In the current climate, we all have to think about how we use the space within our homes, and if moving is out of the question, then here are some ideas to either improve your existing space, extend and ultimately renovate for a better home.
Before you start, it’s essential to evaluate your home and make a list of priorities.
Does your home need more living, sleeping or storage space?
Could it be airier and use the space better. Consider the emotional benefits, if you feel good about your surroundings, it has a positive effect on your quality of life.
Smart planning and prioritising
With the right materials and smart planning, spreading out can make financial sense. Maximising your space by extending or converting can add considerable value but it can also be a more cost effective way of acquiring more space than dispensing funds on stamp duty and moving fees. Do bear in mind though, that any work will need to comply with the new Part L building regulations to raise the energy efficiency of new structures by at least 40%.
- Most conversions need planning permission, but you can add up to 70 cubic metres or 15% of the original space (50 cubic metres or 10% in a terrace) without obtaining planning permission. So check.
- Terraces or semi-detached houses need a party wall agreement.
- A loft must be at least 2.3m at its highest point for conversion and have permanent access to be classed as anything other than storage.
Call in an Interior Designer
If in doubt, call in the professionals, an Architect or Interior Designer can help your through all the red tape, what you may pay out in fees can save you in time, effort and money in the long run and help maximise your space and your investment.
Rivalled only by extensions when it comes to adding space and value, estate agents agree that a cool kitchen can sell a house in an instant. If you have the funds, it is worth spending around 5% of the value of your home in the kitchen- any more and you may not recoup the investment. Kitchens are the spaces most people are interested in and are increasingly a multi functioning space. Not only for cooking, but entertaining and family life. There are plenty of clever ways to reduce the expenditure and get the look you require. Start with a good spring clean. Replace doors on sturdy carcasses, wood is a key trend with white being a safer option or why not mix the two for a fashionable but classic look. Repaint existing door fronts for a great result with minimum outlay. Change dated handles and splash backs, and inexpensive cabinets can look anything but when crowned with a top end counter top.
If installing a new kitchen, it is the ideal time to think green. Consider appliances, materials and furniture together Remember most councils will legally require households to sort their rubbish (some already issue fines for non –compliance), so factor in a space for recycling. Being green will become a selling point for your home especially as Home Information packs become more widespread.
With the potential to add up to 10% to the value of you’re your home, a smart bathroom is a must. And in the same way that a kitchen has become a multi–tasking space, contemporary bathrooms often have to be practical family space as well as somewhere to relax and unwind. While white ceramics are always a sensible choice, designers agree that you don’t have to stick to the conventional matching “suite”. Mix and match pieces to make a statement, and top basic ceramics with to-die-for brassware to bring a designer element into your bathroom. 78 per cent of people prefer a shower to a bath, think about installing one, but make sure you check what sort of water system you have and always go for good quality fittings as these will be cheaper in the long run. Think about laying flooring that looks more expensive than it is, opt for mock slate or limestone, they are much less work than the real thing and will look good down the line. Finally a large mirror will maximise space and mood lighting will add instant glamour.
Consider good storage
Good storage makes a home feel more spacious and if clutter is tidied away, than a room will feel bigger. Successful storage needs careful consideration especially if the space is tight. When planning new storage, evaluate what you really need to keep, get rid of things that are unnecessary, be ruthless, and store things in the room where they will be used. That way they will be easy to get hold of and put away. Mix up, easy access open storage for regularly used items and closed storage for items rarely used. Cleverly constructed built in storage can unify a room, use redundant nooks and fill in odd spaces. For example in a hallway, I would opt for a signature piece, a light fixture or piece of furniture. Create a feature wall, use colours to lift and brighten the space or create a dramatic backdrop, a large-scale wallpaper can make a dramatic backdrop in a narrow hall. To avoid a cluttered look use multi-functional furniture that has built in storage.
Decoration and colour
A coat of paint and attention to detail is the quickest way to turn your home into a dream. If you’re confident pull out the dustsheets and give it a go, on the other hand shoddy décor can detract, so make sure it is well executed and finished in full, or call in a professional decorator. Neutrals will make a space feel clean and light, but give your home added wow factor with carefully chosen accent colours or surfaces, add a feature wall with metallic wallpaper in burnished silver or gold, adding polish to any interior.
Lighting as a trick
Lighting is one of the cleverest tools for updating an interior, avoid single pendants only, but add layers of light with side lamps, up-lighters and directional fittings which can be used to add mood and highlight original architectural features. Don’t be afraid to combine traditional lighting effects with modern solutions. Use mirrors to maximise light and space – hanging one opposite a window to double light in a room or hang a mirror by a window and instantly boost the daylight in a room.
Flooring, opting for something beautiful underfoot will add instantly add to the appeal of your home. Installing uniform flooring throughout the house or chic new floor in problem areas is a good idea, and buyers are still wooed be well restored, exposed floorboards. Wood and stone not only look gorgeous but will last far longer than man-made materials. If you choose reclaimed or locally sourced stone or salvaged boards, or wood collected from sustainably managed forests, you can up your floors eco credentials too. Think bamboo, cork, natural rubber, natural linoleum and marmoleum, which is 100 per cent biodegradable. There is nothing like carpet underfoot, especially in bedrooms to create a cosy, welcoming atmosphere and put the warmth back into your scheme. Well and truly back in fashion, a fresh new carpet adds instant appeal. It is particularly suitable for flats where bare floorboards may not be permitted.
Your bedroom as your sanctuary
Your bedroom should be a sanctuary from everyday life, make yours work for you, smart storage from built in wardrobes or a clever partition which can establish a separate area for bathing, dressing or even hidden storage. It can also create a striking headboard with shelving for bedside necessities. Decorate with calming but warm colours, an oversized headboard or feature wall will add that boutique feel. Multi-layered lighting is a fantastic way to give your bedroom instant appeal, include task lighting for reading and install dimmers on main sources where possible for extra flexibility. Finally and probably easiest, glam up your boudoir with fresh textiles, new bedding and fantastic fabrics.