So you’ve spotted the farmhouse kitchen or Byron Bay bathroom of your dreams online and want to make it a reality? Renovating your kitchen, bathroom or entire home can be equal parts exciting and petrifying. While TV shows like The Block and House Rules can make it appear easy, the reality is that careful planning, researching and budgeting is absolutely paramount to avoid potential disaster. We’ve got 5 golden rules for renovating to help make things run smoothly.
Work out what style you want to achieve in your dreamy new digs. While heavenly homes in magazine spreads may appear effortlessly thrown together, the reality is that the entire look has been carefully curated, from flooring to light fixtures. Now’s your excuse to scroll through Pinterest and Instagram with reckless abandon.
Colour palette and materials can be carried throughout your home for a cohesive look. Or you could go all out with a distinct interior design style, such as Hamptons, mid-century or French provincial. Creating a digital mood board is a great way to drop-and-drag colours, fixtures and furnishings into place to see how they work together.
Once you decide on the look you want and which rooms you want to update, establish your renovating budget. Unless you’re Elon Musk, you’ll likely have limits to what you want to spend on your refresh or renovation — whether that’s $1,000 or $100,000 (realestate.com has a calculator for estimating the costs). Research the market value of homes in your area so you don’t overcapitalise with expensive updates that won’t add equity to your property.
Working within the perimeters of what you are willing to spend, you can establish exactly what you want to update to lock in a more solid plan. To create a concise breakdown of expenses, you may need the help of a third party, such as an architect, draftsman or interior designer.
Alternatively, you could do the work yourself by pricing your fixtures, furnishings and finishes and getting quotes from tradies. Importantly, once you’ve worked out your costs, add a 10% buffer for unexpected and/or emergencies that could arise.
Once you add up the costs of those big-ticket items and modifications, don’t be discouraged! There are plenty of small-scale improvements you can make or swap out that will have a surprisingly big impact. Fresh paint, new bathroom taps and accessories, hanging pendant lights, cabinet hardware, rugs and soft furnishings are a more pocket-friendly way to give your home an almost instant update.
Keep in mind, you may need to get council approval for some of your renovations (check with your local council); whereas, small-scale improvements such as paint, flooring, fixtures and finishes don’t need permits of any sort. Finishes should be implemented in the final stages, but factor these expenses into your budget and renovation plan early on.
By now you’ve should have a pretty good idea of the scope of the work involved. Whether refreshing, refurbishing or doing a full-scale renovation, there will be tasks you can DIY or engage a local handyman for and more specialised tasks that you’ll need to outsource to professionals — from plumbing to plastering. Unless you’re a tradie yourself with a fleet of faithful minions at your disposal, you’ll need to find your dream team of trade professionals.
Ask friends, family or trusted social media forums for recommendations in your area, as nothing beats word of mouth. Sites such as Hipages and Airtasker are also great resources and offer obligation-free quotes. If you’re updating a period home, engage a professional who specialises in this area.
Don’t forget to add a small buffer in timelines, as there may be days where your tradies cancel or are a no-show. Don’t let it capsize your entire project. Call the second person on your quote list and get things back on track.
Finally, ensure your builders, plumbers, electricians, etc. are licensed so you can get their official certificates when the work is complete to confirm it was done to Australian standards.
Hurray, you’re ready to start renovating! Work out what order everything needs to be done in. Some people prefer to work room by room so they can close the door on the inevitable chaos of construction as the renovation progresses.
Others prefer a big-picture approach, which should start with any demolition and structural work, followed by plumbing and wiring, then moving on to plastering, painting, flooring, fixtures and finishes.
Don’t forget the final deep clean and the fun part — decorating! — then you’re all set to enjoy your stylish new spaces for years to come.
- Demolition work and any structural building
- (With walls exposed) plumbing, electrical, phone cables and airconditioning
- Plastering and tiling
- Carpentry fixtures, such as doors and architraves
- Painting, flooring and joinery
- Fixtures and finishes (i.e. plumbing, lightings and taps)
- Cleaning and decorating