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Top tips for home improvement

Home improvement3

Spring is the time of year when many people look at taking new steps and making overhauls to aspects of their lives – and the home is one thing that receives attention more than most.

If you’ve made the decision to improve your home this season or at some point this year, the following tips and advice from Sainsbury’s Bank may help to inform your approach and save you some time and money.

Plan ahead

Fix the obvious problems first - Address issues like squeaky floorboards or blocked gutters before you start on bigger improvements.

Keep on top of maintenance - Check roofs, chimneys and walls for cracks, as this could allow water to enter your home.

Do it right the first time - A botched job is likely to cost you more in the long term. Our guide to finding a good tradesman might help.

Ensure your home complies with the latest regulations - Have electrical circuits checked by an electrical contractor and gas appliances tested by an engineer on the Gas Safe Register.

Get permission - Contact your local council for advice before you carry out any alterations or building works. The Planning Portal has advice in England and Wales and links to advice in Scotland.

Think cost per square meter - Use tools like Zoopla to research local property values for your house type. Is the cost of the improvement worth the added value?

Speak to your neighbours - Let your neighbours know your plans before you start. has advice on what to do if you share a party wall.

Update your home insurance - Your insurer should be able to tell you if any improvements or renovations you’re considering will invalidate your policy.

Outdoor improvements

Paint your front door and polish hardware - first impressions count.

Add a driveway or new path - check whether you need a dropped curb permit.

Revamp your garden - How about planting a wildflower meadow, a butterfly garden or adding a bee hotel?

Expand your living space with decking or a patio. You could consider bi-fold patio doors which fold right back for more light, bringing the outside in.

Add a garden room or shed for entertaining, or as a home office or gym.

Indoor improvements


Is a replacement kitchen necessary? Consider new flooring, work surfaces, tiles, cupboard doors, sinks and taps.

Make a design statement with modern or colourful A+ rated appliances. If you can’t afford to replace, clean appliances or bring in a professional.

Living space

Deep clean carpets, sand-down original floorboards, or install engineered wood laminate.

Restore original features such as fireplaces and cornicing.

Maximise space - open up living and dining rooms. You will need a professional to check whether walls are supporting upper floors or roof trusses.

Don’t forget your pets - buy new beds and blankets.


Upgrade that old suite. White or cream are usually recommended as the best colours. You can brighten things up with towels, plants and pictures.

Go eco - low water toilets and showers may help you reduce your fuel bills.

Think about replacing lino or carpets with tiles; these now come in all types of colours, even wood effect. You could also opt for underfloor heating.


Create a master suite - think about a seating area if you have space.

Freshen up - small changes, like new curtains, duvets and pillows can give the room a whole new look. Consider adding an en suite - This doesn’t need to be hidden away; how about installing a freestanding bath in your bedroom - just like a hotel room.

Energy efficiency measures

Find out how much energy your home is using - Get an energy monitor. They are free from some energy suppliers, or around £20 on the high street.

Think about your Energy Performance Certificate - Just like appliances, all homes available to buy or rent in the UK require an EPC. This rates your home from A (very efficient) to G (inefficient), and tells you how much it will cost to run your home each year. has further information on EPCs. Even if you are not thinking of moving, making energy efficiency improvements will boost your EPC rating.

Get an audit - Use the Energy Saving Trust’s Home Energy Calculator to work out what you could save by making energy efficiency improvements.

Understand payback periods - This is how long energy efficiency improvements take to recoup the cost through your energy bills.

Choose the improvements right for you - This image shows some of the most common energy efficiency improvements that can be made, with their payback periods.

For more advice on home improvement and a range of other financial and lifestyle matters, visit


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