Between March and October of 2020, home improvement search terms were up 83.8% compared to the same period in 2019 according to this article on Age UK Mobility. The coronavirus lockdowns, with many people furloughed or shielding, meant people were at home more than ever with plenty of time on their hands and nowhere else to go. Even for those who had to work at home, staring at the same walls day in day out 24/7 meant they were inspired to finally do those dream DIY jobs they never usually had time to do. At one point we weren’t even allowed to leave our homes, except for one hour of exercise per day, so it’s no wonder everyone put their DIY hats on and considerably improved our homes!
If the lockdowns of late have sparked a passion for DIY that you never realised you had, then you might be wondering how you can further improve and adapt your home to suit your lifestyle. Here are a few ideas for how you can make changes to your home to benefit your lifestyle, albeit on your days off work now!
Why might you need to adapt your home for your lifestyle?
There are numerous reasons why you may wish to adapt your home to suit your needs and lifestyle. This could be a change in your working life, possibly due to Covid, whereby you can now work at home on a permanent or temporary basis. If this is the case, then you may need to adapt your home to provide a separation from work and home life, perhaps by installing a garden office or changing an existing room into a home office.
Another reason might be a growing family. You may need more bedrooms, more space or increased storage solutions as more children come with more things!
Home adaptations can also help people live more independently and safely in their own homes, especially as people age or have health issues. A few common reasons for home adaptations for this reason are:
– to make the home easier to live in and maintain;
– to provide a safer environment for someone with a disability or who is frail;
– to provide better access for people with mobility issues including those using wheelchairs, scooters or walkers.
Finally, you may decide to care for a parent or elderly relative by having them live at your home. Like the adaptions above, you may need to ensure they are safe in your home, or you may simply need to create extra room and storage for them to live in and their belongings.
Basically, it’s not unusual for people to adapt their homes as life goes on and situations change.
Easy ways to adapt your home to suit your lifestyle
If you’re in the market for a new home, then you have a good headstart. Don’t just think about what you need from the home right now, but if you plan to live there for a long duration then consider how your needs might change. Will you increase your family? Have family and friends stay regularly? Will you need to care for elderly relatives? Do you need to work from home?
Making sure you buy a house that suits future needs, as well as present, is a great investment. Otherwise, look at the nature of the build. Can it be extended in the future if needed? Check out the size of the garden and space around the house to see if this is a possibility. It’s also worth looking at the other houses in the same street, of the same style, to see how they have extended the houses which will give you an indication of the permissions you will be able to gain for future extensions and adaptions.
If you need to adapt your current home, however, to suit your changing lifestyle needs, then here are a few adaptions to consider:
1. Install a home office if you need to work from home
Many peoples homes are now their workspaces too! Even if it’s only for a couple of days a week, it can be hard to concentrate at home with the usual hustle and bustle of family life around you. With pets, children and spouses wanting your attention, it can be hard to focus on the work tasks at hand. This is why a home office is a great idea to keep work and home separate as much as possible.
What you need is a place where you can have a desk with enough room for your laptop screen, an ergonomic chair that will support your back and last but not least, a comfortable chair or couch where you can take breaks in between all the work that needs to be done.
If you have the space in the garden then you can totally separate home and work by investing in a garden office. This is a great home improvement that will increase the value of your home and make it more desirable to future buyers. If you already have a large shed or outbuilding then perhaps you can convert this to suit your office needs and keep things at a lower cost.
Other options are to use a spare room within your home if you have the space. Otherwise think outside the box. Could you create an office corner in a bedroom or living room? Or perhaps use that wasted space under the stairs to make a small workspace?
2. Be inventive with home storage solutions
There are lots of ways to meet the demands of increased storage needs, whether that’s storing work supplies at home, office supplies, having more children or for whatever reason, you might need more storage solutions.
Think about the space in your home that could be put to better use. For example, if you have wasted ‘triangle’ space under the stairs, then make some under stairs drawers to store your belongings. It doesn’t have to be too expensive and if you are good with DIY and woodwork then you can even complete this yourself. Check out this guide for how to build your own under stair drawers for under £100.
If you have dormer style windows then consider converting the wasted space in the eaves into cupboards.
Think about the beds and sofas you buy. Usually, these have wasted space underneath which is pretty much only useful for gathering dust or where children lose small toys! Buy beds and sofas with storage drawers underneath, or look into buying some that will fit.
if you are overwhelmed with clutter that needs storage, then perhaps a better idea is to have a clearout and work out what you really need to keep, instead of spending money on storing it.
3. Opt for open plan living
Open plan living in downstairs areas has become popular in recent years. It can be achieved through a downstairs conversion by removing walls and sometimes installing support beams. Not only is this suitable for families with children, but it’s also a great option as people age as it can give more space and wider walkways, removing many of the doors and corridors that can be a tight squeeze for pushchairs, wheelchairs, walkers and other mobility aids.
Open floor plans can also provide a plethora of benefits to its inhabitants such as increased productivity, better communication and less stress. It has been found that open-plan spaces can help people feel closer and more connected to one another. This is because it is easier for people to take notice of each other and be able to communicate better.
Speaking of communication, open plan living spaces also make it easier for people to speak with one another as they won’t have too many obstructions in the way! Less shouting to people in other rooms!
An open plan living gives the impression of a bigger room. It opens up the mind to create a more spacious feeling in your home, which can be felt even when you are inside the home. Open floor plans have better air circulation and natural lighting that benefits health and productivity for people living in them.
Many modern homes are already built with open plan living areas downstairs, but in older houses, it’s a common conversion that can make a big difference to your home and lifestyle.
4. Choose large external doors and ramps
Bi-fold doors with seamless flooring flowing from indoors to out, such as porcelain tiles, have become really on-trend. It’s all about connecting the outdoors with the indoors in interior design, but it also makes for a perfectly adaptable household. The seamless design without a change in flooring, and with big open bifold doors, make a friendly home for children who won’t trip over steps, as well as for older people or those with mobility issues. Bi-fold doors are one of my dream home improvements.
If you have small steps in the garden or at the front of the house then consider changing to a more family-friendly ramp. There is less chance of someone tripping down a ramp, and again it makes it easier for family life whether that’s pushing a buggy up a ramp, a wheelchair or even kids with bikes and scooters.