Whether you’re wallpapering a room or rebuilding a whole house, here are some of our top tips for your first home renovation …
Set a realistic budget
Make a list of the things you want to do in each room and how much you want to spend. Research costs in catalogues, online or at showrooms, as well as on sites like www.householdquotes.co.uk, and shop around for the best deals. When getting quotes from professionals, always get at least three quotes from reliable tradesmen.
Can you do it yourself?
There will be some aspects of your house renovation that you need professionals for, like electrical and plumbing work and anything to do with gas appliances, but there are also many jobs you can do yourself. These range from painting and decorating to grouting, plastering, laying floors, carpentry, fitting loft insulation, tiling, general labouring and landscaping.
You get what you pay for
With both labour and materials, be wary of the cheapest deal – that doesn’t mean dismiss it, but make sure you’re not losing out on quality. It’s a false economy if you end up having to replace fittings with more expensive versions down the line, or have work redone. Daniel Peacock, editor of the website propertysecrets.org, advised: “Bargain screws, nails or paint are best avoided. Choose mid-priced items, as these will do a better job but won’t cost the earth.”
Get a trailer
No, really. You can get one for less than £300 new and use it to carry large items (saving on delivery charges) and take your rubbish to the tip.
Reuse and recycle
Before you throw things away, think about whether you can reuse them. Spare pieces of wood can be made into shelves, tables or kitchen cabinets. Save leftover paint – you might want to add an extra coat later or paint something else. Old kitchen tiles can be reused in your bathroom.
Similarly, you can find antique and unusual items that other people have discarded in architectural salvage yards. You can also buy ex-display kitchens, bathrooms, and living room and dining room furniture from websites like The Used Kitchen Company.
Make small changes
The simplest of changes can make a real difference to how a home looks. Rather than undertaking a whole kitchen or bathroom renovation, you might just be able to paint the walls or cupboards or replace the worktops. Outside, repainting your front door, or putting up new porch railings or a new fence can have a significant effect. Mirrors will make a small room look bigger.
If you’re looking for a home to renovate completely, there are plenty of ways to find one – talk to estate agents, go to auctions or just drive around the area. Once you’ve found a property, get a proper structural survey done – but be prepared anyway for hidden problems that only present themselves once you start work!
South east London architects Bluelime Home Design has been working on new builds, home extensions, renovations and conversions across Kent and London for 13 years - check out our home renovation planner and list of home improvement mistakes for heaps more renovation advice. We now have offices in Dartford, Bromley, Bexley, Erith and Croydon –Get in contact to arrange a free architect consultation.