Our top tips for home improvement 

If you’re planning on selling your house, or just fancy a change, then you may be considering taking on a home improvement project. This may seem daunting but improving your home doesn’t have to be a major task. There are projects to suit everyone – from a simple lick of paint to a full loft conversion. Here at Budget Insurance, we’ve brought together some of our top tips to help you ensure your home renovation projects are a success.

What are the most popular home improvements?

You may already have some plans in place for what you want to change in your home, but if you don’t know what improvements you want to make, it can be hard to know where to begin. Perhaps you can get some inspiration from the most popular renovation projects according to YouGov:

1. New kitchen (22%)
2. Garden makeover (20%)
3. New bathroom (16%)
4. Extension (10%)
5. Loft conversion (7%)
6. Conservatory (5%)
7. New home office (1%)
8. Other/none (19%)

Do any of these projects feature on your to-do list?

As the showpiece of the home, it is not a surprise that a new kitchen comes out on top as the most popular renovation project, closely followed by a garden makeover. But what is actually involved in these projects? Let’s take a look at some of these projects in more detail.

Upgrading your kitchen

The kitchen is at the heart of the home and somewhere that we spend a large amount of our valuable time, so it’s understandable that we want to make it a practical and attractive space that we can enjoy. Aside from improving your personal enjoyment of the space, a kitchen upgrade could increase the value of your home so it’s well worth the effort. We’ve put together a few simple steps to ensure you get the kitchen you love:

Research

Before you start getting stuck into your project, it’s useful to do your research and understand what you want to achieve from the project. Get inspiration online as this will help you decide what type of project you want to tackle. Ask around friends and colleagues to see what projects they have taken on before to upgrade their kitchen and how they found it.

Planning

Once you’ve decided which project you want to undertake, you can start to plan the finer details. As for any major project, planning is key. Ensuring you set a practical, reasonable budget for the project is an important part of the planning process – but bear in mind that the price of your renovation should match the price of your home, otherwise it’s unlikely you’ll make your money back or add much value.

Another important part of the planning process is getting planning permission. This will only be necessary if you are building something new, making a major change to the building or changing the use of the building – for example if you are wanting to extend your kitchen, this will be necessary. Planning applications are dealt with by your local authority, so be sure you fully understand any local planning requirements and the application process before submission. To apply, you send an application and payment online via the planning portal, which is then sent to your local planning authority for the process to begin.

Renovation

With the project fully researched and planned, it’s time to get down to work. But have you decided who is going to do the work? If you have a keen interest in DIY, then this may be a cost-effective way for you to carry out the project. If you are re-painting some cupboard doors, doing it yourself will be the cheapest option.

However, when it comes to larger renovation projects, the risk of DIY-related injuries increases. The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents estimates that the cost to society of home accident injuries in the UK is £45.63 billion every year. Therefore, to avoid potential injury and to ensure you get the job done right, you could consider hiring workmen to carry out the project for you.

Loft conversion

Another popular home improvement project that is worth considering is a loft conversion – but not all lofts are able to be converted into living space.

There are a few things to consider that will help you work out if your loft is able to be converted:

  • Have other properties nearby had loft conversions? If the properties are similar to yours and have been converted, this is a good indication that yours will also be suitable for conversion.
  • Is there enough head height? The minimum you need for a loft conversion is 2.2m from ceiling to floor. Older properties may not be tall enough so this is something worth checking.
  • What type of roof do you have? Certain types of roofs, e.g. trusses, require extra structural support for a conversion.


What is the floor like below? Consider things like where a potential staircase will go, what the layout may be and if that will be sufficient for your needs.
Another key thing to consider is the type of loft conversion you would like. There are 4 main types: roof light, dormer, hip-to-gable and mansard. We’ll have a look at each one and which type of house they would suit best.

Roof light

These tend to be the cheapest and easiest option for a loft conversion. This involves adding flooring, a staircase and windows and doesn’t require any change to the shape of the roof – however, this is only suitable if you already have enough roof space to begin with.

Dormer

This option is the most popular type of loft conversion and is suitable for most types of houses. It involves an extension attached to the sloped part of your roof.

Hip-to-gable

Hip-to-gable conversions are only really suitable for detached and semi-detached houses as it involves extending the sloped part of the roof to become a vertical wall.

Mansard

This type of conversion tends to be the most expensive option and it results in a significant amount of added space to your loft. It involves an extension running along the whole length of your roof, making it vertical.

Starting small

If you’re new to home improvement projects, an all-encompassing renovation may be too much to handle straight away – but that doesn’t mean you can’t still make valuable improvements. Starting with smaller, easier to handle tasks will help to increase your confidence for bigger projects further down the line.

Improving the presentation of your home through interior design can boost your home’s appeal. Here are some projects you could started on today:

Upcycling

Improving your home doesn’t mean you have to buy everything new. Upcycling is the process of taking old, unused or broken furniture and repurposing it into something new. Not only is this a cost-effective way of redesigning your home, but it repurposes furniture that may have otherwise been destined for the landfill. Have you got an old chair you were going to throw away? Have a look on Youtube, Pinterest and Google and get inspired to upcycle it into something new!

Change things around

Sometimes, the way to freshen up a room is to simply think of a new layout for the existing furniture in the room. By simply moving your sofa or TV unit into a new spot, you can open up the room and make it look much better.

Get painting

Usually a new lick of paint is an afterthought in renovation projects, but it is an effective project in itself. Changing the colour scheme of a room, or adding in a feature wall, can create a big impact and make all the difference to your living space. Consider which colours you would like, how this ties in with the rest of your house and whether you would need to change accessories to fit in with the new scheme.

Add some accessories

Bored of how your living room looks? Tired of waking up in the same-looking bedroom every morning? Adding some new accessories can change up a room without too much effort. Buy a statement cushion for your sofa, a new rug for your bedroom or an ornament for your fireplace and you’ll see the difference.

Renovating your house is an exciting project, but remember that any major changes to your house require you to inform your home insurance provider. If you are unsure whether your project will affect your home insurance, it is worthwhile contacting your insurer to check.

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