17/01/2019 | read

Avoid the temptation to focus on the quick wins for your home improvement

Fix the right problem

When planning a home renovation it can be easy to focus on the quick wins. But by doing this you are in danger of fixing the wrong problem. Everything moves so fast now we’re all becoming used to things being instant. From online shopping to convenience apps, everything we imagine is literally at the touch of a button. But with a home improvement, patience is the key to success. It’s essential you take your time and ensure you are fixing the right problem. Here are four areas to watch out for to make sure you’re making the best decisions.

Do the basics

Prioritise getting the basics right over quick wins every time. Wiring, heating and Insulation. These three are the basics that you need to get right, or everything else is a complete waste of time. It can be tempting to rush out and spend on decoration, furnishings etc. to make everything look better, this is especially true as we approach the silly season and are keen to have the house looking well for Christmas. But in so many cases it’s more important to invest in the things you won’t see. Not only will fixing these things mean your home will be more comfortable but it will also save you money in the long run. By upgrading your heating controls, for example, you can reduce your energy usage by up to 20%, meaning you will save money on your home heating bills. On average, a home loses 20 – 30% of its heat through the walls, which rises even further if they are not insulated. Up to 30% can be lost through a poorly insulated attic. By properly insulating your home you will reduce heat loss and your heating bills. There are significant grants available to make these kinds of improvements. Visit the SEAI website for more details.

Functional space

When the layout of your home isn’t working it often feels like you need to add more space, but this isn’t always the case. So often there are ways to reconfigure what you have to solve the issues you’re facing. I visited a house a few months ago where there was an attic space with fantastic panoramic views over Dublin bay; the family were considering converting it to create a second storey for a master bedroom and home office. To make the room usable would have meant raising the roof and a lot of structural work. Getting access to the attic space also meant compromising the floor below. While walking through the rest of the house my client explained that most of the first floor wasn’t working for them. The bedroom layouts were not great, storage was as issue and none of the bathrooms or ensuites were well laid out. My advice was to forget about the attic and focus on getting the layout of the first floor right. This way they would improve their enjoyment of their home straight away rather than ending up with a bigger version of their already poorly functioning home.


Spending focus

Prices are going up all the time, and it’s increasingly likely the money you set aside will not be enough to do absolutely everything on your wishlist. When trying to figure out how best to invest, focus on the areas you and your family spend the most time in. There’s no point, for example, creating a fantastic guest bedroom with ensuite at the expense of your own bedroom and bathroom spaces. While some things are nice to have it’s vital you work out what is going to improve your quality of life first and foremost. This is what is ultimately going to give you the best return on your investment.

Store or stuff?

This is a really common problem. I had clients a couple of years ago who came to us with what they said was a storage problem. They had a large five-bedroomed home, but they felt they were rapidly running out of space. When I met them, I was astonished to see the house almost full to the brim with stuff. There were some rooms you couldn’t even access because they were so packed with things. My advice was to do a ruthless clear out of the entire house and then carry out an assessment of what to do. This might seem really obvious but it can be hard to see objectively how you use your home day-to-day. That’s why it is so important to get some impartial advice.

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