Tired of your home? Improve, don’t move

As the new year approaches, many of us feel the urge for a fresh start. For some, the wish list is bound to include moving house, whether that’s driven by a need for extra space after a claustrophobic Christmas or simply because a property has started to feel tired and uninspiring. Boxing Day is in fact the busiest day of the year for online property searches; on December 26th last year there were 25,147,701 page views on Rightmove – that’s three times the traffic of a typical day.

But moving house can be a huge upheaval, both emotionally and financially. So should you make a concerted effort to fall back in love with your existing home? Here, Rex Nye, who owns online builders’ merchants NYEs Building Supplies, offers advice on how to transform your property for 2020.

Two becomes one

The trend for open-plan living seems here to stay. Knocking two rooms into one creates a welcoming space that the whole family can enjoy, and doesn’t have to cost the earth. However, there are a few points to consider before removing an internal wall, so even the most
dedicated DIY-ers need to do their homework before getting stuck in with the sledgehammer.

Plan a simple extension

A single storey extension, however small, can make a huge difference to your home environment, perhaps by widening a kitchen to make room for a dining table, or adding a downstairs shower room and WC. Depending on any work already carried out, you might be able to build your extension without planning permission. Single storey rear extensions of up to 4m x 6m can now be built without planning permission on semi-detached and terraced houses. For detached houses, the dimensions are increased to 4m x 8m. Always check with your local authority planning office before embarking on an extension project.

Build a garden room

Whether it’s a home office, a garden gym or a log cabin for teenagers, an extra room in the garden is an increasingly popular option for space-starved homeowners. Prices can start as low as £2,500, but for more sophisticated spaces with plumbing and utilities expect to pay over £25,000. It’s unlikely you’ll need planning permission but again, it’s always wise to double check with planning authorities.

Makeover your exterior

If your heart sinks when you pull up outside your property, it’s time to consider an exterior makeover. Once-popular features like pebbledash or concrete cladding are now outdated and don’t seem likely to make a comeback any time soon. Timber board cladding or modern fibre cement cladding products give a contemporary feel that taps into the New England trend. Adding simple touches like hanging baskets or bay trees either side of a front door can really help to freshen up the look of your home with minimal expense.

Take the 24-hour challenge

It’s amazing what you can achieve in just one day. From repainting a room to laying a new floor or blitzing an overgrown garden, with the right preparation you can give your home a facelift in just 24 hours. Make sure you have all the necessary tools and materials before you start so that you don’t end up making a time-consuming trip to the hardware store. Careful planning is key – diary in the work and stick to the date. If you can rope in friends and family, even better (but be prepared to return the favour!).