So you’re one of the 70% of people that aren’t happy with their home, and you’ve decided it’s time to spend some of your hard earned money on it, but where do you start?
With the property market being the way it is at the moment, more people than ever before are choosing to renovate instead of move – so the sensible thing is to make your home bigger by adding an extension, right?
WAIT. Before you instruct an architect and go down the costly route of having plans drawn up and submitted to the council, tendering for builders and dealing with uncertain supply chains, read on.
Often, the issue with a house isn’t that it’s not large enough, it’s that the space is awkward and the layout isn’t practical. Most of us are still constrained by corridors leading into boxes, with rectangular furniture around the bottom half of the room.
Here are the top 10 mistakes people make when embarking upon a renovation;
- SEVERELY UNDERESTIMATING THEIR BUDGET. Most of the money you have set aside for your renovation will be spent on things you cannot see. Fees, structural work, building materials, wiring, plumbing and labour. If you want a new kitchen and you have £30K to spend, understand that that isn’t going to buy you a £30K kitchen.
- ALLOCATING BUDGET TO THE WRONG THINGS. Spending the bulk of your bathroom refurb budget on expensive tiles, only to have the tiler use standard white grout and stainless steel trims will cheapen the overall look and be a considerable waste of money. Spend more on ‘touch points’ such as taps and handles, and experienced subcontractors that can make even budget tiles and paint look high end with the right finish.
- HIRING THE CHEAPEST CONTRACTORS. It’s one thing to price competitively but it’s another to undercut. Be wary of anyone who says they can beat any price, their work will likely be of a lower standard because they don’t take pride in it, they just want to win the business and move onto the next customer.
- NOT HAVING A PLAN. If you don’t know where you want your new sockets and switches to go and the electrician is on site waiting for you to tell them, this wastes time and money. Not only that but you could end up making snap decisions that you will regret later.
- DESIGNING AROUND EXISTING FURNITURE. If you have committed to a room refurb or even a whole new house build, don’t constrain your ideas but trying to design around existing furniture. Often clients will say ‘well we have to keep the sofa, we only bought it last year’, but it doesn’t fit with the desired new scheme. It’s better to start with a clean slate. If budget is tight you can always source replacements on second hand sites or by selling existing pieces to finance new items.
- CHOOSING THE WRONG SIZE FURNITURE. Trying to squeeze too many large pieces of furniture into a space can ruin the traffic flow around the room. There should be at least 750mm of walkthrough space between furniture so it doesn’t feel cramped.
- PLAYING IT SAFE. If you feel like your home lacks personality, it probably does. Your home should tell the story of who you are and be a reflection of your tastes. Fill your space with everything you love, look at your wardrobe and see what colours you’re drawn to. Be brave with your choices and don’t forget to add interesting artwork and accessories to your scheme.
- CHOOSING PAINT COLOURS FIRST. The paint colour is the thing that pulls the entire scheme together, so you need to settle on all of the other surface finishes first. The majority of people decide upon a wall colour and then wonder why the scheme doesn’t really work when they move all the furniture into the room.
- FAILING TO ESTABLISH A FOCAL POINT. If a room doesn’t have a key feature that your eye is drawn to, such as a decorative light fitting or a large piece of artwork, the space will lack direction and interest. Create impact and interest with a focal point in each room.
- NOT HIRING A DESIGNER. This one had to be on the list (and probably should be number 1). Interior Designers are trained to ask questions, uncover exactly how you want and need to use the space you have, consider every resident in the household (including pets) and create a design that is practical, easy to maintain and aesthetically beautiful to you. It is not a designers job to put together their own vision for how you should live or how your home should look. Hiring a designer will save you time, money and stress – ensuring you get the best outcome for your project.
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