The top three renovation projects to do over summer

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Summer can be a tempting time of year to tackle a renovation project. Perhaps the extra time at home has made you more aware the parts of your house that need attention, or maybe you've enviously eyed off the latest addition at a friend or relative's house.

If sprucing up your home is at the top of your summer to-do list, these are the projects you should be tackling.

Update the kitchen

Change is always a good way to start a new year, and installing a new kitchen will give your home an instant update. After all, it's a room we interact with every day and often where most of the activity in the home takes place.

Brett Patterson of The Renovation Broker finds that summer is the time of year most people think about upgrading the kitchen. He says that although the building industry tends to go quiet during January, the holiday period is often his busiest time of year, as homeowners have time off work to take on a big project.

"The design is the most important part," he says. "When the husband and wife are both home, people have got the time to get the kitchen designer in."

Renovating the kitchen in summer also allows you to embrace the warm weather and cook on the barbecue while your oven and stove are out of action. If you're a barbecue enthusiast you'll likely be cooking outside anyway, renovation or not.

Patterson also finds summer is when most homeowners think about upgrading their outdoor entertaining areas.

"Usually when you invite people over, you don't want to be carting everything out from the kitchen to the barbecue area," he says

"We tell people to install a sink and a dishwasher out there, so when you've finished cooking you can just pack the dishwasher, turn it on and walk away."

Patterson says joiners return to work in early to mid-January, and normally require six weeks to create a custom kitchen. If a kitchen reno is on your hit-list, talk to your builder now so your project is first cab off the rank.

Storage solutions

There are few additions more useful in a home than extra storage, and time off from work allows extra time to try some DIY.

Putting up a set of shelves is an empowering task within the scope of most homeowners' skill set, and can transform a room by cutting clutter on tables and sideboards. Floating shelf kits are designed for easy installation in just an afternoon.

If you're not quite ready to give shelves a go, but still want to get out the power tools, consider a set of hooks on a spare wall. Useful for storing bags, hats and other commonly used items, light-duty hooks can be mounted using plasterboard wall anchors, and can hold up to about 10 kilograms. For storing heavier items, secure hooks to timber wall studs.

Storage solutions that take advantage of space under the stairs are becoming more popular.

Storage solutions that take advantage of space under the stairs are becoming more popular. Photo: iStock

Thinking bigger, built-in wardrobes will boost storage in bedrooms, and custom-built options can be tailored to your space and storage needs. But Patterson finds some of his customers are starting to request more unique storage solutions.

"We've been doing a lot of work utilising the space under the stairs," he says "Instead of just a door for storing bulky items, which makes it hard to access the items at the back, we change it so you have drawer systems underneath the stairs to utilise the space better."

Revamp the facade

The front of your house is the first thing you see when you get home every day, and an appealing facade will instil a sense of pride in your home. It's also the first thing potential buyers notice, so if you plan on selling in the new year, take the time to spruce it up now. A coat of paint can boost the value of your home, and the warm weather makes summer the perfect time of year for this outdoor task.

Cherie Barber, owner of renovation course provider Renovating For Profit, says homeowners need to consider the whole presentation of their house and how it fits in with the street.

Exterior BeforeExterior afterBefore and after: A repaint smartens up the frontage.

"Stand back and take a good long, objective look at exactly what needs repairing, updating and improving," she says. "You don't need to have an award-winning facade, but you need it to look smart, well-maintained and in keeping with the character of the suburb."

When painting the house, be aware that paint manufacturers have recommended temperature ranges for applying paint to ensure it adheres properly, and most manufacturers recommend you avoid painting in direct sunlight. Check the forecast too, as sudden afternoon storms can wreak havoc with your new paint job.

If painting the whole front of the house seems too daunting, Barber recommends focusing on one particular element. "A new front door, or a change of colour for the existing door, can provide that spark of personality that may be all that's lacking," she says.

Exterior BeforeExterior afterBefore and after: A summer facelift.

Summer is also prime gardening time, as the warm weather promotes strong plant growth, giving new plants a good chance to establish themselves. Barber recommends choosing plants that thrive in your local climate. "Consult your local nursery about what might work for the spot you have in mind," she says. "In Sydney, I use hardy cordylines as a staple."

Simple changes like replacing the house number or letterbox can also have a big impact, while trimming overgrown plants will make the house look much tidier.

This story The top three renovation projects to do over summer first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.