Building a new home or renovating a property can become a stressful endeavour as there are so many decisions to make, with often endless choices in finishes and products selections. It can become overwhelming, and sadly great opportunities can be missed, sometimes, by spending too much on some items and not having enough for others, or not making the most of design choices such as layout and placement. Also, some key decisions should be made well in advance of any work starting, to ensure they are effective and site suitable decisions, often allowing you to save money. Finally, you should also ensure all choices work in unison, and create a cohesive look throughout.
So, to help you with that all important planning stage, weather you are at the beginning of this process or simply feel a bit unsure, here are my 3 TOP TIPS: Know Your Budget, Do Your Homework and Prioritise.
BUDGET - How much can you afford to spend? It is very important you know this from the word GO, as building and renovating don't come cheap. Yes, you may able to postpone some expenses such as adding wall paper later, or maybe upgrading the laundry when you have some more money in the budget.. but key items such as fixed flooring, bathroom tiling and external brickwork, need to be chosen and right right from day 1, as these are an investment for the quality of your home and ultimately its success.
Most of the large ticket items, such as flooring, staircases and the kitchen finishes and appliances, should be planned well in advance, to ensure you provide enough of your budget for these and all else that is needed along the process. I also always suggest not to spend all the budget, but leave some as buffer, usually 10-15%, for unforeseen costs, like bad weather causing time delays, appliances arriving on site damaged or last minute upgrades. If this buffer is not needed, that's great as its money can be later re-invested into your home via furnishing and styling. Better risk to have some excess money left, than not being able to select that perfect tap you've just seen on special, don't you think?
DO YOUR HOMEWORK - Be prepared, like a good boy scout! Create a profile of your new home or list of items that are important to you, as well as 'The Look' you expect from your new home or renovation. Search on Lifestyle magazines and save images off the Internet, or get inspiration from TV shows. But my favourite way to get to know what I really like is get to know it first-hand, to touch and feel it with my own hands. Display Homes are possibly the simplest way to see what is new on the market in finishes, layouts, floor plan solutions, and also styling. A large amount of money and time is invested in these homes, showing off the best in finishes and products available on the market, and ensuring they appeal to buyers. Display homes allow you to walk through and experience what your home may end up looking like. Some Display Homes may look the same at first, but walking through will give you the clear understanding of which layout you prefer for your kitchen, for example, what flooring works for you... which staircase design... the walk-in pantry... where to place the study. So, go window-shopping and stop and look in each room. Ask yourself "what is it about this space that I love? Is it the floor, that timber cabinetry, those funky light fittings?" Understand what really works for you and your family. The more homework you do, the better prepared you are, the easier the build or reno will be, saving you stress, and reducing the risk of expensive changes of mind along the way!
PRIORITISE - Some decisions must be taken before the reno/build process even starts, for example the floor plan, creating an easy 'flow" throughout the home, and the layout of the bathroom, laundry and kitchen, because of their plumbing. Even though the plumbing may possibly reach everywhere you need it, the room's final layout must be decided well before the tiling of the walls and floors, or even before the pouring of the concrete slab. You must also decide, room by room, where the power points are to be placed, as changing your mind later may cause damage to already finished surfaces, OR it may not even be able to be done. The same goes for light switches, ceiling lighting, sound systems, security alarm and wall mounted TVs... you must make your mind up well before the walls and ceilings are finished if you want to save yourself time and money. You do need expert advice on these matters, from a good builder, or an interior designer with proven experience in Building. They will help you with prioritising your decisions, saving you stress, time and money.
Following these three basic tips in your new home build or renovation will help you to be prepared and in charge, resulting in a stress free process and deliver you the home you wish for. If you want to walk through some brand new homes and check out some of my own design at the same time, you can! Together with the Eden Brae Homes team I have chosen the interior and exterior finishes of four of their display homes, and with my styling directions in furnishing and décor these homes looks amazing, each with their own distinct personality and feel. You can also check out some of the clever ways I used finishes and fittings to create a stylish home, whilst still watching the budget. They are now open and on display at Leppington Home World, and I strongly encourage you to visit them to get inspiration with your own renovation or new build.
James Treble is an ambassador for Planet Ark and firmly believes in sensible purchasing, recycling and creative re-purposing. James has decades of accumulated experience in the Building Industry, Real Estate and Interior Design. His knowledge and experience in adding value to homes, through clever design & styling, is now published for all to learn and benefit from. Interior Design For Profit is now available online.