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Seven ways to make the most of your period homes features

If you are lucky enough to own a period home, you might be wondering what the best approach is when it comes to decor and renovation. Should you embrace the traditional features and the quirks that come with them, or reimagine your home for the 21st Century? Well, wonder no more, as we’ve assembled our top tips for making the most of your period home.

  1. Retain and celebrate original features

The greatest factor in any heritage home lies in its character and historic interest. If you live in a period property hopefully you feel the same, and want to let the architectural features in your home take centre stage. These details are part of the huge appeal of older homes and we think the best design schemes are built around original features. 

Whether it’s ornate gable trim or stained glass windows, restoring and celebrating these features will not only bring period charm to your home but are also likely to add value. Research has shown that areas with a high density of older buildings have property values up to 50% higher than average, so the focus of any project on a period home should be to protect and enhance its character.

If you are doing renovation works, consider how you can reuse original features to maintain an element of history in the design. This will not only save you money but also preserve the building’s historic features. 

  1. Marry old and new 

Many homeowners worry about creating an awkward juxtaposition furnishing their period property with contemporary fixtures, but by selecting the right styles and pieces you can achieve perfect harmony. Opt for contemporary furniture with subtle echoes of the past in the detailing – deep buttoning in upholstery or a canopy bed frame will speak to the history of your home without looking out of place. 

Embrace the original features of the property and take them as inspiration for your interior scheme – why not try using contemporary fabrics to breathe new life into your living spaces?

Of course, the way we live today is very different from the way the original residents of period properties lived, but this doesn’t mean you can’t maintain the character of your property. Modern life requires easy access to electricity, so factor this into your design and consult with an electrician early on if you are doing renovations. Underfloor heating beneath a traditional floor really offers the best of both worlds by providing modern comfort without jeopardising a traditional aesthetic. 

  • Work with your windows

Windows in period properties are usually made out of wood, which can rot over time. If you find that they need replacing, it is always worth checking whether they can be repaired first to retain the heritage of the building and reduce costs. 

If you have no choice but to replace your windows, make sure the new designs are in keeping with the style of your home. Plastic frames will save you money but ultimately cost you, as they will undoubtedly lower the value of your period property. 

Saying this, when it comes to windows you would be forgiven for straying from one original feature – single glazing! Double glazing may not be true to tradition but it will make your property more energy-efficient and will add value to your home. 

  • Make your period home energy efficient

If you’re already making energy-conscious choices with your windows, it’s worth thinking about what else can help save the planet and save you money. 

Monitoring your energy use is the first step to take here, and thanks to a requirement to offer homeowners a smart meter by 2020, most homeowners will be set up with one this year.

One of the most prevalent issues in old houses is airtightness. If your home is heated to a reasonable temperature but still feels chilly, you might consider commissioning a test to see how ‘leaky’ your home is.

Old floorboards are a huge culprit for poor airtightness. Simply laying a large rug can help here, but if you have the budget to fill the gaps in your floor you are likely to save up to £40 per room, per year.

According to Energy.Gov, about 30% of a home’s heating energy is lost through windows. Shutters provide an excellent way to improve energy efficiency in your period home; they can reduce heat loss through a window by more than 50%. They are excellent insulators and trap the cold air between your shutter and the window, stopping it from reaching your cosy period home. Why not take a look at our vast selection of designs?

  • Focus on floors

Although those beautiful and traditional floorboards may be giving you the chills, there are many ways to keep the original flooring in your period property. As we’ve suggested, try underfloor heating or filling the gaps to keep the heat in. During your floor refurb, you might like to channel wealthy Victorian homeowners and consider introducing a beautifully designed border to your floor. A pattern around the edge is a great finishing touch, it can be added for little cost and will also add value to your period property. Maintain your floor with a simple polish to keep the quality and aesthetic.  

Wooden floorboards are not the only period feature you’ll find in historic homes, many older floors would have originally been tiled with decorative, geometric designs. Some properties may still have the original tiles hidden underneath the current flooring, so be sure to take a look and you might find some hidden gems. 

  • Don’t forget the front door

Just as traditional-style windows can add value to your home, the right front door can work wonders in improving your curb appeal whilst maintaining a traditional charm. 

It’s easy to pay homage to your period property with the right front door. An antique wooden door with features like a large knocking handle will add appeal and character to your home. Make sure the door is draught-proof, has secure locks and is freshly painted, polished and treated. Why not look at local flea markets to find unique, traditional door numbers and doorknobs?

  • Keep things cosy

Nothing says period home quite like a cast iron fireplace. Even if it’s not in use, having an original fireplace increases your property’s value and is a fitting tribute to the tradition of the place. 

