When spring has sprung in the UK, we know about it. Our skies are lighter, our smiles are brighter and we can even often be found rocking a t.shirt and shorts before 1st March. It’s also the perfect time of year to start thinking about spending a little more time on our homes. So, to help you make the most of the longer daylight hours, we’ve put together seven of the best home renovation ideas.
Perhaps you’ve been mulling over how to tackle a specific home renovation project all winter. Or perhaps you’re looking for ideas to improve your property to get more personal enjoyment from your space, or to increase your home’s value for selling. Spring is the ideal season for making your grand renovation designs a reality, so before we give you our top seven, we’re going to answer a common question:
What type of home renovation is right for me?
The kind of home renovation project that’s right for you will often depend on what life stage you and your family are at. Perhaps your children are fast growing into teenagers and want separate rooms, or you may be planning for a new baby. In this case, a bit of extra space in the form of loft conversion could be ideal.
If you want to make the most of your summer and entertain more, an open-plan kitchen extension or conservatory is a great idea. Whatever your plans, make light and space your priority and it’ll make a big difference to the look, feel and functionality of your home.
If you have a growing family…
1. Go for a loft conversion
Adapting the loft is the easiest way to get an extra bedroom (or two), a home office or children’s playroom – and way cheaper than moving to a new house with more rooms.
A loft renovation is very much worth the investment; in fact, it can add an average of 12.5% to the value of your property. It’s crucial that you convert the loft into a usable space with enough headroom; just adding skylights or, better still, installing a dormer roof can totally transform it. It’s also important to make sure you can easily access the room.
First, you will need to check if your property is suitable for a loft conversion, then gain the proper planning permissions and make sure to meet building regulations if you do go ahead. Then to think about your insulation set-up. Our energy-saving tips for the home will give you some useful pointers.
If you want to entertain more…
If you’re thinking about adding an extension to your home, it’s important to consider the function of this area and how best you can maximise space and light.
Should I add a conservatory?
A conservatory can add significantly more value to your property than it will cost you. They can typically boost an asking price by up to 7% – providing your conservatory is well designed and properly integrated into the layout of your house. Energy-efficient glass and adequate heating mean the room can be used all year round. You also need good ventilation to make sure it doesn’t overheat in summer.
Extra kitchen or dining space
Conservatories aside, people often extend to build extra kitchen or dining space, which creates a social hub for the home, where family and guests can congregate to cook, eat and chat. Again, make sure you plan out how light enters the room and how space is felt. You can place a large roof window over a kitchen table or worktop, to get plenty of light and fresh air in and make the surroundings more pleasant for cooking or doing homework. Will you add sliding doors that lead into your garden? These are also great for entertaining and worth considering if you want to bring a bit of the outside in.
If you want to spruce up a room…
3. Upgrade your flooring
Smart flooring can make an enormous difference to your home. Style and functionality-wise, hardwood flooring and large tile squares are in and carpet is out – not only because it’s a little outdated for some, but it’s also a haven for germs. If a carpet is your thing, there are eco-friendly options available.
There are many different types of wood to choose from; Maple, Eucalyptus, reclaimed wood and so on and when you’re looking at dimensions, 12-by-24 and 36-by-36 are popular options. You can either upgrade your flooring yourself – it’s intermediate-level DIY – or get a pro in to help.
Large floor tiles
Large floor tiles have also continued to be popular over the last decade. Again, they’re smart, functional and clean; ideal whether you’re an older couple or a rambunctious family. What they do really well is to give a feeling of open space – which is great for making a relatively small floor space look bigger.
How to clean floor tiles after renovation
After installing your new tiles you might notice a thin, white, cloudy film over the tiles. This is commonly known as ‘grout haze’ and it’s a normal by-product of tiling. However, it’s tricky to clean and your go-to floor cleaning methods won’t cut it this time.
Provided you’ve waited for your grout to fully cure and harden, you can either buy a specialist grout haze remover or you can use diluted vinegar and a nylon scrubbing pad.
To really make your house a modern, cosy home, it’s also worth considering underfloor heating when you plan your new flooring installation.
