(Design: Habit LLP)

Most homeowners renovate for one of two reasons: lifestyle or to increase the property's value.

The tricky part comes when you are trying to do both at the same time.

"Sometimes homeowners get carried away with a renovation and forget that while it might fit their lifestyle, it doesn't translate to a higher price when they sell," says Andrew Chee, Head of SRX Valuations.

For example, the expensive sound studio that you are building won't help to increase the value of your home unless you sell it to a music composer. Or, that built-in book cabinet you lovingly handcrafted for the living room may be of no value to the buyer who hasn't read a book since his schooldays.

"If you don't plan to sell, than don't worry whether you get a payback on your renovation," says Mr Chee. "Select the best fixtures and furnishings that meet your budget and sense of design."

But if you do plan to sell eventually, then you want to strike a balance between your sense of design and lifestyle and what will appeal to future buyers."

"If you plan to rent out your property, then renovate for your marketing segment and within your expense budget. Your style is not as important."

Whether you plan to sell or rent, renovating the kitchen and master bathroom can add value.

"In general, buyers and renters focus on the kitchen and master bathroom when evaluating the interior of a home. They are the most difficult and expensive rooms in the house to change. If they like what they see, they will be prepared to pay more for the home, knowing that it doesn't require costly interior renovation."

Mr Chee recommends that you select designs for fittings and fixtures that are clean, modern, practical and durable.

"Design is personal," said Mr Chee. "However, when it comes to kitchens and bathrooms, there is a general consensus among interior designers what brands of bathtubs, stoves, sinks, and kitchen cabinets are most appealing to each marketing segment. In all likelihood, you should be able to find something that works for both you and your buyer or tenant."

In other words, there is as much science in interior design as art.

(First published in SRX Property Magazine)