When ‘reality’ renovating is on TV every night, it’s very easy to get caught up in the moment and think it is a good idea for you to do too. TV makes it look so simple, but never really go into the details of the planning that is critical for a successful outcome.

Thinking carefully about your intended outcome is so important – and planning so that your intention is realised – is not done often enough. I see it all the time.

A successful renovation means more than just making a house look good. It’s as much about meeting the practical needs of those who will live there as it is about what it looks like. Almost equally important is what it costs to make the renovation a reality; because unfortunately not many people have an unlimited budget. This is why the following questions are so important to consider right from early stages of planning.

Q1 – Why do you want to reno? Are you going to live in the house for the long term? Are you planning to sell? Are you trying to add value, so you can release some equity for some reason? Your answer will dictate the type and extent of renovation you should do.

Q2 – What rooms and spaces will you update? Are you going to renovate the kitchen, laundry, bathroom, the lounge? The worst rooms in the house aren’t always where you should be spending most of your budget. Just because the laundry is amongst the worst you’ve ever seen, doesn’t mean you should give it a head-to-toe renovation. And just because the kitchen is the best room in the house, doesn’t mean it shouldn’t have some loving too. Knowing your answer to Q1 will help you prioritise the areas you choose to renovate.

Q3 – What sorts of things do you want to do to your property? Think about who will live there and what your intended outcome for the renovation is (to sell, live in, increase equity). Make a list of the intended end users’ needs and wants, in order of priority. Know what you are doing and why you are doing it; that means being able to justify every choice you make about your renovation – and also knowing what every wall, floor finish, splash-back, window furnishing, shower, toilet, bench-top (just to name a few!) looks like and costs to buy and install – before any renovation work begins.

Q4 – What look are you going for? This is most important when renovating your own home. www.houzz.com.au or Pinterest are fantastic and free resources and I often send clients there to create an Ideabook/folder of their preferred Interior Design style prior to us working together. The trick is to get a fresh, modern look while taking into consideration the existing style of their house. Your selections of door handles, splash-backs, light fittings, window furnishings and kitchen cabinetry (for example) can make your renovation work – or not. I refer to it as giving the existing style of the house a ‘nod’. We’re creating something modern, but there is a subtle reference to the existing style of the home that just makes it work. People who are design trained or who have a good eye for design, intuitively know how to do this.

Q5 – How big or small is your budget? Knowing how much you can afford to spend on your reno without over-capitalising is really important. Once you know what that amount is, of course it’s best to stick to that figure. That means you need to articulate clearly everything you are going to do – and then work out accurately how much those things are going to cost to implement. You can only have a rock-solid budget (always with a contingency for the unexpected) when you have rock solid plan of what you’re going to do. There will always be swings and round-abouts, but the more you know, the more you can plan NOT to blow your budget.

We always articulate every aspect of our clients renovations in their Renovation Design Plan) so they know exactly how to renovate their property. For inspiration and dozens of before and after photos, check out our Gallery page.

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