1. Seeking Ideas And Design Concepts
Any home improvement project begins with an idea designed to accomplish a specific goal and, just like any
type of project, a goal-driven approach is essential to ensure you get the best results from your investment.
Home improvements might be carried out with one or more of the following goals in mind:
- Improve the comfort and aesthetics of your property
- Increase the amount of living space to accommodate lifestyle needs
- Improve the safety of your home
- Reduce energy bills by improving thermal performance
- Maximise the future resale value of your property
- Adhere to updated building regulations or home insurance requirements
Every great project starts with extensive research, carried out long before you commit yourself to spending any money or even calling up a tradesman.
You can initially do research for your project by visiting the local library or browsing the Internet.
Additionally, there are plenty of home improvement magazines both online and offline, which can help give you some inspiration if you’re having a hard time finding ideas.
Of course, some home improvement projects are already chosen for you, such as is the case when something needs repairing or updating to meet modern standards.
Another great resource to look for home improvement ideas is social media. Image-sharing social networks, such as Pinterest and Instagram, are chock full of home improvement-related content from country kitchen designs to loft conversions.
You’ll also find no shortage of before-and-after pictures to help bring your ideas to life.
Design software presents another great way to seek inspiration, gather design concepts and help realise your projects before you start any work.
Best of all, you no longer need to be a professional graphic designer who knows how to use complex CAD programmes.
User-friendly solutions include the downloadable Sweet Home 3D or the Web-based Floorplanner, both of which present a minimal learning curve and can also be great fun to use. More advanced solutions include Home Designer which, despite the steep learning curve, is a popular choice for professional interior designers and architects alike.
Experimenting with design software, or even by drawing plans and sketches by hand, is a great way to help visualise your thoughts and shortlist some project ideas to share with your friends and family.
2. Which Home Improvement Projects Should You Consider?
Building on your initial ideas and design concepts, it’s also wise to consider the various options available to you, particularly with regards to which projects yield the best return on investment.
After all, no majorly expensive undertaking should ever be carried out on nothing more than a whim.
If you find yourself lost for ideas during the initial planning stages, you might want to consider the following home-improvement options, depending on your requirements:
- Most projects that improve the efficiency of your home will also increase its value and reduce your monthly outgoings, although the initial investment can be very high. Among the most effective options concern improving the property’s thermal efficiency, such as cavity wall insulation, loft insulation or the installation of new windows. Some jobs, such as installing batt insulation in the loft, make for a relatively cheap and easy weekend project for any reasonably confident DIYer. By contrast, major projects, such as a complete overhaul of a central heating system, require a lot more planning.
- Projects that concern updating your home to meet current building regulations may include things like rewiring the property, improving insulation, updating plumbing or installing a new drainage system. Such jobs might not sound very glamorous, but they can add value to your home while making it easier to sell and safer and more comfortable to live in.
- Purely aesthetic improvements are largely a matter of personal preference so, from the point of view of maximising your return on investment, it’s generally best to avoid luxury and highly customised home improvements, such as his-and-her bathrooms or unconventional kitchen designs. Nonetheless, it often pays to get rid of any unpopular design characteristics, such as 1960s wallpaper, popcorn ceilings or Flotex carpet tiles, and replace them with something a little more modern!
- For the most part, anything that extends the living space of your home should also add value, although it won’t necessarily cover the cost of the investment itself. Things like loft, basement or garage conversions, home extensions and conservatories will invariably add value, but they won’t necessarily yield a great return on investment.
- Any improvements that boost your home’s Kerb appeal don’t just make the property look nicer (at least superficially); they can also add value and make the house look much more attractive to potential buyers.Sometimes, even a little gardening or a new front door can make a world of difference without costing a great deal of money.