The choice of fittings and finishes available seems endless, from budget quality to high-end luxury. ‘Buy and sell’ renovators can get away with the budget range, but ‘buy and hold’ projects need to last the distance – and the tenants
Tile paint can completely transform a kitchen or bathroom at a fraction of the cost of retiling. Touch dry in two hours, tile paint is appropriate for indoor use on kitchen, laundry or bathroom ceramic wall tiles, but isn’t recommended for floor tiles or bench tops. One litre of primer and tile paint will cover approximately 12m2, and costs $60 per tin.
Tiles range in quality from budget through to premium, and are priced anywhere from $10–200 per square metre. This doesn’t account for additional laying costs, however, which vary depending on the size of the job, the tiling surface and the area to be tiled.
COST: from $50/m2
In the right design, lino flooring can look smart and uniform, and it’s substantially cheaper than tiling. Similarly, clip-together wooden floor tiles give the impression of hard wood floors without the cost of laying, sanding and varnishing genuine wooden floorboards.
Premium marble tiles and polished wooden floorboards give a deluxe finish to premium properties, but if you’re renovating a rental, consider the impact of tenants on your expensive finishings.
Nylon or synthetic mix carpet is cheap and durable, and can be treated for stain-resistance. Sisal is a favourite with ‘buy and hold’ and ‘buy and sell’ investors alike, as it’s inexpensive and hard-wearing, and the looped-cord design looks neat and stylish.
COST: from $25/m2
Deluxe wool carpet is the softest of all carpets; it wears well, and is pile and flame resistant. However, you’ll pay almost double the price of synthetic or blend styles for this natural fabric flooring.
COST: from $45/m2
Budget brand blinds are priced from just $70 per window, and they often look just as good as their expensive counterparts. Available from many mainstream retailers like Kmart and Big W, blinds can be easily self-installed.
COST: $70–320 per window
Made-to-measure blinds can be twice the cost of the off-the-shelf variety, and installation fees push this price up even further.
COST: $200–800 per window
Ready-made tab top curtains are reasonably priced, and are available in a range of textures, colours and fabrics. Natural-coloured curtains such as ivory or white can freshen a dark room.
COST: $100–400 per window
Made-to-measure curtains fit perfectly, and offer greater choice in deciding the exact colour and quality of the fabric. The freedom to make these choices, however, comes at a much higher price tag.
COST: $500–2000 per window
Standard, self-installed light fittings are as cheap as chips – you can pick them up from stores like Bunnings for less than $20 apiece, which allows you to replace every light fitting in the house. Matching light fittings look uniform and fresh, and there’s a range of budget light fittings available to suit different tastes and property types.
COST: $20–40 per room
Extravagant light fittings can be very expensive, and rarely add much value to the property; potential buyers or tenants are less inclined to notice the trendy light installation in the lounge room, than they are the brand new kitchen bench tops or new bathroom vanity you could install for the same cost. Tricky light fittings are likely to come with a higher installation cost as well.
COST: from $500 per room
For a super cheap makeover, on a toilet that is already in fair condition, a new toilet seat cover can freshen the look for around $20. The least expensive, most basic toilet suites are priced at roughly $150, however they’re the smallest in size and can look lost in a large bathroom. Slightly larger, standard porcelain suites can be found for around $200.
COST: $20 toilet seat cover/$150 toilet suite
Toilet suites can vary dramatically in price, based on the style, size, water consumption and design. Where budget is no concern, a relatively new, environmentally friendly toilet system could fit the bill. Waterless toilets don’t use water, heat or chemicals to treat or transport waste, have no polluting discharge, and can produce a quality, hygenic fertiliser. Clivus Multrum, Australian manufacturers of waterless composting toilets, say the system can save 60,000 litres of water per year in the average home.
VANITIES AND BASINS
Budget Vanities and Basins
When refreshing a bathroom, the aim is to create an environment that looks clean, uncluttered, functional and stylish. Many renovators style the bathroom around their own tastes, but if renovating to sell, a simple white vanity, with good storage underneath, is the best bet. Melamine is the least expensive and most durable option.
COST: around $400
Premium Vanities and Basins
European styling and textured cosmopolitan designs can send basin and vanity prices into the thousands. If renting out the property, be mindful of the durability and appropriateness of the sink and vanity – natural finishes are less likely to date, but are not as resistant to chips and cracks as hardier, man-made materials.
Plastic door handles are very inexpensive and come in a range of colours and sizes. While they’re durable, they can look dated, and lighter-coloured handles show dirt easily.
COST: $0.85 per handle
Polished metal grips are long-wearing and easy to clean, and can refresh the look of the kitchen or bathroom. They’re more expensive than plastic, but many renovators would argue the investment is worthwhile.
COST: $7–20 per handle
Budget Tap Ware
When it comes to tap ware, functionality is key – people want to jump in the shower and access hot water straight away, not fiddle with an elaborate lever for ten minutes. Standard hardware store-variety taps and spouts are priced at around $40 a set, and give your bathroom or kitchen a shiny new look without breaking the budget.
COST: $40 a set
Premium Tap Ware
From European-styled, hand-crafted taps to deluxe lever-operated spouts and minimalist spray jets, the range of high-end tap and spout fittings on the market is extensive. Spending in this area can easily reach the thousands.
COST: from $250 a set
KITCHEN BENCH TOPS
Budget Bench Tops
Although laminate can be prone to scratching and chipping, it’s one of the cheapest benchtop options, and is available in an extensive range of colours and finishes. Graphite, a granite-look laminate, is a practical, relatively lightweight alternative to real stone.
Luxury Bench Tops
For many women, the kitchen is the cornerstone of their home, and this is where they are happy to spend a little extra, but overspending on kitchen renovations is the easiest way to blow out your budget. For premium benchtops, such as granite, marble or man-made stone expect to pay between $75 and $475 per square metre, depending on the quality and style of the materials.
Melamine doors are a highly moisture-resistant board, with a resin based decorative paper covering both sides of the board. It’s cheap and lightweight, and comes in various colours and styles, including wood-grain looks.
COST: $120 per cupboard pair
There are several quality kitchen cabinets available that offer the latest designer looks, such as warm dark timber or refreshing peach-wood cupboards. Keep in mind that current trends can date quickly, so invest in classic colours and styles.
COST: $500 per cupboard pair
With painting, DIY is the number one way to reduce costs, as labour is the biggest cost base. As long as you can paint straight edges and apply two even coats, you can save yourself thousands of dollars. There are various grades of paint quality on the market; the lowest-quality, least expensive paints are around $100 per 20 litres.
COST: $50 per room, DIY
Better quality paints will wear longer and resist chipping and damage from your tenants, as they have better binders that assist with stain and crack resistance and adhesion. The additives included in quality paint make the product easier to apply, and generally give it better protective properties such as fungicides. Having a professional apply the paint for you will double your costs.
COST: $500 per room, professionally applied