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Give your home a face lift

Selling up and want to get the best price without spending a lot of time and cash on DIY’ Here are some guaranteed money-spinners that you can put into action in a weekend

When you put your home on the market, prospective buyers should be able to imagine themselves living in your home.

That means you will need to remove a lot of personal items and tone down individual statements of creativity. Your aim is to create a clean, bright and neutral space that is in good repair and has no areas that spell trouble. You don’t want buyers to be put off before they even have the survey done.

The most important factor for potential buyers is light, and by tidying away all but a selection of either beautiful or essential items, you will be maximising the amount of natural light in your home. Objects left lying around attract dust, so hiding away clutter in a cupboard will keep your home much cleaner. Read on for our tips on how to spruce up your house quickly and efficiently. A lick of paint
If you are thinking of repainting, first consider whether yours is a cold room, ie it’s facing north and gets little sunlight ‘ or a warm room, ie it’s facing south and is hot in summer. Hot rooms can take cool colours, so go for shades of white, taupe, palest stone and pebble. Cool rooms need warming up, so look for warm creams, pinky-toned oyster greys, buttermilks and pale ochres.

A large room done in pale shades will look bare and blank, so you need to brighten it up. Just one feature wall in a complementary but darker shade to the rest of the room can work really well, so don’t be afraid to go for it. In a smaller room, think of painting the fireplace or the chimney breast in a slightly darker shade. It will pick out the feature nicely and also highlight the walls behind.

Remember, the overall effect you’re searching for is clean, cared for and tempting. You want someone to feel inspired to buy your property, then use what you’ve done as a backdrop to create their own personal space.

Fabric matters
The last thing you want to do when you’re going to move home is to put up new curtains, but the chances are that yours have seen better days. If they’re faded, torn or in any way tatty, get rid of them. There is a huge selection of ready-made curtains on the market these days and with a bit of inspiration and some quick tricks, you can give your windows a whole new feel.

If you have poles, look out for tab-top curtains which simply slide on. If they’re too long, either hitch up and drape across the top of the window with tie-backs, or if light is at a premium, cut off and turn up using iron-on tape or dressmakers’ glue.

Where privacy is not paramount but light is, go for sheers ‘ billowy white muslin curtains always look appealing, particularly in the summer. And if white isn’t quite right, dye them to the required shade in the washing machine. It will only cost a few pounds.

To brighten up gloomy corners, visit Indian shops and buy silk sari lengths in jewel colours. Use curtain clips to snap onto tracks, and take with you when you move out to re-use in your new home.

Add inspirational touches by using cheap bead necklaces as tie-backs, or sewing on a length of sequinned ribbon or beading to give curtains a ‘wow’ factor. But don’t spend a fortune: these are measures designed simply to give your home buyer appeal.

Tidy up tatty sofas and chairs with a tactile, textured throw, tucking it in neatly around the edges. Replace battered cushions with a selection of fresh, new ones in complementary shades but various materials: shaggy Mongolian wool, knitted cablestitch, satin and velvet, embroidered and sequinned.

Flooring facts
Scruffy, dirty carpet is every buyer’s nightmare. Not only will it be expensive to replace, it will also be very disruptive, so get your carpets professionally cleaned before you put your house on the market. If your carpet is totally past redemption, either buy some cheap and cheerful rugs to throw over bald patches, or take a more drastic measure and rip it up. If you have floorboards underneath in a reasonable state, hire a sander and spend a weekend cleaning and sanding the floor. Then paint with a proprietary floor paint or wood stain ‘ there are some wonderful shades around. Go for light shades in a dark room or a glossy walnut in a large, bright area.

Alternatively, invest in some click-lock laminate. Now manufactured in wide and grooved boards in a variety of finishes, it can be hard to tell the difference between fake wood flooring and the real thing. It also means laminate at last looks natural in older properties.

Carpet in the bathroom is a definite no, and sheet vinyl is much harder to lay than you’d imagine, so replace with easy-to-lay lino tiles instead.

Clear the clutter
Mess everywhere is guaranteed to make buyers flee and a plethora of plastic toys is particularly off-putting. Tidy up children’s toys and stash in cupboards or toy boxes. Better still, make them pick ten they like playing with and can’t bear to be parted from and store the rest in the garage. You’ll be amazed how few toys children really care about and need.
If you have lots of family photos dotted around, put them away, too. They’re distracting to visitors and much too personal to you and your life. What you really want buyers to see is the room and its potential, not the minutiae of your day-to-day existence.

Choose accessories that complement the colour shades you’ve used to decorate the room. One big vase
or bowl will highlight a pretty alcove or window; whereas lots of little ornaments in varying sizes and colour will make the area look cluttered and busy.

Make sure books are stacked neatly on shelves and papers and magazines under the coffee table or, preferably, behind closed doors where they can’t be seen!

Do remember to put away cat and dog bowls, and banish pets (and children, for that matter) from the house while potential buyers visit, so they can concentrate without distraction.

Clean up
This is a simple step but one that so many vendors forget to do beforehand. It’s important to remember that a fresh-smelling, tidy home is instantly appealing, so do the best for your home and give every room a thorough spring clean before putting your property on the market ‘ in fact, before you even have the estate agent round. Wipe down all windows, skirting boards, door frames and ensure all surfaces are shiny and stain-free. Any home that smells of animals can be very off-putting, so make sure yours doesn’t whiff of dogs or cats. Open all windows and give your home a thorough airing to get rid of stale smells.

Some plug-in air fresheners can be pretty unpleasant so instead burn scented candles or put a bowl or pot pourri in each room. The aromas of fresh ironing, baking bread and brewing coffee are all supposed to be alluring to prospective buyers but there’s nothing to beat a vase of scented flowers in the main rooms of the house ‘ they’ll look good as well as smell nice.

5 quick sale fixes

Bowls of fresh fruit always look good on display. Heap oranges or rosy apples into a round bowl. Stow clutter in lidded wicker baskets which sit neatly under coffee tables, stacked in corners or on the top shelf. Display thick altar candles in contrasting heights in an unlit fireplace. File paperwork such as magazines and mail-order catalogues
in matching cardboard file boxes which you’ve covered in wallpaper to complement your d’cor. Keep bottles and tubes out of sight by putting them away in bathroom cupboards.

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