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Home improvements

Some tips and advice when thinking about home improvements.

Planning

One of the worst things you can do when it comes to home improvements is to start a project without the major details—cost, time, materials, and design—as realistic as possible from the start. 

Nothing costs more than having to "change horses in midstream" (e.g., you want to move the fridge somewhere else now or want to change your tile choice). Go on to Google and find some online design tools to conceptualize your project and add a healthy buffer (10-15% more) to your time and financial budget to account for the inevitable surprises.

Invest wisely

Over the past two decades, “home improvement” has come to mean many things: a way to move up in the property ladder, an investment alternative to savings and pensions, and even a practical hobby for those long weekends.

But be careful - on the positive side the cost of moving to another house is incredibly expensive – usually 10 per cent of the value of the house. But just make sure you shop around wisely and do the right levels of planning of budgets and research on tradesmen.

Think enery wastage

If you’re staying somewhere for 10 or 20 years, doing everything you can to use as little energy as possible is one of the most important improvements you’ll ever make.

If you’re doing any plumbing work, for example, insulate all of the pipes. Check your loft insulation - is it using the latest materials and ratings?

Plan carefully

Focus on getting the infrastructure of your rooms right. The practicalities of life are so important. Kitchens and bathrooms have to function well – particularly in a smaller house.

You can scrimp on the floor until you get the place working as it should, but just make sure the design and layout is right from the start.

Working on your windows can make a huge difference to the light. Blinds are great because they don’t invade your space and they don’t absorb smells like curtains do.

Could you make the house larger?

A loft or kitchen extension should add to the value of your home and make it more saleable in the future. Before doing any expensive extension work, though, always consult a local estate agent so that you can ensure that what you spend can be balanced with any potential profit. Once you’ve maximised the space, then begin to look at the cosmetics.

There are lots of simple things you can do to a room to improve it without spending lots of money. Long, thin rooms (through rooms) are often difficult to furnish and one end of the room either becomes a thoroughfare or is mostly unused. So, think about where you lack space elsewhere. Could one end of the room double up as a home office, neatly tucked away into an alcove or hidden in a cupboard? Could good storage give you a play area for the kids that could be tidied away in the evening?

Storage is also becoming more of a focus than ever, as we try to make the best of the space that we have. High-quality integrated storage, particularly, is one area where investing always reaps benefits.

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