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10 improvements you can make to your home, from home

4 minutes

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It turns out that spending a lot of time at home means you spot all the things that are wrong with it.

So it will come as no surprise that thousands of people across the UK tried their hand at DIY over lockdown last spring in a bid to revamp their home, as well as give them something to do. Journalist Rachel Wait looks at ways you can give your home a boost – all while working from home. 

 

 
  • DIY projects soared during the first lockdown
  • You don’t have to spend a fortune if you want to give your home a little TLC 
  • Always check you’re covered by home insurance
 

DIY projects take off

Not only did DIY stores report a huge rise in sales in the first lockdown, research shows that at least 38% of people carried out DIY in the spring and summer of 2020, with the most popular tasks including:

  • Gardening (57%)
  • Spring cleaning (47%)
  • Painting and wallpapering (34%)
  • Redecorating a room (23%)
  • Renovating a room or bathroom (20%)
  • Replacing flooring or tiling (13%
  • Planning an extension (5%)

Some lockdown DIY projects certainly got the creativity juices flowing – garden sheds were turned into summer houses, attics into tropical dens, and leftover wood crafted into picnic benches – while others were a complete disaster – from paint spillages to accidents with PVA glue. 

Fortunately, however, sprucing up your home doesn’t have to involve complicated, large-scale projects. There are plenty of ways to improve your home without spending a fortune, many of which could potentially boost your property’s value too. 

 

1. Revamp your kitchen

Updating a tired and outdated kitchen doesn’t automatically mean an expensive makeover. Instead, cupboards can be given a fresh lick of paint (sand down and use primer first) and handles can be upgraded to fancy new ones. 

You can even buy sticky-back plastic from retailers such as Wilko and B&Q to cover kitchen cupboards, worktops and floors. If you don’t believe us, take a look at how one homeowner revamped her kitchen for just £65. 

2. Upcycle old furniture

If you’ve got an old chair, chest of drawers or cupboard that looks like it’s seen better days, why not upcycle it? This needn’t be overly complicated – often a sand down and fresh coat of paint or varnish will do the trick. Just make sure you buy decent brushes and use the correct type of paint or varnish.

3. Repaint the walls

It sounds simple, but a fresh lick of paint can make a world of difference to your home. It’s generally best to stick to neutral colours so white is a good option for walls and ceilings, while grey can be used as a secondary colour. 

4. Buy some new accessories 

If you want to add some splashes of colour to your home, invest in some bright accessories such as throws and cushions. 

Strategically placing mirrors around the home can also help your property look bigger and brighter, while adding hooks for coats, towels, mugs or anything else you can think of can help make the place look tidier. 

You could even purchase a snazzy umbrella stand to leave by the front door. 

5. Give your bathroom a makeover

If your bathroom is looking a little neglected, simple steps such as cleaning grout and removing mould and limescale, as well as a quick repaint can help to give it a new lease of life. While you’re at it, why not invest in a new toilet roll holder, toothbrush holder and soap dispenser to smarten up the room? 

 
Thousands of people across the UK tried their hand at DIY over lockdown last spring in a bid to revamp their home, as well as give them something to do.

6. Add kerb appeal

The front of your home is just as important as the inside, so if your front door is looking a little scruffy, give it a good wash down and a new coat of paint. You could also buy some shiny new numbers and maybe a door knocker too. 

It’s also worth tidying up the path or driveway by clearing away weeds, fallen leaves and any other debris.

7. Do some gardening

You don’t necessarily need a garden to be green-fingered. Potted herbs and chillies can liven up windowsills (as well as meals), while window boxes and hanging baskets full of long-flowering plants can provide a colourful display outside your home.  

If you have a balcony, patio or courtyard, why not invest in some pre-potted plants or do a bit of research and make up your own? It can also be worth spending time fixing broken patio slabs and removing weeds.

8. Replace light switches and plug sockets

Replacing outdated light switches and plug sockets can give your home a more contemporary feel. Brushed steel looks smart, while adding USB points for charging phones and tablets can also be beneficial – not only for you, but also if you want to sell your property. 

Before attempting any electrical work, however, it’s crucial that you know what you’re doing – if you don’t, it’s best to call in a professional.

9. Update your lighting

There are so many different options when it comes to lighting these days, so why not take a look at what’s available? Changing the lighting can help to create a focal point or make a room feel warmer, and you could even make a statement with a dramatic pendant or chandelier. Again, seek professional help if you are unsure what you’re doing. 

10. Create a home office 

If you’re working from home but have limited office space, there are plenty of ways to turn a nook or small space into a study area. You could make the most of space under the stairs, for example, or turn a cupboard into your work desk, use a window seat, or even get a divider to cordon of one part of a room. 

Another nifty idea is to add a cork wall that allows you to pin up to-do lists, work notes, calendars, or even your children’s art work.

Don’t forget about home insurance

Before carrying out any type of DIY it’s best to check whether you will be covered under your home insurance. 

If accidental damage cover isn’t included in your policy as standard, it might be worth investigating whether you might like to add it as an optional extra - then you’ll be covered for accidents such as drilling through a pipe or wire or spilling paint on the carpet. Be warned though – if you carry out a task that you are not qualified for, such as electrical wiring or plumbing, your insurer may refuse to pay out. 

If you’re splashing the cash on new furnishings for your home, you may also need to increase the sum insured on your home contents insurance policy, so it’s worth giving your insurer a quick ring to find out. 

Similarly, you may need to increase the sum insured on your buildings insurance if you’re planning to carry out more extensive home renovations, such as knocking through rooms or having a loft conversion. Always inform your insurer before any extensive work starts as they will need to assess the level of risk involved to see whether your cover need to be increased. 

So, there you have it – plenty of ways to revamp your home on a budget. Just don’t forget to update your home insurance too. 

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