Country houses for sale

The best things to add to to your house to increase its value, from party barns to dressing rooms

Which does more for your house’s value – a conservatory, dressing room, gym, media room or party barn? Annunciata Elwes calls on the experts.

If you’re having work done to your house, it should be for one clear reason – because you want to make your home .

That said, it’s always reassuring to know that what you’re having done will add value to your house – after all, you never know when an unforeseen change of circumstances will prompt a move.

And although we all know that a beautiful kitchen or bathroom can work wonders, things aren’t so clear with other popular additions. So our News & Property Editor Annunciata Elwes spoke to Britain’s top property experts to get their view on whether you’re better off adding a dressing room, conservatory, party barn, media room or gym.

The answer was clear: apparently, buyers in Britain like their party barns more than any other room, excellent for fun occasions and versatility.

Close second is the dressing room (you’ll need to get ready for the party), followed by the conservatory – another distinctly social space.

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Joint last are media rooms and gyms – that’s not to say they’re unwanted, merely that most people’s priorities lie elsewhere. Read into that what you will…

Party Barns: ‘If you have a large-ish family, it’ll be in use the whole time’

award-winning new country houses

Lindsay Cuthill, Savills

The party barn adds the most value, because it will probably be the largest extra space. We’ve seen them used for shooting lunches, fundraising events, storage etc and they also tend to be rather wonderful buildings in their own right.

Bruce Tolmie-Thomson, Knight Frank

A room that has many uses at different stages of life, the party barn is always there for the big birthday celebrations and weddings.

Alastair Summerfield, Strutt & Parker

Party barns are versatile, dry (and hopefully warm!) spaces that can be used for a variety of purposes, not just celebrations – a gym, a home office. They can also bring in extra income through letting.

Jonathan Bramwell, The Buying Solution

They have so many uses, from parties to table tennis. For anyone with daughters, they can double up as somewhere to hold a wedding reception. If you have a large-ish family, it’ll be in use the whole time. One of my clients uses his for work gatherings. Another went as far as to AstroTurf his and said it was the best investment that they ever made.

Nicholas Leeming, Jackson-Stops

Party barns provide a great facility for entertaining both young and old, while also having longer-term potential as granny or staff annexes.

Adam Buxton, Middleton Advisors

Party barns are a definite bonus – proximity to the main living space will often dictate their function. The closer they are, the more they tend to be used for dining or as a widescreen television room. Further away, they’re more flexible. A large open fire is a must and a small kitchen and loo are good, too.

Louisa Brodie, Banda Property

In the country, a party barn wins every time. Even if it isn’t used for parties, it will certainly add value in terms of further potential development.

Jess Simpson, Jess Simpson Property Search

Having a space to entertain (loudly) separate from the house is a real bonus. But it’s also the flexibility of party barns that my clients like – for children’s parties, or even as a workshop for home-based businesses such as flower arranging, jewellery-making or other crafts.

Dressing rooms: ‘A walk-in wardrobe will seal the deal’

Open shelving in dressing room aka walk-in wardrobe

Simon Barnes, H. Barnes & Co

Prospective buyers usually make a decision after seeing the kitchen and reception room. If you can get them to the second floor and there’s a walk-in wardrobe, you’ll seal the deal.

Giles Kime, Country Life

Not only do dressing rooms transform your mornings, but also your bedroom, which will be infinitely more tidy. It’s more than worth sacrificing a smaller bedroom. They are to a bedroom what a pantry is to a kitchen.

Nick Churton, Mayfair Office

A media room is so last year. If you need a party room, hire one. As for a gym… No, the best is the dressing room. This is the inner sanctum, the holy of holies, the most intimate of spaces that is used and loved every day.

Sophie Paterson, The W1 London

A walk-in wardrobe is now an essential ingredient of high-end development. It’s one of the main requests we get, bespoke joinery is a must and we often convert guest bedrooms adjacent to the master into two dressing rooms — they prevent marital disputes!

Conservatories: ‘They’re just so versatile – they can be an open-plan kitchen, a children’s playroom or a chill-out space’

marston house

Amy McKinlay, PFK, Cumbria

In the frozen north, a heated conservatory is fantastic. It (and its more grown-up sister, the orangery) allows you to enjoy your garden through all the seasons. It also provides additional living space. Add in a set of French or bi-fold doors and you can enjoy inside/outside living.

Belinda Hutchinson-Smith, Strutt & Parker

Although not quite the same as a conservatory, a garden room (with a tile roof) off the kitchen is easily added and creates a light, spacious sitting-and-dining area, which is the most sought after room in most house sales.

James Shaw, Prime Purchase

A conservatory is just so versatile – it could be an open-plan kitchen, a children’s playroom or a chill-out space for the family. The best examples are timber-framed morning rooms with lantern-light extensions. They can be built in a very sympathetic way to complement old buildings.

Media rooms: ‘Buyers, especially those with young families, really love them’

South Bank Tower cinema room

Richard Cracknell, Strutt & Parker

These days, you can buy a large-screen tele-vision or projector for not a great deal of money. With a decent surround sound system, you have created your own movie space. Buyers, especially those with young families, really love this.

Giles Cook, Best Gapp

Media/cinema rooms remain a common feature in smart new developments throughout prime central London. Popular with the sophisticated modern purchaser, the space can be multi-functional.

Gyms: ‘It’s imperative to have a well-designed gym’

Home gym

Richard Barber, JLL

Definitely the gym, but it needs to be well presented and equipped, ideally with natural light and ventilation. It can’t be dark room in a basement.

Kate Donneky, Rhodium Residence Management

For prime central London developments, it’s imperative that the scheme has a well-designed gym. Increasingly, wellness has become a priority for ultra-high new worth individuals and we have seen developments enhance this, with spas, relaxation rooms and gadget-free libraries.