Renovation considerations

The Block, Better Homes and Gardens and Backyard Blitz have produced a generation seeking to benefit from renovating our homes. While renovating can be personally and financially rewarding it comes with significant risk and stress. Your available time, skills inclination and budget will dictate if you take a DIY approach, renovate with trades (manage the job, do the demolition, select the colour scheme, source fixtures and fittings, remove and install simple fittings etc) or outsource the entire project. Unless you are particularly skilled you will need to contract the licenced trades (electrical and plumbing) and conduct training in project management in order to request the issue of an owner builder’s licence. Read more for our renovation tips.

Design and style considerations

Firstly, keep renovations in character with the existing structure where possible. The architectural integrity of your building will dictate if the renovation is successful or an eyesore. If partially renovating, keep the style similar, or in character with the original house. Don't be excessively trendy or ambitious; fads fade - simple elegant styles are timeless

Use colour carefully. As a rule of thumb use no more than three colours in a room, two if the room is small. Use strong colours in small areas, for effect, and pick up the theme using furniture, covers, artwork etc. Large expanses of strong colours are likely to overpower a room and be ineffective.

Return on investment. The big ticket items when it comes to resale are where the water is (with the exception of the laundry). Kitchen then bathroom renovations provide the greatest return on investment; then the living area and master bedroom.

Consider the resale value of the property after the renovation

Don't overcapitalise on the renovation. Research sale values of houses with similar features in your area to get a feel for the resale value. If you intend to live in the house for the next ten years or so overcapitalisation is less of an issue.

Research

Before you start find out all you can about everything. Research materials, appliances, fittings and colour schemes. Print out or collect pictures of appliances so you can see how they look. When you have completed the research it is time to draw up a wish list in order of preference.

Consider developing a mood board for each room where you can compile a visual representation of fittings, appliances and design examples that you like. Once you have completed your research seek advice. Request an architect, builder or interior designer to look at your site and sketch and discuss constructability. This will help significantly with the next step.

Preparation

The key to any successful project is in the preparation. A well planned job allows for accurate costing and will reduce the requirement to vary contracts; which can be a costly exercise.

The renovation will be dirty, dusty and noisy. Consider the priority of work and how it will affect your lifestyle. A well planned renovation will minimise the inconveniences. Consider hiring a caravan, visiting friends or relatives or taking a short holiday around the peak activities.

Keep neighbours on your side; noting that this may be an impossible task!  Do what you can to inform them of noise and inconvenience and ensure you engage with your builder if there are any issues that are likely to create conflict . Develop, or ask your builder to develop, a decapitation report to protect you against claims of property damage.

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