Saturday, October 24, 2020

Must-have home improvements for COVID working and living

Homeowners looking to adapt spaces for potential future lockdowns and optimal home working during the COVID-19 pandemic can look to suggestions from property experts.

With government guidelines tightening restrictions, it is important that homeowners and potential buyers consider the viability of future lockdowns and home working and adapt in the best ways they possibly can to be safe and comfortable at home.

From converting unused spaces, to developing outdoor areas, the property experts at North Sands Developments, share top considerations for adapting homes for COVID working and living.

James Hartley, director at North Sands Developments, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has tested everyone, and with government restrictions tightening and a potential second-wave looming, there are many important learnings that we can take away from this time, to safeguard our futures in terms of creating a more comfortable, secure and optimised living and working environment.

“From zoom-proof rooms, to pet proofing, good internet connection and ensuring access to open plan and outdoor spaces – whether you are looking to purchase a new home or have an existing home that requires improvements, we have compiled a list of considerations for reference, to help homeowners and potential buyers thinking about living arrangements during the pandemic.”

1. Outdoor space

When spending large amounts of time at home, outdoor space is vital for health and wellbeing, whatever the weather. To make the most of outdoor spaces – home and garden improvements such as extending the size of the garden, improving decking and patios, adding a fire pit for use during the cooler weather, adding a balcony to bring fresh air into the home, and swapping patio doors for new ones such as bi-folds, to connect the home with the garden to accentuate the space is worth the investment.

2. Zoom-proof rooms and spaces

Working from home and juggling family life isn’t always easy and it can be disruptive when important virtual meetings are interrupted with noise. Creating a zoom-proof space in the home is very much an essential when it comes to peaceful working. The ideal zoom space will be as sound proof as possible, with a simple fuss-free backdrop, away from busy areas of the house to avoid any disturbances. If in an open plan home, organise a space in a quieter area of the room, with a divide to hold calls.

3. Convert unused spaces

Converting unused spaces in the home such as a garage, loft or cellar, can provide much needed extra room in the household. The spaces can be used for a new home office, relaxation zone, utility area or a play room, but it is important to ensure that a property possesses comfortable living areas, should another lockdown be enforced. Extra spaces can also significantly boost the value of a property, especially if extra bedrooms and bathrooms are added. Most conversion projects do not require planning permission as it qualifies as a ‘change of use’ to the property, which is another great reason to consider a home improvement of this kind.

4. Add an annexe or garden

Increasing the space in your home with a build project is a great alternative to moving house completely. Adding an annexe or extension to a property, is a larger investment and one that could significantly improve a living environment and add value to a property. Adding a room that is completely separate from the rest of the property, can create the ideal environment for undisturbed home working, or a quiet and tranquil space for relaxation. It will also be a place for extra family or members of a support bubble to stay and visit that isn’t in the main home. If not an annexe, it’s worth converting any loft space to ensure all space in the home is utilised.

5. Divide your open plan spaces

A cost-effective way to create separate zones for different functions is to divide existing open plan areas. Installing partition walls or sectioning off areas with the careful placement of furniture are just two ways to create segregated space, allowing members of a household to live together without getting on top of one another. Freestanding shelves act as great temporary partitions that also provide storage space for any home office essentials.

6. Good internet connection

A commonly overlooked home improvement is a stronger and more efficient internet connection and good WIFI is essential when working remotely for virtual meetings and conferences. This can be as simple as installing extenders to boost internet signal, or may mean changing internet providers altogether for a connection that supports working activity and home living. Before switching provider, it’s sensible to do research online to check which company has the best service in the area.

7. Get a pet and pet proof your home

In terms of overall happiness and wellbeing – pets can certainly provide comfort and company for the long term. Getting a pet is a great life choice for lockdown and beyond, but furry friends need appropriate flooring and space to run around, so it’s important to ensure a home is pet proof by opening up spaces if possible and replacing carpet with floor tiles which can make managing a regular house clean easier.

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