Tips On Where To Spend Your Renovation Dollars

Sponsored content provided by Resene

Where to spend your renovation budget can be a tricky question. It’s a balancing act between ensuring you get the maximum bang for your buck to add value to your property but also enhance the way you live in your home.

There’s no one perfect answer because everybody’s home is as different as their desired outcomes but there are some general rules you can apply, and questions you can ask yourself (and the experts) that will help you decide where you want to focus your renovation attention and budget.

Know your goals

Resene - tonal colours

Tonal layers pull this sitting area together into a cohesive corner. The background wall and floor colour are Resene Ravine with a lighter corner block in Resene Pewter, Resene Haven and Resene Harp and the plant pot is Resene Yucca. The vases bowls and smaller accessories are Resene Napa, Resene Yucca, Resene Blue Smoke, Resene Pewter, Resene Ravine, Resene Haven, Resene Pumice, Resene Armadillo, Resene Eagle and Resene Harp. The frames are Resene Napa and Resene Duck Egg Blue. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Wendy Fenwick.

Are you looking to sell quickly in the immediate future? Or are you looking for ways that will improve the way you live in your house over the long term?

Not all renovations should just be about adding value when you sell your home at some stage. It’s OK if there are renovations that are important to you simply to turn the house you have into the home you love.

If you’re planning to stay in your home for another 20 years, how much value your planned renovation adds to your home right now becomes less important, especially if that extra level or large new kitchen is likely to bring years of joy.

If you’re planning to sell in a year or so you will want to pay closer attention to the margin, between how much your renovation will cost, compared to how much value it will add. There’s also no such thing as a ‘perfect margin’, it comes down to what you’re comfortable with, although real estate agencies often talk about returns that double what you spend on the renovation as being a good investment.

There aren’t too many renovations that will lower the value of your property but get good advice before undertaking projects that will reduce the number of bedrooms or bathrooms you have. So, for example, if it suits you to turn a bedroom into an office or studio, keep in mind that you might want to turn it back again, should you come to sell or get your house appraised.

Pools can be a trap for the unwary too. Pools can put some buyers off who are not interested in the maintenance or running costs. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in a pool if your family gets the use out of it – just don’t count on it adding value.

And remember, if you’re considering selling, it’s not just about doing a cost-effective renovation, it should also add something to your property, whether that is space, amenity or value.

Street appeal

Resene - colourful front door

If you’re thinking about selling, renovations that add street appeal are worth considering. The simple addition of a bold front door makes the exterior look modern, well maintained and inviting. This front door is painted in Resene Turbo.

Weatherboards in Resene Triple Concrete, trim in Resene Black White, bench in Resene Tuna, plant pots (from left to right) in Resene Silver Chalice and Resene Nocturnal and house numbers in Resene Nocturnal. Light from Lighting Direct. Project by Vanessa Nouwens, image by Bryce Carleton.

Kitchens and bathrooms

Kitchens and bathrooms are the functional showpiece areas that often add value for buyers, but they can also quickly spiral over budget.

Know your budget and get things carefully costed out before you start. It’s also a good idea to keep an amount of your reno budget aside to cover cost overruns or unexpected developments.

If your goal is about adding value for the sale of your home, just keep that balance between what your renovation costs and the value it adds, in the front of your mind. One way to do that is to opt for mid-range fixtures and fittings, rather than top-line.

Of course, you may not need or want to commit to a full bathroom or kitchen renovation. Paint and wallpaper can be your best friend here and managing your budget in these spaces may allow you to makeover other areas of the house as well.

Most kitchen cabinets, even those finished with a laminate can be painted over. It all comes down to the prep. After washing laminate surfaces seal them with Resene Waterborne Sealer before you apply Resene Lustacryl semi-gloss waterborne enamel in your colour of choice. You won’t replicate that super-shine laminate finish, but the sealer will ensure the paint adheres to the cupboard surface. Add some new handles and you have a new-look kitchen for a fraction of the cost of a new one.

Kitchens and bathrooms

The wall is Resene Cut Glass, the floorboards are Resene Raven, Resene Half Raven, Resene Gull Grey, Resene Regent Grey and Resene Kensington Grey with a vanity in Resene Bermuda Grey. The slatted screen is Resene Half Black White, the duckboard is Resene Black White and the ladder is Resene Silver Chalice. The side tables are Resene Avalanche. Project by Megan Harrison-Turner, image by Bryce Carleton.

If you’re painting kitchen cupboards and walls, it is also worth doing the ceiling – kitchen ceilings can discolour quite quickly thanks to cooking, high levels of humidity and fly dirt. Use Resene SpaceCote Flat Kitchen & Bathroom for a finish that’s easy to wipe clean.

Hot tip: Paint your ceiling in a flat finish. Glossier finishes show up every flaw, particularly if your light fittings reflect any light upward.

In the bathroom, a good place to start a cost-effective face-lift is a good clean of painted surfaces with Resene Interior Paintwork Cleaner and Resene Moss & Mould Killer. Much like a kitchen, repainting surfaces such as cabinets and even tiles, as well as ceilings and trim, can give the whole room a cost-effective facelift. Discoloured grout can be very tricky, if not impossible, to get clean. Use a fine artist’s paintbrush and Resene paint in a colour close to the original grout colour to refresh the grout. Keep a soft cloth handy to wipe any paint off that gets on the tile as you paint.

