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Got an outbuilding lying idle? Check out our tips for cool conversions to bring in cash…

Creating a holiday let from an outbuilding is a rewarding experience with Helpful Holidays’ support and advice. Contact us before you begin your project and our experienced, friendly property managers will guide you in the creation of a successful holiday home which your guests will love.

Until recently, farmers and landowners hoping to convert empty or under-used buildings faced tough restrictions. However, amendments to Permitted Development (PD) Rights in 2014 have made converting an existing barn or agricultural building into a home or holiday let more feasible.

Outside national parks, conservation areas and Areas of Outstanding Natural Beauty, owners can now carry out building work without applying for planning permission from their local authority.

There are so many things to consider when renovating a barn or existing building it can be difficult to know where to start.

Here are a few of our general tips which you may find useful. We’re pleased to give specific advice for each individual project – just get in touch.

Best use of space

Do discuss your intentions with an architect or technician and show plans to friends and family for their feedback and advice (be open to constructive criticism). Utilising the space you have takes thought and time.

Don’t be tempted to compromise on storage space; bedrooms too small for wardrobes and entrance halls with no place to store boots and coats won’t impress guests. There are clever storage ideas available, so be creative and do your research.

Open-plan living

The current trend for open-plan living space is well suited to and perhaps even derived from the ergonomic layout of a traditional barn conversion. Use the space to its full potential; rather than separating living rooms from kitchens, bring them together to create an innovative, welcoming lounge/kitchen/diner: literally, a room for living.

Warm and cosy

Guests expect effective heating, so central heating, whether via gas, oil, solar or a heat source pump, is a good investment. Similarly, fitting a woodburner or open fire will undoubtedly increase your bookings during the shoulder weeks. Holidaymakers are attracted to the vision of snuggling up by a fire during colder months.

Bedroom to bathroom ratio

In recent years guests’ expectations have surged. En suite bathrooms are preferred, but if that isn’t achievable, aim for a 2:1 ratio of bedrooms to bathrooms. If you can fit in a bath, all the better; a leisurely soak after a hard day’s walking (or shopping) will add to the appeal for guests.

Go gadget

Our statistics show that properties with broadband/WiFi generate more bookings, and thereare good solutions for making WiFi accessible in remote properties. Large TVs are popular with guests, who also appreciate an iPod dock for music.

Outside space

This area is just as important as the interior, so as much thought and time should be devoted to its planning. Guests love the prospect of sitting outside and relaxing in the evening whilst watching the sun go down. A welcoming outdoor area, however small, will be appreciated.

Quality counts

Once the structural work has been determined then the fun of decorating and choosing fixtures, fittings and furniture can begin. Selecting quality products pays dividends as your guests will notice and equipment lasts longer. Your holiday home is not the place to discard old, tired furniture and appliances. Whatever you do, do it well.

Converting a barn and preparing it as a holiday destination is a considerable project. The friendly Helpful Holidays team offer a wealth of experience and expertise and are pleased to share free, no-obligation advice at any stage of your conversion process, from the conception of your earliest idea to the final finishing touches and generating those well-earned bookings.