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Making home improvements

Getting started with renovations and decorations

Whether you’ve just moved in, or fancy a change, it’s likely you’ll want to put your own stamp on your new pad.

But renovations and home improvement projects can sometimes end up being more complicated than you planned.

Before you get started, we’ve put together some guidance on what to consider (and what not to do) when it comes to renovating your home.

A good investment?

Doing up your home can be more than simply an aesthetic activity. Making structural or decorative home improvements – like adding an extension or a new bathroom suite – can also add value to your home. But when not done right, you could also devalue it.

If you’re planning a big renovation, it’s a good idea to consult an architect or buiider before you start. And if you’re planning on additional rooms or outbuildings, you may need to ask for planning permission from your local authority (all things that an architect can help advise on).

Costs and qualified tradespeople

There’s no getting away from it – home improvements can be expensive. Our research found that, on average, homeowners had spent £1,950 redecorating bedrooms, while a living room was £1,504. The average spend on a new kitchen was £6,337, with a new bathroom costing £3,232 1

One of the easiest ways to save money on home improvements is to do as much of the work yourself (such as painting walls or putting up wallpaper).

However, for more complex renovations, it always pays to use approved contractors. Using low-cost materials or unskilled labour can easily result in work that needs to be redone (or at worst, downright dangerous – particularly if you’re dealing with plumbing or electrics).

When you’re thinking about hiring someone to help out, it’s a good idea to get a range of quotes beforehand so you can compare prices and timescales. And ask friends and family if they have any recommendations, too.

You should also look for tradespeople who are accredited with the TrustMark. TrustMark is a government-endorsed scheme that vets and inspects tradespeople for quality – so you can be confident you’re dealing with an expert.

Will DIY affect my home insurance?

It’s possible. If you’re adding an extension, for example, you could need cover for the additional space, and if you’re adding a top-of-the-line kitchen, you’ll want to make sure it’s fully covered by your contents cover.

Not only this, but starting on renovations that either you or your contractors are not qualified to make (such as changing electrical wiring or plumbing) can affect your home insurance – particularly if anything goes wrong.

To make sure you’re covered both during and after any home improvements, contact your insurer with as much information on your plans as possible before you get started.

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