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Five small home improvement ideas

Extensions and conversions are popular home improvement projects but not the only ones to put on your wish list. Whether you’re on a budget, have limited space or don’t fancy the dust and disruption from a large renovation, there’s several smaller projects that deliver big results. Even if you live in a flat, you can try some of these easy, stylish ways to overhaul your home.

Shake up your staircase

We often focus on rooms when we’re planning a revamp but renovating the bits between them, such as hallways and landing areas, can make just as much of an impact. Replacing a staircase completely is a large project but if the existing stairs are structurally sound, there’s no reason why you can’t swap balustrades for glass sides and a sleek handrail for a banister, or add a feature tread at the bottom. Cladding with laminate, vinyl or timber stairparts is another option, which is perfect for creating a more uniform look. It’s something I’ve done in my own home, adding grip tape cut-out shapes to prevent slips.

If your stairs aren’t in quite the right place, aren’t structurally sound or have awkward access, a replacement is probably best. Building regulations apply, and you’ll need to find a specialist, such as a builder or joiner/carpenter.

glass sided steps

Image source: Quick-Step

Read more: staircase safety

Add a pre-fab loft

A loft conversion is one of my bucket-list projects, yet my own loft is just over a metre tall at the highest point, making any kind of useable space impossible. However, it’s a prime candidate for a prefabricated loft – where the roof is replaced with a factory-built room that can be installed in a matter of weeks, compared to the months that a standard conversion can take. Inside, the prefab loft can be anything you want it to be, from an extra bathroom or bedroom, to a hobby space. The project requires planning permission if you’re raising the roofline but most companies will handle it on your behalf.

prefabricated loft

Image source: Moduloft

Replace your front door

Your front door is the first thing guests see when they arrive and is a project that will pay dividends whether you have a house or a flat. Coloured composite doors are increasingly on-trend, with some available in up to 200 shades, from bright pink to cool blue and a whole range of period hues in-between. It’s a great opportunity to add personality and kerb appeal to your home. You can also swap the door’s solid panels for glass to let more daylight in – find a door and window installer who’ll be able to explain your options.

pink cottage door

Image source: Evolution Windows

Read more: choosing a new front door design

Lay a fuss-free floor

If the idea of adhesives and prying up tiles has been putting you off replacing your floor, look for easy-fit flooring that can be laid without needing to be fixed in place. Even easier than laminate or vinyl planks that click together, Karndean’s LooseLay Longboard vinyl can be fitted over an existing hard floor and comes in a range of sleek wood and stone effects. Each plank is simply laid and its friction backing combined with its weight holds it in place.

oak living room

Image source: Karndean

Read more: family friendly flooring ideas

Make it yours with mouldings

Modern homes can lack the sort of character that period properties have in spades, so if you love the look, add some extra features. For example, you could fix a dado rail to divide your wall, painting the lower half in a bold colour, or find a plasterer to introduce decorative cornicing or coving to ceilings. Similarly, try switching plain white painted skirting and architraves around doors for boards with an elegant ogee edge or extra depth – they look great in classic wood or timber-effect finishes but also painted in dramatically dark shades or an accent colour.

shaker panel

Image source: Cheshire Mouldings


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