You finally have the right place for yourself and it’s the perfect time to think about the house you want to have now. Before you start with a sledgehammer wall tear down there is a lot to think about and plan, so with my Renovator * hat on, here are my best tips:

1. Set Your Budget

Decide what you want to spend, add a contingency and add this contingency again. Do that if you spend tens of thousands or just a few hundred dollars. It helps you make decisions about surfaces and materials throughout the process and keep the project under control. In my experience, Penny pinchers are the most fun shopping – anyone can buy anything if he has the money, but finding something special is pretty close to magic.

2. Future-Proof Things

Large-scale house improvements do not happen often because of disorder, cost and hard work, especially when a family is in the residence. There is usually an enthusiastic home renovation (or decoration) when a family moves into a new home, followed by a long period of neglect with the occasional mending. Of course, this does not apply to all, as testified by the obsession of my own parents when it comes to annual decoration. What empty nesters need to consider is that major renovations have to see them now for the next 20 years or more, and that means thinking about making the house suitable for that future.

For instance, if you are planning a new bathroom, you should consider installing a walk-in shower to ease the stress of leaving the bathroom in a few years. A toilet on the ground floor will also be very useful if running over stairs is not that easy. I do not suggest holding rails and special faucets and fittings as less suitable-just a stylish step-free shower that can accommodate to your styling needs and preferences but still cater to your needs when you’re older.

3. Sort Problems

I just had to have my basement kitchen removed to solve a damp problem, and it was an expensive retrograde exercise. If you feel that your property has fundamental problems-whether it is moist, the heating system, the roof or (in a muted voice) the lowering-you have to deal with the problem before you start cosmetic work.

Building problems never disappear by themselves and it is worthwhile to hire a specialist to advise you on how you can tackle them once and for all. The other thing you need to be aware of is that a job uncovers unexpected problems that need to be addressed before you can continue.

For instance, a friend had recently installed a new boiler, but the old piping did not comply with the new high-pressure system; It was a much bigger project with more upheavals than she expected.

4. Rethink Every Available Space

If you’ve seen so many episodes of Grand designs and property ladder as I do, you’ll already know that the original blueprint of a house can be rethought in endless configurations. You can extend, you can tap, you can convert. If this is a large project, you need professional advice from an architect who brings many ideas to the table and ensures that it meets the building regulations and all the boring things.

RIBA (Royal Institute of British Architects) has a useful guide on how to find and work with an architect. Another useful site is, which contains many images of real interior projects as well as all the details of the design or architecture company. With Houzz, you can also create ideas, books and search for products and suppliers. In short, it is a very helpful tool and most of the images in this post originate from that site.

Even if your plans are less ambitious and you’re installing a new kitchen, for example, it’s worth thinking about the current layout and how it could be improved. In the case of kitchens, many suppliers offer a free planning service that helps them understand what is possible. Deep drawers are more accessible than low cabinets and a wall mounted furnace is an efficient space use and is also easier for back and knees. Always remember to take the plans home before you buy; Planners are also sellers and it is easy to get away from what you want to sell, unlike what you need to catch.

Empty nests often have free bedrooms and while you still need something where your offspring can sleep, his old room doesn’t have to remain a teenage shrine. Newly decorated rooms are more useful and can accommodate all your guests, including your children’s partners and perhaps even grandchildren in time. If you want to have room for an office or study, it is time to change the main function of a bedroom so that it can be easily converted into a guest room if necessary. This usually means that the room is divided into zones to create a desk with storage space next to a sleeping area, which can be a bed for a night, a sofa bed or even a fold-up wardrobe.

You can also consider converting a bedroom adjacent to the master bedroom into an en-suite bathroom. A private facility is not a luxury when you get older, but a practical solution for longer night intervals. It may sound decadent to take up so much space for yourself, but it’s much better to use it than to leave it empty most of the time.

5. Invest As Much As You Want

When choosing new furniture, fittings, and materials for floor and wall cladding, you buy the best you can afford. If you cut corners, you need to replace things in five or ten years and by that time, you will no longer have the same energy. When I see examples of architects ‘ flats from the 1950s and 1960s-they have barely changed in 50 years, they still look amazing because they were designed with high-quality materials that were used for decades. Materials such as solid woods, leather, porcelain, stone, marble, and high-quality equipment will now repay everything you invest. What’s more? Since the kids are grown up so you can finally have nice things.

