Natalie Sharkey took over the family Newham Interiors business in 1987, the third generation in her family to fill the role. She completed her Interior Design qualifications at RMIT and with her broad skillset and creative flair has been adding a personal touch to the business ever since. Here are Natalie’s tips on making your home look good to a valuer.
1. Refresh with paint
Painting the interior can lift the mood of your house and it’s inexpensive if you’re willing to do the work. If your budget allows, tackle walls yourself and get professionals in to do the ceilings, as these can be hard going on the neck.
You might be able to get away with giving skirting boards, doors and window and door frames a good clean with sugar soap or a natural alternative such as washing soda.
2. Revamp the entrance
First impressions count, particularly if you’re about to put your house on the market. By painting the front door in a strong colour, such as red or blue, updating doorway furniture and the entrance mat, you’re sending a message that your home is up-to-date and well maintained before anyone even crosses the threshold. Give the area around the entrance the once-over by cleaning the path, removing cobwebs and trimming plants. Check the letterbox isn’t shabby and fix any loose pavers or fence palings.
3. Update flooring
Getting carpets cleaned can make a huge amount of difference to the look (and smell) of a home, so calling in the professionals is well worth considering. However, no amount of cleaning is going to lift a floor covering beyond its use-by date, so it may be time to replace what you’ve got.
If floorboards are showing a little too much wear and tear, have them re-sanded, which opens up myriad options as you could have them lime washed, stained, painted or simply resealed.
4. Quick kitchen fixes
New cupboard doors and handles update a kitchen in a budget-friendly way. “For a pre-made cupboard door off the shelf, the cheapest option is a laminated door for around $15,” says Amanda Falconer, author of The Renovator‘s Survival Guide (Penguin).
“The typical cupboard door is about 600 by 720 millimetres and you should be able to get a two pack polyurethane finish for around $50 a door.”
Another option is to replace the bench top, but consider what will work with your floor, says Judy Dymond, a colour consultant for The Laminex Group. “As your floor is probably the largest area of singular finish, ensure you take the colour and pattern into consideration.”
5. Makeover the bathroom
“You can get a quick lift by replacing the toilet, sink and tapware,” says Amanda Falconer. “A new toilet gives the impression of cleanliness and a new sink and taps can also help turn an ordinary or tired bathroom into something more modern. There are sinks of almost any shape and colour available, but more organic shapes are the current trend.”
If you want to go purely down the DIY route, think about painting the existing tiles. White Knight makes high-gloss tile paint as well as a nifty little Grout Pen, for painting over discoloured grout. Plasti-kote produces spray-on tile paint that provides two square metres of coverage per can in either white, cream or black.
6. Change the light switches
Often, it’s the details that count and standard white light switches tend to look yellow over time. Getting an electrician to replace them isn’t a costly exercise and you can often pick up everything you need at a big hardware store, so the major cost will be labour.
7. Rethink window treatments
Sometimes, you don’t realise how grubby a window is until it’s obvious. In the meantime, the dirt is building up and affecting the quality of light. Get the glass sparkling, check latches are working correctly and contact a glazier if any panes are cracked or need replacing. “Putting up a new blind or curtain can be a great start to adding or changing the style of a room,” says Shaynna Blaze, interior designer on The Lifestyle Channel’s ‘Selling Houses Australia.’
8. Replace splashback
Sometimes making one major change in the kitchen is enough to lift the whole room, so if you don’t want to mess with the cabinetry, cast an objective eye over the splashback as it’s a way to inject some personality into the room without going over the top.
9. Fit new taps
If the bathroom and kitchen are basically in good shape but just in need of a little updating, look at the taps. By fitting new, good-looking, matching taps, or taps that link aesthetically, you’re bringing a sense of cohesion to the house. Good taps also suggest good plumbing.
10. Groom the garden
Winter is the perfect time to pull on the garden gloves and get stuck into the back yard. After a general tidy up, look at any gaps in planting that need to be dealt with. If you’re putting the house up for sale, gather reasonably established potted plants to fill up these holes as you can take them with you when you go. Get hold of a high-pressure hose and give paths and paintwork the once-over.
Learn more about landscaping and first impression recommendations to increase your property value.