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DIY Home Renovation Tips for Maximising Value

DIY Home Renovation Tips for Maximising Value

. 9 min read

When it comes to selling your home, there are a few steps you should take to make sure you’re getting the most value possible. A lot of Aussies often find themselves stuck in thinking that value-raising can only come from a major renovation, though that’s not always the case.

You can add a pretty significant percentage point jump in value to your home in most cases, just by taking the time to make it look on-trend. Adding a few practicality-focused changes, a new lick of paint and some more storage is a great place to start and these will add a lot of value for potential buyers.

For the most part, small, affordable renovations will add the most value to your home as the overhead costs are low, and returns can be exponential if you play your cards right. Keep in mind that a lot of the time, perceived value (or value at a glance) to buyers is in the superficial parts of a home, with risky structural changes often coming in second.

Going the DIY route with a well thought out plan and a theme or focal point for the renovation will give you a good chance at maximising your home’s value.

Here are our top tips for maximising value from a home DIY renovation.

Creating a Budget or Expenditure Plan

Before we delve into the renovation itself, it’s vital to be aware, prepared and disciplined when it comes to the up and coming renovation. All too often we see homeowners massively blow out their budget, to the point where added value is entirely exhausted by the cost of the remodelling itself.

A good rule of thumb is to cap all of your DIY renovations to between 2 per cent and 1.5 per cent of your home’s value — depending on the renovation. For the kitchen, 2 per cent is ideal, though don’t extend beyond that for a bathroom, or especially a bedroom.

You’ll also want to do plenty of digging and price-maximising research to get the most out of the reno budget you’ve built up. Not relying entirely on professionals for everything is an excellent place to start, as is bargaining for materials and products with suppliers.

Lastly, it’s also a good idea to have a safety net and action plan in place should your renovation lead to an unexpected cost blow out. Have a structure in place where you can effectively ‘tie off’ the renovation at a high standard and not leave yourself stuck with an incomplete job.

1. Target the Floors First

A great place to start any renovation is on the floor. It’s the most significant single visual element in the home, and if it’s not in-style or is badly worn down, then it has to be dealt with.

Our tip here is to tear out carpeting that’s showing any sign of ageing, or is in an unattractive colour. As you’d probably agree, carpeting is on the out, and laminate faux timber flooring or tiles are in. These are much more modern, easier to clean and will open up the home a lot more effectively than carpet. In many cases, buyers want to see large, open and airy spaces, and carpeting will almost always put a damper on this.

To add, if your home has fantastic timber flooring, have a professional re-polish this, or consider doing it on your own. It isn’t too challenging to revarnish a timber floor, and the pay off will be massive when it comes time to bring potential buyers into the home.

Finally, remember to tie in your flooring changes to the rest of your renovation. The floor is, of course, the ‘base’ of the interior style for your home, so don’t go too dark, bright or textured if it will clash with existing colours, materials or cupboards.

2. Restyle Your Interior Doors

If there’s one element of the home that is a dead giveaway of its age and trendiness, it’s the doors. Old multi-recessed doors are a big no-no in 2020, and if your renovation is focusing on creating a new, modern look, then you’ll need to switch up your doors.

Thankfully a door can be effectively ‘redesigned’ with a fresh coat of paint and a new doorknob, so take a peek on Pinterest at some styles you like and go all-out.

We suggest opting for doorknobs in a colour that matches your bathroom and kitchen fixtures to help with visual cohesion — though, alternate between matte and chrome finishes. If a kitchen tap is a polished chrome, opt for doorknobs in a matte version of that colour.

It’s also a good idea to say goodbye to any ‘artsy’ or retro doorknobs that are ornamental in design. There’s nothing more stylish than a solid, squared-off metal door handle.

3. A Repainting is a Requirement

There’s nothing more telling to buyers that your home’s out of style than a poorly chosen interior paint palette. On top of that, if there’s any nicks, stains or chips, then you can say goodbye to an excellent first impression.

To maximise your home’s value, a new coat of paint is absolutely essential, and it’s imperative to select a colour that’s universally preferred. We suggest going for a crisp white for interior walls to show off your home’s size, and dark tones for feature walls like behind the living room TV or at the end of the hallway.

The good news here is that for each dollar your spend on paint, the returns are generally between $5 and $10, so you’re definitely better off switching things up.

4. Let There Be Light

There’s almost no way to overdo lighting, so if there are dark spaces in your home, consider installing directional lighting here, and let these rooms pop.

Another unique lighting installation to consider that will really help you get the most value for your home is down lighting and strip lighting. These are ideal for spaces like kitchens and bathrooms where you, of course, want to light the entire space, but also highlight a specific area.

