There’s a reason open plan living is so popular. It can breathe new life into your property, making your home more contemporary, light-filled and spacious, and it can ultimately add to the value. A larger space isn’t only in style, it’s useful, and almost always going to improve a home’s saleability. As you could spend thousands on home improvements, you’ll need to focus your efforts in the right place. So with open plan properties in high demand, how much value can you add by making your home open plan?
First you have to decide what open plan layout will work for you and your property. Improvements that will generally offer a good return on your investment and give your home’s value the biggest boost are open plan kitchen/diners and loft conversions. While the actual figures will depend on a number of factors, such as where in the country you live, and how much you spend on your project, here’s a little more detail:
Open Plan Kitchen/Diner
Experts say that a high quality, great looking kitchen is most likely to increase the value of a property. Research by HSBC found that a new kitchen alone may add at least £5,000 or 4.6%. Plus creating an open plan kitchen /diner really adds the wow factor, and these properties are hugely sought after.
You’re not simply offering a place to cook, you’re offering a hub for a family, an entertaining space for dinner parties, and a place for the kids to watch TV or do their homework. You’re creating a space that really adds much more than financial value to your home.
Once you’ve decided what style of kitchen will suit your space, whether it’s single or double galley, L-shaped, U-shaped or simply a kitchen island, you’ll want to think about the visual lines: do you want to be able to see the kids in the dining/living room, while you’re cooking, for example? Then there’s lighting, flooring, furniture and décor to consider. With an open plan kitchen/diner you need to think about creating two separate spaces that work in harmony. The easiest way to achieve this is with lighting and neutral, complementary colour schemes.
Your priority is what will work for you and your family, without breaking the bank. Remember you don’t want to spend so much on the project only to find it eats any potential profit.
Loft conversions offer the best value for money when it comes to home improvements. Up to 15% of your property’s market value! But with the average, basic conversion costing upwards of £20,000, you need to spend time planning and thinking through any potential problems, like getting the positioning of the stairs right, to avoid seeing those profits plummet.
Whether you’re after another bedroom, an en-suite bathroom or simply some extra storage space, a loft conversion is a relatively cheap way to add an extra floor. Converting your loft can be a lot cheaper than moving, especially in an urban area like London.
Adding an extra bedroom to your home can add approximately 9-10% to its value, according to Movewithus, particularly if it’s a loft conversion. Nationwide Building Society suggests up to 20% depending on the amount of space created, or £500 per square foot, in London.
Before you start your project it’s vital you get in the professionals. From architects to interior designers and builders to building control, your open plan project needs to be finished to the highest standard to avoid reducing the value of your home with shoddy workmanship.
Do your research. Ask friends and family for recommendations to ensure you hire a reputable firm to carry out all works. The best way to ensure this is to use a firm that’s registered with the Federation of Master Builders (FMB) and The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). You can find certified electricians at NICEIC. Always get at least three quotes and ask to see examples of their work as well as references.
You’ll need to create a realistic budget. Contact a number of architects, engineers and builders and compare their quotes. Most architects will give you a one-off consultation. Don’t forget to factor in the cost of the materials and add a contingency fund to cover any unforeseen expenditure. We recommend adding 10-20% to any quoted price.
Any open plan project will be subject to building regulations whether or not planning permission is necessary. No matter how small your project, all open plan layouts need to comply with building regulations. A call to your local council’s building control team or an Approved Inspector will clarify if the work complies with the law.
You’ll also need to inform your home insurer of any changes you’re planning to make.
A home is often our greatest asset, so it makes sense to capitalise on that investment with an open plan layout that will work for you and your family right now, and for the future, if you decide to sell your home.
But before you go open plan, you need to remember you aren’t guaranteed to make a profit. It’s always a good idea to check with local estate agents if your project will add value. While open plan living is universally appealing, making a profit will depend on where you live and the size of your property, as well as the time, money and work spent on the building project.
With open plan kitchen / diners and loft conversions coming out on top as the best returns for open plan, you can create that modern, space-filled lifestyle and, with buyers interested in the amount of usable space, rather than the number of rooms, potentially add up to 20% to the value of your property. But you also need to ensure your improvements are well thought out and finished to a high standard.
Getting it right means you’ve made a wise investment.
Cecilia added 10 – 20% to the price of her London home:
Some useful links:
NICEIC– find a certified electrician
Federation of Master Builders (FMB) Website:
Planning Portal – More detailed information on building regulations and building control system: