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Reap the renovation rewards

Often a few simple changes can add significantly to the value of your home. Here are some of the most cost-effective improvements you can make.

Reap the renovation rewards

21 December 2020

Often a few simple changes can add significantly to the value of your home. Here are some of the most cost-effective improvements you can make.

No doubt inspired by a raft of popular home improvement programs including The Block and Reno Rumble, 62% of Australia’s home owners did some kind of renovation in the last 12 months.* Whilst renovating your home can be exciting, it's important to ensure any improvements you make will ultimately add value to your property. Often the most cost-effective renovations are the inexpensive cosmetic changes that you can make yourself. Here are some simple improvements that provide great return for your renovation buck.


Natural light is an important feature in every home. In areas that aren’t blessed with much natural light, the addition of skylights can increase the value and desirability of your home. 

Skylights are available in a variety of shapes and sizes and can be either fixed or vented to control the amount of light and air you let in. Because you’re relying on natural ventilation and/or light in these areas, you can also reduce electricity costs. 

Artificial lighting also plays a major role in your home. For an instant transformation, replace outdated light fixtures with new ones, concentrating on areas like the bedroom, kitchen and bathroom, where bright, modern lighting is essential. Go for warm-coloured light to make the space more inviting and choose energy-efficient bulbs which can add value to your home by making it more eco-friendly and cost-effective.

Fixtures and fittings 

Kitchens and bathrooms can make or break a home, but completely renovating them can be a costly exercise. If the existing kitchen or bathroom is in good working order, often a few cosmetic changes can be enough to modernise the entire space. Here are some relatively inexpensive ways to add value to your kitchen:  

  • Replace the bench top 
  • Replace/paint cupboard doors 
  • Replace cupboard handles 
  • Update the splashback (area behind the cooktop/sink). 
  • Upgrade appliances; as well as providing an instant facelift for your kitchen, newer energy-efficient appliances can save you money on bills  

Bathrooms should feel fresh and clean, here are some cost effective ways to achieve this: 

  • Re-paint the existing bath and/or tiles using a specialty bath or tile paint 
  • Replace the shower screen 
  • Update taps and showerheads 
  • Replace the toilet 
  • Replace the basin or vanity  

Walls and windows

One of the most powerful renovation tools is paint! Freshly painted rooms look clean and updated – and that spells value. When choosing a palette, keep in mind that neutrals like white, grey and cream have wide appeal, and stick to lighter shades, as they reflect more light and help create a sense of space. 

New window treatments can also be an inexpensive way to give an instant lift to any room. Ready-made blinds or curtains are inexpensive and add privacy, thermal insulation and cosmetic appeal. 


Due to Australians’ love of alfresco dining and entertaining, a well designed and maintained outdoor area can add significantly to the value of your home. Here are a few of the most cost-effective ways to get it right. 

Turf – a lush lawn will make your home sparkle and turf is a cost-effective addition to any garden. Kikuyu or Couch grass costs around $6/m2 and premium Buffalo is roughly $10/ m2 . You can easily lay it yourself, and with a little care and lots of water, your outdoor space will be transformed. Synthetic turf is also gaining popularity as an option for smaller areas as it’s easy to maintain and looks great year round. Although synthetic turf is a little more expensive than fresh turf, upkeep is minimal so ongoing costs are low. 

Mulch – garden beds can be instantly improved with a layer of fresh mulch. Apart from looking great, mulch will help retain water in the soil and keep weeds at bay, allowing your plants and shrubs to thrive. 

Trees – aside from their aesthetic value, trees also offer environmental benefits such as noise reduction, improved air quality, storm drainage and protection from sun and wind. Medium to large trees are also very effective at reducing the temperature inside the homes they stand beside. The shade from such trees can reduce indoor temperatures by up to 8°C, which in turn can see air conditioning use fall by 12-15%.# Consider planting deciduous varieties that work year-round by providing shade in summer, whilst letting the sun through in winter. 

Trees that are attractive, easy-care and compact are more likely to add value and include species like Maple, Frangipani and Magnolia.

*Roy Morgan Research 


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