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You don’t have to move, you can always improve

Sarah Beeny’s top five tips to giving your home a new lease of life

A want for more space and a home that’s more suited to modern life are just two of a number of reasons why people decide to move house. But as the old saying goes, home is where the heart is, and if moving house causes unnecessary stress and disruption to family life, there is another way.

Fortunately, moving isn’t the only option for those who feel they’ve outgrown their home, it might be worth considering whether your current home has reached its full potential.

With just a few home improvements, you can optimise your existing home and start to make the most of what you already have. Better still, these short to medium-term investments can have long term benefits, and if you do decide to move house one day, you should find it has helped to increase the market value of your property.

So, where do you start?

Create more space (out of thin air)

The simplest, cheapest and possibly most effective way to improve your home is to tidy up, something the Japanese have perfected to almost an art form. By thinking about where you put your keys when you walk through the door, and where you kick off your shoes after a long day, you can use shelves, cupboards and hooks to streamline these processes and de-clutter your life. You’ll be amazed with the space you can create, as if out of thin air, and the techniques can be used across any other changes you make to your home.

The kitchen isn’t just for cooking

The kitchen is much more than a place to prepare meals: it’s where a family reconvenes at the end of the day and guests gather to socialise. Because the kitchen is the centre of the home, you want to make it as inviting as possible so that people want to stay in it. With a few extra countertops or additional cupboards, you can maximise surface space and really transform the dynamics of the room, making it warm and welcoming. Rather than using uniform patterns or units, you could consider using mix and match designs, to give the room that extra edge.

Knock down a wall, or put one up

Open plan living has become hugely popular here in the UK, and the flowing layout with few internal walls appeals to our desire to be social. Of course, the major downside is that one larger room can quickly become dominated by a single activity, like watching television. This will prevent you from using your space effectively and, ironically, limit social interaction. Putting up a wall, therefore, can work much better for some homeowners. This emerging trend of ‘broken-plan’ living helps create a sense of divide between spaces, without separating them completely, allowing a single room or space to become much more versatile.

Extend to enhance

No matter what the size, an extension can have a dramatic effect on the way your home looks, feels and works. The key to a successful extension is thinking about how it can help to extend an existing space, rather than just being a bolt-on room. The commonly accepted view is that you need a large garden before you can even think about extending. The truth is that, even extending by just a few metres, the extra space created can radically change the relationship between two rooms, and help you use them more effectively.

Your house is more than what’s inside the walls

Whether it’s a garden patio or a couple of acres, most of us have some kind of outside space at our disposal. It’s an old cliché, but it’s a real opportunity to create an “extra room” for you to use, and give your home some added character. A table and some chairs at the bottom of the garden can make for an idyllic retreat on a sunny day, but if you don’t have the room, finishing touches like hanging baskets and lanterns make smaller spaces much more welcoming.

If you’re thinking about taking your existing home to the next level, help is at hand. Talking to local builders, tradespeople and architects can inspire you to unlock the hidden potential in your home. If you need further guidance, pop into your local Jewson branch for advice on home improvements.