Guide to home improvements

fa-homeowners ["Homeowners"]
Yoga mum and child

Our homes have become more important than ever, not only for eating and sleeping but for other needs - like working from home and exercising. And while some homeowners will decide to upsize and buy a new property, others take the opportunity to plan home improvements, like building a garden office or home gym.

In this guide, we look at some benefits of improving the home you already have, ideas that could add value to your home and ways to cover the costs.

Always prepare before starting home improvements and check with your lender, local council and professionals where needed

Reasons to make home improvements

Are you thinking about moving house? Here are some great reasons to stay put and carry out home improvements:

  • You could add value to your property
  • Create more living space
  • Stay in your current location
  • Stay near to schools
  • Save money on the cost of moving house
  • Adapt a home to your tastes

Home renovation ideas

If you have the budget, here are some ways you could add value to your property.

cellar conversion bar

Cellar conversion

Renovating a cellar is a great way to enhance your living space, and depending on the type of property you own you may not need planning permission (source: ). There may still be logistics and costs to consider so the space you have is fit for use. Then you can choose how to start using the new space. Maybe an extra living room, a home cinema or a snug. We’re not saying you should try this but people have found really creative uses for their cellar – building trains or a theme park! (source: The Guardian ).

Build a garden or home office

Building a garden office gives you the perfect bolt-hole to work from home, or just a space to hang out. These structures are often separate to the main house (i.e. at the end of the garden), giving a sense of separation between living and work space. They can sometimes be built without the need for full planning permission and can add resale value to your home. (source: The Garden Office Guide)

It’s a good idea to check with your lender, local council and any specialists as you go.

If you don’t have a garden, a traditional office within the house can still do the job. You might consider putting your desk where you can get lots of natural light and adding in the home comforts missing from a corporate office.

home office in garden
man in home office with cat
home gym with punchbag and weights

Build a home gym

Having your own home gym means you can avoid the commute before your workout and save money on expensive gym membership fees. And it doesn’t have to be as expensive as you think; a garage or spare room conversion, for instance, can be a simple way to build your own home gym. If space is tight, it could still help to have a dedicated area for exercise, as seeing the equipment is a good reminder to use it regularly.

Top 5 home improvements on a budget

Some of the best home improvements can be carried out without breaking the bank. Here are five bright ideas:


New tiles

If you’re tiling a small area, like a bathroom backsplash, then you can use a small number of high-quality tiles without going over-budget.


A garden makeover

Your home improvements can extend to the fresh outdoors. Planting flowers, controlling weeds and adding garden furniture can enhance the look of your outdoor space.


A fresh coat of paint

Whether it’s your front door or bedroom walls, painting your home is one of the simplest home improvements you can make.


Upholster your furniture

Buying new sofas can be expensive, so taking your tired furniture to an upholsterer (or better yet, doing it yourself) can save you money.


Replace your curtains, rugs and blinds

Some home improvements do not add value as they’re fittings, not fixtures, but new curtains, rugs and blinds can make your home feel cosier and potentially impress a would-be buyer

How to fund your home renovation

Some homeowners might be wary about undertaking home renovations due to the upfront costs. There are various different ways of paying for your home improvements, which each have pros and cons.

If you’ve recently been able to save more money or received an inheritance, one option would be to use this to develop your home. As you’re not moving property you can adjust your home to suit your needs and you won’t have Stamp Duty to pay.

Another way to pay for a more costly renovation is through an additional loan from your lender. YBS offer Additional Loans to existing customers. Our guide to additional borrowing on a mortgage can help you understand how this works.

It’s always a big decision when large sums of money are involved, but if you’re happy in your neighbourhood and prefer to stay put, now could be a great time to build a garden office, home gym, or that loft extension you always wanted. For more tips read our guide to how to plan an extension.