Should You Extend Your Home or Move?

Speak to your local council

Although very minor extensions (up to 3 metres beyond your original wall) can usually be undertaken without obtaining planning permission, it is still always best to check with your local council before you commit to extending your property. You could be in a lot of hot water afterwards if your extension flouts the rules and permission is not in place – the council could insist that the extension is demolished, leaving you not only back where you started but also out of pocket, having paid for an extension you cannot enjoy.

Ensure your plans are properly drawn

You might think you know something about extension planning – maybe you were good at technical drawing at school, or you did a course in college. Do you really want to risk the value of your home, though, to save a few pounds on professional planning? Depending on the size and scale of your project, a structural engineer or architect can do a great job for you, offering their expertise. For smaller and more straightforward jobs, your builder should be able to help you with the plans. Don’t forget, there is technical knowledge needed which involves angles, weights and in-depth understanding of materials to ensure the structure is safe – things which you probably didn’t pick up in GCSE Graphics! More importantly, your extension needs to conform to safety regulations which industry professionals will be used to handling.

Look at the loft

You could expand backwards, forwards or sideways, but what if you don’t have the room? Consider building upwards, creating rooms in your loft area. The loft is often a wasted space which houses unneeded junk, and if your roof is high enough, you might not even need to do a lot of building work to turn that unused space into a lovely new bedroom or office.

As you probably won’t be changing the layout of the building significantly, you may not need planning permission – but again, always check to be on the safe side. Your loft conversion will need to meet Buildings Regulations, which take into account safety measures such as fire safety, and the finished work will be checked by a qualified inspector. Don’t let this put you off, though – your builder should be able to advise you of how to ensure that you can meet these regulations, and you can also speak to your local council for further advice. Particularly if your family is outgrowing your house, building into the loft can be a great solution to provide extra space.

Consider the potential to add value

One of the reasons that many people consider extending is to add value to the property. An extension often offers this potential, meaning that the initial cost of building the extension is not lost. You can often, in fact, gain money when you come to sell by having an extra bedroom upstairs or a conservatory on the back.

You need to be canny about your investment, though. Do a bit of research into similar properties on the sales market in your area; if they have had a loft conversion or a kitchen enlarged, for instance, are they being marketed at a higher price that those which haven’t had work done? If the extension isn’t going to add value, then you might want to think again about how you choose to extend; having four bedrooms instead of three is going to make more of a difference to a property’s value than enlarging one room slightly. You might also consider getting a professional opinion from a local estate agent who can give you a potential “before” and “after” valuation for your property, allowing you to determine whether it’s better for you to extend or to move.

It’s worth remembering that extending is usually a cheaper alternative than moving and saves you money on fees like stamp duty, furniture removals and legal costs – not to mention avoiding the stress of moving!

Combine work on your home to keep down costs

Although extending could be cheaper than moving, you are still going to have to find the money from somewhere. If you’re lucky enough to have some cash tucked away for a rainy day, that’s great. But if you haven’t, you might need to think about other options, like reviewing your mortgage, for example, to see if you can liquidate some funds.

Another good tip is to get your money’s worth; you should have as many minor alterations done alongside your extension as you foresee being necessary in the near future, so if you have had a few small jobs piling up, ask the builder for a quote for the whole lot. This way, you can haggle for the best price on both materials and labour, establishing a blanket fee for the works rather than having lots of little jobs done, which could prove costlier.

Find a reputable builder

We have all heard horror stories about disreputable builders who knock holes into your home and then fail to complete the job, or undertake shoddy work which requires repairs within a few months. There are plenty of builders who can be trusted, though – and the best advice to follow is to take a recommendation. Have any friends, family or colleagues had work done on their homes recently? Are there any builders in your extended family? If you don’t have any luck finding someone, then look into the government’s TrustMark scheme, which vets tradesmen before recommending them to consumers.

Potential changes

The government is currently in talks over whether to relax planning laws for a three-year period, allowing people to extend their homes by up to 8 metres without seeking planning permission. The idea is to ease housing shortages by making existing homes bigger and to help create more jobs for the industry. This plan has received significant opposition, however, from local councils who are worried about a “free-for-all” on extensions which could affect the appearance and function of local communities. If you’ve been thinking about extending but couldn’t face waiting for planning permission, though, it’s worth watching this space to see how this story develops!

