Renovation projects come in all shapes and sizes.
Whether you live in a modern home that you are looking to extend or you’ve bought a house that was built 100 years ago and is in desperate need of some TLC, there’s a lot to consider before you embark on a renovation project.
Being in the throes of one myself, I’ve learned a lot about renovating a house in the past couple of months. I had done my research before so knew roughly what to expect but there will undoubtedly be aspects that you haven’t considered and unexpected things that you hadn’t factored in, just like I’ve experienced.
In this post, I’ve outlined a few of the things I’ve learned along the way, which will help you with any renovation project large or small, old or new.
Establish a budget and then add a little extra – with the best will in the world, a renovation will always cost you more than you think. Fact. There’s always something discovered in the process that you hadn’t planned for, which is why it’s good to establish a budget and then add 10 per cent. If this means lowering your initial budget to take account of that figure, then do it. If you don’t need it in the end, then you have money to spend on something else, but it’s better to do it this way than be caught off guard.
Good tradesman book up in advance – regardless of whether you are building an extension or a conservatory, or doing minor alterations in the home, you need to ensure that you have good people to do the work for you, and that in itself takes time. But be patient. Don't settle for somebody just because they are available sooner. Try and plan your timescales around the people you want to do the job and if that pushes things back a bit then so be it. Better to get the outcome you want than rush the job.
Builder’s merchants will become your best friend – don't be fooled by the high street stores saying they will offer you the best prices. Sure, they’re not going to rip you off, but they’re not going to be the cheapest either. It’s worth finding your closest building merchant and going there to get your materials – it’s a lot less expensive. I’ve found the same to be said for paint. If you have a really high-end paint in mind but can't justify the cost, take the colour chart to a merchant that will mix the paint for you. You’ll get exactly the same colour for a lot less.
Keep track of your spending – remember my first point about budget? The only way to know what’s coming in and going out is to keep a close eye on your expenses. I track my expenses on my phone, using the Spendee app. My husband has it too, so we can both see what’s still available in the renovation budget. It’s a really useful tool for staying on track.
Ensure standards are high – it’s worth sharing your exact expectations with the people who are doing the work. Doing this leaves little room for interpretation and will hopefully ensure you get the results you want. And if they don't do something right, even if it seems a little awkward, make sure they know. Remember, you are paying for a service and you should be happy with the end product. You are the customer - don't forget it.
Renovations of any sort aren't easy, but with these tips, it can be manageable. And although it won't seem like it at the time, it will all be worth it in the end.
Chiara is an editor who likes the simple things in life; a cup of tea by the fire, travel, and spending time with friends and family. She also can’t resist the lure of Scandinavian decor and has a penchant for anything warm and cosy. You can find out more about Chiara and follow her adventures on her blog, Wine and Olives.