While we’re all spending a lot more time at home, we can become more aware of things we would like to change about where we live. Having the whole family home at the same time for extended periods can exacerbate space pressure on our homes, while working from home can highlight the need to create multi-functional spaces.
Some home improvement tasks, such as decorating or light DIY, are still achievable during lockdown, thanks to online retailers offering contactless delivery options for supplies, but many will undoubtedly require the assistance of a professional. Now is the time to start planning so that you’re ready to proceed when life returns to a semblance of normality.
(MORE: LIVE UPDATES on the lockdown)
Convert Your Attached Garage
Taking on a garage conversion is a really cost-effective way to add some more living space to your home, especially if you only use your garage as a dumping ground for stuff that is better off being donated, disposed of or recycled.
For a basic garage conversion you can expect to pay about £8,000 and, done well, it can add up to 20% to the value of your home. Better still, you can normally convert a garage under permitted development rules (but if you live in a designated area or listed building, you may need planning permission so do check with your local authority before starting work).
(MORE: Planning Permission Guide)
Remodel Your Interiors
Being immersed in your home for extended periods of time, you can really notice where the layout of your home could be improved, and remodelling your own home is often cheaper than moving. You might want to knock down internal walls for a more open plan layout, or add stud walls to change the flow around your home.
Try sketching out ideas for a new layout (try and do it to scale) – it can be really useful in helping you to visualise the new space and imagine living in it. You’ll also need to consider furniture placement, the flow of natural light and, if you are really keen on an open plan layout, the options when it comes to extraction and soundproofing.
Convert Your Loft
A loft conversion can also be a really cost-effective way to add extra space, providing your current roof pitch and structure lend themselves to conversion (if not, it is still possible to convert your loft, but it’ll cost considerably more than a room-in-the-roof conversion that will cost around £15,000).
There is a lot to consider when it comes to converting your loft, so now is the time to plan how you might access, heat and insulate the new space, as well as researching the Building Regulations stipulations around such a project.
(MORE: Loft Conversion Ideas)
Add an Outbuilding for a Home Office
If you are able to, and enjoy, working from home during the lockdown, you may decide that you want to do it more in future. If that is the case, then finding a suitable place for a dedicated home office is a great idea.
Working from the corner of a spare room, kitchen or living room can be suitable in the short term, but is, in most cases, impractical in the long term.
If a garage or loft conversion isn’t possible and you don’t want to go as far as building an extension, then look to your garden.
A garden room or outbuilding can make a great home office – as it’s separate from the rest of the home, you can avoid unnecessary distractions. You’ll need to make sure it has sufficient electricity supply and sockets, suitable lighting and heating options and reliable internet access.
Build an Extension
If you need to add significant additional space to your home, and you’ve already made the best use of existing square footage, then building an extension can be a cost-effective option (and is definitely cheaper than moving to a bigger property).
You might also find it is more cost-effective to build a two-storey extension rather than a single storey – especially when you compare costs per m².