Making the most of a home

Turn your garage into a room for teenagers to study or enjoy time with firendds

Turn your garage into a room for teenagers to study or enjoy time with firendds

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Make the most of outdoor space by creating an area to eat or relax in.

Tiling your patio is relatively inexpensive but does need to be carried out by a professional tiler for best results.

Garden maintenance is cheap and effective.

Tidying up your garden costs nothing; regular maintenance like weeding, mowing and weatherproofing sheds, fences and garden furniture is also worthwhile.

Spending small amounts of time and money on garden maintenance will save money in the long run rather than waiting till fences, furniture and outbuildings are in such a state they are beyond repair.

Gardens can look untidy very quickly and so benefit from regular maintenance work.

Insulating your walls and loft is also a relatively low cost home improvement that will keep on saving money for years to come and help the environment.

Insulation not only keeps your home warm in winter but cool in summer and can cost as little as £250 to insulate walls and lofts and £100 to install floor insulation, says the EST. Installing 270mm of insulation in a loft that has none will save £150 a year, cavity wall insulation could save around £115 and floor insulation can save £50.

Insulating your home is an especially cheap home improvement because government grants are often available.

Under carbon emission reduction targets, energy companies are required to help households become more energy efficient, so provide grants through schemes like the Green Project.

Those over 60 and on most benefits can usually have their homes insulated completely free, so check with your local authority to find out what you’re eligible for.

If you want a cheap, easy way to increase the size of your home? Then consider converting your garage.

This rarely requires planning permission as long as you’re not increasing the size of the garage.

You can use the new space for a bedroom, kitchen extension, office or playroom; add some plumbing to create an extra bathroom or en suite.

In these days of open plan homes it is useful to have a closed off den either for yourself as a study or reading room or for teenagers where they can use computers, electronic games and play music to their heart’s content. In that case it might be wise to make sure sound-proofing is installed!