Reconfiguring existing spaces in your home is a great way to increase your property’s value without building an entirely new extension (which can cost upwards of £40,000!). Perhaps you need an extra bedroom for a new addition to the family, or maybe you want to eliminate rooms due to lack of need. Whatever your reason, reconfiguring your property can be a cost-effective way to increase your property’s worth. Our property management team at Flex Living completes refurbishments every day; we’ve seen the many ways to improve your home’s value and appeal, so here are our tips!
In this article, we are going to discuss :
Why Reconfigure the Rooms in Your House?
People reconfigure the spaces in their houses for many reasons, including:
- Increasing property value
- Increasing rental income
- Making room for additional family members
- Creating more natural light in bedrooms
- Eliminating rooms that aren’t used or needed
- Making a smaller room larger
- Making space for integrated storage
- Blending bedrooms to create one larger bedroom
But why spend the money reconfiguring? Sometimes, moving spaces around can enhance the property’s overall value, making it attractive to renters and investors. One of the best ways to add value without adding a side extension or a loft is by reconfiguring space to create extra bedrooms. Whilst adding bedrooms is our main focus for this article, similar rules apply when making changes to other rooms such as kitchens or bathrooms.
Adding a Bedroom Without an Extension
Adding an extra bedroom or making an existing bedroom larger is a great way to add value to your property. In order to be worth the investment, every bedroom needs the following:
- A window (natural light) and;
- Easy access from a suitable area (e.g., a hallway, not a kitchen)
Before commencing any work, consider how much space you have and whether or not the size of your new bedroom will actually add a selling point for your property. For example, a small, single bedroom may only provide a small increase in sale or rental value compared to how much it costs to create.
Example 1: Adding a bedroom
Please note that these floor plan examples are done at the most basic level to show spatial reconfigurations – an actual floor plan will have significantly more detail.
In this example, you want to create another bedroom. What are your options?
- Our favourite option in this scenario would be to combine the living room and kitchen area by moving the living room into the kitchen and combining the two as an open plan kitchen-living area. With this rearrangement, you could convert the existing living room space into a large double bedroom at a low cost (potentially with room for an ensuite as well, which further adds value to the property) – see the ‘Adding an ensuite’ section. There are other options explained below, although they may be less favourable.
- You could cut the kitchen in half (horizontally), creating a small bedroom with a window and a small kitchen. However, a small bedroom may not make reconfiguring a valuable investment. There could also be complaints about lack of privacy, with the only route between the bedroom and bathroom passing through the kitchen.
- You could move the kitchen into the living room space and create a door in the old kitchen area to make it suitable for a bedroom. However, moving kitchens is expensive and more difficult due to additional work such as moving pipework and removing countertops (see consider pipework section under ‘Important Things to Consider’).
- What about removing the living room? Many property owners, particularly those renting to multiple people in shared houses, remove living rooms for additional bedroom space. However, remember who you are trying to attract with your property. Removing a living room is unlikely to attract investors or people who will live in your property long term, so you could miss out on added value here despite having the additional bedroom.
- Don’t forget to read the ‘Important things to consider’ section before starting any reconfigurations.
Splitting a Bedroom into Two
Another reconfiguring option for an extra bedroom involves dividing an existing bedroom into two with a partition wall. However, splitting a bedroom may only be worthwhile if you are left with two decently sized rooms. The size should meet the average minimum size requirements in your locality to ensure it is sellable or rentable, and the new bedroom should have a window. In the example below, if the bedrooms are too small, you could make them bigger by pushing back the bathroom and hallway, and bringing the rooms forward.
Example 2: Divide a bedroom into two
When splitting a room, you might like to consider one of the cheapest ways to divide a room: modular room dividers. Modular room dividers are an affordable, quick and easy solution to more temporary splitting arrangements. Due to their poor sound insulation, they may not be suitable for more long term arrangements.
Before dividing a room into two, ensure that both rooms would have a window. In the example above, there would be little point in dividing the room into two separate bedrooms if the window on the right didn’t exist. In the example above, we’ve also added a dividing wall to separate the kitchen from bedroom 2 (it’s best not to have a bedroom door opening into the kitchen space!).
Also note that you will also need to hire an electrician to split the lights so that they operate from a different switch (otherwise you might have two rooms using the same switch).
Making a Large Bedroom
You might want to take a reverse approach and reconfigure your property into a one-bedroom flat (with a large bedroom) by removing a wall between two bedrooms. Perhaps the rooms in your property are too small and would be better enjoyed with one large bedroom as opposed to two smaller rooms . In this case, you could reverse the diagrams above; knock down the wall (assuming it’s a partition wall) separating bedrooms one and two to create a larger bedroom.
Before knocking down any walls, you will need to book a surveyor to complete a structural survey of your property and tell you which walls are partition walls and support walls. Partition walls can be knocked down because they divide the interior space into rooms but don’t provide load bearing support to the building. On the other hand, support walls (or bearing walls) can function as dividers while holding up parts of the house; they need the advice of a structural engineer before being knocked down.
