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Lockdown lessons for homeowners: Prime your property for a second wave

Nobody wants a second wave of coronavirus sweeping across the country, but we all know it might happen this autumn or winter so it's time to prepare your home.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson says there's unlikely to be another national lockdown, but councils have new powers to insist residents stay at home: so is your house ready to help you through the weeks or months ahead?

'Lockdown has changed our lives dramatically. More time spent in the home has made us reconsider how we use the space we have, and how our homes can adapt to more change,' says James Holmear, group sales director at one of Britain's biggest housebuilders, Redrow.

Dive in: An outdoor swimming pool, sunken into the ground, will cost £40,000 upwards

His firm has surveyed 2,000 adults and says while most want more outdoor space, they would like more space inside, too, for working and relaxing, as well as having a good internet connection.

Here are four of the most popular features to make life more bearable.

Cinema room 

If you have space, dedicate a room to watching TV or a home cinema. 

The sky's the limit in terms of cost, but must-haves include a large smart TV, a 55-incher will set you back up to £700, but if you want a vast 85-inch model, expect to pay £3,000.

On top of that comes a Blu Ray player, the ability to stream movies from the internet and a projector and screen, which start at about £3,000 for both. 

You may want an amplifier (from £1,250) and speakers (from £250) for surround-sound and seating: try ex-cinema chairs.

Online marketplace Vinterior has a wide range of vintage cinema chairs, from £180 for two (vinterior.com).

Room with a view: If you have space, dedicate a room to watching TV or a home cinema

Home Gym

Again, cost depends on size and equipment, but a modest home gym can be made in a spare bedroom or garage. 

Vinyl or rubber flooring are effective, but even carpet is acceptable as it's easy on joints and reduces body impact.

A basic gym kit of dumbbells, a bench, pull-up bar and similar equipment will cost about £500 on Amazon (amazon.co.uk), while more advanced options, including plates, squat rack, medical balls and kettlebells, will take you over the £1,000 mark.

Swimming pool

This may not be feasible for most but it's neither as difficult nor as expensive as many believe. 

There are above-ground pools which can be installed in your garden, measuring 24 ft by 12 ft and including steps: these cost upwards of £2,000. 

Experts say an outdoor pool, sunken into the ground, will cost £40,000 upwards.

Garden office

We all know how necessary the home office has become.

Alex Rose, director of new homes at property website Zoopla, says: 'Home offices have spiked in popularity as more people plan to work from home more frequently, while gardens and proximity to outdoor space have also become a prerequisite for many buyers.'

Garden office rooms up to 2.5 m high can be erected without planning consent for occasional business use, and off-the-shelf versions cost from £2,500 to £10,000.

And you don't have to worry that a home office will get in the way when you eventually want to sell your home.

'Not only will it add value in the current work-from-home climate, but it can easily double up as an additional bedroom,' says Marc von Grundherr, director of Benham & Reeves estate agents.

On the market... with extra space 

Wiltshire: There are four bedrooms in this home in Latton on the edge of the Cotswolds but the star is a large cinema room with couch seats. Hamptons.co.uk, 01285 580170. £1.075 million

Cumbria: This barn conversion has four bedrooms and sits in a cluster of three homes in Brampton. There is a home office in the garden. Fineandcountry.com 01768 869007. £650,000

Northamptonshire: Believed to date in part from 1690, Vine Tree House in Staverton has five bedrooms. There is a barn with a home gym and office. Knightfrank.co.uk, 01789 206 950. £875,000

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