HOME improvements are a great way to add value to your property, but not all of us have bottomless pockets for a full-on renovation.Luckily, there are plenty of affordable ways that you can spruce things up over a free weekend.David Jacobs, from the Rawson Property Group, shares some of his favourite DIY home improvement ideas.UPDATING THE KITCHEN Kitchens are renowned for their impact on the value of a home, and clever updates in this area can give a lot of bang for your buck.Concentrate on external surfaces like countertops and cabinet doors, which are easy to refurbish without professional help.• Cabinet doors Modern buyers definitely prefer light and bright kitchens and repainting old, dark cabinets a lighter or more modern colour can really open up a space.Solid wood cupboard doors can be sanded down using a palm sander before painting, while melamine cabinets need to be primed with a special primer before they’ll be ready to paint.Remember to remove the doors from the cabinets and take off all the handles and hinges before sanding and painting.Use a foam roller with a water-based enamel paint for a smooth and long-lasting finish.• Countertops Great countertops make a big difference to both a kitchen’s appearance and the cooking experience.Granite, Caesarstone and marble counters are always favourites, but they do cost a fair bit and need to be installed by professionals.Timber and Formica are much more affordable for the DIY family, and can be just as attractive if they’re chosen and installed well.When selecting a Formica finish, Jacobs recommends avoiding faux granite or marble. Instead opt for modern wood grains and minimalist textures to get the best results.A square edge profile, rather than the traditional quarter-round, also adds a more contemporary flavour.Just keep in mind the general style of your home, and make sure your countertop choice enhances its surroundings.UPDATING THE GARAGE Garages may not seem like the most important part of a home, but Jacobs says homeowners can add a lot of value to their property by turning them into more functional spaces.They’re ideal spaces for adding extra storage; something that is very important to a lot of buyers.With a little planning, garages can often accommodate a mini workbench or laundry area.While adding a laundry corner to your garage would require a plumber, storage is an easy weekend DIY for the handy person in your home.You can buy ready-made cupboards and shelves from your local hardware store, or search second-hand websites to find old kitchen cabinets to mount along the garage walls.For those with less space, hanging storage may be a better option. Try pegboard walls with hooks for holding everything from bicycles to lawnmowers and secateurs.UPDATING OUTDOOR SPACES Gardens are still very popular with buyers, but a bigger emphasis is being put on ease of maintenance.Water-hungry lawns and labour-intensive plant beds are falling out of favour, while outdoor entertainment areas are in high demand.Homeowners with a flair for DIY could combine these two trends by adding paved or gravel sections to their garden, and possibly a pergola or a built-in braai.While paving may be hard work, it is DIY-friendly, as is the basic brickwork required for a simple braai.Construction plans for braais and timber pergolas can be found online, and all supplies are available at your local hardware store.Remember, low-maintenance doesn’t mean bare of all greenery and life. Try to at least keep a border of plants or creepers, and definitely preserve any mature trees.UPDATING THE BATHROOM Bathrooms may be tricky to revamp totally as a DIYer, but small updates can make a big difference here.Try a fresh coat of paint on your walls and ceilings and replace old-school towel rails and accessories with more modern versions.You can also refurbish your bathroom cabinets, or replace your vanity entirely. Adding a few stylish mirrors or display shelves can be a great idea as well.Retiling makes a huge difference to any bathroom, but it’s a pretty big DIY job. If you’re not up for a project of that scale, consider updating your existing tiles with specially formulated tile paints.If you do decide to paint your tiles, remember to follow the instructions very closely. For the best finish, avoid areas like shower enclosures, which get wet on a regular basis. — Property24.