While the effects of Covid 19 have been nothing short of catastrophic for the UK, one unintended consequence has been everyone spending considerably more time in their homes. Being cooped up in your home might seem frustrating at first, but it gives us all a chance to properly evaluate our spaces and finally get around to some of those nagging DIY home improvement projects that we’ve been putting off.
DIY projects can be a fantastic outlet for pent up energy, but they also improve your quality of life and, if done well, can add value to your property. And if you’re considering a Lockdown DIY home improvement project, know that you aren’t alone. According to Barclays, two in five Brits say that Lockdown has improved their DIY skills and the rewards of this work are apparent when you consider that people surveyed by the Bank estimate that they have managed to improve their property values by an average of £21 000.
There are always things that can be done around the home, but if you don’t know where to begin, we’ve put together this useful primer to give you some ideas and help start you on your DIY path.
What DIY home improvements should be done first?
Which DIY Project you decide to tackle may depend on a number of factors including your abilities, the tools and resources you have at your disposal, and why you are undertaking the project. The good news is that, even people new to DIY, there are a range of projects you can tackle that will add value to your home.
We suggest you start with simple ones first, and as you gain confidence in your skills you can try your hand at some more complex DIY home improvements. It is also important to know your limits and not take on DIY projects that are beyond the scope of your budget or skills. If you are looking to sell, you may want to focus on projects with a high return, otherwise the project that offers the most immediate improvement to quality of life.
There’s no simpler way to give your home a new lease on life than with a fresh coat of paint. According to express.co.uk the average cost for painting the main rooms of your house (bedrooms, kitchen, living room, and bathroom) is only £71, but this simple exercise can increase the value of your property by a staggering £1424.
Painting isn’t just limited to interior walls, in fact, a lick of paint on skirting boards, door frames and the ceiling will also go a long way towards making your home feel brighter and better looked after.
What colours you choose are a matter of personal preference, but if you are doing DIY with the intention of putting your house on the market then we would suggest a neutral white palette as this makes rooms feel cleaner and larger.
Installing a pet door is a simple way to improve the quality of life for both your furry friends and for yourself. While your pet gains freedom of movement and access to the outside world, you no longer have to worry about constantly getting up to let them out or in. Alternatively, a lockable window or door latch provides a way for you to still offer freedom of movement to your pet, without cutting or otherwise permanently damaging your door. This is especially relevant on doors that are features or if you have a larger pet.
Landscaping improvements can vary greatly in complexity, but for most tasks there is no need to hire an expensive landscaping company to do the dirty work. Most improvements can be done with your own garden tools. It is important to plan your landscaping so you’re sure you have everything you need before you begin.
A great, simple way to improve your home is to update your cabinet and drawer hardware. Handles and knobs can be bought relatively cheaply from a hardware store and come in a range of styles and finishes. Installation is also really easy, which makes this a cost effective and quick way to upgrade your cabinets.
Upgrading your flooring might not seem like a simple DIY project, and if you are looking to install new floors or carpet your home, it may be better to hire a professional. That said, there are many DIY flooring solutions that you can do yourself that add real value to your home. These include various types of vinyl flooring as well as carpet tile flooring and laminate wood flooring all of which can be installed over your existing floors. You can also look at repainting or varnishing your existing flooring, but remember that you will need to leave each coat for 24 hours to dry, and will need to apply multiple coats.
Install a kitchen backsplash
A kitchen backsplash is a great way to improve the general appearance of your kitchen without breaking the bank. Not only will a backsplash serve it’s function of protecting your kitchen walls from mess, but they come in a variety of styles and finishes, so you can find one that will improve the general aesthetics of your kitchen.
Added home security
Adding some simple home security features such as sturdy locks, floodlights and motion sensors can be done relatively affordably, but can add £600 or more to the overall property value. Security is also a major consideration when selling your home, as prospective buyers will be more willing to buy a home that is safe and secure for their family. A secure home also means potentially lower insurance premiums, which can add up to big savings in the long term.
Home security needs to be considered holistically and security measures should be layered to enhance each other. This means that if one security measure fails or is bypassed there is another layer to cover it.
LockLatch, PetLatch and MiniLatch are an excellent example of an easy, yet effective way to augment your home security. These lockable latches focus on the two most common entry points for home intruders, windows and doors, and allow you to keep them open, but locked. This provides that extra layer that will make an opportunistic burglar reconsider targeting your home.
Change up light features
Light fixtures are often the first thing someone notices when they enter a room. They are available in a wide range of styles and colours, meaning you can very quickly and easily give a room an instant upgrade.
Which DIY home improvements add the most value?
While the projects mentioned above will all add value to your property there are some that add more value than others. In the next section of the article we would like to look at some projects, which may be a bit harder, but can still be done yourself and add greatly to the real and perceived value of the home.
Crown molding has long been a sought after design touch that helps make a property feel more premium, and while the actual value added by these trims can be hard to quantify it can often make a huge difference to prospective buyers. What makes crown molding such a great DIY home improvement is it can be quite expensive to get it professionally installed, so this saving goes directly into your home value.
If your heating system is making a lot of noise, or isn’t working as it once did, it might need a clean. Depending on the complexity of your heating system it is possible to do it yourself, but if you have a larger heating unit, you may want to contact a professional. If you are considering this as a DIY home improvement project, you can find a useful how to guide here.
Kitchen and Bathroom upgrades
The kitchen and bathroom are two of the most valuable rooms in your home, when it comes to valuation, so placing a focus on these spaces can be a good way to approach home DIY.
We have already touched on how you can improve cabinet finishes, add shelves or a backsplash to your kitchen.
When it comes to the bathroom you can look at retiling, and updating fixtures (taps and showerheads) as well as installing new towel racks.
Insulation and Draught-Proofing
Not only does insulation and draught proofing make a home nicer to live in, but they also help improve the energy efficiency of your home. There are myriad DIY insulation or draught proofing projects you can undertake of varying complexity. Simpler measures include installing flaps around your letterbox or keyholes; or adding draught proofing strips around windows and doors. More complex projects range from filling cracks in floors and skirting boards to installing a chimney balloon to stop wind blowing down your chimney.
How to plan for DIY home improvement
Now that we’ve looked at a few of the projects that can be done, the next step is for you to decide which DIY home improvement project you want to tackle first. What you prioritise will depend on the condition of your home, whether or not you are looking to sell, your skillset and the time you have at your disposal.
Build a budget
The first step is to build a budget so you understand what is possible. You will need to know how much money you have at your disposal and then will need to cost out the project you want to pursue first looking at the materials and tools you will need as well as the time it takes. Planning is very important with any DIY project, so make sure you understand the full scope of the project before you begin.
Know your reasons
Another major factor is your reason for pursuing the DIY home improvement project. If you are simply bored at home during Lockdown, then you can really pick any project that you feel will be fun activity and add value to your life. If you are doing DIY to increase property values with the intention of selling your home then you should look at projects that will improve the resale value of your home or fix things that may put off prospective buyers.
Ultimately, the choice of which DIY project to undertake will be up to you. But no matter which you choose, you will discover that DIY isn’t as challenging as it first seems and that working on your home can be a fulfilling activity. Why not start with something simple like installing a LockLatch for added security, to get into the swing of things, before taking on a bigger project.