Does the very thought of home improvement make your bank balance creak? Property buying experts, with their fingers on the pulse of what buyers actually look for, agree it doesn’t necessarily have to cost a fortune to make a house a super-desirable home.

Here are their top tips for home improvement that will make your house a nicer place to be whilst you’re there, and tick all the buyers boxes when the time comes to move.

Let There Be Light

There’s bound to be one side of the house that’s lighter than the other, depending on which way it’s facing. Sun-flooded rooms are naturally more welcoming, but some strategies can create an illusion of space and light even in dull rooms.

Decor — keep it light, but not necessarily white which can look cold and clinical in dim rooms. Warm pastels and complimentary splashes of brighter colour add a natural warmth and accent that brightens up dull areas.

Use Mirrors — They reflect what light there is, and make the space seem twice as big. Ideal locations include opposite windows, in alcoves to give the impression of greater depth, and at the end of short passages or landings at the top of stairs.

Keep Window Treatments Simple — This is especially important if windows are small. Overly fussy or heavy drapes and curtains block light and make windows appear smaller. Light fabrics, drawn back from the frames, have the opposite effect.

Choose Light Furniture — We tend to avoid ‘brown’ furniture anyway these days, with blonde woods and paint effects being more fashionable. If you’re planning to refurbish a room, choose sofas and chairs with legs rather than furnishings that are blocked in. Being able to see a bit more floor beneath furniture adds the illusion of more space, casts fewer heavy shadows, and lets light circulate.

Modernise What Matters

First impressions count, so it’s acceptable to update just those fixtures and fittings that are always on show.

For instance, kitchens take on a whole new personality if you replace worn worktops and tired cabinet doors along with taps and floor coverings. It’s far cheaper than installing an entire new kitchen, but it wakes the room up and gives it new energy.

The same goes for bathrooms, another of the most important rooms in the house. If you can, replace untidy shower curtains with a sleek screen. Not all baths are ideally positioned to take a screen, so you have to work with what you have. A separate shower is more desirable than one over the bath but, for families with young children, it’s often not practical to do away with the tub if you don’t have space for both.

Treat existing carpets to a professional, deep clean, or replace them if they’re worn. Carpets are one of the biggest expanses of colour in the house, creating an instant, lasting impression that could be either good or bad. They are also the biggest collector of dirt and smells, especially if you have pets, so they deserve some extra loving care.

Streamline and Downsize Clutter

Put up shelving, devise storage systems, make use of awkward spaces (like under the stairs), and take control of belongings. Having too much on show makes it look like there’s no storage in the house, which puts off buyers and makes living there frustrating when you can’t find what you’re looking for.

Organising storage, from putting shoe racks in wardrobes to having storage furniture in the living rooms for remotes and game controllers, is one of those unexciting projects that punches well above its weight.

There’s no real end to home improvement. Whether through wear and tear or changing interior fashions or needs as the family grows, there’s always something to do. Keep on top of small improvements, and bigger ones won’t feel so overwhelming when they’re needed.

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