2-freedom-home-decoration  It was a common thing in past decades for open home inspections to feature the distinct aroma of freshly brewed coffee or a batch of steaming biscuits or muffins straight out of the oven to evoke the senses.

Fortunately the real-estate industry worked out that their potential buyers were not quite that easy to fool and these days the aroma of choice is fresh paint.

Paint is probably the easiest and cheapest way to transform a property.

Here are some tips to help you get the most value out of your painting budget.

bernadette-black-head

Bernadette Janson is a lover of renovating and the director of The School of Renovating. She manages a website offering tips, inspiration and training on renovating. She is an advocate for educating other renovators on how to use their passion to fund a comfortable and prosperous life and retirement.

LIFE SPAN OF PAINTWORK
While paint is guaranteed for many years, the reality is that if you are selling a house with paint work older than 18 months, particularly if you have teenagers thumping around, it will need a spruce up.

Before listing a property for sale it is worth painting the main rooms with just one coat of the same colour paint to bring the walls back to their original glory. This will also restore the just–renovated look.

paint chipsSTAY NEUTRAL
If you are planning to sell your property in the near future it is best to keep your colours neutral and use your paintwork as a blank canvas then add accent colours with your artwork and décor pieces.

Neutral colours don’t have to be wishy-washy beige , they can be quite strong and lean more to the modern grey palette.

CEILINGS
Rather than paint your ceilings white, try painting them a very weak derivative of the wall colour. If the wall colour is light, say Dulux Grand Piano, I would do the ceilings in ¼ strength Grand Piano .

You can’t tell that it’s not white, but it has that air of sophistication and softness that you just cant quite put your finger on.

SELECTING COLOURS
I find a Colour consultant is essential for saving time and money with test pots and struggling with decisions. You can engage a colour consultant for around $150/hour to work your colours out early so that you don’t lose time trying to make the colour decisions on the hop. This will guarantee that you get the look you are after and that it is consistent throughout the project.

To keep the costs contained be armed with ideas and photos of the property so the selections can be recorded directly onto the photos. If you are mindful of costs request that the consultant does not produce a glossy presentation folder of the selections, at $150/hr this can add up to a lot of money and adds nothing to the quality of the paint job.

Instead take your marked-up photos and type up a schedule which you can hand to your painter along with colour chips and copies of the marked-up photos so there is no confusion about what colour goes where.

wpid-270497521339219647_ldm7vicn_fFEATURE WALLS
Feature walls have been a bit over done and some might think it passé to paint one wall in each room a different colour as if it were a uniform. It is a way to add interest but I would suggest if you do want a feature wall make it a derivative of the wall colour say double or triple strength and paint two walls, not one.

The other way to go with a feature wall is to add texture with paintable wall paper where the colour is the same as the rest of the room but there is a distinct embossed pattern.

GLOSS LEVEL
Always use the mattest of matt on the ceiling to hide any imperfections in the plaster board. Even a good ceiling will look imperfect with the application of any level of sheen. Walls should be good quality low sheen acrylic paint.

Walls take a hammering and must be washable. Skirtings and architraves are best done in gloss enamel if they are in good condition. If they are old and imperfect go for satin enamel as it will help to hide the imperfections. It used to be that oil based enamel was the only way to go but these days the acrylic enamels are so good even I have converted!

EXTERNAL COLOURS
Light does funny things to colour – another reason to engage a colour consultant who understands and can work with this phenomenon. It is important that you use a minimum of four strengths of the external colours so you have variation in the features of the house.

If you limit the colours to one colour on the walls, one on the windows and one on the gutters and fascias it will look a bit like a paper bag, you need to pick out features with varying strengths to add dimension and give a better quality look.

Lastly, it is all very well to be terribly sensible selecting neutral colours throughout and following the rule to a tee, but fortunately there are no colour police.

Colour is an emotional thing and if there is a colour you absolutely love, choose a special room to use it in, and enjoy it.

If you ever come to list the home for sale, its not too big a burden to repaint one room.