Adding an Ensuite to a Bedroom
Ensuite bathrooms used to be considered a luxury. However, this bedroom add-on is in high demand, especially in high-priced areas. Adding an ensuite bathroom can increase your property’s value by 5%.
Adding an Ensuite to a Bedroom
You only need a small space to create an ensuite bathroom. Approximately 0.8m by 1.8m is enough room to fit a basin, toilet and shower. Remember you will also need to install a door that opens outwards or slides horizontally across.
Also, check that you have suitable access to plumbing connections. You’ll need:
- Running hot and cold-water supply: can you run pipework to your new ensuite, or will you have to spend money rerouting pipes?
- Pipework for radiators: If you’re going to install a radiator in the ensuite (which can be a good idea to prevent mould and dampness), ensure you have space for both the heater itself and its pipework.
- Waste pipes: check how close your ensuite is to the existing soil pipe; rerouting pipes so they can efficiently transfer wastewater away from the toilet, shower and sink will add significant time and money costs to your project.
- For more information, see the ‘Consider pipework’ under ‘Important Things to Consider’.
Important Things to Consider
Our property management team at Flex Living refurbish properties every day, from rearranging pipework to creating beautiful bedrooms. Here is our best advice on things you must consider when reconfiguring your property to maximise your investment.
1. Consider pipework for kitchens and bathrooms
If you’re moving a kitchen or a bathroom, there are two things to consider:
a. Heating and hot water supply: what is the cost of rerouting pipes further away from the original source? Moving an entire plumbing fixture can be costly. So, if you can avoid a reconfiguration plan that involves moving kitchens and bathrooms far away from their original pipework, you could save yourself a lot of trouble.
b. Wastewater and drainage systems: if you move a sink, toilet or shower further away from the property’s main soil stack, you will need to ensure that you can move them while maintaining a good gradient for waste to travel down. If the waste disposal gradient is too flat, you may have more blocked pipe issues.
Also, think about the floorplan layout of your bathroom. Where will you put the shower and toilet? Will there be wall space for a shelf? A bathroom that is laid out in an accommodating way increases the value it brings to your property.
2. Importance of windows
Windows are an essential component of bedrooms. Without a window, a bedroom becomes a studio, playroom, or home office. Double-check that your new bedroom will have a window to get the most value from your reconfiguration. In example 2 (diagram above), there would be little point in dividing the room into two separate bedrooms if the window on the right didn’t exist.
Windows are less important in kitchens and bathrooms. However, keep in mind that the absence of windows necessitates an extractor fan. You may also want to consider how you can use furnishings like mirrors to create the illusion of space in a room that doesn’t have windows (read more on property refurbishment here).
3. Survey your walls
Make sure you book a surveyor to complete a structural survey of your property. If you’re planning on knocking down any walls, you need to know which walls are:
a. Partition walls or;
b. Support (bearing) walls
Partition walls can be knocked down because they divide the interior space into rooms but don’t support any weight. In contrast, support walls (or bearing walls) hold up parts of the house so they cannot just be knocked down and moved around!
Where can you book a surveyor in London?
4. Check for building consent
If you own your property under a leasehold, you may need to seek permission and building consent from the freeholder before making any extensive structural alterations like extensions or knocking down walls. Double-check the terms of your lease to see if there are any rules about altering internal structures, or, if in doubt, get in touch with your freeholder.
5. Check local planning requirements
According to the Government, you need planning permission from your local council when you:
- Build something new
- Make a major change to your building, such as adding an extension
- Change the use of your building
You may not need permission if your reconfiguring project doesn’t result in drastic changes to the property. To find out if your reconfiguring project will need planning permission, contact your local planning authority (LPA) through your local council.
What Are the Costs?
One of the main reasons people reconfigure their homes is to add value. So, it makes sense to consider the costs associated with completing the renovation.
The average cost of moving a bathroom is £5,000-£10,000, depending on the size of the bathroom and how far from the original pipework you are moving it.
The average cost of moving a kitchen is around £7,000-£15,000. Again, this depends on how complex your kitchen is and how far from the original plumbing you are moving it.
Just moving the pipework itself for an ensuite, bathroom or kitchen can cost around £2,000-£3,000.
Finally, general redecoration for bedrooms – for example, adding wardrobes, shelves, mirrors and repainting walls can cost up to £5,000, depending on the furniture you buy and the style you opt for. For some stylistic but budget-friendly ideas and trends, you can read our ‘Decorating a New Build blog’.
If these costs seem overwhelming, let’s put them into perspective. If you were to add an extra room to your property via an extension (rather than reconfiguring and making strategic use of space), you’d likely pay more than the costs outlined above. The average cost for property refurbishment in the form of an extension can range from around £42,750 to £106,875. So, be clever with your space; you could save thousands!
Free Property Refurbishment with Flex Living
Our property management team at Flex Living offers a refurbishment service for all landlords who rent their property through our corporate let model. We revamp, restyle and enhance your home with newly painted walls, trendy furniture and the latest technology. And before you question whether redecorating in this way is worth it, let us tell you that the refurbishment is free, and you’ll receive guaranteed rent from our professional corporate tenants – the risk for you is very low! If you want to become a Flex Living landlord, get in touch with our team today.
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