Certain renovations please most of the people most of the time, and they practically guarantee a return on investment. So what do the experts recommend?

When you’re renovating your home, of course you want to improve your standard of living, whether it’s fixing what’s broken or outdated, making something more comfortable or attractive, or adding on space. But it’s also important to consider the renovations that will optimise the value of your property. Here are our tips for what to save on and when to splurge. Kitchens and bathrooms

Save: If you have only enough money to redo one area, make it the kitchen. ‘The best thing you can give someone is a working kitchen,’ says interior designer Nikoll Nobay. It can also be cheaper than redoing a bathroom. ‘A bathroom often takes longer, whereas you can do a kitchen in one or two days.’

Interior architect Kate Bell agrees, saying that spending money on the kitchen makes the most sense. ‘The kitchen and living area are the most visible and most used areas of the house.’

The most economical way of making over a kitchen is by installing new cabinetry and benchtops. ‘Provided that your appliances are still in good shape, this can transform a tired, dated kitchen into a refreshed contemporary space that adds instant market value to your home,’ says Nobay.

Splurge: Stick to travertine, limestone and caesarstone. And according to real estate agent Jason Pantzer of Phillips Pantzer Donnelley, neutral colours appeal more to the masses. ‘Darker colours and stones or marbles with veins are very personal choices,’ he says. ‘So, from a resale standpoint, it’s better to be conservative. After all, the more demand for a home, the greater the return.’

Next, think about the bathroom. Pantzer points out that floor-to-ceiling tiles and underfloor heating are standard hits. Perhaps even more important is adding a second bathroom. According to the Turf Industry’s recent survey of real estate agents, buyers perceive a second bathroom as one of the top prerequisites when purchasing a house. Walls and floors

Save: Without question, paint your walls. A coat of white paint can make all the difference. If you have carpet in the living areas, rip it up and either polish the floorboards or, for an effective and inexpensive alternative, paint them.

Splurge: Pantzer says quality oak floorboards provide a timeless, classic look. Backyard

Save: Maintain your garden. Weeding, watering and mowing all cost next to nothing and can add real value. The Turf Industry’s survey found that a lawn adds 18 per cent value to your house.

Splurge: Add decking. Bell says a deck and lawn combination ticks all the boxes. ‘People like grass, and people like hard surfaces.’

As for a pool, Pantzer says, ‘It can be a trap, as not everyone wants one.’ Going up

Save: Putting an extra bedroom and ensuite into a roof’s attic is a great way to add interior space without losing precious garden area.

Splurge: If you’re adding a second storey in a family area, Pantzer suggests putting all the bedrooms upstairs. ‘Generally, parents don’t want their children on another level.’

Whether you’re investing $5,000 or $500,000 of your hard-earned cash in home renos, do so wisely with a close look at what’s important for your home-improvement goals.

Posted by Emily Lawfrence Gazal – Domain (The Age) on 3rd September, 2014