UK-qualified architect and Match Works founder Kat Henson shares her tips on home renovations that can increase the value of your property. Photo: Match Works

UK-qualified architect and Match Works founder Kat Henson shares her tips on home renovations that can increase the value of your property. Photo: Match Works

House prices in Luxembourg have enjoyed remarkable growth over the past decade. However, the housing market has hit a speed bump in recent months due to higher interest rates. Property prices in the grand duchy fell by 7.5% during the second quarter of 2023 and residential listings are declining.

Kat Henson, founder of Match Works design studio in Esch-Sur-Alzette, says the challenging market conditions pose a problem for homeowners. “Currently the housing market is stagnant and saturated with homebuyers that cannot afford future mortgage repayments and others that can, but who have to sell in order to secure the deposit.”

Rather than selling or remortgaging their homes, Henson says that homeowners should consider investing in their property through renovations. This approach is particularly useful if a house feels too small, lacks flow, or needs to accommodate remote work with an office space. Henson outlines three effective ways for homeowners to enhance their homes: reconfiguring the internal layout and furnishings, building an extension, or updating their decor. 

A UK-qualified architect, Henson has over 15 years of experience working on numerous award-winning residential, commercial, education and listed buildings. Her start-up company Match Works specialises in improving interior and exterior spaces. 

Fit a new kitchen or bathroom 

Henson says two areas that buyers should consider when renovating their homes--and which have the largest impact on property valuations--are kitchens and bathrooms. Homeowners can get a custom-made re-fit or go with an off-the-shelf option. “This is the most efficient way to give your property an uplift whether you want to sell or stay put.”

For a smart look always opt for integrated appliances, Henson says. Storage spaces are very important for home buyers, particularly if you are looking to appeal to families. Henson warns that overlooking this aspect is a common mistake people make. “Invest in furniture that fits the space and makes the room feel spacious and uncluttered, especially in an apartment.”

Henson says getting help from a professional can help spot inefficiencies in your home and unlock potential solutions that a homeowner may have missed. “Walls don't stretch, but you never know, you may be able to squeeze in a cupboard or even a guest shower room.” 

Expanding through extensions

A more intricate yet potentially rewarding solution involves building an extension to your house. Henson suggests expanding the kitchen or dining area, building a downstairs toilet, or repurposing the attic space or garage to create an office space, children's playroom, or even a master bedroom. “This option takes time and requires a lot of planning ahead but can potentially bring the highest return.” 

However, Henson points out that building an extension requires permission from the local commune. “Always ask your local commune for permission before deciding to embark on any renovation work. It may turn out that your property is in a protected area and you are limited as to what you can do externally.” Henson advises homeowners to allocate a portion of their renovation budget to professional guidance, such as an architect or an engineer, especially if you are planning any structural alterations or changes to external elevations. 

Know your budget…The most common mistake people make is starting a project and not finishing it due to a lack of funds.
Kat Henson

Kat Henson Founder Match Works

Refreshing the decor 

Henson considers altering the home decor is the most cost-effective solution to enhancing your home. “Work with a limited colour palette and matching accessories to create a coherent theme. Colour change can make the space look bigger or cosier depending of the room function. If you are thinking of re-sale, go for neutral colours such as white or grey and don't over personalise. It needs appeal to potential buyers and allow them to adjust the property to their style and needs.” 

Henson says budget is the most important thing to consider when undertaking any type of renovation work. “Know your budget. This will determine what type of renovation is most appropriate. The most common mistake people make is starting a project and not finishing it due to a lack of funds.” 

Do your research 

Henson also recommends researching government schemes supporting residential construction. 

A of 3% applies on housing construction and renovation work, provided the property is intended as a main residence. The maximum one can claim in EUR 50,000 per renovated residence and the claim must be made within the five calendar years to which the tax to be repaid pertains. There are several exclusions as to what work can benefit from this reduction, so you should check with your builder. However, basic decor such as painting, wallpapering or new doors and windows are on the list. 

The Luxembourg government also offers for private individuals that improve thermal performance of buildings by investing in green renewable electricity resources.