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Easy updates

If your home is in need of a revamp, we show you how to freshen up and accessorise every room for a contemporary and saleable look

The world of interior design is as ever-changing as the world of the fashion catwalks – season by season what was ‘in’ is suddenly ‘out’ and new ideas and styles are all the rage.

If our bank balances, time and space were limitless, we’d all be updating the décor in our homes every spring, summer, autumn and winter but, for most of us, that’s not a realistic proposition. So, if your home hasn’t seen a lick of paint, a new piece of furniture or the latest accessory added since you bought it, now’s the time to change that. And if you’re considering selling, updating your home so it appeals to buyers is vital. Here, we show you how to make a few simple improvements to your home to make it the must-have property in your street…

Living it up!
The golden rule, especially when you’re trying to sell, is to stick to a neutral colour scheme. This doesn’t mean your decor has to be bland – colour can be added in other ways – but if your lounge is acid pink, you’d be wise to tone it down. You can always add your accents of choice when you accessorise!

Sofa so good
If you’ve had your sofa for years and it’s looking a little worn, or has more than a hint of chintz, there are things you can do. Throws are an easy and affordable way to transform a sofa – there’s a wealth of beautiful designs, materials and colours to choose from.

If your sofa really is past its best, think carefully about what you invest in next. To keep the look of your living room clean and simple while you’re trying to sell, opt for neutral and plain upholstery or go for classic and hardwearing leather, sticking to brown, cream or classic black.

Carpet matters
The most adaptable and practical flooring for a living room is a plain carpet in an easy-to-live with shade. If yours is the opposite, position a large neutral rug in the centre of the room. If you do have a neutral carpet but it’s looking worn, it’s still wise to invest in a good quality rug. It will draw the focus towards it rather than the threadbare carpet underfoot.

Accessorise away
You can give your living room the personal touch by adding accents of colour – use framed pictures on the walls, mirrors, side lamps and floor-standing lamps. Standard lamps are back in vogue and they create
a stunning focus. The right lighting is vital when it comes to creating a relaxing and welcoming lounge.

Bedroom beauty
Your bedroom should be the ultimate haven of calm, free of clutter, with soft colours and soothing lighting.

Bed basics
It goes without saying that the bed is the main focus of any bedroom. If you have a wooden bed that’s in need of some care, revive it by stripping it and waxing it or by painting it and, if it suits the style of your room, distressing the paintwork afterwards.

If you have a modern, metal framed bed, soften the look with fresh white cotton bedlinen and add a luxurious throw. And for divans, cover the base with a plain and simple valance – no frills allowed!

Storage solutions
Whether you have wardrobes, a chest of drawers, bedside tables or a dressing table – or all four – the key is to keep your bedroom clutter-free to create a feeling of space. The traditional ‘fitted bedroom’ is a look that’s had its day and could in fact devalue your property. Free-standing furniture that complements your bed is a far more stylish option. It doesn’t have to match perfectly – an eclectic mix is fine – but keep a consistent theme, with your use of colour.
If some of your pieces of furniture have handles broken or missing, rectify the problem by replacing the whole set with modern or antique-style handles to suit the room’s style.

Bathroom bliss
An attractive bathroom has the potential to feel like your own private spa if it’s clean and uncluttered and simplicity is key when appealing to prospective buyers.

Suite dreams
Avocado bathroom suite? It has to go – and replace it with white for a clean, timeless look. If your suite is white but your taps are old and stained, or brass, it’s worth changing them as new taps have a dramatic effect towards sprucing up a bathroom. Go for chrome and choose classic shapes that won’t date. Corner baths or baths with fitted Jacuzzis are very passe so avoid these, but if your bathroom allows it, space-wise, consider a modern roll-top design – but still avoid brass fittings and keep the design simple.

If your bathroom doesn’t have a shower, get one fitted when you replace the suite – even if there is only room for an over-the-bath shower. Buyers expect to have a shower in a bathroom now. Avoid plastic and opt for the many stylish chrome shower heads available.

Fabulous floors
If your bathroom has fitted carpets, it’s definitely time to update the look. Not only that, carpets in bathrooms absorb moisture so they often smell bad – definitely a turn-off for any prospective buyers! Choose a plain and preferably neutral water resistant floor covering – lino, marmoleum, vinyl, ceramic or mosaic tiles.

Totally tiled
Giving the granite between tiles a good clean can go a long way towards a sparkling bathroom. But if they still look worn even after applying elbow grease, try using a specialist tile paint for a cheap and easy modern look.

Remarkable radiators
Radiators are now a design feature in themselves – and in the bathroom they come into their own. Replace
a traditional radiator with a stylish heated towel radiator – designs are often tall and slim so look super sleek.

Cool kitchens
A total kitchen refit is extremely costly and, if you’re moving house, is an unnecessary expense. More often than not, a dated kitchen can be whipped into the modern world with a few simple, but clever, tricks.

Unique units
If your kitchen units are looking tatty, update them quickly and easily – and at reasonable cost – by painting them and replacing the handles, or replacing the doors and handles altogether.
If your sink has lost its gleam, that too can be replaced without too much expense. Opt for something classic – both in the sink design and that of the taps. It may be that your sink itself is still shiny, in which case taps alone are an even cheaper – and easier – way to instantly modernise this essential area of your kitchen.

Workspace wonder
A tidy, clean, uncluttered kitchen is what buyers want to see as they view your house. Ensure as much as possible on the worktops is cleared away into drawers and cupboards. Update what must be left visible, such as your kettle and toaster, with modern or classic styles, whichever best suit the design of your kitchen.

Ways with walls
If the walls in your home are a throwback to the ’80s with textured patterns, then the noughties is very much the decade to change them. Smooth and neutrally painted walls or a plain wallpaper is the way forward when it comes to trying to sell your home.

It’s not as big a DIY job as you may think to smooth over textured walls. Artex ‘Smooth-It’ is a texture-smoothing kit which comes ready-to-use from its tub, with a spatula and smoother included. In a matter of hours, your walls will have a clean, smooth white finish, ready for a fresh coat of paint or a stylish wallpaper.
Artex Smooth-It is also ideal for covering over minor cracks in your walls and is also suitable for using on your ceilings.

Staging your home: a helping hand
If the idea of improving your home yourself fills you with utter dread, or if you simply don’t have the time, there are companies established to do all the work for you. CK Property Presentation, owned by design expert Christine Reeves, offers different levels of service to suit your budget, as well as a photo consultation service. The company also offers a professional decorating service to help you achieve a beautiful finish for your property. To find out more, call 020 8861 5865 or visit

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