Before starting to plan the interior design of an investment property, get an accurate estimate of its maximum potential value. There is no point spending £10,000 on improvements if it will add only £5,000 to the sale price. Estate agents can provide the asking prices for any similar properties up for sale on the same street, and details of recent sales completed are available on the internet.
Once the size of the budget has been established, create a list of priorities. Without investing a great deal of money, a few small changes to the colour schemes, lighting and layout can make the house a desirable residence for a wide range of potential buyers.
Magnolia is Top Choice
Use a plain, pale shade when painting interior walls to maximise the feeling of light and space. This will enable potential buyers to imagine their own possessions in the property. There is a massive range of paint colours available now, but magnolia is still the top-selling colour and research shows that most people prefer earthy, natural colours to bold, bright shades. Nevertheless, if every wall is covered in a pale shade, rooms can start to look a little too bland, so try to use strong colours for accent walls.
The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in a house, so if kitchen units look tired and the budget will not stretch to a new fitted kitchen, replace, paint or varnish the doors. If the units themselves are in reasonable condition, but look dated, consider replacing handles, doorknobs and taps. Fitting new worktops on to existing units will give the room a real lift and is still much cheaper than buying a whole new kitchen.
Lose Coloured Bathroom Suites
The bathroom is another room likely to be very closely scrutinised by potential buyers. Coloured bathroom suites are no longer in vogue. A white suite is what the majority of buyers want, and replacing an old-fashioned pink, brown or avocado bathroom suite should be very close to the top of the priority list when redesigning the home's interior.
A white suite will add value to your property, but if one is already in place consider simply replacing the taps, light pull and shower curtain - all low-cost items available at DIY stores - to revitalise the room.
Floor coverings can influence how potential buyers view the shape, size, function and atmosphere of a room, and changing the flooring need not be too expensive. A room's function should have a considerable bearing on the choice of flooring. Many people like to have floor tiles in bathrooms and kitchens, for example, as they are waterproof and easy to clean.
See the Light
Lighting can transform a home, yet is often overlooked. Rooms can appear cosier if several table lamps are used to create small, low pools of light in a large, high room, while low-hanging pendant lights and vertical light beams can make a room appear taller.
To make a room look larger, light all four corners and use uplighters to bounce light onto the ceiling and walls. Mirrors amplify light, so place a large mirror opposite the window to reflect light around the room.
Restoring period features like fireplaces, ceiling roses, cornices can add thousands to the value of a property. If the refurbishment plans include the installation of a fireplace, it can be worth looking in reclamation yards for an original period grate and surround.