During this period of lockdown are you realising your living accommodation could be improved to cater for the increasing demand of home working? Is work/life balance being challenged with the competing demands of working space versus social space for yourself or family? Working from the corner of a spare room, kitchen or living room can be suitable short term, but is, in most cases, impractical in the long term.

So what are your options for improving the status-quo and improving the competing space demands of living and working space? You may think an extension or home move could be your only option, but there are a number of other home improvements you can consider, which may not be as inconvenient, costly and time consuming.
Remodel your interior?
Certainly a low cost option, and the easiest and quickest win to create an office space within the home? Take a fresh view of your property and look at the hidden gems of integral cupboards…maybe an integral wardrobe or understairs cupboard can be developed to produce a basic, comfortable office space for home working, with the addition of electrics, good lighting and shelving?
Convert a basement?
You may think that your damp, dark basement is not a place you would want to work from…but think again! Basements are ideal spaces for development. Pretty low risk, low cost in the scheme of options of moving or extension, basements can surprisingly be made into bright, dry, warm spaces with the correct tanking out. For additional comfort, electrics, heating and floor coverings can be added and even an external window to provide a more serviceable space. These can be great self-contained home working spaces with no need for planning approval, offering a fantastic return on investment.
For a basic cellar conversion, which would turn a damp and dingy unusable space to a dry and usable cellar you can expect to pay anything from £6,000 to £10,000. For a conversion that meets fire and building regulations with electrics, heating and windows, expect to pay anything from £10,000.
Convert a garage?

Check your title deeds of your property before pursuing this option to ensure a garage conversation is permitted.
For a basic garage conversion you can expect to pay about £8,000 – £10,000 and done well, it can add up to 20% to the value of your home. Better still, you can normally convert a garage under Permitted Development Rights – always double check with your local authority or get confirmation from a qualified surveyor that your proposed works are classed as Permitted Development before you begin.
It is possible to create an office space whilst maintaining the look of the garage frontage to your property by creating a stud partition wall, enabling you to use the front garage area for storage of bikes and gardening equipment and the back area to be the office space. You can also take advantage of the build time by incorporating additional plumbing into this project to create an additional downstairs toilet or utility space. This could increase costs to the £16,000 to £20,000 bracket but still an affordable solution with a personal loan or remortgage.
Convert a loft?
A loft conversion can also be a really cost-effective way to add extra space, providing your current roof pitch and structure lend themselves to conversion. A loft conversion would be looking at a price of £15,000 to £20,000 which would include a staircase, fitting of electrics, heating and Velux windows.
It is important you seek building regulations for this conversion as floor joists may need increasing to accommodate load bearing walls and also access to and from the loft will need to be to fire regulations. Failure to secure appropriate building regulations could be costly in the long run should you wish to sell your property in the future.
There is a lot to consider when it comes to converting your loft, so now is the time to plan how you might access, heat and insulate the new space, as well as researching the building regulation stipulations around such a project.
Create an outbuilding for a home office

You may have your own business and need a long term home office space. If development within the property is not an option you could consider a purpose built garden office, convert a shed or even an outbuilding that was used as coal storage or toilet from days gone by.
To make life as comfortable as possible you’ll need to make sure you have sufficient electricity supply and sockets, suitable lighting and heating options and reliable internet access; and make sure it is warm enough for winter months, but also ventilated enough to work in during hot summer months.
Developing an outside office space can have significant benefits over working from within the home. It can provide the physical segregation and discipline of work/life balance you may need; it encourages family to realise and observe your ‘at work’ practises; and it can also provide a positive mental health by working within the natural environment of your garden; enjoying the tranquility and observing the changing seasons.

Consider your options…

Move? A costly solution which is not a guaranteed outcome in the current climate with significant emotional, financial and time investment.

Extension? Significant planning timescale, costs of instructing architects and structural engineers which significantly impacts on your day to day living when the project is underway.

Improve? A quick win, limited investment in time and money with guaranteed results.

With a wealth of experience in property refurbishments and conversions look no further than Smart-Trades. We invite you to tap into our Smart-Trades expertise and secure our professional insight in confidence if you are considering a property improvement or refurbishment project.