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Cat Dog At Home
28 Oct 2020

10 things you can do to improve your home

Is your home as comfortable as it can be? Is there something missing? Read our top tips on improving your home.

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1. Enlarge it

Maybe your house just isn’t big enough but you don’t want to move? Do you have enough space around it to build an extension? Or maybe a garage? Even the smallest porch, conservatory or extension can make a big difference especially if you can incorporate old outbuildings. You might even have the budget to consider creating a new basement.

2. Convert or re-design it

Different families at different stages want different things from their homes. You might want to knock rooms through to create large open-plan living/cooking/eating spaces or want to separate rooms off to provide more privacy and hide domestic mess like play rooms and utility rooms. At the moment one big trend is creating a dedicated office space within your home or garden to make working from home easier for everyone. Do you need more storage? Build some cupboards. Need less storage but more living space? Convert your loft or garage. Think about how you could use your existing space differently.

3. Heat it

Whatever heating system you use, whether this is powered by gas, oil or electricity, the chances are more energy efficient models are now available. You might want to consider renewable energy sources like ground and air-source heat pumps, solar or wind energy or be thinking about installing underfloor heating or a wood burner. If you are opening up or installing a new fireplace, appliance or flue, you’ll need to make sure this is safely installed to enable gasses to escape properly, protect your home from fire and prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Insulate home - French Bulldog  in blanket

4. Insulate it

This will make your home warmer in winter, cooler in summer and reduce your heating bills. As well as improving the comfort of your family, the right insulation installed properly will reduce condensation and cold spots, reduce damp and mould, reduce your heating bills and, of course, reduce your carbon emissions.

5. Light it

Lighting options have improved so much over the years and many homes suffer from poor lighting. You may want to introduce more natural daylight using rooflights, lantern lights or sun tunnels. If this isn’t possible without major disruption and structural work you can still achieve amazing results with artificial lighting. If your living room still relies on a main light pendant and a side lamp, think about down lighters, pelmet lighting, energy efficient light fittings and adjustable lamps to make a real difference.

6. Ventilate it

If you’re going to increase the insulation in your home, it’s vital that you also think about ventilation. Ventilation includes openable windows and doors, air bricks and air vents, mechanical extractor fans in your kitchen, bathrooms and utility rooms. You can also consider more complex systems like whole house ventilation, mechanical ventilation and heat recovery systems and passive stack ventilation. Improved ventilation improves air flow and the number of air changes in a room per hour, which removes odours as well as damp and mould spores and prevents staining and improves some illnesses like asthma.

7. Revamp it

Is your kitchen really dated, falling apart or just not how you’d like it? A new kitchen can be expensive but, combined with some structural work can transform your house. After all we all spend a lot of time in our kitchens. You can spend as much or as little as you like on a new kitchen and appliances, or even just revamp your old one with new doors and handles, new worktops or even just a coat of paint and some imagination. But don’t forget to add some ventilation.

8. Re-plumb it

Our expectations for bathrooms, shower rooms and cloakrooms have changed massively over the years. Homebuyers look for en-suites, good family bathrooms and downstairs cloakrooms. Most older homes don’t have these but they are often fairly simple to create with a bit of creativity. Think about pocket sliding doors, removing walls between bathrooms and toilets, really compact cloakroom suites with combined WCs and wash hand basins and wet rooms. You’ll need to budget for new water supply and wastes, alterations to drains and of course good mechanical ventilation.

9. Rewire it

Electrical wiring, sockets and consumer units all need replacing eventually. Whether you are redecorating or re-modelling your whole house you should always consider the age and condition of the wiring and whether it needs replacing. You can get your electrical system, gas supply and appliances and oil fired heating and cooking appliances checked and certificated by tradespeople that are competent experts, and these certificates will probably be requested if you want to sell your home.

10. Re-landscape it

Many of us have taken up gardening recently. If you are lucky enough to have your own outside space, think about how it would work better for you. Do you want a greenhouse or raised veg beds? Do you need a separate home office?  Do you want a deck or a hot tub? Could you encourage more wildlife or do you need more parking?

Whatever you are doing to improve your home, remember that many of the projects mentioned here will need Building Regulations approval and some will need Planning Permission. These are separate pieces of legislation and you should always find out from your Local Authority teams whether you need approval. They can even help out if you accidently went ahead without permission and now need to sort the paperwork out.