Home Improvement Software – Its Advantages And Disadvantages

Computers play a large roll in people’s lives. So why not in the home improvement aspect of it? There are tons of computer programs that do massive improvement projects. They lean towards organizations skills, planning and going over what you need.

Home improvement projects cannot be done spur of the moment. Rather, they must be thought out methodically and then carried out. Professionals should always be consulted when doing a home improvement design. This means extra money is shelled out.

The software is usually reasonably priced. Yet, like anything else that is in this field, the more you spend, the more ideas and things you will get on the software. Do some checking between software programs and see what is to your liking.

The software can come in the form of DVDs and CDs. Using the computer, they can show you what you want done from an architect’s view. They will offer tools that can help you to build buildings and other areas within your home. It is a basic guide to more ideas that can be done. It is also telling you about how much time is involved with it and what you can aspect over all.

It will not show you, however, the costs behind the improvement. This is when you will speak to contractors about the type of material they would involve and their labor charges. Get several estimates if possible and check out the business before settling on a contractor.

The software is far from easy to use. Either you need to be an expert yourself, hire an expert and just automatically know how to use the software since it can be quite confusing. Like anything else… once you get the hang of it, it’s like you have always done it.

The software is fitting and helpful in any huge home improvement project as long as it used correctly. It is not to play with. Architects and other home improvement specialists use it and can get it at a reasonable price. For the common folk, the software is more expensive.

The software will allow some experimentation with different methods, coming up with different solutions. Should you want to take down a wall in a bedroom, it will allow you to choose which of the different ways to do this.

To use this software, be sure to play out every scenario and the challenges that is presented and overcome them. This way you are not met with any surprises along the way when you are doing the actual work. It’s never good to leave a job half way done because your plan failed to work.

For Children

Designing and decorating living space for children can be a very fun and exciting part of home Interior design. It’s easy to let your imagination go because children are very creative and imaginative on their own. That’s also why it’s a good idea to include children in the planning stages of your design as they can often come up with great ideas on their own that you would never think of.

Probably one of the best places to start on designing a theme for a child’s room is to start with their own favorite activity or interest. Of course, as children grow up their interests often change dramatically, so try to decorate in such a way that the accessories can be changed as a child gets older and gets more interested in other activities. But usually, children will get very excited if they know that their room will be decorated to reflect their favorite interests. Just be sure to go over it carefully with them in advance to get their input on what they really like. That way your Interior design will be sure to be a hit.

When designing and decorating for children, one of the advantages is that you can often choose color schemes and combinations that you do not often use in adult surroundings. In fact, you can often go much brighter and bolder with colors that you select for children. You can also arrange the room in a different way then you would normally with most adult rooms. For instance, a chalkboard or toy box may be the centerpiece of a child’s room, and this would be far more appropriate than making a seating arrangement the focal point instead.

The accessories that you choose for a child’s room will also be completely different than those that you choose for an adult. Toys and collectibles make great accessories for the room of a child. However, the child may want to play with these toys instead of just leave them on display. In this case, it may be advisable to buy duplicates of the toy accessories. One set can be used for display, and the other set can be used as an actual toy. It’s also not best to use collectibles that are of high value in a child’s room. Remember, children just want to have fun. And they aren’t thinking about the price or cost of a collectible item. So whatever collectibles you choose to use as decorations in your child’s room should not be so expensive that it would cause a problem if it became broken.

Another great way to spice up the appearance of a child’s room is to use one of the millions of available bed treatments as a central theme that fits in with the overall design of the room. Usually these kind of bed treatments packages come as a full set that includes matching sheets, a comforter, dust ruffle, and window coverings. Altogether, these can quickly change the overall appearance of the child’s room very fast. Once again, just make sure that you involve your child in the buying decision process to make sure that it is something that they will be happy with.

When changing the overall theme of a child’s room, just keep in mind that most changes you make should not be considered to be permanent at this stage in their life. It’s not uncommon to have to change the theme of a child’s room every couple of years or so to stay up with their changing interests. And kids are very hard on their furniture as a general rule. So there is no need to be buying expensive furniture and accessories that may only last a short while or get ruined.

Finally and most importantly, the focus of all for your children can be summed up in two words, have fun!