Is your home ready for a post-lockdown refresh? Here are the large projects you can tackle right away...

For many of us, life under lockdown has meant that our homes have needed to work harder than ever before.  

You may have had to create a pop-up office to work from, accommodate the return of adult children, or grappled with home-schooling at the dining table. 

As a result, you may be processing what the ‘new normal’ looks like for your home, asking yourself whether you need a more permanent working from home (WFH) solution, or a different configuration of space. 

Or you may simply have had more time to reflect on your surroundings, which, in turn, has inspired you to upgrade your living space.  

Whatever your motivations for wanting to refresh your home, you’re now able to move forward with most projects. This is because lockdown restrictions have been lifted and builders and tradesmen are returning to work. 

Here are five ways you can enhance or extend your home under ‘Permitted Development’ rights (PD) without seeking planning permission*:

Convert your loft

The dusty, dark, unloved place at the top of your house could be transformed into a light-filled, calm retreat when your home life gets too chaotic. 

Alternatively, where better to set-up a quiet, airy home office or en suite guest room?  

A loft conversion is a great solution to add more space and value to your home without extending the footprint of your house. 

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Repurpose your garage

Many homeowners do not actually keep their car in the garage. In fact, surveys by the RAC and Sainsbury’s Insurance found that less than a quarter of garage owners use it to park their car in.

The likelihood is that it’s filled with junk and referred to as a ‘workshop’ (despite a distinct lack of work taking place). 

A garage conversion is a great project if you want a bricks and mortar solution to your lack of space. Perfect for a home office or a children’s play and schoolroom. Or, if it’s attached to your house, a new kitchen or spare bedroom.

Build a log cabin

Building a log cabin is a property fantasy for many. The good news is you do not have to live out in the wilderness or a ski resort to live the dream.  

A large shed, garden room or ‘log cabin’ with fixtures and fittings can be built in your garden for your ‘boomerang children’ to camp out in (temporarily, of course).  

Or you could use your timber dwelling as a home office to enable you to fully separate home and work life. There are some great kits out there for under £10,000. But there will be building costs to add on top.

Attach a lean-to conservatory

Conservatories do not have to be white, constructed from PVCu and cluttered with wicker furniture. 

Lean-to conservatories are contemporary, sleek and ideal for smaller houses. A great option for times when you need a little extra light and space without taking too much of the garden.

Add a front or side extension

The trend for all-in-one living spaces continues. The open plan kitchen-diner solution is ever popular because it creates both space and light. 

You can build a single storey front or side extension to your house without planning permission provided it’s no higher than 4 metres. If you have a dead space or alley beside your house, you can build a side return extension to maximise indoor space and bring in light. A front extension and remodelling of your home, although more expensive, can transform the way you and your family live your life.

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How to make it happen

Regardless of whether you bring in the builders or try your hand at DIY, there will be costs involved.  

If you do not have savings, you could consider what borrowing options are available. They may be cheaper than you think because of the historically low interest rates.  

A short term, personal loan could be one solution. But another increasingly cost-effective way is a home loan. 

Home loans are a type of secure loan. You can borrow money while using your home as security. You can take a secured loan out for a longer period than an unsecured loan. And the interest rates are lower so your monthly payments are more affordable. 

But taking out a loan against your house can be very risky. This is because if you cannot repay the loan, the lender could repossess your home. 

If you’d like free advice on any of these options, call 01923 864 169 or visit Loans Warehouse.

*Although you do not need planning permission for the projects mentioned, it‘s always advisable to contact your local council planning department before you start work.

Double check with a design professional to make absolutely sure your project comes under ‘Permitted Development’ rights. There will still be building regulations you need to comply with.

**Lead image courtesy of Snuggeries.

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