Property Ambition

Tag - interior design

How to add value to your home without too much hassle

Large house

The home improvement industry in Britain has never been bigger. As a nation we spend hours online taking virtual tours around the most luxurious of homes and pondering how we can emulate them on our budget. With what can only be described as a national shortage of homes in the UK and house prices continually on the rise, many people feel the sensible option is to stay put. You can’t blame people for doing so – a lot of people simply can’t afford to move up the ladder, so are instead opting to extend. This is very common in London and the south east where prices are much higher – the average flat in London is £534,092, with the average in the south east coming in at £331,834.

However if you do decide to extend, it’s not just about creating a blank canvas for viewer, it’s about finding the perfect balance between what will make you happy and what the buyers want. All of this means that there are dos and don’ts. Some changes will add value to your property while others could decrease it in value.

Therefore, it always helps to have a clear plan in mind. This may sound obvious, but along with adding value to your home you actually want to improve the quality of your family life, otherwise what’s the point? We’ve mentioned this before, but remember the importance of the kitchen and bathrooms here, these always add value to any home.

Here are five tips to help you along your way:

Don’t over spend!

Regardless of what you do to your house, it needs to have good colour coordination. It’s also no good having one part of your house super modern and luxurious if the rest of it is shabby. A whole overhaul of your house may take a couple of years and you may spend most of that cursing the strangers in your house and feeling like you have no privacy; but in the long run it will be worth it, since when you’ve finished your house will be contemporary and stylish. This will mean that buyers will want to snap it up because if there is very little to do to a property in their minds they know exactly what they are paying for. No one wants to spend £500,000 on a property if they have to make £50,000 worth of improvements. Before you make any commitments, take a look around your local area. See what the average property price is and go from there. The reason being that there is no point spending a fortune if you are not going to really gain much. If properties in your area sit between the £300,000 and £400,000 mark, don’t expect to get much more than that, no matter what you spend. Your real aim should be to bring your house up to the top end of the market in your area.

The kitchen

white kitchen

This kitchen with its wooden serfaces shows that just replacing the worktops can give it a totally new look

When remodelling, most people start with the kitchen, and this is a good starting point. The kitchen is where all the major things in life happen (but also all the best parties) so having a super slick kitchen with amazing appliances can only boost your quality of life as a family. However, don’t go overboard. If you are planning to sell up in the next couple of years there is no point finding £20,000 for a kitchen that in the end someone else is going to enjoy. You should also be considering what the top end in terms of sales are in your area. Again, no matter how deluxe your kitchen is, people just won’t pay over the odds. To find a good deal you only need to spend 20 minutes on google to get an idea of the value of your home. The internet means that we don’t have to wait until Boxing Day or for items to go out of season or to get a good deal, we can simply log on and browse to our heart’s content. It’s advisable to consider paying somewhere in the region of £3-5000 for a medium size kitchen – but again, it depends how long you’re planning to live in your property.

The bathroom

beautiful bathroom

Adding a second bathroom can really boost the value of your home

A beautiful bathroom will always add value to your home, but having two will boost it even more. This doesn’t mean that you have to go for a costly extension, more that you simply make the most of the space you already have. Perhaps you have a small spare room that is the family junk yard or an office space that isn’t really being used. Turning a room like this into a shower room or second bathroom will earn you serious brownie points with buyers. It doesn’t have to cost a fortune but does require planning. Without serious thought as to the cost and inconvenience, you can find these projects going way over budget. More often than not, these projects do go over budget, but if they are ill thought out, the costs can really spiral out of control. To keep the variables to a minimum it’s best to hire professionals – sounds obvious right?

However, many people make the mistake of asking a friend ‘in the business’ to help them out. Don’t. Your renovation could take longer and cost more since your ‘friend’ is doing it at mates rates so therefore doing you a favour. Make sure you get professionals on board – here are some great tips on how to select a building firm.

The Garden

garden pond with mini waterfall

This pond is a great example of how to brighten up your garden with a water feature

If you have a garden you should think of it as an extra room. Keeping it trim and tidy is going to keep buyers interested. Try to view it like the kitchen, it’s a place where family and friends congregate in the summer so including certain features can only add to its appeal. First, consider a water feature such as a pond with running water, this can make the garden feel tranquil and peaceful. Second, include a seating area. Perhaps add some decking or stone paving to help emphasise the possibilities of this area. Should you choose to add decking, this doesn’t have to be overly expensive, but since it’s difficult to install do think about hiring a contractor to do the work. You should also consider that you would need specific tools to complete this job and they can be very expensive, particularly if you are only going to use them once and just leave them piled up in a shed.

