Do you feel as though you have outgrown your home but are worried about the cost and stress of buying somewhere bigger? If so, you are certainly not alone. Many people in the UK feel unable to afford to move to a larger property in view of the current unstable financial climate. Building an extension may be cheaper than buying a larger home, but it is still a significant financial commitment and one that you might not feel comfortable in making at the moment.
Is moving house or building an extension worth the stress and financial investment? Is there an alternative? Well, let’s examine what exactly you mean when you say you feel you have “outgrown your home”.
You might mean that:
- You now earn more (or have a more secure job) and want a larger home to reflect your increased status
- Your rather intrepid decision to have a third and final child to complete your family has rather backfired with the discovery that you are in fact expecting twins and you need another bedroom (or two).
If so, then there is not really any getting around the fact that you need a larger property, and either an extension or a house move is going to be necessary.
On the other hand, if:
- You are fed up of treading on toys and want a playroom for your children
- Your children have morphed into teenagers and spend an inordinate amount of time in your only bathroom and you need more space (and privacy) for everyone
- You would like to work from home in a calm and ordered office space rather than at the kitchen table
Good news! You may not have to move or extend at all! You can achieve this sort of housing goal by adapting your existing home, with some careful planning and creative thinking.
Think about the rooms in your home as they currently exist: do you use all of them? Do you use every part of them? Think about how much time you spend in each room: if a whole day can pass without using one or more rooms then think creatively about how that space could be put to better use.
For example, if you have a young family, your dining room table is more likely to be piled high with craft supplies or general clutter than it is to be used to host dinner parties. A formal dining room may be more practical as a playroom or, as your children get older, a den for them to spend time with their friends (rather than being upstairs or goodness-knows-where). You could put your lovely dining room furniture into storage until your children are older and you can return the room to its original purpose.
Use your boxroom
Your boxroom may be full of miscellaneous 'stuff' that doesn’t fit anywhere else now, or it might be set up as a (tiny) spare bedroom for visitors you don’t like. But it could be turned into something much more practical, such as an en suite, an office or even a well-appointed dressing room. Anything that is currently stored in there can be sold, given away or placed in storage
if you need to keep it.
A note on extending your home
If you have tried to adapt your home and you still feel that the space is inadequate, an extension is the next step up. If you do opt for an extension, your builders will tell you how long the work will take. This will be a lie, and you should double whatever they say. During the work, there will be more dust in more places than you could possibly imagine. Covering your furniture with dust sheets will not work, and is neither attractive nor practical over the course of several weeks or months. Keep your essentials and put everything else (including non-essential soft furnishings and clothes) in storage: this will protect your possessions, make it easier for you to clean the house after the builders have gone, and give you fewer grey hairs.
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