6. Isolate and Ventilate

A well-insulated house is quite useful-it is more comfortable with lower fuel costs. US building codes mean that new homes are heavily insulated, but older homes can be drafty and cost a fortune to heat. The heat rises, so first check whether the attic insulation is deep enough-it is easy and relatively inexpensive to install, but can effectively reduce heat loss and heating costs. Other forms of insulation are double or triple glazing, cavity or solid wall insulation, traction and insulating pipes and radiators. The Energy Saving Trust has a comprehensive section on thermal insulation on its website.

Once insulated houses can become stuffy with humidity seal and air quality reduced. A healthy supply of circulating fresh air is essential. Install humidity fans in bathrooms and kitchens to cope with condensation. If you have mold problems, install passive ventilation holes to promote the airflow. One step further is a heat recovery fan, which ensures a continuous air change and replaces the stale moisture-laden air with filtered, fresh, heated air from the outside.

7. Get Your Style Pampered

By the middle of your life, you would mostly have amassed a lot of stuff that you honestly don’t love — it has served a purpose but was never really part of a design plan. Now it’s time to audit a little and decide what you love, what you want to keep and what you don’t like. Sell unwanted items or donate to one of the many charities that give to needy families. You will be surprised how much fun it is to discover how your home should look like. Pinterest is a great tool to put together color schemes and mood boards, and it’s a great way to visualize and share your ideas (don’t forget that your partner doesn’t understand the ‘ beach and Driftwood ‘ vision in your head).

Allow yourself enough time to obtain materials and surfaces and to finish as quickly as possible. Some things like radiators can have a long lead time and you don’t want to keep a project in the middle. Do your own research and do not rely on craftsmen who will advise you on the latest products and technologies-they usually stay with brands and suppliers that you know for convenience.

Whether it’s about making your own curtains, painting a piece of furniture, or tiling your own splash walls, there’s a great sense of satisfaction that can be achieved by injecting yourself into your home a little bit. I do not propose anything structural-leave this to the experts-only a small project with which you can personalize your space in any way. When a creative task triggers you out of your comfort zone, the better-midlife is precisely the time in which we have to challenge ourselves. You never know what you can do until you try and a feeling of pride is restarted every time you tell a guest that I did it myself.

8. Renovate And Recycle

It’s not everyone’s taste, but I love mid-century furniture and spend a lot of happy hours on eBay looking for vintage pieces for my home. Old pieces are more solid and better built than their contemporary counterparts. Giving a new life to an old object is something I enjoy and it’s a more sustainable way to live. Reupholstering a popular sofa instead of throwing it away also helps to support local artisans and to keep traditional skills alive.

9. Focus On ‘ Sensory Experience ‘

Improving our homes is about creating the background for the life we dream of. In winter, for example, the cozy nights on a sofa could be in front of a flickering fire. If this is your idea of bliss, it makes an open fire a must, because for at least four months a year your home will not coincide with your vision. From this follow all kinds of choices-flue or chimney, fireplace or furnace, living gas flames or real fire? If you use the sensor perception checkbox to recognize your desire, you can allow practicality to make it a reality. How do you really think about making a fire, cleaning the grate and chopping wood? Do you spend a lot of time at home or do you have to turn on the fire for instant gratification? When we installed an oven to charge the heat in our open kitchen, I thought only for a short moment of a wood stove; The version looks identical but can be turned on for only 15 minutes for breakfast and this provides the experience I was looking for.

Use this sensory method to think about every aspect of your house that makes it personal and in the middle, we should all know what makes us happy. When the children are gone, they can be selfish and be pampered in the free-standing bathtub or double oven they have always wanted. Don’t make the mistake of copying another’s dream, it might look good in a glossy magazine, but that’s their life, not your own.

10. Bring Nature Into It

It is all that has been talked about for years-open your house with folding or sliding doors to bring the exterior into it and expand your living space into the garden. The reason why it is so popular is that when the sun shines, there is nothing to kick barefoot into the garden with your coffee and the feeling of warm flooring. But in certain areas (at least) it is not possible to guarantee the sunshine-so that large windows and doors also mean that you can also enjoy the outdoor garden and watch the birds. Whether it’s a hectare of land, a courtyard, a terrace or a balcony, think of the views from the inside and make it beautiful.