Collecting the keys after buying your own house is a massive life milestone — but there’s still a next challenge: your first home makeover. As a new homeowner, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with your first renovation and end up making expensive mistakes.
So, it pays off to do your research before you get started. And although how-to’s are helpful to go through, reading the top mistakes is one of the best ways to avoid the errors many of us make. If you’re about to go through your first renovation, keep reading to learn the top 7 renovation mistakes new homeowners make — and you must avoid.
1) Underestimating The Budget
It’s important to remember that renovations don’t always go as planned. No matter how well-thought-out your plan is, chances are you’ll go over the budget you’ve set aside. For example, you may neglect shipping costs whilst planning your budget. Or you may run into surprises, such as facing termites as you open up your walls — an entirely new cost to cater to along the way.
Set aside at least 15% to 20% of the total budget in emergency funds. These help account for any unforeseen expenses and make sure the project is completed successfully and without any delays.
2) Buying Furniture Without Having Accurate Measurements
As much as you love the leather sofa set you’ve eyed at the furniture store, only purchase it when you’ve aligned its measurements with the amount of available space you have! There’s nothing worse than buying your favourite piece of furniture only to find out it doesn’t fit through your front door (trust us, we’ve seen that happen), or between the other furniture items you plan on surrounding it with.
So, measure the vacant space you have for major furniture items — such as the width of the wall against which the sofa will be placed. The same applies to appliances in the kitchen. Remember, a little planning beforehand will prevent headaches down the line.
3) Compromising On Quality
Looking for the cheapest option isn’t always the best idea — some aspects of your renovation actually require investment. The key is to splurge on functionality. For example, it's definitely worth investing in good quality flooring and don’t aim for the lowest cost versions when it comes to built-in appliances and cabinetry.
Spending enough on functionality means the next few years in your home will be hassle-free, without requiring much repair and replacement. This means you actually save money in the long run.
4) Splurging On Decorative Elements
As much as you wish to adorn your home with designer furniture and luxe lighting fixtures, we recommend holding back on those. Prioritise functionality in terms of budget, and consider decorative elements as add-ons. Besides, it’s easier to replace these with your favourite pieces a few years later.
5) Not Consulting An Interior Design Professional
Qualified interior designers have ample training, knowledge, and experience in renovations — plus valuable insights that the average person lacks. By consulting with an interior designer, you can can benefit from having their foresight and intuition when making critical decisions throughout the process. They can help avoid costly mistakes — thus saving you time, money and stress — and can add to the value of your home by suggesting savvy upgrades.
6) Not Communicating Well With Contractors
Unless you’re someone well-versed in architecture and design, chances are, you may struggle to get your head around how to read a floor plan. The same goes for many other aspects of home renovation. But remember, it’s your home and your renovation — and you will need to be on top of it. Ask your contractor as many questions as it takes to attain clarity on the entire project. There’s really no “dumb question”! After all, you should know where your money is being spent and why.
You could also book one of our vetted Interior Design Gurus who can offer a neutral, 3rd party perspective and can guide you in your conversations with your contractor!
7) Doing Too Much At Once
It’s easy to get a little too excited about the results and rush into doing everything at once. Not a good idea, though. Working on too many rooms at once leaves you feeling a lack of accomplishment and sometimes even frustration.
Break the project into a series of small milestones, with each milestone focusing on one room. We’d recommend beginning with the more important rooms, such as remodelling the living area and kitchen. Seeing them come to life will have you motivated for the remaining rooms, too!
As a new homeowner, working on your first home renovation project can be a stressful task. There is so much to do, and so many important decisions to make. And because renovations take quite a lot of money and time, it pays off to research and plan beforehand so your investment can yield the results you’ve envisioned. In that regard, reading up on the top renovation mistakes, as discussed in this blog post, really helps — so you can avoid them during your renovation project!
If you need some expert guidance throughout your renovation journey but don’t necessarily want to hire an interior designer, just book one of our Interior Design Gurus here.They are available on-demand to offer bite-sized support (including video chats when you need it), so you can avoid expensive mistakes!