How to improve your home
A few simple updates can make a big difference
Revamp your home to breathe new life into well-used spaces. We share some things to consider if you’re planning some home improvements.
There are plenty of reasons you might want to shape up your home. Whether you're just refreshing your living space, or planning a major project to add value to your home, we've gathered some tips to help you upgrade your space.
Where to start adding value
Before you make any changes, a great place to begin is getting a valuation for your property so you know your starting point. You can invite two or three local estate agents to your home and take the average amount from their valuations.
They should also be able to advise you on what kind of updates you could do to add some value to your home – be sure to ask for some ballpark figures so you know what kind of budget to stick within. After all, it wouldn’t be cost effective to spend more on renovations than you’d get in return.
When you’re thinking about making updates, start with the look of your property – what potential buyers see when they look at it from the street. You can add ‘kerb appeal’ by getting a new front door, trimming hedges and making sure there isn’t anything messy around the entrance or on the face of the building.
More ways to add value
If adding value to your property is the goal you have in mind, there are plenty of ways to go about it. In many cases, it may well pay to improve on the basics, rather than doing a large-scale renovation. To appeal to potential buyers, you could think about fitting a new boiler, installing a smart meter, adding new electrics and fitting double glazing.
One of the ways you could boost your home’s value is to refurbish the kitchen. That could be as simple as a fresh coat of paint on the walls, new cupboard doors and updated lighting fixtures – or it could be a total revamp of the layout, fixtures and fittings. If it’s the latter, think of making the space open and communal, with neutral styling.
Aside from the kitchen, you can consider updating the flooring throughout your home, whether that’s new carpets or replacing them with wooden floors, which some property experts believe adds value. Changing the colour on the walls to pastel or neutral shades will appeal to more potential buyers.
Make the most of your space
Adding an extra bedroom is another efficient way to add value to your home. Consider extending into your outdoor space, or converting basements and lofts. Extensions and loft conversions will need expert guidance. Be sure to get quotes from two or three companies, and seek some professional advice before you make any decisions.
New en-suite bathrooms or extra rooms are great, but you can also think about re-purposing existing space. Do you have a nook under the stairs, or an unused corner in the living room? Adding a comfortable chair, plus some cushions and throws, can transform an unused spot to a soothing corner to read or meditate.
Think about outdoor space too. Creating a driveway or off-street parking from your front garden will not only add value to the entire property, but it’ll also make life easier for you.
Work smarter not harder
You could also look at the structure of your home to see if you might be losing energy. Consider double glazing if you’re in a property with older windows. Not only could this save you up to £110 a year on your gas bill (depending on the type of property you live in and where you live), but you’ll also cut down external noise, making your home more peaceful. Again, if you’re living in an older building, you could also think about wall and ceiling insulation as one of the ways to prevent excess heat from escaping.
There are plenty of apps you can use to help you stay in control of your energy. You could look for ones that track your usage, or can help you set timers for different appliances.
Make sure you have permission
Before you start any major alterations to your home, make sure you check whether you need planning permission. It’s a good idea to get professional advice and check with your local planning office before you make any changes to your property. Plans for loft or basement extensions and any work that requires structural changes will also need to be approved by the local authority.
You’ll also need building regulation approval at key stages of the work, as well as at completion. Check with your local council planning team if you have any doubts. Not having the right approvals can lead to expensive reworking after the project, or difficulties in selling the property later.
So you know what areas of your home you want to tackle, you’ve made sure you have permission to go ahead, and you’ve even got a few estimates on cost. Now’s the time that you can sit down and work out exactly how your refreshed home might look. You could use apps that let you create mood boards to help you imagine how the finished work will look. There are also plenty of magazines that you can draw inspiration from. And there’s nothing wrong with taking a quick snap of something you like at a friend’s or family member’s home.
Every little helps
You don’t have to make big alterations to refresh your home. Small touches and a change in styling can make a big difference. Consider putting up some framed art, or pictures of your favourite people. Flowers and plants can also make a space feel lively, and candles dotted around could be a great way to introduce some zen. New curtains, cushions or linen can also make a big impact with little effort.
Whether you go ahead with a big project, or just make some small changes, there are plenty of ways to update your home, and potentially increase the value of your property.