Renovate to Sell that House - Kitchens Part Two!

We are now into Autumn, our homes are comfy havens of warmth and loveliness. Some of us are trying to sell, some of us are looking to improve (after all our money is not exactly making anything in the banks!) and others are just looking for a change.

We are now into Autumn, our homes are comfy havens of warmth and loveliness. Some of us are trying to sell, some of us are looking to improve (after all our money is not exactly making anything in the banks!) and others are just looking for a change. Whichever category you are in, the tips I am sharing here will hopefully help you on your way to achieving your goal. Pictures from K&I Kitchens London – thank you Kalin!

For the next few weeks I will share with you small things you can do to help you along from modest make-over to complete overhaul. And don’t forget Sarah Beeny is launching a Services Directory in November this year – all checked and vetted, so you can hire the trades right there if you cannot face doing any work yourself. And check out her new series of “Restoration Nightmare” on Thursdays at 8pm on C4 – see the amazing mammoth task she has on her hands……at Rise Hall - glad it’s not me!

KITCHENS – part two

Fixtures....little things right? WRONG! A huge big thing. Just take yourself back to when you first visited the house you own or others you looked at. Did you touch the tap in the kitchen, did you stroke the handles or even opened a cupboard?! Did you open doors and closed them – what did the handle feel like? Hollow and cheap and light? Or solid and secure in your hand?

Obviously horses for courses. A house that is at the low end of the market will not require some huge investment in this area but certainly as you start to go for the mid market to the high end, this strikes a definite chord with buyers. After all as the price goes up on the house, people do want more quality, they want to feel like they are getting something special and hardware for their bucks!

  • Do buy quality hardware and fixtures 
  • DON’T use plastic handles – seriously the last word in “I just don’t care about the house I am selling you” 
  • DON’T use taps that look like stainless steel but are coated with a plastic metal covering – you know like the ones that are used in showers? It’s cheap and it’s nasty 
  • DON’T spend money on the tap that makes you boiling water – this is for seriously high end houses and you will never recoup or indeed increase the sale price of your house. It will look out of place too 
  • DO buy the heavy feeling, heavy looking taps – remember the stroking? People do touch them and it feels solid and quality = your house equals quality 
  • DON’T buy coloured taps – seriously? They look awful and the white ones stain after 1 month! 
  • DO buy lever handles – easy to use and if you have older people living there, easier to turn on and off 
  • DON’T buy the shower extension on the tap for a normal sink, for a start the tap will look too big for the sink and protrude too much over meaning you will splash. Only use those types of sink if you have a very large sink


As Kelly Hoppen, the Interior Designer guru says .... do not use small tiles, small patterns, small anything. The smaller they are the more you can see grout, the smaller they are the smaller the room will look!

Flooring is really a way of anchoring your kitchen design. It should look like it’s there but not take over the whole kitchen. The darker the colour the more you can see the mess, remember that if you have children. Remember that tumbled edges (rough edges) when butted up against each other will show a lot of grout so I would only use in a very large kitchen. I cannot tell you what style to go for as this depends on your kitchen cabinets and house etc.... but try to marry up with the rest of the house.

  • DO use ceramic tiles, they are eco friendly and many are now made from recycled old tiles 
  • DON’T use the same tiles for the floor and the walls! Floor tiles are made especially for the hard wearing nonstop footfall 
  • DO use a professional to lay the floor, it will be worth it, you get the levels wrong and you will notice it when you walk on it everyday. And so will purchasers 
  • DON’T mix materials – personally I would never use two different tiles anyway, but I have seen this. I would not match differing stones as they each have their own hard wearing qualities, sealing products they take and don’t take, they also have a different hardness. So one material is always a good rule. 
  • DO use wood. But seal it..... use Bonakemi Mega, a water based seal and polish. They use it in high footfall shops like on John Lewis’ wooden flooring. I have it in my house, perfect. You spread it on with a mop! Seriously! I do it once every two years and it’s perfect. Plus, if you are accident prone, things bounce off the floor! 
  • DO use cork, again it needs sealing or you can buy pre-sealed tiles or boards – see my blog about the cork floor I installed for a client.


Lighting is so important in a kitchen. As it is a multifunctional space it must be well lit and also be adaptable for entertainment. Lighting pictures from Skinflint above and below – thank you!

  • Lighting can make a simple design very special indeed 
  • DO use strip lighting- for example insert it into a channel going around the kitchen island and top with opaque glass. It means the light diffuses beautifully for an atmospheric look 
  • Do use strip lighting or LEDs again under overhead units – it help with tasks when you are peeling veg or putting dishes together, especially when you have deeper than normal depth of worktop 
  • DO use down lighters – they are the mainstay of many kitchens these days and are great for task lighting. Wired them in with dimmers to add to that atmospheric look. Ensure the down lighters are not behind you when you are at the stove, at the sink or in the preparation area, ensure they are above you, so you have no shadows 
  • DO use lighting under the floor cupboards – when you have cooked that beautiful meal for friends, switch everything off except this. The ethereal atmosphere it gives is perfect for entertaining. 
  • DO make sure you have on/off switches at each entry and exit point of the kitchen. You don’t want to switch the light off near the door and then have to walk in a dark kitchen to get to your garden and patio right? 
  • DO remember natural light! Floor to ceiling windows or glazed doors maximise daylight hours in the kitchen and it’s always nice when you can see outside 
  • DO use a statement piece over the dining table - always a great addition to the kitchen/dining area. If you have a small kitchen don’t think tiny hanging light over the table, but think BIG! Well not huge but you need to balance the scale, so a larger than normal fixture always looks great and does make for a “waow” inducing moment 
  • DO use hanging lights over the table – it brings people together, sitting down with a glow over your food and wine makes for a social experience that is unparalleled

So next time we visit the bathroom..... the next room that requires some magic to clinch that deal!

Françoise Murat & Associates are Architectural Interior Designers and Garden & Landscape designers working in London and the South East. We specialise in period homes and historical gardens as well as contemporary new build or refurbishments.

We also run Grow your own vegetables and fruit workshops and Interior Design classes. For more garden and interior design information visit us at