How underfloor heating works
Underfloor heating works as a system of pipes beneath your finished floor that distributes warm water around the system. Intelligent thermostats are used to monitor and control the level of heat so the temperature stays consistent and your toes stay toasty across the installed area.
When underfloor heating is installed, the technicians will also insulate your floor so that little to no heat escapes downwards.
Underfloor heating works with hardwood, tile and almost all floor finishes and gives your home a luxuriously cosy feel. It can even replace radiators in some instances.
4. Focus on one room
Renovate your kitchen
Is your kitchen the heart of your home? For many of us, it’s where we cook, congregate and eat too. This makes renovating your kitchen a sound investment, not only for the happiness of your household but also when you look ahead to your home’s eventual saleability.
If you’re going to renovate, the kitchen is a great place to start. There are so many options, layout designs and possible finishes for a kitchen, so we advise you to go by your instinct as to what is practical first, and stylish second. To make more of your kitchen’s social hub status, you could knock down a wall and add comfy seats or a breakfast bar where family and guests can chat with the chef.
Enjoy your garden in the kitchen
To make the most of your kitchen’s probable proximity to your garden, bring the outside in by adding large bi-folding doors that open on to your patio or garden. This adds extra light and space and is perfect for entertaining.
Preparation and planning are key. You need to work with the space you’ve got and work out an efficient layout for the way you use your kitchen – considering that you’re also catering to a wider audience should you ever sell your home.
What most people planning a kitchen renovation do is to look generally at kitchen suppliers and the kind of looks and functionality they can achieve within their budget. They then get their chosen supplier to come up with a few kitchen design options for the exact space. You could also get this from an architect or specialist kitchen designer.
The basics of kitchen renovation
- Start with large fixtures like your cooker, fridge freezer and sink. Where can they be placed? What’s most efficient and stylish? Then you can add your cabinets and worktops around them.
- Do you have any interesting architectural features that you can make the most of as part of the design, eg. old beams or alcoves?
- Get your storage right for what you need – e.g. How much kitchen equipment do you own? Got any Michelin-starred chefs in your household? How much space do you need?
5. Spruce up your kitchen in a smaller way
An alternative to fully renovating your kitchen is to make some well-placed, but relatively minor changes like:
- Replacing a fridge-freezer, oven or kettle and toaster set with stainless steel or matte finishes
- Replacing your kitchen cabinet doors with a more modern and/or colourful finish
- You could also give your cabinets and walls a smart new lick of paint or two – especially if you have children
- Changing your light fixtures to some stylish pendant lights
- Swapping your countertops to a solid wood or marble finish.
Any one of these ideas can completely transform your kitchen for a fraction of the price of a full renovation. Plus, you might also want to think about affordable cover for those appliances you rely on every day. With Kitchen Appliance Protection you’d always be prepared for unexpected problems.
More ideas for revamping your existing space…
6. Knock down a wall
The general goal of renovating is to maximise your useable space, which doesn’t necessarily have to mean getting an expensive extension or planning a renovation project. With this in mind you could transform two rooms into one, by knocking out the wall and creating one large, sociable space.
Open-plan kitchen-diners are very much in vogue and can significantly add to the value of your home. However, don’t forget to get some professional structural advice before lifting your trusty sledgehammer!
7. Replace the windows
How warm, secure and sound-proofed is your home? If your windows have seen better days, replacing them will make a huge difference. A good starting point is to find windows that match the style of your home, whether that’s modern or traditional. With the right look and feel you can actually increase the light quality and sense of space inside your home.
And it doesn’t have to be a like-for-like replacement – you could consider adding extra windows like a roof window (if logistically possible), making the window openings larger or replacing your existing windows with glazed doors for easy access to the garden, or simply bring in more light.
How much does it cost to renovate a house?
Considering that two out of every five home renovators overshoot their budget, costing a renovation project is extremely important. The average cost of renovating a whole house can be around £50–£150K.
You must break down your renovation into a smaller task list and make realistic estimates of how much each task will cost – parts and labour all considered. Then add 5-10% to your total to account for missteps, bad weather or time overruns.
Renovating your home is a sound investment – if you do it carefully
We hope you’ve found our seven renovation ideas motivating – the key to getting it right is careful planning and budgeting. Once that’s done, go for it!
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