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Tips to spruce up your home

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When carrying out DIY home improvements, homeowners should focus on these areas:

House entrance and exterior

The main access to the house will give buyers their first impression, so you should consider a splash of colour to revitalise the look and feel, says Lew Geffen Sotheby’s Steve Thomas. You could also create a pathway, suggests Greeff’s Mike Greeff.

The width should allow enough space for two people to walk side by side. Trim overgrown trees and bushes that block the view of your home and walkways. You could also install low-cost, low-voltage outdoor lighting. “This not only adds to the safety and security of the home, but it also provides accent lighting and can illuminate a pathway.

Greeff says dingy mailboxes, house numbers and overhead lighting should be replaced. “These elements work better collectively, so instead of having a mix-and-match aesthetic, rather go for a similar style and feel.”

Garden and back yard

Reassess the functionality of your outdoor areas, Thomas suggests. There could be space close to the driveway where more offstreet parking could be created without ruining the aesthetics of the property.

“Ample secure parking is a definite selling point for most buyers. “Tidy boundaries, improve your home’s access to natural light and sunshine by trimming trees, improve rainwater catchment systems and replace power-guzzling lighting with LED energy-saving equivalents.”

If the garden has dark corners at night, install some energy-efficient solar lamps, he says. Greeff says a vertical garden is a good idea as it not only saves space but looks “uber-chic”. 

He adds: “Everyone wants a lush front lawn, but it’s not the most financially savvy choice you can make – particularly if you live in an arid climate or struggle to keep your grass green and weed-free. An easy-maintenance ground cover is an excellent and cost-effective alternative to grass. “When choosing an alternative, make sure that it can survive any climate and that it can spread quickly over the necessary areas.”

Having a landscaped garden is great, but having a landscaped, waterwise garden is even better, he says.

Bathrooms

Greeff notes that a fresh coat of paint can transform the bathroom and does not have to cost a lot. You can also consider:

  • Adjusting the pressure of the shower.
  • Adding stainless-steel taps will give it a classy, upmarket look and feel.
  • Re-grouting the tiles.
  • Remove and replace silicone around the shower, bath and toilet areas.

Thomas says homeowners can add water-saving features such as low-flow shower roses and. if necessary, update taps and fittings. They should also replace cracked or broken tiles.

Kitchen

Focus on colours and textures when making upgrades instead of breaking the bank for appliances, advises Greeff. You can also upgrade counter tops, paint or replace cabinet doors and consider re-tiling the kitchen for a fresh and uplifting look.

“There’s just something about new doors, handles and stainlesssteel appliances that excites people, so making these minor, somewhat inexpensive changes will make the world of difference,” he says.

Agreeing with this, Thomas says the simplest way to give tired kitchens a facelift is fitting modern handles to cabinets and drawers after giving them a fresh coat of paint – preferably white to brighten the space. “New splashbacks can also become wow-factor features and since their surface area tends to be fairly small they’re often surprisingly affordable.”

Entertainment Areas

If there is an outside space or garden it must look well maintained and uncluttered, says Knight Frank’s Lyndsay Child. “People love an outdoor area that, however big or small, invites you to enjoy the space.” Wooden decking is a great way to create more outdoor living space, Thomas says, adding that braai areas can also be updated to provide an elegant outdoor cooking area. 

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