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Inspiration: Home Improvement Ideas

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Are you looking to boost property value? Or, are you trying to increase your enjoyment of living somewhere? Either way, we’ve got you covered. Here’s some inspiration for home improvement ideas to boost property value.

Tip: When it comes to adding features and/or additional space to your home, it always pays to think carefully about what you are trying to achieve.

Have an action plan in place!

Budget home improvement ideas

You can make a big difference to the value of your property, and your quality of life, without breaking the bank:

  1. Paint the kitchen cabinets
  2. Plant new flowers in the garden (and front garden)
  3. Put up some shelves
  4. Get a dishwasher to save water
  5. Restore architectural features
  6. Install a splash-back
  7. Give the walls a fresh lick of paint
  8. Get a smart meter
  9. Renew your decking
  10. Lay a stair runner
  11. Do up the front door
  12. Put up some shelves
  13. Install a skylight
  14. Get a powerful shower-head
  15. Pot some indoor plants
  16. Hang new curtains
  17. Get new blinds
  18. Put down some rugs
  19. Overhaul the windows
  20. Restore original tiles
  21. Lay new carpet
  22. Introduce paneling

It’s not about how much you spend

Contrary to popular belief, it’s not about how much you spend. Instead it’s what you spend your money on that matters when it comes to boosting future property value.

For example, investing thousands to install a large patio area and extensively landscaping the back garden with a new pond may enhance your own experience living in the home. But, there’s a strong possibility you won’t see a return on your investment. In fact, a lot of prospective buyers may see this as a negative and something they’ll have to spend money on to rectify.

On the other hand, adding extra space by building an extension onto your kitchen will benefit you while living in the property. It’s also highly likely to deliver a return when it comes to selling your home. It’s not unusual for the re-sale value per square foot added to be double the initial build cost.

Best home improvement ideas

Of course, if adding value for when you come to sell is your end game, you may to spend a bit more. Modern kitchens and bathrooms sell properties, as do extra bedrooms.

Consider what would improve your quality of life, and what buyers might be looking for when they come to sell. Sometimes, smaller changes can make big differences, such as creating an open-plan living room. This can be a good way to cut costs on home renovations.

What improvements add the most value?

Property refurbishment adds value, but not all were created equal. Some of the best home improvements to add value include:

  • Extra bathroom
  • Extra bedroom
  • Modern kitchen
  • Modern bathroom
  • Loft conversion

Do you have planning permission?

If you’re thinking about a major home renovation project, you may require planning permission or building regulations approval from your local authority. If you live in a listed building, you may also need to seek approval from English Heritage too. You can easily check the latest planning permission requirements. It’s also worthwhile checking with your own local authority too, as planning applications can vary slightly between regions.

Do you need planning permission?

There are ways you can build an extension without planning permission. However, you have to follow certain rules.

Generally, we’d recommend checking if you have any doubts about this. The cost and potential implications of proceeding without permission or being found to be in breach of regulations can be severe.

Other things to bear in mind

Also, always keep in mind that restrictive covenants may prevent you from making changes to your property, so it’s vital you check. 

It’s worth applying for planning permission anyway, as this can add value to your property when you come to sell.

How to work the cost of your building works

How much you spend depends on what type of home improvement you’re considering.

For example, if you’re considering a loft conversion, there are five options you can choose from. Each option costs a different amount and will deliver a different return to your investment:

  • Introducing some Velux windows (costing circa £25,000)
  • Standard dormer extension (costing circa £30,000)
  • L-shaped dormer extension (costing circa £40,000)
  • Hip to gable extension (costing circa £48,000)
  • Mansard extension (costing circa £50,000)

If you’re looking for an ideas of costs, the Building Cost Information Service will be able to help. The service is run by the independent surveyors’ body RICS. Here you’ll find information on everything from garden landscaping to building an additional storey to your property. You can also calculate regional costs, including hiring a surveyor and even insurance costs with their rebuilding calculator.

Cheap home improvement ideas

If you’ve got a limited amount to spend on home improvements, we can offer some guidance on where to put that money. Here are some top low cost home improvement ideas.

