When it comes to finding a buyer for your home, every little helps. “How much difference can the colour of my walls or the design of my kitchen make to a potential buyer?”, I hear you cry.
A surprising amount. “Bad taste” decor can knock five to 10 per cent off the value of your home. Your house is also likely to take longer to sell. If you’re in a hurry to move — be that to relocate for a new job or escape a messy divorce — spending a little time and money on updating the interior design of your home could deliver big rewards.
Focus on the Most Important Rooms
If you’re short on time and budget, prioritise the rooms that buyers are typically most interested in. The kitchen and living room are a key focus for many buyers. This doesn’t mean you need to splash out on a whole new kitchen. Painting or replacing cabinet doors and handles can revitalise tired-looking units and quickly turn out-of-date styles into on-trend designs. Likewise, reorganising the furniture in your living room and replacing highly personalised decor with neutral tones can create the illusion of space and help potential buyers to imagine the property as their new home.
Remember to consider your target market. The “most important” rooms for buyers seeking a family home are likely to be very different from those a retired couple would hone in on.
Let There Be Light
Many homeowners completely forget about lighting when compiling a to-do list of home improvements to complete before marketing their property. Effective lighting, whether natural or artificial, can transform a space from drab, cramped and uninviting to airy, welcoming and filled with potential.
Space is at a premium now more than ever as a rapidly growing number of homeowners plan to work remotely long term, at least for part of their working week. Used creatively, good lighting can help to demonstrate the space available in your home, be that to create an office or for the kids to run around in. Identify areas where light is poor and add lamps, spotlights and floor standers. Remove items that block natural light and redecorate using tones that create a feeling of light and space. Make sure that the lighting matches a room’s function. Harsh, bright lights might be ideal for the home study but not the bedroom. Also consider the time of day when hosting viewings — gentle, warm lighting is better suited to evening bookings while bright, natural light will cast your home in the best light during daytime appointments.
Okay, so this isn’t technically a home improvement, but decluttering before viewings or having photographs of your property taken is essential to demonstrate its full potential. A clean, tidy house will also feel more loved and cared for, which will help potential buyers to imagine themselves making it their home.
If you have a lot of personal items and nick-nacks on display, consider moving them to a cupboard or the loft. If you’re a real hoarder, you may need to ask a friend or family member to store some of your belongings in the short term. Clutter not only makes a place look untidy, but it can also prevent a buyer from properly viewing your home — how can they fully appreciate the space in your beautifully designed in-built wardrobes if boxes are blocking the door?
Don’t Forget the Exterior of Your Home
First impressions count. No matter how beautifully decorated your home is internally if it looks shabby and unloved on the outside, buyers could be put off before they set foot through the door.
Tidy up the garden and driveway, repaint the front door and fix any broken window frames. Remove excess clutter such as children’s toys or personal items such as ornamental furniture. Adding plants, flowers and hanging baskets can be a nice touch that makes the property feel welcoming. And be sure to resolve any issues such as blocked drains that cause unpleasant odours!
Stage Your Home
Staging essentially means “decorating” your home to cast it in its best light. This could mean adding a fresh bowl of fruit to the kitchen, some flowers to the bedroom (these will not only look gorgeous but will also scent the room beautifully) or removing clutter. You might even choose to demonstrate alternative uses for certain areas, for example, by adding a desk and chair to “dead” under stairs space.
There are plenty of ways to improve the interior design of your home without spending a fortune or devoting months to completing the work. Emphasise space and light, remove clutter and personal items, and revamp the rooms that are likely to be of most interest to your target audience. Small improvements can make a big difference to how fast your home sells and the price you can achieve.
Photos by Collov Home Design on Unsplash