Why the best home improvements will be different this year

Property Reporter
2nd October 2020
Home Improvement 277

Generally speaking, there are two types of home improvement. Practical or aesthetic. For many, the holy grail of transforming a space in your home would combine the two. However, over the next six months, this could all change with a shift of focus.

Finding joy this autumn may be more challenging than usual. For many, working will be from home, socialising will be open-air, and your own home and space is going to become increasingly valuable.

Emma Barkes of Stacks Property Search suggests that homeowners look at short term ways of making their own space more attractive and appropriate to the circumstances.

She says: “We don’t know what we’re in for this winter. We can hope for the best, but should probably prepare for the worst. Consider what you can put in place quickly, without dramatic financial outlay, that is going to make your life significantly happier in the short term.

“Generally we look at home improvements as a long term strategy, often as a way of increasing financial value. Now is the time to think of home improvements as a way of securing short term sanity.

“Many homeowners are using their indoors space differently. There’s little call for entertaining and guest space, but more demand on solitary space, especially for those living with large families. Boundaries have become very important; if everyone thinks that every room belongs to everybody, there is potential for conflict.

"Think about how you can adapt space that isn’t used regularly. No space is too small, look at now redundant dining rooms, spare bedrooms, large landings, attics or lofts, box rooms or under stairs cupboards. Consider making temporary changes to space to meet the needs of the coming six months, or longer if necessary.

"For example, if you’re using a spare bedroom as office space, make it work harder and better by dismantling the bed and installing useful shelves and storage.

“With more people than usual spending time at home, demand on Broadband width is also at an all-time high. Put aside a day for figuring out how to improve your supply, whether that’s an upgrade, a satellite, or a simple data SIM. If your particular situation is challenging, it’s worth investing in consultant time to talk you through all your options.

“It doesn’t seem long ago that open-plan space was what everyone wanted. Now, with more people sharing space, walls are looking like a much more attractive option. You can create smaller spaces in large open plan areas by rearranging furniture to create smaller zones, using screens, or putting up temporary partition walls. Decisions you made last year may now be irrelevant and space could be reallocated or used better, so consider all options.

“Many homeowners who have grown up children are used to them turning up regularly and sometimes unexpectedly. This is unlikely to be possible for the foreseeable future, so look at ways you can use their dedicated space in their absence, as long as you can make it habitable for them as and when they do reappear. Unannounced visits are unlikely so you will have some warning!

“Outdoor gatherings are more likely to be allowed than anything else. If you have any kind of outside building or semi-outdoor space, think about how you can adapt it now for safe social purposes. Look at garages, carports, barns, outbuildings, or tumbledown sheds with new eyes, how can you make them warm and dry with a good flow of fresh air. We’re talking about quick clever fixes here, not Homes & Gardens investment ideas.

“If you’ve been considering creating some permanent outside covered space, now is the time to do it. Pick your space and design your veranda or loggia. There are plenty of off-the-peg options for those who have basic DIY skills.

“If you haven’t yet invested in a cadai, chimenea, Calor gas stove, gazebo, solar or battery-powered lanterns, fairy lights, and an external power supply, don’t delay any longer. Wait times are getting longer and longer and these are valuable commodities!”

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