­struc­tion, high spec­i­fi­ca­tion con­struc­tional ma­te­ri­als and meth­ods, even green el­e­ments such as so­lar pan­els and wa­ter tanks, while are strong sell­ing fea­tures, are not un­der the touch of class cat­e­gory.

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