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The Dos and Don'ts of Home Improvement — Including the Jobs That Won't Add Value

The Dos and Don'ts of Home Improvement
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Many of us are planning home improvement projects this year, and knowing how much value these projects can add to a property is imperative if you’re planning to sell. 

Improving the energy efficiency of a house and converting a loft are well worth considering if you’re looking how to add value to your home, but there are some improvements to swerve which are far less cost-effective.

To help you avoid disruption and wasting your time and money, we’ve compiled some essential expert tips to help you maximise value on your 2022 improvements. 

DO: Paint your rooms

Not only is learning how to paint a room a budget-friendly improvement that can freshen up your space, but it’s cost-effective too. 

Painting a main room, such as a lounge, kitchen or bathroom will cost around £71 for the paint, but it could add more than £1,400 in value to your home, according to Hitachi Personal Finance.

white painted retaining wall in modern garden

(Image credit: David Giles Photography)

DO: Give your garden a makeover

Well-maintained gardens can increase your home’s value by 20%, according to research from Norton Finance.

Adding plants and flowers can help to provide a winter pick-me-up, and regular weeding, mowing the lawn and using the best hedge trimmers to cut back hedges and bushes can help you save hundreds on the costs of a professional gardener.

DO: Install eco-friendly features

Potential homebuyers are willing to pay up £29,090 more for a home that has energy-efficient or environmentally-features, Money.co.uk says. 

Installing draught proofing adds the greatest value (£3,200) in relation to its actual installation cost (around £200), while installing a thermostat - which costs around £215 - adds roughly £2,790 in value. Low VOC paint and using energy-saving light bulbs are also value-adding improvements. 

Keter Plastic Shed

(Image credit: Amazon)

DO: Add a shed

Installing a summer house or one of the best plastic sheds can increase a home’s selling price by up to 10%, Your Move says, which is a big ‘box-ticker’ for potential buyers.

“Gardens can be high on a buyers list of priorities, and even more so following recent lockdowns, with their presentation, size and position often considered very important when making the final decision to buy,” says Martin McCreath, Regional Managing Director for Your Move.

DON’T: DIY everything

It’s a common home improvement myth that DIYing everything will help you save money. The key caveat to DIY is that it’s better to only do DIY projects which you are experienced in, or confident that you have the right tools and guidance to do it yourself. 

Failed DIY on larger projects, such as knocking down internal walls, can set you back £20,000 paying for professionals, according to MyJobQuote, while paying to have someone fit poorly installed flooring could cost you £1,200.

large home cinema in basement conversion

(Image credit: Boca do Lobo)

DON’T: Add a media room

If you want to add a media or home cinema then you should of course go for it; just know that it likely won’t add much value to your home.

The work can set you back around £30,000 depending on how much hardware you install, but it will likely add just £2,000 or £3,000 to your home’s value, according to estate agents Petty Son and Prestwich.

DON’T: Remove or change an original fireplace

An original fireplace is a sought-after feature in homes, particularly in period homes, Tap Warehouse says. In fact, it could actually add 5% to the value of your home.

But covering or altering an original fireplace could potentially decrease the value of the property by as much as £2,000 on the UK average home.

Jack has worked in journalism for 11 years and is the News Editor for Homebuilding & Renovating, a role he has had since 2019. He strives to break the most relevant and beneficial stories for self builders, extenders and renovators, including the latest news on the construction materials shortage and hydrogen heating. In 2021 he appeared on BBC's The World at One to discuss the government's planning reforms. 


He enjoys testing new tools and gadgets, and having bought his first home in 2013, he has renovated every room and recently finished a garden renovation.