Don't move. Improve! An Expert's Guide to Improving Your Home

Published on Tuesday, 15th December 2015

Don't move. Improve!

With the cost of house prices going up and housing space available going down, most of us are looking for ways to get the most out of our homes. As the saying goes: Don't move, improve!

Here are some expert tips from Sterlingbuild and Sainsbury's Bank on how to add life and value to your home.



New kitchen units will make you feel like you're walking into a new kitchen, but if that option's out of your budget range, try some less expensive updates. New kitchen trimmings, such as the work surfaces, wall tiles or sink, will help give your tired, old kitchen a new lease of life. Or simply investing in a few cheaper statement pieces (pink kettle and toaster set anyone?) will liven things up.

Contemporary Kitchen by London Kitchen Designers & Fitters Harvey Jones Kitchens

Daylight transforms any space

Is your kitchen extension dark and dreary? Brighten it up with a rooflight. Adding more daylight and, if your budget will stretch to opening rooflights, fresh air to your kitchen will make it a far more comfortable place to be. Alternatively, the FAKRO EFR flat roof gable system will let you add pitched roof windows to a flat roof to create an atrium finish. You'll also be adding a stunning feature that will add value to your home when you decide to move.


Living space

Is your carpet an embarrassment? Does your worn out sofa groan as you sit down? Or is your floral wallpaper an eyesore?

Updating your lounge decor and furniture will give you the opportunity to create the perfect place to ...uhm... lounge. Whether you like modern, traditional or country house style, you'll find some great ideas to get your creative side salivating at

With growing families and more possessions, we all need more space in our homes to live. Maximise space by opening up lounges and dining rooms into one large room. Do make sure you speak to a professional before you take any walls down.

Contemporary Living Room by Melbourne Home Builders i2 Homes


Daylight transforms any space

Does your living space extend into an extension? If you have old pine roof windows, we recommend you replace them with VELUX white finish windows. These stunning high quality windows have a bright finish that will make your space appear brighter, and the improved U-values will help keep your home snug even in the winter months.



Unless your bathroom suite is straight out of the '70s, it can usually be saved by updating the decor.

Update old lino or worn carpets with tiles. Add colour and comfort to your bathroom with big fluffy towels, plants and serene pictures. A few candles here and there and a bath pillow will help create a place to relax in after a long day at work.

Contemporary Bathroom by London Photographers Chris Snook

Daylight transforms any space

Do you have an internal bathroom with very little or no natural light? Add daylight with a solar tunnel. These clever devices transport daylight from your rooftop down a highly reflective tunnel into the space below. Often you'll enjoy even more light than you get with a light bulb.



Create a space you'll want to laze around in all Sunday morning.

A lick of paint, a comfy new bed and fresh bedlinen can give your bedroom a whole new look. Do you have trouble sleeping? Invest in blackout curtains or blinds that will keep light pollution out of your bedroom and let you rest in peace - even white ones will make your bedroom dark during the day.

Transitional Bedroom by London Interior Designers & Decorators Jess Lavers Design



The easiest ways to add more space to your home are with a home extension or loft conversion.

If you have the space to extend your home, start by speaking to a professional. If you're worried about losing garden space, include a living roof* on your flat roof extension. Alternatively, you could convert your garage into an extra bedroom, office or family room.

Top off your home extension with a sleek flat glass rooflight or stunning lantern rooflight. Both will add up to 3 times more daylight to your space than vertical windows and usually have better U-values than uPVC windows, ensuring an energy efficient installation.

Kitchen by London Architects & Building Designers GOAStudio | Residential Architecture & Home Design

Planning permission for a single story extension isn't normally needed as long as you meet certain criteria. However, if it is, including a green roof in your plans might work to your advantage. Find out more about planning permission at

A home extension is a huge project and investment. But, "whilst the average cost of an extension is approximately £35,000, the average difference between a 2 and 3-bedropom property in London is around £157,202." [] That's quite a leap.


Loft conversions

If you can't move out, move up.

A decent builder will be able to check whether your roof's construction is strong enough to accommodate an extra level. You'll need to use professionals to meet certain standards, for example, fire safety.

Here's a tip: Loft conversions need top hung windows. Centre pivot windows won't give you the panoramic views or feeling of space top hung windows will.

Contemporary Bedroom by London Architects & Building Designers Studio Mark Ruthven

Again, as long as you meet certain conditions, you won't need planning permission for your loft conversion. Real Homes Magazine offers some advice on troubleshooting and financing your loft conversion.


Further reading

Read the full guide on improving your home by Sainsbury's Bank.

Find inspiration on our Pinterest boards or

* It just so happens our sister site, Roofinglines, sells wildflower and sedum green roofs. Speak to us about these easy to install, easy to maintain roof gardens.