Whether your home is already on the market or if you are planning to do so in the future, being in quarantine presents an ideal time to tackle DIY projects. Improving your home can significantly increase the value of your property and can also sometimes result in a quicker sale. The work does not have to be difficult or costly. The secret is to be clever with the spaces you have in order to maximise your home’s potential with the tools you have at your disposal.
Whatsmore, if you are the type of person who finds the idea of a prolonged quarantine period bleak and dreary, home improvements are a good way to beat the boredom.
Most of us will have spent a long period of time inside our current homes during this pandemic, and those looking to buy in the future may well change their idea of what specific features within a home are most important to them.
So here is the Lucas Fox guide to the best home improvements during quarantine.
Put the music on, get the kids involved and get cracking!
Decluttering your home should be your first point of call. Being inside for long periods may make you feel slightly claustrophobic, so being in quarantine gives you the opportunity to sort through your things and throw out stuff which you don’t need anymore. Start with your wardrobes, move onto the kitchen drawers and then all your storage areas and remember to be ruthless about what you throw out. Check out the KonMari method developed by Marie Kondo to help you organise your things effectively and quickly. This method also allows you to identify and keep things with sentimental value. You will probably feel a lot better once this initial project is done and it prepares the canvas for the next stages
Clean and scrub
We are currently hearing a lot about how to clean and disinfect surfaces but giving your rooms and cupboards a good clean should be something we all should be doing on a regular basis. Think about windows, counters, tabletops, doorknobs, bathroom fixtures and fittings, phones, keyboards, tablets and bedside tables. If the task sounds tedious, do a room a day. If you prefer not to go to the supermarket to buy products there are also numerous basic natural cleaning products you can use such as vinegar, baking soda and tea tree oil. Empty spray bottles can also be very handy. Use an old cotton T-shirt instead of paper towels for less waste.
Create a home gym
Keeping fit should be at the forefront of our minds both now and for the future so having a space for a home gym could be something we could be putting on our property wish list. To keep costs to a minimum, all you need to do is clear up an area where you can do some indoor exercises for a few minutes daily. You don’t need too much equipment – essentials should include a mat, a couple of dumbbells and an exercise band. A full length mirror, an area where you can place a screen (for online workouts) and a bluetooth speaker is also advisable. Make sure you have a storage space nearby to pack away your equipment too.
Create the perfect family room
Hopefully, after weeks of spending time with the family, you’ll love and appreciate them even more and realise the importance of creating the ideal family room. Designing the family room should be fun and exciting and the most important thing is that you create a warm, enjoyable, comfortable space. There should be enough seating for the whole family, plus a few guests. If you don’t have the space for extra chairs, a pouffe will do the job and this can also be used as a footstool. To create a media-friendly living room, choose low units that won’t overwhelm the space. A low-level table in the centre of the room can be used both as a coffee table and a desk for drawing for the little ones. If you don’t have a separate playroom, use a corner of your living room as a play area for the kids but make sure you have a trunk or cupboard where toys can be stored at the end of the day. Lamps and candles can create a cosy feeling during the night whilst mirrors placed opposite windows allow light to bounce back into the room.
Home maintenance is important for every property’s upkeep. Spend this time in quarantine to check up on your appliances, heating, plumbing, electrics, blinds, furniture, furnishings and exteriors. This will help prevent future breakdowns, save money and keep your home looking its best. Among the most cost saving actions you can do are: seal gaps and cracks in windows, check for frayed electrical wires, defrost the freezer, inspect roof gutters after storms, vacuum vents, unclog sink drains, check water softener, wax and varnish outdoor furniture, change filters in the air conditioning, fix shutters and power wash exterior decking and tiles.
Give tired walls a lick of paint
A new paint job will always work wonders to a room. There’s no better, more affordable way to freshen up a room than with a new coat of paint. Painting isn’t terribly difficult and is also something you can get older kids to help with. Don’t forget to prep the surface – scrape and sand, fill in cracks and ideally you will need to prime the walls before you add the final coats of paint so that any stains don’t show through. Also, don’t forget to protect your floors and furnishings. If you’re done painting for the day but still have more to do, a tip to keep your brushes fresh is to simply brush off the excess paint, then tightly wrap them in cling film then place them in the fridge overnight. If you don’t have a spare pot of white paint hanging around, stores such as Leroy Merlin are currently delivering to homes.
Many of us have furniture around our homes or in storage that we probably would like to transform. These items can be ‘upcycled’ and transformed. Bookcases and old dressers can become sandboxes and dog houses, an old lamp can be turned into a birdbath, an old headboard can be part of a new garden bench, a kitchen cabinet can be transformed into a doll’s house or even a new dog bed! You can also create a vintage paint effect on tired pieces of furniture. You’ll need chalk paint, sandpaper, furniture wax, wire wool, a paint brush and a cloth. Check out any of the huge number of online videos for a step-by-step guide.
Create a home office space
With so many people now working from home due to quarantine, the way we work in the future may change. The advent of virtual technology has meant that many companies may well see the benefits of some of their staff working from home for at least part of their working week. For this reason, a home office could become an essential space in many homes. It’s a fairly easy area to create. A guest room can include a work-at-home spot with a desk, chair and a filing cabinet, the breakfast bar at the kitchen is ideal for a laptop or maybe transform a corner of a landing area to include a desk and shelves. For greatest efficiency, ideally find a space that can be permanently dedicated to a home office as you will be able to work more professionally.
Spruce up your outside area
For those of us lucky to have outside space during quarantine, this will be appreciated more than ever. As you spend more time on a terrace or in the garden, you will no doubt become more aware of what work needs to be done. Small changes can make a big difference. Give your front door and garage a lick of paint, polish the doorknobs and house name or number, rake up the leaves, hose down the terraces, prune the plants and pots, mow the lawn, hang a lantern in the porch, add plants on the terrace, clean the windows on the outside as well as the inside and throw away anything that has been lying around and unused for the last year.
Create a kitchen-garden
As a result of the current pandemic, many of us will be more aware of living sustainably for the environment, for convenience and also its cost saving benefits. Creating a kitchen-garden is a great way of having organic food right outside your door and is also an area where you can enjoy the outdoors. It’s also the perfect project for the kids. Spring is a great time of year to create a vegetable patch. You can also have a herb garden on the balcony. Some of the annual herbs such as basil, fennel, dill, parsley, chive and perennials like oregano, lavender, sage, thyme, mint and rosemary grow well. If you have space, a compost heap is ideal for any organic material and will keep the kitchen-garden well fed throughout the year.