A busy housing market with low interest rates, reality TV shows and the willingness of people to give DIY a go is prompting Australians to renovate their houses in droves. And never has there been a more inspirational time, with images and ideas readily at your fingertips thanks to social media. Tutorials and inspiration are everywhere. Hello Pinterest!

It doesn’t have to be full house renovation either, it can just be a time for a makeover. Most people want to start with the kitchen and bathroom. If this is something you are keen to try but don’t know where to start, I have some tips for you today. It’s hard to know what will add value, or what will just be a big fat waste of time…

Before you start, it helps if you have a potential buyer in mind. You’ll need to work out whether to renovate for a busy family or a professional who might only use the space on weekends. If you are not sure what will be sought-after in your area, grab a real estate agent and ask for their opinion.

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If you are going to spend money on any part of the house, the kitchen and bathroom are the places to do it. We’ve all heard that saying before; kitchens sell houses. And they do. Everyone needs a kitchen and bathroom in their house and everyone uses them more than any other room.

The costs could vary depending on the job at hand – you could spend anywhere from $3,000 to more than $20,000 – but as this type of work doesn’t need building permits (unless you move the plumbing), it gives you the best return on investment.

Huge cosmetic changes, and with this added value, can be made to kitchens and bathrooms by simply replacing benchtops, repainting cupboards, replacing handles, adding new appliances or installing new tapware, splashbacks or door handles.

Here are some DOs and DON’Ts for a kitchen and bathroom makeover:

Kitchen

Do… Upgrade appliances to more energy efficient models as these will help you save on your energy bills long-term

Do… Replace benchtops with stone

Do… Replace joinery or paint

Do… Replace lighting

Do… Optimise the layout or add an island bench for more seating

Don’t… Compromise storage because you can never have too much (add a walk-in space if you can)

Don’t… Choose poor quality surfaces

Don’t… Skimp on hardware

Don’t… Choose an unusual colour scheme

Don’t… Add overhead shelving unless you already have enough storage

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Bathroom

Do… Install a new shower screen

Do… Add tiles all the way to the ceiling

Do… Maximise storage options (like a mirror cabinet)

Do… Buy products that comply with Australian standards

Do… Install new lighting

Don’t… Change the plumbing layout if possible

Don’t… Add bath/shower combo (unless you are really pushed for space – see here.)

Don’t…  Pick obscure tiles

Don’t… Overcapitalise

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If you’re looking for some more kitchen tips I have this one about a Butler’s Pantry and also some tips on maximising space in your kitchen.

♥ KC.