Kitchen Credentials

Last Issue, Interior Stylist Kelly Quinn showed us how important it is to ensure the front yard of a listed property is up to scratch. This third article in her series, illustrates some important, (and inexpensive) make over tips and techniques that can be applied to a kitchen to make sure that it sizzles, rather than fizzles.

If you ask any person looking at renovating a house “Which are the most expensive areas to fix up?” you will hear “the kitchen and bathroom”. They are also the areas that will either make or break a sale, and that is because apart from being the most expensive to renovate, they are the most essential rooms in the house. You can sleep in a lounge room while your bedroom is being renovated if you need to, but where else can you cook (other than outside)?

Kitchens are no longer a room that is purely utilitarian; they have now become a focal point, a social mecca, even a representation of status. With popular shows such as “Master-Chef” and “My Kitchen Rules”, people are diving back into cooking and spending lots of time in the kitchen. Appliances are becoming decorator items and style is just as important as functionality. The kitchen can even set the style and tone for the rest of the house.

What do buyers want in a kitchen? They want bench space, modern appliances, a light and airy feel, cupboard space and they want all of the expensive remodelling done so that they don’t have to pay for it or have to endure the disruption of having it done themselves. Neutral kitchens are always the best way to go, as the new buyer will be able to visualise themselves in the space much more readily than if it is decorated to the previous owners taste.

So what can be done to get a kitchen looking up to date without spending a fortune so that you can ensure that you get the best return on your investment?

Here are just a few ideas:

Paint – this is the easiest way to change the feel of a room as well as update it and make it look fresh and clean. Stick with neutral colours, and if there is an adjoining room, like a dining or family room, continue the colour through as it gives a feeling of more space.

Clean – the single most important task for any room is to make sure it sparkles. Don’t forget to clean extractor fans and inside cupboards, because buyers will look in every nook and cranny to find faults to whittle away at your asking price. Windows are very important too, don’t forget to take off fly screens to allow more light in, and remove any window coverings; the more light you can let in the better.

Light – turn on all the lights…the brighter the better. People don’t like dark rooms, especially dark kitchens.

Update – especially old door handles – you would be surprised at how much of a difference new, modern handles can make to the look of your kitchen.

De-personalise – You want the perspective buyers to be able to imagine themselves in the house. This is very hard to do when they are faced with your decorating style (you may love the country cottage feel, but not everyone does) and remove ALL magnets, photos, bills etc. from the fridge. You don’t need strangers seeing into your personal life, and they really don’t want to see it.

Add a few carefully selected items to give the kitchen a homely feel – this can be achieved by having an open cookbook on the bench, or a bowl of fresh, brightly coloured fruit. Don’t do the “freshly baked bread or brewed coffee” thing. Buyers are too smart these days and they know when you are trying to “stage” things for them. It’s one thing to create a mood; it’s another thing to insult their intelligence!

As you can see, there is a basic pattern to creating the perfectly presented home; clean, uncluttered, neutral, light and airy and modern. It doesn’t take much to master these ingredients; but when you have, it is a recipe for a successful sale.

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Kelly Quinn

Kelly Quinn is an Interior Stylist and Creative Director at Aspect & Element. Her passion is for helping ordinary people create extraordinary homes by using simple but effective techniques.