It's often said the kitchen is the room most likely to persuade you to buy a property - or put you off. If you're thinking of selling, it pays to ensure your kitchen is up to scratch.

Kitchens matter, and even if you're not selling, an attractive and functional kitchen adds value to your home and makes it easier to live in.

Gutting the room and starting from scratch is a great but only if you have the cash, time and patience, because it is disruptive and expensive.

If you want a quick fix, however, there things you can do without it costing the earth.

The layout of your kitchen is key because it's such a functional room. If the layout isn't right, your options for changing it without gutting it are limited, but there are some.

The most ergonomic layout is to have the cooker, fridge and sink in a triangle in relation to each other. It should be a triangle because these are the three things you keep returning to in a kitchen, especially when preparing a meal.

If you don't have this triangle configuration, can you move something so that you do? Maybe you can swap appliances over, or put an under-counter fridge where you once had a unit.

If lack of worktop space is a problem, think of how you can make what you've got go further. For example, microwave brackets get this appliance off the worktop, creating a surprising amount of room.

If your home is on the market, something as simple as removing the dishrack before viewings makes the draining board seem part of the worktop and thus creates the illusion of more space.

Remember people viewing your home will open your cupboards and drawers, so it's important to keep these tidy and uncluttered.

Another solution to lack of workspace is to install an island unit - if you've got the room.

If you haven't, maybe a slimline table or breakfast bar will give you more workspace and still allow you to move round the room with ease.

Any kitchen you can bill as a kitchen/diner when selling your home is a bonus because these are much in demand, so even if you can only squeeze in a small breakfast bar or table, do so. Hinged tables which fold flat against the wall when not in use are a good idea if space is tight, and installing one is a relatively simple DIY job.

If clutter from your cupboards tends to spill out onto the worktop, you have to force yourself to be tidy and stay tidy until your home's sold. Try putting utensils in drawers or jars/pots and store pastas, cereals and the like in ceramic, glass or chrome airtight jars, preferably stackable ones.

If you've got nice glasses, crockery pots and pans, get out your drill and put up some shelves - floating shelves are very fashionable - which gets them out of the cupboards, freeing up space.

Baskets or boxes can also be stacked on top of wall units if your kitchen has high ceilings and you need to make the most of the space - looking in need of storage is a big no-no when selling your home - though don't store anything needed too often, or too heavy, up there.

When you're replacing a kitchen, it's easy to incorporate manufacturer's clever design ideas for awkward and small spaces, but if you're making the best of what you've already got, it pays to think laterally, especially when selling your home.

By Julia Gray