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How to upgrade your property into a luxury abode.

By Jack Miles

Making a regular property into a luxury home is not too difficult and may cost less than you think. Indeed any money spent will be easily recouped since the resale value of a luxury property will increase and will cover any upgrade costs.

For a house, a swimming pool will enhance any property. As long as there is moderate space in the front or rear garden a pool can be accommodated. Look to use around sixty per cent of the available space for the pool itself as this will maximize the pool size whilst still providing enough surrounding space for pool decking and lounging areas. Thus the pool itself will not look overbearing especially if space is limited.

Decking in dark wood with dark wood loungers in place will look elegant. By using light or medium blue tiles for the swimming pool floor and walls you can project a luxury feel and the water itself will take on an azure look, which will be an enticing selling point for any property. Landscaped gardens look elegant and can be of any size so along with a fitting a swimming pool it is worth considering making some parts of the remaining space into landscaped garden areas. This will give the pool surround a natural feel and if the landscaping is done well then it can also provide an orderly look to what may have otherwise been just an ordinary and unimpressive land area.

Inside the property it is worth considering making rooms bigger by knocking smaller rooms into larger ones. This can be done on both levels. For example you could open up the lounge area by removing the dining room wall and creating an open plan space. You might also consider opening up a kitchen such that it opens out into the lounge, however it is important to make sure that the kitchen does not encroach unduly into other areas. To make the separation more pleasing to the eye consider using different floorings and a stepped effect even if separating walls have been removed. This will make the kitchen area somewhat distinct from the rest of the lounge whilst still giving you the benefit of a large open plan feel that will be synonymous with a luxury property. In the lounge itself a low-slung sofa in a red or beige colour will look elegant against a white tiled or wood effect floor, in either mid or light tones. You can improve the look even more by having one or two strategically placed rugs in place to soften the feel of any hard floor surfaces. A wall mounted LCD TV will fit well with the emphasis of a luxury home as will well placed audio / visual equipment.

Upstairs if there are four or five bedrooms it might be worth reducing the number of rooms and making some of the already good-sized rooms even larger by removing separating walls and using the space that a smaller room can provide. You may find that you can create an L-shaped master bedroom or widen an otherwise narrow room so that it exudes spaciousness that may have been lacking before. Luxury also includes some unseen things such as soundproofing in bedroom walls and windows to ensure a peaceful night's sleep. Double or triple glazing can be very effective in cutting out street noise that can be quite prevalent even in smaller sois in a city setting.

In the kitchen, technology is all-important, as it will provide the feel of newness and luxury. Look to install one or more induction hobs. These are typically single ring units so by ensuring there are two or three side by side you can cover the option of cooking multiple dishes at the same time. Although the induction hobs come as standalone units it is best to look for ones that have a ridge around the edge such that they can be slotted into a cut-out in the work surface. Be sure to check that the cable can exit from the bottom of the induction unit and not only the side since it will be important to have a clean finish and exposed cabling will look unsightly. You could even place two hobs together and have one extra one set into the other side of the work surface to give a feeling of space and also to put in place the look of an extra auxiliary unit being available. This will improve the grandness of the kitchen overall. Be sure to place overhead extraction hoods above the induction hobs. These often have spotlights in them and so will provide welcome lighting for the work surfaces. Other technologies to include are an up to date digitally controlled oven, a microwave oven with touch controls, an Internet fridge complete with front-door display and a coffee machine that has the ability to remember automatic settings. Finishing touches could include a wine cooler with a glass front or an open wine rack to show off the most recently acquired vintages.

Bathrooms can easily be made to be luxury. Look to ensure walls are fully tiled and consider using small tiles in strips as mosaics within the main design. This will ensure the bathroom stands out as having a distinct design as opposed to being a largely plain affair. Modern taps and other accessories should be planned out so that everything matches but also such that the look and feel is modern throughout. An extra wide bathtub is always a luxury and these are not much more expensive to fit in terms of their cost and also in terms of the space they take up.

Luxury homes now more than ever have a large amount of automation built into them. Look to install a full suite of lighting that can include floor and ceiling mounted spotlights, shadow lights and strip lighting. Remote controls for lighting will allow you to pre-program mood settings into a central computer and allow you to recall settings at the touch of a button so that you can instantly set, for example, a low lit romantic setting or a bright morning theme. The automation can be extended to include curtains and blinds that are controlled by a central computer as well as some moveable surfaces such as work desks and cabinets. Home automation can also include remote security systems that are linked to CCTV cameras both on the external perimeters of the property and within the property itself. Consider hooking this system up to intruder alarms and other movement sensors in the property that can be positioned along window frames and door entrance areas. These security devices can be monitored from any room in the house and even from a remote location away from the property over the Internet. The system will give you peace of mind whether you happen to be out for a night out on the town or even away for a two-week holiday.

With a luxury home now under your belt, you can charge higher rental fees, sell for a higher asking price or simply enjoy luxury living to the maximum!