Your County spoke to local landscaping company SGS Surfacing who are specialists in domestic improvements, to get their top tips on home improvements for 2016:
Plan for your space
Before you plan, understand your space better by taking measurements and getting a feel for each room’s potential. Look at your neighbours projects and online to see what would work well, as it’s better to get a visual impression before committing to a big change.
Once you know the space, think about how you want to use it: do you want to host guests frequently so you may want neutral colours? Will upstairs be more private and just for you and your partner’s personal tastes? Looking at all of your ideas in this way is also a great way of imagining your life in the house and ensuring the property works for you, so less alterations are made in the future.
Keep things practical
It can be a trap of home improvements to see something and try to force it onto your property because you like the idea, when in reality it just isn’t a good fit.
To combat this, for every idea think of the practicalities as your house is a home to be lived in and used for everyday activities; accept that it won’t stay an immaculate show home, which is actually a good thing as your involvement will give it a boost of character.
A kitchen should have an easily washable floor and smooth surfaces for efficient cleaning after food preparation, and a lounge should have a comfortable amount of ‘empty space’ for legroom and socialising. In a way, if you keep practicality in mind, it’s a good way of short listing and prioritising your ideas.
Give your home a ‘flow’
Ideally the layout should already be reflective of a busy home life where you can move between rooms easily, useful for hosting a dinner party or other gatherings. To increase the flow of your home, concentrate on your style and design; incorporate colours across your different living spaces and even have them signal the use of a room. It’s popular for bathrooms to have a touch of blue to signify water, which is a simple decorating task.
Having a consistent design is impressive to guests, and should you look to value your property in the future, it makes it more appealing to potential buyers. Therefore, consider timeless designs that you won’t need to reassess frequently, meaning you can spend more time enjoying your home rather than working on it.
Don’t forget the outdoors
If your property has a driveway or garden, these can’t be forgotten. As you arrive home from work, you want your house to welcome you back with open arms, which means some time investment in gardening, landscaping and design. A great move would be to resurface your drive if it’s cracked, making it easier on your tyres and also updating the aesthetics of your entrance for neighbours and guests.
If you plan to enjoy Sussex summers as much as possible, consider how you will use your garden space when the sun shines; do you need a patio or decking for BBQ’s and al fresco meals? How much time will you have for maintaining plants and trees? This effort needs to be considered alongside the view from your house and how it will be managed through the changing seasons.
When planning improvements for your driveway or garden, consider doing this at a separate time to your interior projects, as it will be a lot of work to take on at once.
So, after a house move, improving the property can be a stressful experience but also a labour of love. Be dedicated, manage your time well, invest in help and give yourself a break if you need to relax.