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Expert tips to update your kitchen and bathroom
Picture: Supplied by Smeg

1. SITTING PRETTY

"Before jumping into renovations, consider where the toilet will be and if it's possible to avoid moving the existing plumbing," Masters bathrooms buyer Alan Harding said. "Depending on the room, you might be able to change the direction of the toilet without too much expense and still achieve the look you're after."

2. NEW BENCHMARK

Upgrading your kitchen benchtops or bathroom vanity to a solid, low-maintenance material will instantly add a modern new look. "Natural stones like granite add a touch of class and cleanliness to your kitchen and new materials allow you to apply over existing surfaces for a cost-affordable and easy option," Granite Transformations' Jessie Harvey said.

3. TILE STYLE

"The size of the tile and its edge make a big difference to labour costs," Samantha Magatelli, interior decorator and consultant at Select Solutions said.

"Choose a ceramic 'non-rectified' tile so the tiler doesn't need to take as much time prepping the space to get the walls completely flat (to avoid lipping).

"Spend more on quality floor tiles and select a cheaper ceramic tile for the walls as it doesn't need to be as strong."

4. SPEND V SAVE

"A little extra spent on the items we touch the most often will give you a long-lasting quality space that will stand the rigours of daily life," said Michelle Bridger-Darling, from CASF, the supplier of Corian. "This will make a big difference to the overall look and feel of the room, so invest in quality finishes where it matters most - benchtops, tapware and appliances."

In the kitchen, focus on the areas in view, recommended Lincoln Trager, of The Maker Designer Kitchens. "If you have a walk-in pantry it may not need to be fitted out with the same cabinetry finishes as your kitchen," he said. "Here, you can save money by using a less-expensive product."

5. FUTURE VISION

When selecting products for your new bathroom or kitchen, think about long-term costs as well as the initial purchase.

"Today, many major bathroom and kitchen brands are investing heavily in water-saving technology," Reece Bathrooms' Belinda Geels said. "Installing elegant, water-saving fittings like the Nikles Pure 105 Eco Rail Shower or the 6 WELS (Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards) star rated Milli Axon Extended Basin Mixer can save you money on utilities in the long run."

6. INSTANT GLAM

"Glass mosaic tile is sold per piece, so you can afford to do an amazing feature on a whole wall instead of being limited to a strip," Ms Magatelli said. "Alternatively, use a waterproof wallpaper to create a dramatic feature in the bathroom."

7. PRIORITY PICKS

"For those working to a strict budget, we recommend compiling a list of 'must-haves' and a list of 'lust-haves'," Ms Geels said.

"For a bathroom renovation, the essentials like a good-sized bath and extensive storage need to be in the breakdown, while the inclusion of splurges like a rain shower or heated towel rails may need to be revised when the final costs are completed."

8. FINISHING TOUCHES

"A new look can be achieved by simply replacing tapware and accessories, such as towel rails, toilet roll holders, soap dishes," Tim Dawson, from Tradelink Plumbing Centres, said.

9. HINGING ON DOORS

Replace existing cupboard doors to freshen up at a fraction of the cost of new cabinetry, said Melanie Milligan of Town & Country Kitchen Designs. "If your existing internal cabinets are still in good condition you could update your look by replacing your doors, tops and handles," she said. "Door finishes can make a large difference to the project cost."

10. QUALITY MATTERS

"Be realistic with your budget and mindful that it's more important to get value for your money, not just a cheaper product," Lavare's Tina Mills said.

"Make at least one item your main feature - whether it be the bath, vanity or shower - then you can scale back in other areas.

"Don't compromise on quality, because bathrooms are an investment in your home and a reflection of its value."

11. RETROFITTING

"Instantly refresh the bathroom space with a new bath, mirror, shower or tapware," Ms Geels said."

12. SHOP AROUND

Shop around when sourcing fixtures, fittings and finishing touches. "There are auctions, scratch-and-dent sales and clearance houses for fixtures so, as with any project, research and planning are the key," Laminex's Joanna Baker said.

And, said Ms Magatelli, remember that the more expensive products in the market are often imported from Europe. "This adds to the freight cost and expensive labour," she said. "Be mindful of product selections and look for products with good-value warranties, quality but without the premium price for a brand name."

13. MIX AND MATCH

When it comes to cabinets, DIY is not the only affordable option. "Most of the big brands have extensive products to suit every price point," Ms Baker said.

"Consider mixing and matching materials. For example, you could choose a premium laminated benchtop (such as Laminex DiamondGloss with an acrylic edge), which frees up funds for a bigger European appliance that will really stand out."

14. THEME SCHEME

"Place all your ideas on your own colour storyboard and use it as your inspiration," Ms Baker said. "Even the humblest materials can be very expressive when put together well."

She also suggested using the internet, and apps such as Pinterest and Houzz, for inspiration.

"Otherwise, leading brands invest heavily in ensuring their product reflects international trends, so their brand websites are a great reference," she said.

15. USE AN EXPERT

"Use the services of an experienced and awarded design company, that can follow your project through from start to finish," Mr Trager said.

"By using someone 'in the know', you will avoid costly errors and ensure you are getting peace of mind and value for money."