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By Brett Warren

6 tricks to make your renovation look expensive

Whether your property is new or not, making sure it’s in top condition when you put it up for sale or for rent is crucial.

Some places might need more than just a spit and polish, and that’s where you want your money to work smarter, not harder.


Ideally, you want a champagne renovation on a beer budget, so you can create a high-end look without spending a fortune along the way.

These 6 tricks will help you make the most out of your renovation dollars without overcapitalising and eating into your profits.

1. Revitalise outdoor surfaces to look like new

Let’s start with curb appeal.

New tiles for the roof will cost a small fortune, but thorough cleaning with a pressure hose and a new coat of paint will make the roof look new at a fraction of the cost.

Driveways and pavers can be given the same treatment.

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Tips: Just remember to get the professionals in for these jobs – DIY roof work will take you far longer than it will the experts.

2. Substitute pricey materials with quality replicas

Creating a high-end look without the expense can be as simple as finding a substitute with the same look.

For example, in a mid-range rental property, you don’t need to pay top dollar for a new custom granite or marble kitchen benchtop, when you can choose a shell overlay that sits over the top of the existing bench.

The look can be just as impressive as the real thing and offers an affordable finish that delivers premium appeal.

The same goes for expensive tiling.

There are varieties of tile that mimic a high-end, pricey stone, like marble.

These new materials are becoming so close to the real thing that it’s hard to spot the difference.

Alternatively, apply a coat of quality tile paint to revive aged or dated tiles in bathrooms and kitchens.

Similarly, splashbacks are a simple way to update a kitchen.

Glass or mirror splashbacks are much cheaper alternatives to tile, granite or mosaic tile, and they look just as stunning.

3. Use wallet-friendly flooring

For flooring options, there are now myriad materials available to create a hardwood floor appearance.

Vinyl and laminate flooring have come a long way in terms of look, feel and durability.

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Some vinyl floorings can even be used in wet areas.

So before you spend a packet on genuine wood, take a walk around a flooring showroom and consider the wall-friendly alternatives.

4. Invest to create a ‘wow factor'

When you’re selling a house, you’re selling a lifestyle.

Adding an inexpensive luxury item like a deck can lift the whole house from ho-hum to ‘an entertainer’s dream’, and has the added bonus of making the home seem larger.

But don’t confuse niche items with luxury – for instance, a bar might cost a lot of money and only appeal to a small audience.

Pools in certain markets can also fail to add any value to the house, so it might be wiser to spend some money on an attractive garden instead.

5. Brighten the interior

The number one rule of renovation of any scale is repaint, and sticking with light or white colours is generally considered best.

But there are other ways to make a room feel lighter and brighter, and adding a skylight might cost less than you think.

Consider window treatments, too.

Replace heavy drapes with light filtering white timber Venetian blinds or translucent curtains to lighten and brighten the interior.

6. Style the house before the sale


As I said before, you want to sell a lifestyle with the home.

Renting furniture to style the property before you put it on the market will cost some money, but it’s accepted that staged homes do attract more interest from buyers.

Filling the home with quality, modern furniture displays the full potential of the property and masks problem zones and small imperfections.

Renovating can be a smart strategy for not only lifting the value of your property, but also for driving greater interest in your sale.

Remember that buyers are drawn to a lifestyle; the more you can do to help them envisage themselves living in the home, the more likely they are to fall in love with your property – and to pay top dollar as a result.

About Brett Warren Brett Warren is National Director of Metropole Properties and uses his two decades of property investment experience to advise clients how to grow, protect and pass on their wealth through strategic property advice.

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