Basic updates

Finally there are the basic updates; these are simply. First, keep all paint work fresh and up to date. This means particularly the wood work that usually works best if it’s white. Yellowing paint work can make a room look dull and tired. Repaint if necessary. As well as this, refresh the grouting in your bathroom as mould just makes a bathroom look dirty even if you regularly clean it. Keep your electrics up to code; make sure that all wiring is secure and safe. Anything that could be deemed unsafe, will seriously put buyers off. Again, this may seem obvious, but there is no substitute for a clean home, washed curtains and wiped-over surfaces. This is just routine maintenance, but it shows that the house has been cared for over time and that the occupants place value on the living space.

 

 

How to make the most of the light in your home

An extension with a skylight.

Light is crucial when it comes to our daily lives. Without enough of it, we humans as a species generally suffer. The lack of natural light can cause our body clocks to become confused, depression in some and insomnia or lethargy in others. It’s fully acknowledged these days that those living in hotter countries with more natural light all the year round, are happier and more stable than those who live in virtual darkness for most of the year (like way way up near the North Pole). So, in other words, natural light is good for your health and well being. With this in mind, here’s a look at the subject of natural light in the home and how it can make a difference when it comes to living day to day.

Depending on which direction your house faces, either north, south, east or west could mean you either have an abundance of sunlight or a severe lack of it in your home. At certain times in the day, rooms become dingy or dark, making it difficult to work or read without the aid of traditional house lights. Natural light can affect the way you choose to decorate a particular room because light can change the whole atmosphere as it passes through the room; meaning that if you have lots of it you can afford to be more creative in your designs. However, if you suffer from a dearth, you’ll be more limited in your choice. Finally, anything that means you can delay turning on your house lights is good for those all-important energy bills as this can save you money in the long run.

Skylights

Natural light obviously comes from the sun, so finding a way to increase light coming from above us is clearly a sensible idea. The best way you could do this is, would be by installing a skylight (but obviously you can’t take advantage of this in all your rooms). These are great for extensions and loft renovations and can make the atmosphere of the room feel like the sun is personally shining for your benefit. What is more, the light is spread out over a wider area and lasts for longer as there is nothing blocking it. You don’t have to spend a fortune on skylights as they can cost anywhere from £100 to £1,500, depending on which design you choose.

North, South, East or West?

yellow room facing north.

The choice of yellow paint in this room shows just how easy it can be to brighten up dull rooms.

Secondly, recognising what direction the room faces is crucial. Some rooms will have the best light in the morning and become bleak in the afternoons or vice versa.

North-facing rooms often suffer from an abundance of indirect light and this makes the whole room feel colder in contrast to south- facing rooms. This problem can be counteracted by using bolder brighter colours which offset the coolness of the blue light (yellow and bright white work well here). These rooms tend to be bathrooms or kitchens, so pick your colours wisely.

South-facing rooms have the opposite problem e.g. they attract direct sunlight meaning that bright colours and patterns can be a bit too overwhelming for the eye. To balance this out, try using cooler colours, tints and pastels such as blues and greens.

East-facing rooms tend to ablaze with light early in the morning and then lose light around lunchtime. To help fix this problem, try warmer tones. This means that the room will be inviting in the morning; but maintain a certain level of brightness throughout the day.

West-facing rooms are darker in the morning and get brighter as the day goes on – the reverse of east-facing rooms. This is because they receive indirect sunlight in the morning and direct sunlight in the afternoon/evening.   This means you should opt for cooler shades and patterns to offset the warmer tones in the room.

Extras and accessories

Large mirror reflecting light.

The use of this large mirror bounces natural light very effectively around the room.

Strategically placed mirrors can do wonders for a room. Not only can they enhance a space and make it look bigger; but light also bounces beautifully off them. Mirrors can act like an extra window, redirecting the natural light already coming from your window. When placed directly opposite the results can transform a previously dull looking room into a an inviting space awash with light.

This may seem obvious, but anything that can block out light is a big no no. Try to keep window spaces as clear as possible. Avoid overly heavy and dark-coloured material for your curtains particularly if the room is not very big – this can give the impression they are enveloping the window. In such cases, it may be better to opt for blinds as a room automatically feels lighter and more spacious without cumbersome curtains. You might also want to try including reflective surfaces in your design. In the same way as mirrors, these will bounce of natural light and spread it throughout the room. Finally, always keep your ceilings lighter than your walls. Darker ceilings will feel oppressive and dull out any room and can leave you with that “shut in feeling”. Ultimately, you want to keep it feeling light and airy so by choosing a brilliant matte white as a finish you will complete the look and bring the whole room together.

To conclude: light matters. How natural light is used in a room is very important, so make sure you take this into consideration when designing your home.