Over the years many properties have had their original fireplaces updated. In fact, many were boarded up in the 1960s and replaced with electric fires. It can be a lot of work but restoring the original piece is worthwhile, and there’s nothing like having a cosy fire burning in an ornate and unique fireplace that reflects the property’s history. 

If your period home doesn’t have a fireplace, fear not, as cast iron radiators are a great alternative. Adding both character write papers and value to your property you can find a number of designs that will speak to the heritage of your home.  

Hopefully, these tips have inspired you to cherish the original features in your period home whilst adapting it to work for your family in 2020. Remember, Kingswood at Home specialise in traditional blinds, shutters and fitted furniture, expertly crafted and designed to complement your home, whether it was built in the 1800s or 1980!

7 home improvements that add value to your property

Maybe you need more space for your family – or you’re thinking about climbing a rung on the property ladder? When it comes to selling your home, you’ll undoubtedly be hoping that the value has increased since you bought it. Your house will undoubtedly be more attractive to buyers with some sprucing up and improvements – and it doesn’t have to cost the earth. Adding an extension will likely reap high rewards, but smaller changes can make a real difference too. We’ve listed some of the changes you can make to really make your property stand out.

Replace Old Windows

Double-glazing is now considered essential by many homebuyers, so it’s a worthy investment if your home is single glazed. Particularly important if the house is on a busy road, double glazing can stop those noisy roads decreasing your property’s value, as well as keeping the home warm and cosy. You may also consider adding in extra windows, which will not only make your home brighter but will make rooms feel larger too. Be sure to keep the design of the home in mind – sash windows work best in period properties.

Improve Energy Efficiency

When you put your home on the market, it will be examined for its energy efficiency and given an EPC rating (Energy Performance Certificate). The rating will help your prospective buyers understand if the house is built to modern standards, thereby allowing them to work out how much it’s likely to cost to heat.

Windows will help again here. Ensure all windows across the home are double glazed and thermal insulated sealed to reduce heat loss. You might also consider adding insulation, switching to energy-efficient light bulbs or upgrading your boiler to improve your EPC rating.

Convert Your Loft

One of the larger projects on our list, loft conversations can cost around £500/m2 – however, this is around half of what you’d pay for an extension of this size elsewhere in the home, and it can really add to the resale value of your house. Loft extensions are also considerably less of an expense than digging down into the basement. Being able to add another bedroom to the property can be a game-changer; they also function well as a second living room, a snug or for a little wow factor you could kit your loft out as a gym.

Increase Kerb Appeal

First impressions count – most buyers decide if they like a property before they even get into the house, and it’s hard to shake off wrong first impressions, even if the inside of your home is beautiful.

Try repainting walls or replacing old garage doors to improve the exterior appearance. You can also add window shutters – the only kind of window dressing that will actually add value to your home. With their visual appeal plantation shutters tick a lot of homebuyers boxes. If you only can afford to install them on one side of your home, make it the front rooms. You’ll then not only benefit from the benefits of privacy at the front of your property, but it will also ensure your house really stands out from the crowd.

Add a conservatory

Conservatories can add up to 10% value on your property, and it’s easy to see why. They connect the outdoors and indoors, creating an oasis of calm and tranquillity within the home. A conservatory will fill the house with natural light and warmth as well as increasing the square footage of your property. Conservatories are generally easier to get planning permission for than other extensions, so they are a great option if you are keen to increase the size and therefore the value of your home.

When adding your conservatory, factor in other elements that will add even more value to your home, such as lusted after bi-fold doors – a contemporary option that is in high demand from homebuyers.

Tidy up your garden

Gardens are a crucial and often overlooked element of making the sale to your buyers. Outdoor spaces have become a room in their own right, adding more options for entertaining, dining and play. Invest in some landscaping to make your outdoor space stand out and create zones within the space. A well-designed decking area will extend the buyers perception of the home’s size, and adding outdoor awning creates a stylish space for entertaining outdoors, whatever the weather!

Finishing Touches

Last but by no means least, if you’re hoping to sell your property, remember than a few small touches can go a long way.

Consider who your potential buyers are, and think about what they might want from the property. If it’s likely to attract young families consider turning a spare bedroom into a nursery or playroom. If your home is more likely to be of interest to young professionals, presenting a spare room as an office can help them envisage themselves living there.

Oh, and fresh air and fresh flowers still go a long way! Good luck, and don’t forget to check out our ranges of blinds, doors, windows and so much more when you start your home improvements.

Kingswood at Home

Located in the heart of West Sussex, Kingswood at Home supply and install beautiful contemporary and traditional plantation shutters and blinds.

Thinking about timber sash or casement windows? Our trusted friends at The Wooden Sash Window Co would be happy to help!

The Wooden Sash Window Company

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