Updated: Nov 18
For the majority of the UK population not considered 'essential workers', the past five months has been the longest period we've ever been confined to our homes.
COVID-19's impact on our everyday routine has been enormous. The absence of the traditional working day, combined with hours spent on leisure like fitness, non-essential shopping and eating-out has made people aware of just how much time we spent away from home on a daily basis. With the home now fixed as our daily surroundings, we are learning that the average property no longer meets the requirements of modern living.
The design and functionality of the modern home has been seriously tested during quarantine, with every property coming under the intense scrutiny of its owners. Granted, the needs of every individual or family are going to be unique to their household, but many homes are now also having to serve as an office, school, play area, gym, etc. Space and property layout has also become a big issue for many families. With the average UK family having two children, a traditional detached or semi-detached property layout has felt more claustrophobic with a full household during lockdown.
There's no longer the option to simply move into a more suitable home either. Despite reports of the housing market showing signs of stability, evidence for these claims has been grounded with the lack-of-fall in house prices. Before the financial crisis , indications of a market slump were found in the high number of mortgage rejections, and the sharp rise in deposit percentage requirements to purchase homes. Although there has been no current increase in the percentage needed for a deposit, half of all home buyers in the UK have had their mortgage application rejected in 2020, regardless of their eligibility. This trend doesn't necessarily mean a housing market collapse in the foreseeable future, but it does show unease around current economic issues such as job insecurity, and market volatility.
Home renovation is an excellent solution to modern living demands. Many subsidise the need for cash equity, paying for a renovation with freely available 0% interest credit cards, making the whole experience a more manageable, less stressful alternative to moving homes. With the traditional British household having so much potential to adapt to modern living demands, here are just a few examples of how you can modernise your indoor living.
Extended Open Plan Kitchen/Living Space
Adding an extension is one of the biggest, most time consuming home renovation projects. However, the finished result can completely transform your home's layout, functionality and size. With most families in the UK still spending a large portion of their time at home, more traditional house layouts are now being perceived as cramped, with a home's original partition walls restricting ability to move around freely. By removing the wall separating a kitchen and dining room, or extending the rear of the property in a more open plan fashion, a home can feel much less confining.
Converted Attic/ Garage Space
In the past, people might have been happy to work at the kitchen table or cram their office into an oversized closet. In today's climate however, people working from home alongside their family need a space to separate their work and home lives. Now coined flex rooms [or rooms that serve multiple functions], people are allocating a room in the house, not just for a home office, but an adaptable space that can serve as the home gym, or maybe even a guest bedroom with additions such as a pull-out sofa and side table.
If all the rooms in a home are unsuitable as a full time workspace, converting an attic or garage is the perfect solution. Conversations are also a great investment. Research carried out by the Nationwide Building Society has shown your house value can increase by 20% after a conversion.
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Home renovation doesn't always need to be a project that requires homeowners to change their daily routine and lifestyle during the building process. A conservatory can offer a simpler alternative to building an extension on your home. More often than not, conservatories are less expensive and often don't require planning permission [however this does depend on the type of property].
Conservatories are making a fashionable comeback. With so much time spent indoors, conservatories provide a room filled with natural light but with protection from the elements. Moreover, conservatories are a great place to grow plants, and be closer to nature without leaving the home. The most modern of conservatories can be equipped with underfloor heating, or pre-installed radiators, so now the room's benefits to a family's well-being can be enjoyed all year round.