The last 18 months have seen a lot of people reconsidering their living situations. With many of us spending more time at home, and with our usual routines and pastimes closed or restricted, it’s made many of us reassess what’s important - what we can live with, and what we can’t live without.
It’s not surprising that being cooped up has made many of us crave the idea of more space, while the fact that bars, restaurants and museums have been closed has made us question how much we need them.
Add to that the fact that a growing number of businesses are switching to more remote working, meaning lots of workers aren’t as tied into a traditional commute, and it’s a perfect recipe for a mass exodus to the countryside.
But rural life isn’t for everyone, and there will always be those who crave the call of the city and its attractions - even if they’ve been temporarily shuttered.
Wherever you end up, your home will be central to your experience - get that right, and everything else will follow. While both country and city homes come in all shapes and sizes, there are a few generalities that are worth bearing in mind when it comes to looking after property in both places.
City living comes with its share of hustle and bustle. While country living isn’t all birdsong and babbling brooks, you can generally expect less general noise and disruption in a rural area, unless you choose to buy next to a train line or motorway.
But in a city, anything goes - neighbours, traffic, sirens, construction work - it’s part of a rich tapestry that can all work to keep you up all night.
Luckily there are a few home fixes you can do to help keep noise at bay.
Specialist soundproofing along shared walls and along ceilings and floors is designed keep neighbour noise down. You may sacrifice a small amount of space to accommodate the thicker walls, but for many people, a good night’s sleep is worth it.
If street noise is a bigger issue, good quality double glazing, or even triple glazing, acts as a buffer to excessive noise - as well as improving your home’s insulation and cutting down your energy bills. Speak to a window fitter to see what your options are.
One of the biggest differences between homes in cities and those in the countryside is space. Of course, there are palatial four-storey townhouses and tiny quaint cottages, but generally, the further away from the metropolis you are, the more room you have to work with.
Working with less space doesn’t have to be a disaster though - it just means an opportunity to get creative. Inbuilt cupboards and wardrobes, extra shelving and hanging rails can all be utilised to make sure you have somewhere for all your stuff, even if you don’t have an attic or spare room to stuff it.
A carpenter can measure up your tight spots to see what space you have to work with.
According to the Office for National Statistics, more than a fifth of homes in London don’t have a garden, courtyard or even access to shared outdoor space, so if you have a garden, don’t take it for granted.
Not every country garden is a horticultural marvel, filled with rolling flower beds, manicured lawns and fertile veg plots, but even a small amount of outdoor space can be made into something useful and attractive with a little help.
Landscape gardeners can give suggestions for how to make the most of garden space, big or small.
Break-ins and burglaries are sadly more prevalent in urban areas, but your home can be a victim of crime wherever it is - in fact, if your house is isolated, it can heighten your worries about being targeted.
There are plenty of things you can do to keep your home safe. Low-tech methods like having a gravel driveway, security lights, or even just making sure your fences and gates are secure all help make your home a less attractive target.
You could also look at stronger security measures, like fitting a burglar alarm, or invest in smart systems including cameras and motion detectors.
A security systems specialist can review your situation and help fit something that gives you peace of mind.