Adding strip lights below countertops, inside cabinets and below a vanity in the bathroom will give your home that ‘show home’ look that buyers crave in a new home, and it’s a very affordable renovation idea.

Again, Pinterest will be a big help here if you’re stuck on where best to install accent lighting for the best effect.

5. Resurface Ageing Bathrooms

It’s good to know that beauty in the home is only skin deep, which is fantastic for anyone looking to spruce up their ageing bathrooms. If you’re stuck with a disastrous tile pattern, old yellowing chrome taps or brown floor tiles, then replace these first. A tiled floor can be easily resurfaced and even marbled with multiple shades of paint, massively adding to perceived value.

In line with our door restyle suggestions, make sure all tapware in the bathroom matches the doors; though in a chrome or matte variant depending on what you’ve chosen for the doors. Also be sure to copy the same style from the kitchen and doors, match a boxy squared door handle with a similar (not exact) style of tap.

A few final things to consider are replacing toilet seats, old shower screens and to cover up exposed sink piping. Remember that beauty is in the details in the bathroom, and if you can see drainage pipes, old tile patterns or marks and cracks in the bath, take these on too.

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6. Strategically Transform the Kitchen

Because we all know that the kitchen can quickly gobble up even the biggest of renovation budgets, it’s best to be highly calculated when tackling this space. You want to maximise your home’s value, and also get the most from your kitchen reno budget — so here’s what you’ll need to do:

  • Change Cabinet Handles
  • Zone and Re-floor Only the Kitchen
  • Repaint to Match the Floor
  • Add a Feature Light
  • Create an Open Storage Space
  • Swap Out Fixtures to Match the Bathroom

With those few and affordable changes, you’ll be able to effectively create an all-new kitchen, without actually doing it. Most kitchens in older homes don’t have any visual cohesion, so by tying in the kitchen floor to the cabinet colours, the water fixtures to the bathroom’s and the cabinet handles to the interior doors, you’ll be ensuring there’s a ‘flow’ to all of your renovations.

To buyers, this style unity hints to an entire renovation of the home and gives the impression that they’re stepping into a wholly remodelled investment property — significantly adding to value.

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7. Improve Street Appeal

When it comes to making an impact and capturing the attention of investors, your home’s entrance really needs to stand out. Buyers will, again, be looking for visual unity here, so make sure that colour tones and styles match the rest of the home.

If you’re a DIY renovator, we highly suggest repainting your fence if you have one, adding a new front door or repainting your door for climactic effect and lastly giving the front a major clean. A pressure washer will be your best friend here, as you might find that below a layer of weathered grime, mould or dust there’s a clean and crisp lick of paint.

Keep in mind that the home needs to be exceedingly welcoming to buyers, so if you’re going to alter gardens, fences or footpaths, make them highlight the front door by creating a V shape out to the street. It draws the eye to the entryway and removes any confusion about where best to enter your house when walking up from the road.

8. Enhance Lawns, Patios and Outdoor Fun

Our final tip for a home renovation is maximising your outside spaces. In most cases, these outdoor zones are weatherproof so you shouldn’t need to replace anything, just consider a few additions and touchups.

If your backyard’s tiles or stone paths are weathered or cracked, replace them with a modern colour-matched version that complements your indoor tones.

All grass, garden beds and trees should be greened up, pruned and must look as low maintenance as possible. Buyers want to see a home that offers a relaxed lifestyle, and a messy, unkempt garden shows the opposite.

To end, show off your outdoor spaces like an extra living area. If your budget allows, add a deck, pergola or a simple BBQ space by your back fence away from your home (within council guidelines or find local suppliers selling outdoor furniture in Sydney), and you’ll be expanding your livable floor space.

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From our renovation tips above, it’s easy to see that there’s a tonne you can do on your own to truly transform your home. You’ll just need to be as calculated and organised as possible, and you’ll see some pretty big returns.

A few final things to remember:

  • Consider Creating an ‘Easy’ Lifestyle
  • Add Outdoor Living Space
  • Visual Cohesion and Flow is Imperative
  • Carpet is a No-go
  • Be Conservative with Kitchen Changes
  • Buyers Want Low-maintenance
  • Well-lit Rooms Look Bigger

And there you have it, our eight top tips to get the most out of your home renovation and to maximise your home’s value without spending a boatload of cash.


Part of the expertEasy team in Melbourne. Mark is a keen gardener, a DIY addict and a father of two beautiful girls. He is originally from Perth and is a true Eagles fan.