Can't Move – Then Improve

28th February 2009

Home improvement is a fast emerging trend. Faced with the uncertainty of the UK property market, homeowners are increasingly choosing to ‘stay put’ rather than sell up, with an estimated 55 per cent planning to undertake improvements to their homes over the next year. This is understandable given that improving ones home can help solve issues such as lack of space, and it can also add real value to property – often thousands of pounds.

Kate Cox at Calor provides some advice on how to make the most of your home.

Creating room

For many households, space is an issue, so think hard about what steps you can take to create more room. One of the most popular and, in turn, profitable ways to achieve this is with a loft conversion. If you have a loft you may find that converting this into an office, study or even a bedroom can help you to enjoy more space within your home and could add considerable equity should you decide to sell.

An extension can also make a big difference for families who have outgrown their property. Depending on planning regulations and the basic infrastructure of the building, you could increase the number of bedrooms or bathrooms both downstairs and upstairs – two key valuation factors.

While it does not count as an extension in valuation terms, a conservatory is a cheap and easy add-on which does create space, and can act as a key selling point for a buyer. Serving a similar purpose, garage conversions are growing in popularity. An added benefit to using a garage for a living space is that it is usually set aside from the general household, making it the ideal spot for a home office, studio or a private domain.

When it comes to creating extra space, a frequent deterrent can be the added cost of having to install new central heating. However, a quick, cost-effective solution is portable heating. Handy and easy to use, portable heaters, such as the new Provence from Calor, are ideal for areas without central heating, particularly those which are less frequently used, such as conservatories or garages. A portable heater allows you to spot heat an individual space as required, for a simple ‘pay as you go’ approach to heating.

Room for further improvement?

Once you are comfortable, and have done what you can in terms of creating additional space, think about how you can make the most of what you have.

While it was once thought important to keep all the different living areas separate, societal changes have made way for a much more casual, communal approach to the home. If you now feel confined by your property, then breaking up the layout by, for example, transforming your kitchen and living room into one large open plan area, can create an instant feel of space and light.

Conversely, if your family is fast expanding and you need to create more rooms, a building specialist will be able to divide spaces into separate domains using artificial walls.

Again, in both cases portable heating offers a cost-effective solution. Enlarging the size of a room can mean the existing central heating is no longer enough to keep the whole area at a comfortable temperature, so a portable heater is ideal as an easy top-up. On the other hand, if you are dividing a space and one of the newly constructed rooms doesn’t have a radiator, a portable heater can be used instead.

Decorate to accumulate

The most common low-cost home improvement is redecoration, making up 30 per cent of work carried out in the home. Favoured for being cheap and easy to implement, it is surprising how something as simple as a fresh lick of paint and new cushions can help to breathe life into a tired property, leaving you feeling as though you have actually moved to your ideal new home.

While this may help to lift your spirits it can also add direct value to your home, so the trick is to use it as a ploy to entice buyers. Make your home as impersonal and fresh-looking as possible by removing all clutter. When choosing colours make sure to stick to a light but basic colour scheme for a wider appeal.

For more information on Calor call their information line on
0800 626 626 or visit

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