Staying in is a good opportunity for tackling DIY projects around the home, so we’ve chatted to some handy people to find out what you could do to fill the time by enhancing the look and value of your home.
Builder Amos Shirreff of Make Plans says one of the easiest ways, which is also often the most overlooked, is to start with a simple declutter.
“I’m often asked ‘how can I make this room bigger?’ (inferring which wall needs to be removed). I survey the room and notice it’s filled with clutter and massive pieces of furniture or dark painted walls and ceiling, which could be quickly and cheaply addressed to give a bigger sense of space without a sledge hammer or a structural engineer,” he says.
“I did this recently in my own home by simply mounting the TV to the wall and getting rid of a bulky TV cabinet. It made a huge difference creating space with very little effort.”
Grant Smith, principal of Grant Smith Property, says it’s not always the large ticket items that add value. “It can be easy, cost-effective, cheap ways to add value and appeal while freshening up a property. Curb appearance is the strongest first impression.
“Opening up a clear access point to the front door is always inviting, trimming back overhanging trees or plants that have grown over the pavement will create more of a welcome. Pressure cleaning and some fresh new mulch are the two simplest ways to increase the appeal of your home,” Mr Smith says.
Katrina De Vere of De Vere Design Co agrees with a good clean-up followed by new paint if the walls are looking dull or paint is peeling.
“A fresh coat of paint in a neutral, crisp colour is a great way to freshen the interior or exterior. You can do as little as freshen up the front door (this is a good place to add a pop of colour) to a room or the whole home.
“Crisp white creates a blank canvas and opens a home up internally. In bedrooms, you can add colour. Half walls are fun and easy to achieve and can create a base to layer with styling,” Ms De Vere explains.
Meanwhile, Mr Shirreff makes the point of not “mistaking neutral for bland”. “Too many people design a beige box for future imagined occupants who do not exist. Design a house that you love and chances are, other people will too.”
And when it comes to DIY, Mr Sheriff warns “DIY might end up as DYI (do yourself in). If you are a terrible painter, don’t do it yourself. Pay a professional and get a professional result. If you are a jack of all trades and experienced tiler for example, do your own tiling work but if you are a novice relying on YouTube tutorials and a prayer, perhaps hire a professional.”
Joinery expert Mark McAtamney of McAtamney Cabinets has been in business for four decades and agrees. He says people often opt for a kit kitchen or DIY plastering, then cringe at the thought of finishing it.
“Do your research and get a few quotes. While the idea of a pre-made kitchen sounds like it would save you money, people often overlook just how much work and skill is required to create a kitchen or bathroom yourself.
“A kit kitchen from Bunnings or IKEA can be more expensive than a custom kitchen as there are lots of unexpected tweaking and pieces needed to make it fit, not to mention the actual time needed to properly install.
“If it’s a fresh coat of paint to walls or swapping out old handles for new, jump right it, but a kitchen or bathroom isn’t something you want issues with a year down the track,” Mr McAtamney adds.
Updating simple aesthetics is also something Mr Smith recommends. “White sealant around the edges of vanities, shower bases and along wet areas and tiles can freshen up corners, making bathrooms and kitchens look fresh and new. Other cost-effective ideas can be new light fittings, door handles and fans. All of which will increase the appeal. Often spending a little bit of money on your biggest investment can return the expense plus add additional value.”
And when it comes to outsourcing, the experts agree: get multiple quotes and do your due diligence. Mr Shirreff says, “In this time of uncertainty it is more important than ever to seek multiple quotes.”
Mr McAtamney says while most of their work is referral based, he advises “people should also check building licenses and inspect the tradesperson’s work where possible”. Ms De Vere adds, “Asking friends and family who they have used is also helpful if someone can recommend a trade that produced quality work. Always ask if it is possible to pop into a job they are currently working on or recently completed. This is a great comparison for work quality.”