Garden improvements

One of the least expensive ways of giving your property additional space is to create an office pod or kids cabin in the form of a shed. Think of an adult version of a Wendy House – these can be a great annexe addition to your property complete with windows, alcoves and shelves. A high quality, fully-insulated shed can cost around £5,000 and shouldn’t need any planning permission.

While working on this project, you could also get the garden landscaped. Depending on how large the area is, it could costs as little as £1,500. If you have space, consider creating a driveway with off-street parking for as little as £1,000. These would all be huge selling points that could boost value when you look to move on and sell.

Decking and patio area is another home improvement which doesn’t cost much (from about £1,500) and could be a deciding factor when a buyer chooses between your property and a neighbouring one.

Environmental improvements

Solar panels, air pumps, bore holes, draught excluders and insulation can all reduce your utility costs. These also appeal to the recent wave of increasingly environmentally conscious buyers.

The average cost for buying and installing solar panels is between £6,000 and £9,000. If you factor in what they save on heating and lighting, as well as the money returned by the Feed-In tariff, the cost seems far more reasonable.

Cavity wall insulation is likely to pay for itself within about five years – this is thanks to the amount of energy it will save, thus lowering your bills. A certified installer usually costs around £500. Solid wall insulation on older homes (pre-1920s) can cost from £5,500 but the utility savings are enormous – around £460 a year.

Good news: the government’s Green Homes Grant will also pay towards the instalment of certain energy efficient measures.

Switching energy suppliers could also help you save on bills each month, and help you find a supplier backed by 100% renewable energy.

Switch Energy Supplier

Creating a living space

Open plan living is increasing in popularity. This is where the kitchen, dining room and seated area are opened up into one space towards the rear of the house. Usually, this will involve knocking down walls and building a small extension. A set of plans from an architect should cost around £2,000. This may make your home more attractive to prospective buyers.

Modern home improvements

A good home extension will add more light and warmth to your property while also giving you more space. Many modern extensions have floor to ceiling glass panels for walls and full-height sliding doors.

It’s becoming increasingly common that modern home extensions are built from environmentally-friendly materials like natural stone, reclaimed wood and even bamboo. This is a favourable approach to take but be sure your extension fits your family lifestyle.

Other ways to improve your home

Got more money to invest in your property?

You’ll pay this kind of sum when looking at renovating a whole floor of your property, such as the basement. This is because a project of this size will involve excavation and underpinning the entire house. If undertaking this type of renovation, it’s recommended you appoint an architect to oversee it.

Similar to a loft extension, past basement renovations were predominantly used as games rooms or bars (this was especially common in the 60s/70s). Today’s renovations are far more sophisticated and all-encompassing. From en-suite bedrooms to sitting areas, home cinemas and even underground parking, modern uses of basement extensions are becoming far more complex.

It’s important to research your renovation idea thoroughly before undertaking the project. It’s vital to understand whether the improvement is the type usually appreciated by buyers in your area, thus increasing the value of your property.

How much value will your project add?

If adding value if your main goal, you can estimate how much it will add using an extension value calculator.

Extension Value Calculator

Are home improvement loans a good idea?

There are many ways to finance home improvement ideas. From credit cards to savings, there are plenty of options available to you. The one you choose should depend on the size of your project and how much you can afford.

Home improvement loans are a popular option, as they can allow you to spread the cost of your project with a clear view of what you’ll pay back this month. However, you’ll need to ensure you can keep up with the payments. Also, there might be extra charges if you try and pay the loan back early.

Think it’s the right option for you? Get a quote for a home improvement loan below.

Homeowner Loan Quotes

How to get it right

Whatever home improvements you’re planning, be sure you cost it out properly before starting.

If you’re looking to boost property value, gain a strong understanding of the type of renovations that will help you. Throwing loads of money at your home isn’t always the best route to take. It’s also critical you achieve the necessary permissions and professional assistance required to complete any work to a high standard.

Get professional assistance

We can connect you with the right people to make your project happen. Find a local tradesman and start improving your property below.

Find Local Tradespeople

Last Updated: September 2nd, 2021

Phil Spencer

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