Home improvements

Home improvements

Make the most of your home

Whether you’re looking to add value to your home or just want to make a few easy home improvements, there are all kinds of ways to make the most of the space you have.

Where to start

If you don’t have a specific project in mind, begin by thinking about where you spend most of your time. If the kitchen is the hub of your home, could you use a little more room? Or if you love spending time relaxing in the bathtub, could you make it more inviting? If you’re finding it hard to know where to start, use the tips below for a little inspiration.

Create more space

If you’d like more space but don’t want to move house, extending or converting your property may be the answer. Check the deeds to your house to see what you can and can’t do, and remember that you may need planning permission, especially if it affects a wall you share with a neighbour.

Convert your loft or cellar

Conversions aren’t cheap, but they’re ideal if you’re looking for an extra bedroom, playroom or office.

Build an extension

The beauty of extensions is that you can create extra space both outwards and upwards, whether it’s a bigger kitchen, spare bedroom, extra bathroom, home office, utility room, conservatory or garage.

Alter your existing layout

You won’t exactly be building extra space, but you can make your property feel more spacious by knocking down walls to create an open-plan layout. Moving furniture around may optimise space too.

Top Tip

Look at what your neighbours have done for ideas and inspiration. They’ll be able to advise you on whether they needed planning permission and perhaps recommend tradesmen for the job.

Get smart with storage

Getting creative with storage space is a great way to streamline your life and make the most of your home. The more you can store, the more space you’ll have to enjoy elsewhere.

Maximise your existing storage

If you have more stuff than you know what to do with, have a clear-out to help create more space. Make your wardrobe work harder by adding hooks, tie racks, shoe racks or extra shelves. And don’t forget about the space under the bed or on top of wardrobes.

Create new storage space

Fitting floor-to-ceiling bookshelves is a great way to optimise wall space. Make the most of all your nooks and crannies too: alcoves, the space above doors and underneath stairs are great places to fit shelves or cupboards. For a creative and practical storage solution, a large vintage suitcase could double up as a coffee table.

Top Tip

Don’t have time for a clear-out? Declutter surfaces instead for a quick and easy way to make the most of your home.

Let there be light

It’s easy to take lighting for granted, but it’s essential if you want to create the right atmosphere in a room or highlight different areas.

Make the most of natural light

There’s nothing quite like a light, sunny room for brightening the mood. Enhance a room’s natural light by cleaning windows, decluttering windowsills and hanging a mirror nearby to reflect the light. If a room doesn’t get much light, paint the walls in light colours and avoid too many wall hangings to create a brighter feel.

Get artificial light right

You can create all kinds of moods in a room with artificial light, from the bright and cheerful to the soft and romantic. Use lamps to create ambient light, uplighters to help the room feel bigger, spotlights to create a bright workspace and dimmers for an easy way to make overhead lights feel warmer and cosier. If you don’t want to add extra lights, often just changing the lampshade will help update your décor.

Top Tip

Think about the lighting in your home throughout the year. The bright light of summer will be very different to dim winter days.

Get efficient

Making your home more efficient doesn’t just mean a smaller energy bill; you’ll also reduce your environmental impact too.

Insulation, insulation, insulation!

When it comes to heating, it pays to make your home as efficient as possible. Draft-proof your doors and ensure your loft and cavity walls are well insulated to save energy and money on your heating bills. Fitting double-glazing is also a great way to keep the warmth in and noise out.

Generate your own energy

Solar panels, wind turbines and biomass boilers are just some of the ways you can generate your own energy – great for your bills and great for the environment too. Your local Energy Saving Advice Centre will be able to advise which is most suitable for your home.

Top Tip

While it’s tempting to do it yourself, remember that riskier jobs should be left to the professionals – avoid DIY disasters by only taking on projects you know you can complete.

Finishing touches

Often, little changes can make a big difference. Whether you just want a change or are looking to brighten things up for potential buyers, a few little details will help breathe new life into your living space.

Update your kitchen

A new kitchen is a great way to update the space but if you’re happy with your fixtures or you don’t want to spend as much money, then fitting a new worktop, new flooring, different lighting or changing the cupboard doors and handles are easy ways to get a new look.

Freshen up your bathroom

If fitting a new bathroom sounds a little too drastic, there are various things you can do to revamp the space. Retile or regrout your existing tiles for a fresher feel, or add down-lights to create a stylish effect. Install a new showerhead, invest in a heated towel rail or fit spa lights in the bath for a touch of indulgence.

Add personality

Make a feature of your possessions: hang a beautiful dress on a wall, display small knickknacks in a printer’s block and place interesting china and curios on shelves.

Got grand plans?

Bigger projects usually mean bigger budgets. If you’re looking for a little extra finance, you could maybe benefit from one of our Personal Loan options.

Click here to find out more

Top Tip

Make a scrapbook of ideas or use an online site like Pinterest to create a mood board and see what other people have done.

Ways to get in touch

New to first direct

0800 48 28 48

first direct account holders

03 456 100 103

first direct mortgage holders

03 456 100 173

Other ways to get in touch