Starting to plan a home renovation can be daunting to say the least, especially if you are looking at more than one room. Are you facing home renovations at your place? In our current renovations we are mostly doing things that are cosmetic – such as paint, crack filling, rejuvenating floorboards etc. We have also been decluttering and deep cleaning. Recently we bought a new cooktop, pedestal basin for the bathroom, and a few other items that desperately needed replacement; and we have just had solar panels and a battery installed (which I will share about very soon). Most things don’t last forever, but there are many, such as the chest of drawers I painted for our recent sitting room reno, that can last for many lifetimes with a new look. As we work through our current renovating chaos at home, I got to thinking about how you can always upgrade, update and bring the sparkle back to your home; and how important it is to plan such a renovation, especially if you are doing some of it yourself. Here I am sharing some of my top tips for planning a successful home renovation.
Work Out What You Want To Do In An Ideal World
This is the big picture thinking. Let you imagination run wild! John and I are always talking and dreaming about what we would do if we had the time, money and resources. This is usually the “build a massive extension with my soaring ceilings and new kitchen and room for an 8-ball table; and put a parent’s wing on” kinda discussion. For us, this is just not within our means. However, it gets you thinking about what it is you are needing, and what it is you are wanting. We could really do with a bigger kitchen, especially as our nearly 19 year old son is now up at the same 5.30am rising time as us, getting ready for work. We could really do with a second bathroom, for similar reasons. But with 2 toilets in the house already, a bit of respect for each others space and some patience, we are working around this small period of time without these things. Don’t get me started on Mr Recycled’s NEED for an 8-ball room!
What we really need however, is a cleaner, less cluttered and less tired looking home. It is the feeling of calm and cheer that greets you when you walk in the door that increases quality of life. It is sitting in your home feeling happy about what surrounds you, and having a functional space you can live with your loved ones within, that matters most. We are really ok with the size of our rooms and our lack of a big space. We can make do with this. We like being together, we like being in close proximity to each other but being able to get away. However we really need the broken floorboards to be fixed, the cooktop that did not work to be working and the decor to be fresh and inviting. Dreaming about the big picture can help you to narrow your focus down to what really needs to be done, and what is within your means.
Develop Your Project Scope and Timeline
This is where you go from the big picture dreaming, to the reality of what you can realistically manage in your time and budget. Consider which of the things that could be done in your home, are daily problems – what is driving you nuts? It is likely that these are the priorities. Importantly it is also about what you can personally handle at the moment. Undergoing renovations means chaos, being out of usual routines, tiredness, and often having people in your home. Doing this on a longer term basis can be relentless and exhausting.
We are combining some DIY with some help from trades with the painting, to alleviate exhaustion as well. And I have asked them for time periods in between coming to paint rooms. It allows us to do the rooms we are working on in between, and means no people in the house day after day. As part of this scoping, decide what you can or want to do yourself, and where you need to bring in the professionals. Set a time frame for each stage of the work. This may depend on whether or not you are getting professionals in, as they will have their own timeline as well. Always ask them to work in with your needs too, so it is mutually acceptable.
Get Quotes and Make Decisions
This is where you move to bringing together your budget. Once you have decided what you can do yourself, and what you will need professionals to do, you can start writing down figures. Consider all the costs of materials, trades and any new items such as furniture, rugs and decor items. I will usually work with people on a per room budget, that includes all of these things. Remember that budgets often go over, and allow a little for extras. Shop around if you need to, and get quotes from more than one person, or use people who have been recommended. Houzz and HiPages are great places to get quotes from reputable people. When it comes to materials for your own parts of the renovation, you can often do some searches online for things like paint deals, and upcycling items such as furniture with a lick of paint, can help in reducing costs, as well as being better for the planet. Try paints out – get samples and put them on the walls or create brush outs so you can move them around. Order wallpaper samples, get samples for tiles and other materials. An interior decorator can also help with these things.
Declutter, Deep Clean and Get Ready!
Once you have decided on the scope of the renovations, developed a timeline, worked out what you are doing yourself and who you are using for professionals, worked out your budget and what you will need – you are ready to start preparing! It is helpful to make sure you build time into the project for this. Start decluttering and deep cleaning well before any actual work starts. Follow the process of discarding things that have no use, or hold no meaning or beauty to you. Donate some items and recycle others. Try to avoid tossing things into landfill (sometimes it is unavoidable).
For furniture and homeware items you are buying, use places like Gumtree and eBay to look for secondhand items, hit the opshops and look online for fair trade, sustainable and eco friendly items. There are so many options now and considering the materials is important. For example, look for locally made and smaller businesses when considering homewares and decor items; consider wool and jute, hemp or sisal rugs; linen is a great fabric for bedding and cushions; look for recycled materials; low or zero VOC paints; and FSC timbers.
Having an interior decorator or designer involved can help you save lots and find the things you need quickly. It also helps when you are unsure where to start. Many of my clients say they know what they like, but they can not seem to create this themselves. It may seem the opposite as you have to pay for our time, but access to trade discounts for any new items, and avoiding the headaches and issues from not planning your projects properly, can help save you time and money. It is also nice to have someone present you with mood boards and ideas for your home, that help you to visualise where you are headed with the project.
Build in Some Down Time and Have FUN!
Once the renovations start it will be go go go! It is important that you have some time within the scope of the timeline, to stop and do some other things. You also need to be flexible. Things often change during a renovation. Have a day or weekend off and hit the beach. Head out to a movie or stay at a friends house. Or, use the chaos of the renovations to have new experiences. For example, we are planning to sleep in the lounge room for a couple of days when we paint our bedroom floors, and are seeing it as a fun exercise, rather than an incovenience. The kids are looking forward to lying on our bed watching television in the lounge! Make it fun, enjoy it and remember those dreams for your home – it will be worth it in the end.
Are you currently renovating?