Home improvement should be just that, making your home better. Many see it as a chore and too difficult to do themselves, but research has shown doing your own home improvement can have a highly beneficial psychological effect. Making your own changes to your home will teach you new skills, bring you closer to people, and even relieve anxiety. Home improvement can range from fixing broken furniture to repainting walls. After all, a house isn’t a home until you’ve put your spin on things and made it your own.
1. In a world where physical trades are being replaced by a rapidly growing information economy, the pleasure a person can get from seeing a project through and ending up with a tangible, observable change can bring a different variety of joys. Author Mathew Crawford argued in his 2009 book, Shop Class as Soulcraft, that using geometry to solve problems can bring a sense of self growth and happiness that other work cannot provide. Seeing a project through from start to finish and being presented with a physical object or change can bring a huge sense of achievement.
2. The act of doing home improvement can also reduce anxiety. Author and psychologist, Graham Jones, expands on this theory: ‘when you put off projects, it drains your spirit. There is always something nagging away at the back of your mind. When we have regular reminders of work not yet done, it lowers what psychologists call “affect.”’ Jones goes on to say that beginning the task quickly can make the task itself a lot less stressful. The quicker you get going on it, the better it is for you.
3. As a global society, we increasingly view physical objects as disposable. It is often cheaper to fully replace something if it gets to a state of disrepair, but learning to repair or improve can change how you see the world. Learning how to diagnose an issue and develop a strategy to correct it stimulates your brain and can instill in you a sense of value for the objects and projects you would have previously abandoned.
4. Doing your own home improvement can teach you useful and transferable skills. For instance, if you wanted to put up a curtain rail, you could end up using a drill, a screwdriver, wall plugs and many other tools whilst also getting used to procedures that are often repeated across different tasks. A lot of these tools and skills will prove be very handy with any future projects. Essentially, the more you do, the better you’ll get at a wider variety of situations, practice makes perfect.
5. Working with a partner can have a positive impact on your relationship. Working on and completing a project can bring two or more people together. This is due to the sense of achievement but also, if it is your own home, you can get pleasure from giving to someone else. You feel as if you have contributed to someone feeling happier and that, in turn, makes you happier. So, everyone wins.
So, as you can see, improving your home with your hands has benefits beyond the obvious. You could become a pro with a drill and end up fixing your friends broken table. Most importantly though, it can bring you an amazing sense of achievement, ease your anxiety and even bring you closer to someone. Home improvement exercises your body and mind, so what are you waiting for?
Everyone wants to make the property they live in into the perfect home but the restrictions placed on the type of place they live in can change the experience entirely dependent on the individual situation. Homeowners, in particular, will have a very different experience from those who rent their property, and this can affect what kind of projects you can undertake in your space. So, what are some of the differences between home improvement for renters versus home improvement for owners?
1. Ask permission
While most homeowners have the freedom to do what they want with their space, within reason, those that live in rented accommodation may be restricted by what their landlord will allow. Some will give permission to do some light changes to the tenant, while others will be unwilling to even let you put picture hooks on the walls. Either way, your options for home improvement are likely to be somewhat limited in comparison to a homeowner.
So how do you freshen up your space? Ask your landlord exactly what they’ll let you do. You never know, they might even be willing to contribute to an idea that they see as helping the property. While they are still unlikely to let you tear down walls or add on an extension, you might be able to negotiate over paint to help put your stamp on the property.
2. Decorate with the details
If your landlord resists the idea of permanent changes, use the details to make your home improvement statement. Picture frames with off-cuts of wallpaper can bring in the colours you want without plastering the walls, while throw cushions and artfully draped blankets over the couch can really make your soft furnishings pop. You can even put your DIY skills to the test by making decorative table features or maybe building your own bookshelves. And the best thing about decorating with the details? It’s much easier to change your colour scheme if you don’t have to repaint every time.
3. Maximise space with clever storage
Storage, or the lack thereof, is an issue that both renters and homeowners experience but this can be especially problematic if you don’t have access to areas to put items you don’t often use, such as the attic. Add in the fact that renters often have to consider the fact that they may have to move at some point, and therefore may be reluctant to put items too far out of reach, and you suddenly have a lot of stuff with few options of where to store it. This is where you can get creative with your storage options.
If you’re a lover of DIY, use those skills to create hidden storage under beds and tables. Or grabs ome bright coloured storage cubes to link in with your colour scheme. There are hundreds of ideas online that you can follow, no matter what your design aesthetic. The added space you create will freshen things up and improve your home experience.
1. Making it sellable
A consideration for homeowners that renters don’t really have to worry about has to be the sellability of their property. Even if you intend for this house to be your forever home, there always has to be some awareness of how to improve the value of your property and this can restrict some of your wilder home improvement plans. It’s not all bad though! While you may have to think about how easily you can correct a design decision if necessary - like how you’re going to cover up a painted black feature wall for selling - keeping an eye on market trends can fuel your future home improvement projects and give you ideas that you wouldn’t have previously considered. Take a browse through properties for sale and see what ideas you might like to borrow. You never know when you’ll find the perfect fit.
2. Creating a home for life
While renters have to consider the fact that they may not stay long in that one property, homeowners often have to think about just how liveable their property is. After all, it may be a forever home. Wanting to create this perfect space can be quite overwhelming at the start, with so many things to do and no clear plan for when they should be done.
The best way to make your home suitable for forever is to think about what the entire property needs versus you need in each room. That way you can prioritise big necessities, like rewired electrics or the installation of double-glazed windows, before moving on to each room as needed. Breaking it down into chunks will make it feel more doable, your budget will have time to recover in between each home improvement, and you’ll be getting near constant fulfillment as your property becomes the home you always wanted.
3. Functional for your family
Home is where the heart is and, for many homeowners, it’s also where their family is. This can, however, bring its own issues, particularly if your family has grown since you first bought the property. Focusing on functionality is one way to ensure that your home improvements last, whether this involves calling in contractors to help you build an extension or creating hidden storage options to make the best use of the space you’re in. What you do will vary hugely according to the needs of your family but incorporating some consideration of the necessities will help you create a home that grows with you, rather than something that is outgrown.
Of course, while there are differences between the experiences of renters and homeowners, the home improvement tips for utilising these spaces can be used across both sides. What matters most is creating a space that you’re happy to be in.