With summer back in full force, some of us are feeling the urge to get back into renovating our properties.
Kitchens are widely touted as a room of a house that can add value when it comes to selling your property. But not all kitchens are created equal. What can you do to yours to catch a potential buyer’s eye and persuade them to make a good offer?
As with any pre-sale renovation or spruce up, keep a tight rein on budget. Talk to your agent about what your asking price should be before and after a kitchen makeover. Then set your budget at a portion of that difference that you’re comfortable with. You don’t want any makeover plan to eat too far into that financial gain or there is no point at all in doing it. Your agent will also be able to give you a good idea of some quick changes to your kitchen that may help. You may find very little financial outlay can make a huge difference; avoiding anything that involves changes to plumbing and electrical wiring is another way to keep costs down.
Here are a few ideas:
Freshen up cabinetry, and walls with a coat of paint and new cupboard or drawer handles. Chat with paint retailers for advice on trending colors. As a rule, if you want to create the illusion of a bright, airy, spacious kitchen opt for light neutrals. You also want to keep the palette fairly neutral so potential buyers feel they can stamp their own personality on it. Don’t get too hung up on decorating to your own personal taste.
Decluttering and cleaning is another cost-effective way to spruce up a kitchen. Keep open shelves, cupboards, and pantries looking orderly and functional instead of crammed full of your own belongings. Make sure all surfaces are clean and unmarked. If benchtops are looking old and marked, consider replacing them if you can afford it. There are a huge range of different options available these days for benches, in a range of prices. You don’t have to choose the most expensive. A new, unmarked cheaper option will still be better than older, stained or chipped surfaces.
The same is true for flooring and wall tiles. If you can, replace or at least repair old, stained, worn flooring or cracked tiles, and make sure tile grouting is looking clean and fresh.
Look up. Don’t forget about ceilings and lighting. Kitchens should be well lit to be at their most functional – but good lighting can also make them seem bigger and brighter. Don’t forget to at least clean the ceilings, or preferably paint them.
Think about flow. Can the way you move around the kitchen be improved by shifting the dishwasher, fridge or oven? Do doors clash? Is the fridge in the wrong place? If there’s something about the way you use your kitchen that has always irritated you, it may well irritate buyers as well. If you can change it within your budget, it is worth doing.
Sinks are not as sexy as some kitchen essentials to replace but can make a big difference. A good size sink makes a big difference to kitchen functionality – particularly if you currently have an older kitchen which often have small sinks. Tapware should also be well-maintained and clean.
Replacing ovens should probably be a last resort, simply because of the cost. A cutting edge new oven in an old, tired kitchen will be far less likely to add value than an older oven in a sleek, tidy, light kitchen.
Before you start make sure you know exactly what you want to do to your kitchen and why, and stick to it. It’s very easy for a kitchen makeover to turn into a personal project – a chance for you to do add all the things you’ve ever wanted in a kitchen and suddenly you find your budget is blown. Thinking about what you’d like in a kitchen is a good place to start, but don’t fall into the trap of making it too personal to you. Thinking about big picture, general improvements such as space, storage, functionality and whether the design matches the rest of the home. Make your plan around achieving these as cost effectively as possible and stick to it.
It's all too easy to associate dark colours with negative connotations and a general sense of doom, but don't be too hasty!
Shades like black, navy and deep grey are also reminiscient of night skies and crisp winter nights.
Bedrooms are an ideal space for dark walls. Most of the time spent in the bedroom is at night – making it the perfect place to go dark and dramatic. Dark greys and inky blues are especially popular at present. Think colours like Resene Foundry, Resene Fuscous Grey and Resene Dark Side. To get a velvety rich effect, use Resene SpaceCote Flat instead of low sheen. It absorbs the light more, making the room look richer.
Using darker shades brings texture and mood, especially to a featureless space. Dark walls with a different shade on the floor or trims, for example, will create lines of difference and interest in the room that wasn't there before. It can also help a cavernous room feel cosier.
Take a test
Before committing to an aesthetic overhaul, test the colours out on a large sheet of cardboard, leaving an unpainted border around the outside. You want to use a piece of card large enough to see how the colour will go with your existing furniture and home's design features.
Once you've compared shades, you'll be able to settle on the exact dark hue you're happy with. Remember, there are plenty of shades to play with - deep shades can have blue, green and brown tones, which can all affect how they look on your wall. Be sure to consider the placement of windows - the shade will look a lot different in a space that receives lots of sunlight, compared to one that doesn't.
Mix it up
Don't be afraid to mix things up between rooms - just be sure that whatever colour you pick within a single room is consistent. If you want to use a dark hue in a shared space, but you've got an expansive open-plan kitchen, dining and living area, pick a single dark shade for a feature wall and paint the remaining walls in a complementary neutral with cool or warm tones depending on whether your feature colour has cool or warm tones.
Dark colours are excellent because you can create contrast. Why not make a splash with Resene Tuna? This measured grey looks striking when paired with crisp, white accents and a touch of bright colour - think bright yellow or red cushions or artwork.
Focus closely on key features, such as the ceiling and flooring. Cool grey pairs well with off-white, while a dark yet warm brown looks stunning with thick-pile cream carpet.
You can create a dramatic living space or bedroom by ensuring you offset dark shades with light touches. Follow this tip and you're on the road home!
Focus on features
Be sure to play up your home’s best design features. Window frames, crown moulding, built-in storage and archways are examples of features that can be played up with the right paint selection.
You can make these features stand out with dark paint - just ensure that the surrounding area embraces a light shade in order to achieve a wonderful contrast.
Remember the contrasts
Whether you go charcoal, dark green, or deep oxen red, having a contrast on the floors, trims and ceiling helps to delineate the area, preventing it from becoming claustrophobic – instead, it helps to enlarge the space visually.
As a whole-room solution, team dark neutrals with cream or crisp white trims. This works especially well with older homes where the skirtings, architraves and cornices are likely to be more ornate and will be beautifully highlighted by the contrast with smoky dark walls.
Think beyond your walls, to floors, ceilings and furniture. These can easily be painted a dark colour too. If you’re living in a villa with a high stud, a dark ceiling can help make the ceiling feel lower and the room feel cosier.
If you’re changing from a light colour scheme to a dark one, make sure you review your lighting at the same time. You may find you need a little extra lighting or a stronger light bulb to balance the darker walls.