House Renovation Tips

Emmie's 5 Top Tips for House Renovation

Posted by Emmie Brookman on

If there's one thing that's for certain about a house renovation project, it's that you're going to learn a lot. You’ll learn a lot about yourself, your capabilities, your limits, your personal style and most certainly your partner. If you're brave enough to get stuck in with your other half that is. 

I'm lucky enough to be mid-way through my third house renovation project and I definitely have some pearls of wisdom that I didn't have when embarking on my first project as an incredibly naive twenty year old. These tips are by no means going to stop you from making those inevitable mistakes and regretful decisions, but they may help you to get in the right mindset and drum up some excitement in readiness for your house renovation project. Whether you're renovating currently or if it's something you think you'd like to do in the future, I hope you find this blog useful.

Crystal Clear Intentions Pre-Purchase


The word 'renovation' can mean very different things from person to person. It's crucial to know what type of renovation you want to do before purchasing a property. Do you see yourself giving your property a fresh coat of paint, installing fluffy new carpets and styling it ready for your new home Instagram page? Or are you more excited to get your overalls on, spend your days covered in dust and end up washing your dishes in the bath questioning your entire life choices? Believe it or not, the later option will always be my favourite, but it's certainly not for everyone. When weighing up your options it can be really helpful to get a professional opinion on the property in question, so you can have clarity on what you're getting yourself into. Avoid getting in over your head if you don't have the budget to bring in professional trades people, should things go south.

Decide Your None-negotiables


This tip can be applied to an entire property house renovation or a singular room makeover. Before starting, make a list of your non-negotiable features or assets that you want the space to have. Is it crucial for you to have an open plan kitchen with space to entertain or is your living room more important for cosy family nights in? Everybody's priorities are different so figure out what is the most meaningful to you and push it to the top of your list. I'd always carry out the most important room first if your budget allows.

Plan Your Budget


Money, money, money. Aside from creating a place that feels like home this is, of course, without a doubt the most important element for you to think about when starting a house renovation project. When creating your budget-plan, start with the bones of the house rather than the pretty, cosmetic parts. Does your roof need some attention? Perhaps you need a full rewire? These issues can hide in plain sight but if left unaddressed can end up costing a significant amount of money and may even ruin any cosmetic work in the house if you prioritise that before getting the place 'sound'.

I always split my budget into three sections. The first section of the budget should be set aside for crucial costs like your roof, electrics, windows, plumbing and so on. The next section should be for your 'wants', this might be adding fixing such as built-in wardrobes, or additional shelving in your living room. Essentially anything functional and important to you but that you could live without if worst comes to worst. Finally, the fun part, I always allocate a little budget to those special touches that really make the place feel like home, this might be a new stair runner, or a special light fitting in your kitchen. Once you have a clear picture of your budget add an extra 20% as a buffer, if you don't use it then treat yourself to a well-deserved break. This will save you a lot of sleepless nights.

I also urge you to learn as many new skills as you can, giving things a go can save a lot of money, it can also be super rewarding once you've finished the job.

Mood Boarding 


Once you're confident that the property is sound you can move onto the 'pretty stuff'. Having a mother who adores interiors, and growing up living through multiple house renovation projects, I'm very well versed in mood boarding. The mood board stage is crucial, no matter how well you know your own style, it's invaluable as certain ideas simply don't work in certain houses. My screen time goes through the roof when working on a project, mainly due to pinning an unfathomable amount of pins on Pinterest

It's crucial to blend your personal style with the pre-existing features of the property, this leads to a harmonious mixture that feels like your own space but fits the property too. My current project is a listed 16th century farmhouse with heaps of character and period features. Previously my style was a little more contemporary and rustic, however this project calls for a touch more sympathy to its age and features. Letting the property have a 'say' in the design decisions is a simple way to give it a professionally designed feel.

Enjoy the Process 


There's no question that renovations can be draining, emotionally and financially but they can also be incredibly rewarding. My final piece of advice would be to try your best to enjoy the process as much as possible, document where you can, get your friends involved for painting parties and make memories whilst you're doing the work. The biggest skill I personally have learnt throughout renovating is to keep my cool when plans go awry, which they inevitably do with every project, but some of my favourite features have stemmed from these mishaps.  

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