5 ways to make more space AND add value to your home

People, the world over, are working through lockdown wondering what the ‘new’ normal might look like – and importantly where they might choose to live it.  To move or improve is one of the questions on many minds at this time.

Figures suggest 8 out of 10 homeowners are looking around their homes realising that with just a bit of work their current home could be their long-term home.  Here we give you the five most popular ways our site users improve their homes to improve their way of life and the value of their assets. 

  1. Home Office 

The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed what work looks like for millions of people.  Lengthy commutes are out. Video calls and slack pants are in.  But not many homes are set up as dedicated work spaces.  Landings and under-stairs spaces are increasingly proving popular choices.  Confirm there is room for a desk and chair and that sockets are easily accessible.  Access to good, natural light is not essential but preferable for some.  

Our tips:

  • If you’re short of space, you can still work out a solution without having a dedicated desk. Use the dining table as a pop-up office, and simply tidy away your laptop and files when you’ve finished. 
  • Separate work from home life by not living at work.  

Estimated cost – £25 – £500

  1. Garden Studio

These are growing in popularity.  In homes with side garden access they are a relatively low approach to extending your house as the construction team can go around, rather than through your property.  As single storey dwellings many don’t need planning permission (unless you’re in a conservation area).  They can be very versatile, many people opting to create an outdoor office/gym space or outdoor office/guest bedroom. Not only are they a simple way to create an extra room, many outdoor cabins boast additional storage space.  

Our tips:

  • If you’re considering additional garden and house improvement work, do the garden studio first. It can create a lot more mess than one might think.
  • If you have side access you might consider having the bulk of the work done while you’re on holiday.

Estimated cost – £10k-£20k

  1. Side Kitchen Extension

This is a popular choice for homeowners looking to create a more ‘open’ living space by extending their kitchen to create a more open plan kitchen/dining space, often knocking through ground floor rooms.  Keeping this to a single storey often means you don’t need to apply for planning permission.

Our tips:

  • If your neighbours and friends have undertaken similar projects, take a look, be inspired and ask their advice
  • Let your neighbours know what’s going on, and when
  • If you’re considering a garden studio we’d recommend you complete that project prior to using your side garden access to extend your house to one side. 
  • Get builder recommendations and cross quote

Estimated cost –  £80k-£100k

  1. Loft Conversion

If your goal is to gain an additional bedroom and you have a loft, a loft conversion is a great way to improve your living space.  Adding an ensuite will give that extra bit of privacy and convenience for the whole family. 

Our tips:

  • Use an architect to maximise the space you have
  • Consider the temperature all year round – hot air rises and with our increasingly warm summers you want to make sure you’ve built in enough ventilation
  • Plan ahead – make sure you’ve chosen your fixtures and fittings so you’re not making hurried last minute decisions

Estimated cost – allow £80k

  1. Full Home Renovation

This is a great option if you’re considering moving house because you’ve grown out of the space you’re in. House prices are pushing people further and further away from their ideal locations and with the additional costs associated with moving fees and stamp duty it’s well worth considering investing in  improving rather than moving. It’s a big commitment and you need a good architect who can bring your vision to life, but the cost of turning your house into your dream home can be more cost effective than moving.

Our tips:

  • Make sure you consult with your neighbours early on
  • Be prepared to be flexible and adapt to planning requirements 
  • Take your time

Estimated cost – £200k

YOUchitect is an independent, impartial platform for anyone planning a home improvement project.  Be inspired by our real-life case studies, find a supplier in our directory or book a consultation with one of our independent experts and take your first step to creating your dream living space

Youchitect was founded by  Farran Keenan, architect, and Sarah Aird-Mash, Director of a social enterprise. When they met on the RIBA Refab project they soon got to talking and Sarah’s own home build and Farran’s professional experience and realised there was a real gap in the market for a business which gave homeowners genuinely useful, independent advice to help them through their projects, at the same time as helping small businesses generate new business leads. Youchitect was born from that.