Renovating? How to get bang for your buck

Interior Designer, Noanie Callaghan explains how to get the best out of your reno.

When faced with the need for a housing change, you have the options of buying an existing house which ticks off your list of requirements, building a new home that may be custom designed, or renovating your existing home. You may choose the renovation option if you feel settled, or the house has sentimental value.

The decision to renovate should not be taken lightly. Undertaking a renovation can be costly, time consuming, stressful and can involve a significant upheaval for your family. It is important to ensure that the market value of your property after the renovation exceeds the amount spent. Therefore, you need to make sure you do it right and get “bang for buck”.

Your reasons for renovating will affect the type of renovation you undertake. Reasons include improving the value of your property for re-sale or improving the liveability of your property for your household. Even if renovating to improve liveability, it is still wise to consider the marketability of the renovation to ensure your spending is relative to the value added.

Here are some useful considerations to ensure your renovation efforts are worthwhile and add value.

Review of the floor plan

A useful starting point in deciding how to renovate your property is to compare your existing floor plan to those that are commonly on offer and deemed marketable. The more popular floor plans have an easy flow with 4 bedrooms (including a master bedroom with ensuite & WIR), a further bathroom shared amongst the other bedrooms, two separate living areas, an alfresco area, an office space, a separate laundry opening to outside, and an open plan area that encompasses lounge, dining and kitchen with a butlers pantry.

Comparing your floor plan to this list of common features will help show the key changes that can be made to make the home more marketable, whether that be adding an extra living area or bedroom, or knocking down internal walls to create an open plan living area.

Below is a typical floor plan designed for a family home:

Source: Pinterest

A well renovated house should feel comfortable, light and airy, and have a consistent design theme throughout. It is also worthwhile reviewing whether key marketable areas of the house need improving, such as the kitchen and alfresco area. These areas have strong lifestyle connotations, and a stunning kitchen or alfresco area can inspire future buyers as they establish an emotional connection with the house. They will imagine themselves enjoying happy occasions when socialising and entertaining.


It is well known that kitchens can be a key selling point, so updating to a stunning, spacious kitchen which is functional and multi-purpose is a great way to add more value to your home than the expenditure.

A good kitchen also has adequate natural lighting, a suitable butlers pantry, good flow and a sizeable kitchen island. Kitchens nowadays are a lot bigger as they may be used by many family members simultaneously.

A sizeable kitchen island will enable social congregation when entertaining, the serving of meals, and room to enjoy a casual coffee or vino with a few friends.



Al fresco areas

Renovating an alfresco area can also be a great way to increase the property value by more than the expenditure, particularly due to affordable DIY initiatives and various purchases. You should aim to create an alfresco area that is adequately spacious for your family and entertaining needs with a comfortable flow. A blurred sense of indoor/outdoor living is also very appealing. A great alfresco area is multi-functional and may include a wood fired oven as well as a BBQ, a bar fridge and TV, and a comfortable lounge as well as dining area. Outdoor fireplaces also provide a cosy feature. The alfresco will be most useful if it designed as an all-weather extension, and should be in a complimentary style to the house.

Al fresco areas renovation examples



When deciding to renovate a bathroom, you need to pay extra attention to costs. It is marketable to have 2 bathrooms, one forming part of the master bedroom and another for the remaining (kids) bedrooms to share. Bathroom renovations can be costly and less of a selling point as kitchens, hence it is easy to over capitalise and spend more than what you have increased the house value by. A good bathroom is modern and adequately spacious, and will include both a bath and a shower within the kids bathroom. If you don’t want to over capitalise on the bathroom, a simpler renovation that involves painting outdated floor and wall tiles, and updating new tapware is a good way to get bang for buck.

Simple cost-effective updates

If you don’t have a lot of money to invest in your property renovation, here are some simple effective updates to boost the look and feel of the property:

  • Painting the interior and exterior in a light or contemporary colour scheme can easily modernise and refresh a tired property;
  • First impressions matter, so improving the street appeal will maximise the number of potential buyers that are enticed through the front door. This may involve a garden upgrade, modernising the exterior cladding materials, an updated front door as a focal point, or a new front fence and letter box to provide a cleaner and newer look;
  • Transforming an unliveable space such as a basement into a wine-cellar and cinema room; and
  • Knocking down some interior walls to create a more open living area with more natural light.

If you get the renovations right, the hard work will be worth it, and you can tick the boxes of having a stunning and more liveable house, whilst adding more value than the money spent.

If you are considering renovating but not sure where to start contact Noanie Callaghan Interiors who specialises in renovations for an initial consultation and site visit to discuss your options.

Geelong Guest Blogger, Noanie Callaghan offers an interior design service around Geelong and the Surf Coast.

For more follow her on Facebook or Instagram

Image credits: HOUZZ

The information contained in this article has been prepared by our guest blogger and does not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs, position, advice or endorsement of ICM Geelong, it’s members and sponsors.


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