Ways to improve your property

Posted on 1st February 2013

Good long-life ideas include adding an extension, converting the loft or basement, or knocking down a wall to gain more light and space.

Make better use of your existing space, reorganise rooms and, if practical, knock down some internal walls to create flow.


If your kitchen is “the heart of the home”, rather than a place where you boil the kettle, then it’s worth paying more and enjoying the space where you spend most of your time. But before forking out thousands on designer units, remember that this is the first thing new buyers may rip out and replace with their own style.

A better idea is to change cupboard doors – hire a carpenter for the best finish – add smart new handles and perhaps a new worktop in wood or quartz. Update light switches and sockets, replace worn flooring with tiles or stone, declutter your surfaces and go for good-looking everyday items such as your kettle and toaster that catch the eye.


Features of today’s bathrooms would rival any luxury spa.

You don’t have to go that far, but you should at least aim for somewhere that is clean and warm. Regrout and replace old taps. Keep the loo and bath but add a statement sink to lift the whole room. Install a new shower-head, or go for the “wet room look” with frameless shower doors and panels that look clean and minimalist. Finally, invest at least £50 in a good chrome heated towel rail.


The longevity of solid, hard-wearing wooden floors appeals to buyers. They can work particularly well for families. If installed in the main living area of a house, it saves worrying about stains from spilt drinks and muddy footprints. Wooden flooring is one of those features that appeals to just about everyone when it comes time to sell as well. Before you shell out thousands on expensive oak or black walnut, take up a bit of the existing carpet and check what is underneath. You might be lucky enough to discover decent wood hidden below nasty carpets and filling in gaps or replacing the odd board won’t cost much.


Once you’ve taken care of the basics, you may choose to install some breathtaking features. Our top tips are:

  • Invest in a superb sliding door system that takes up a large part of the back wall of your house and leads visitors out onto the terrace, patio or garden. Expect to spend £5,000-£10,000 – but for light and an all-year-round uninterrupted view of the garden it can be worth it.

  • Add skylights for drama and much-needed light to dreary corners.

  • Replace internal doors with floor-to-ceiling doors. This makes the house look bigger, the ceilings feel higher and gives a rather grand effect. Opt for smart wood in a period property.

  • Layer blinds in natural fabrics – a developer’s trick. Use the same colour as the walls to make the room look larger and more streamlined, or opt for rich colours to lift the room out of the ordinary. Good-quality shutters can add timeless elegance.