In both kitchens and bathrooms, a key area to focus your budget on is storage. Make sure there is plenty for towels, soaps and medicines, or all your kitchen appliances, plates, glasses and tools. Adding storage to high-use functional rooms in your house will almost never be money wasted.

Outdoor living and storage

Resene - outdoor living and storage

A fresh all-weather outdoor area is a good place to spend your renovation budget and can often be achieved quite cost-effectively. The wall is in Resene Triple Merino, while the floor is Resene Tiri wood stain. The ombre screen is, top to bottom, Resene Ebb, Resene Soothe, Resene Paper Doll, Resene Coral Tree and Resene Merino. The plant pots are, large to small, Resene Ebb, Resene Alabaster, Resene Coral Tree, Resene Paper Doll and Resene Merlot. The lightshade is Resene Alabaster and the tray is Resene Ebb. Sofa and table from Outside Space. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

We do love our indoor-outdoor flow, so when it comes to renovations, creating sheltered, functional and attractive spaces is almost always a good investment.

If you don’t have a large renovation budget and are considering selling, focus your funds on making sure what you do have is tidy and well maintained, with freshly stained or painted fences, furniture, decks and planter boxes. You’ll be amazed at how much a fresh coat of Resene paint or wood stain can give your outdoors a new lease of life.

If you’re selling, keep colours neutral and add pops of colour in plants and cushions. If you’re making it over for your own enjoyment, don’t be afraid to experiment with colour outside to help create a mood and environment that you love.

For mid-sized budgets, focus your funds on creating that indoor-outdoor flow, with French doors and large windows, if you can. In spaces that are your main connections with the outdoors, maybe living rooms, kitchens, or even bedrooms, consider choosing your interior colour scheme to mirror the colours outside. It helps provide a seamless flow, even if it’s just a mood, or mental impression that the spaces are connected. If you’re by the sea, think about blues, sandy neutrals and parched wood tones. Or if your home looks over a plush garden with bright flowers, mirror those shades inside instead. Keep the same effect in mind when you’re choosing shades for fences and outdoor furniture.

For bigger budgets, think about how you can create an outdoor room. A beautiful deck, with a place to sit and a BBQ is great. An outdoor area you can use in all weathers and seasons is even better.

Look for ways to provide shelter that meet your budget. If you can’t opt for a full, covered pergola with blinds for wind shelter, can you add a canvas shade cloth or a retractable awning? Can you add moveable planter boxes with hedging or other plants that could be moved around to provide wind breaks? Consider a privacy screen to create a private outdoor space. These are easy to create with a range of materials and can be finished in Resene Woodsman stain or your favourite Resene paint colours to add a little personality to your outdoor space.

Adding areas of off-street parking and storage (inside and outside in sheds and garages) can also be sensible renovations to undertake, that add amenity and value to your house. In these pandemic-influenced times, when we’ve all spent a lot more time in our homes, having an outdoor shed that can be used for storage, but may double as an extra bedroom, office or studio is something to consider, if you have the space.

Rejuvenate tired decks with Resene Woodsman wood oil stain. If you are choosing a dark colour, use a Resene CoolColour to help reflect more heat and keep the surface and substrate cooler. Refresh outdoor furniture with Resene Furniture and Decking Oil and add colour to planters with Resene testpots.

Should you build that extra bedroom?

The short answer to the question of: ‘Is it worth it to add an extra bedroom?’, is probably, yes. In most cases adding an extra bedroom adds an excellent amenity for you when you’re living in your house and will add value when you sell.

The long answer is that it really depends on a range of different factors. Turning a two-bedroom into a three-bedroom, or a three into a four-bedder is possibly where you’ll add the most value. The larger number of bedrooms your home already has, the less proportional value another bedroom is likely to add.

Another factor to consider is what you are sacrificing to create the extra room. Are you cutting into your existing storage space or living space to find the square meterage you need? That could reduce the amount of value your extra room adds to the home. Are you considering renting the space out or using it to run a home-based business? They’re all considerations that impact that value/cost equation.

Do your homework

Whether you’re wanting to renovate before selling your home or not, it’s a good idea to check in with local real estate agents and/or property valuation specialists.

They will be able to tell you not only what homes like yours are selling for in your location, but will also be able to advise on what buyers are looking for and what adds the most value.

To some extent where you spend your money might also be dictated by your timeframe. If you’re looking to sell quickly, it might be a case of what can be achieved in the time available, for your budget.

For example, a full kitchen and bathroom makeover might not be doable if you need to sell in six weeks, but a new coat of Resene paint and some basic maintenance might make enough difference to help you get a good resale price.

Should you build that extra bedroom?

Luxury comes in all guises. Natural tones and textures bring comfort with a sense of peace and calm and make a perfect canvas for personalisation if you’re trying to attract buyers. The wall here is in Resene Eighth Stonehenge, the floor is Resene Colorwood Mid Greywash and the headboard slats are in Resene Double Stonehenge. The shelf is Resene Ebony Clay and the small mirror and tealight holder on the shelf are Resene Corvette. The vases next to the bed are Resene Double Stonehenge, Resene Half Barely There and Resene Rakaia (medium) and Resene Cinnamon. Project by Kate Alexander, image by Bryce Carleton.

If your selling deadline is longer, or not even on the horizon, the real estate agent will still be able to help guide you on where to spend your money and what buyers of homes like yours want.

Another way to do your research is to start looking at properties like yours that are already on the market. What are they offering that you might not have thought of that is being marketed as a key selling feature? It’s also worth checking out an open home or two in your local area to see how your place compares.

Leave A Comment