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No place like home

Preparing your home for a post-pandemic summer 28 July 2021 by Casper Arboll

Let’s face it. Last summer wasn’t much to shout about, was it? The vast majority of us spent it in some form of lockdown, perhaps hosting the occasional socially distanced barbecue, as we did our best as a society to mitigate the impact of the pandemic. Yet, for all the disruption and heartache caused by the crisis, there were some small silver linings. While many of us would have preferred to carry on going out into the world and doing what we do best, it nevertheless provided a rare opportunity for introspection. Everything stopped, and we were able to turn our focus inward, to our families and homes.

Even now, with vaccines being rolled out and a semblance of normality hopefully on the horizon, that inward focus has stayed with many of us. According to the Office of National Statistics (ONS), nearly a quarter of the UK’s population worked from home in 2020, and if recent surveys are anything to go by, flexible ‘hybrid working’ is here to stay for the foreseeable – at least for those who have desk-based roles.

All of this has led to a home improvement boom. People want to invest in their homes, from carrying out big home improvements that they’ve put off for far too long, to redecorating rooms, to adding working space and paying more attention to the not-so-little things. This homeward focus has been so pronounced that McKinsey called it a “rebalancing of the homebody economy” in their 2021 consumer survey. In it, they conclude that people want the investments they’ve made in their home life to continue long after the pandemic is behind us.

So as we move firmly into the summer of 2021, a summer of optimism and forward-thinking, where we’ll soon be able to have family and friends over to enjoy the homes we’ve rediscovered during the pandemic, what can we do to make sure our homes are welcoming and summer-ready?

Make room for summer

A wise person once said, “Clutter isn’t just the stuff on your floor, it’s anything that stands between you and the life you want to live.” So if you’re in the market for a nice summer of barbecues, lounging in the garden, or having friends over for dinner, start making space for it. Get rid of anything you haven’t used for six months or more, either by selling or donating it and put any winter items into storage and out of sight. Picture yourself or your friends and family enjoying your home and build to that vision. Where are they sitting? What can they see? Pulling the tarpaulin off your garden furniture is all good and well, but what about that pile of wood in the corner you never quite got around to turning into a fence?

Get green-fingered

According to a survey recently featured in the Financial Times, gardening was listed as the second most popular lockdown activity after bingeing Netflix, putting it ahead of exercise, reading, gaming, and cooking. If you’re reading this with abject horror, don’t worry; a little goes a very long way when it comes to getting your garden summer-ready, and it can make a huge difference to how you and your guests experience your home. Give the garden beds a tidy, pull out some weeds, and trim the edges of your lawn, and you’re most of the way there. If you don’t have a garden, get one! A herb garden in a kitchen or balcony is a great way to give your home a much-needed shot of green in the summer months.

Grease those elbows

It’s amazing how much cleaning can make a difference to your home. Even if you tackle one room at a time, a deep clean can give you a huge mood boost and a real sense of homely pride. So grab your marigolds, pick up a wire brush and some soap, and go to town on the barbecue set that’s been sitting in your garage for the past 8 months. You will appreciate it in the future when donning a chef’s apron with a beer in one hand and a set of tongs in the other. Spring cleaning is not just for spring.

And remember, if you want to go one step further and make some permanent changes to your home, such as building a new extension or making it more environmentally friendly, now is the perfect time to invest. Perenna will offer flexible fixed-for-life mortgages that remove the risk usually associated with homeownership, allowing you to escape the costly and stressful remortgage cycle and plan for your future – whether that future’s a brand new conservatory or a new kitchen. Release some of your hard saved equity in your home to re-invest in your home or your life – you can’t eat bricks.