When you need home renovation preparation advice then ask a professional. It’s people like me who work in this area and we’ve probably seen everything. So when it comes to home renovation prep, here’s my two bobs worth.
one of my favourite sentences… “We are renovating and need your help”. My eyes
light up and a wave of excitement washes over me. Often, however, the person
speaking those words is as confused and terrified as I am delighted.
Whilst most people want to live in a home they love, watching renovation shows can make things appear a lot more seamless than they are in reality. If you are planning for a renovation, or even some major redecorating, there are home renovation preparation items to consider BEFORE you even think about interior design.
Home Renovation Preparation: Your First Priority
embarking on any renovation or major redecorating project, ensure the
essentials are in great condition. Check your plumbing, electrical circuits and
roofing. It is imperative to fix any issues, such as water leaks, rising damp
or faulty old wiring, before you start. Fixing any issues now will save costly
repairs in the future.
Have a Clear Vision
Your budget will blow out if you start making changes to the design after your renovation has commenced. Be very clear about the design before works begin. This is an important home renovation preparation tip.
Write a brief that clearly explains your vision, your budget, timeframes, what will remain IN the house and what needs to come OUT. Have a clear colour palette to use through your home for a cohesive look.
A detailed brief can be referred to later if you need to make a decision.
Maximise the Positives
Always consider important elements of the home including natural light sources, air flow, views from windows, and noise control before you start making interior design decisions. The functionality of your home is the priority over gorgeous fabrics and divine furniture.
Required approvals will be easier to achieve if you know the rules and can provide rationale for your design decisions. If necessary, tweak your design to fit the required rules.
All the best home renovation preparation in the world won’t help you if you can’t get Council approval. In some States and Territories, illegal renovations may inhibit you from selling your home.
Ensure your renovation plans include easy access for trades and delivery of big items. Can trades access the rear of your property from the outside? Can vehicles park on-site? What is required to ensure easy access and minimise the impact on your existing home… and your neighbours.
Renovating for Profit
If you are renovating to sell, research property sales in the area. Adjust your budget, and be strict with spending, so you do NOT over-capitalise, that you cover all costs and you make a profit. Include often forgotten fees such as skip hire, dump fees and a contingency of at least 15% of the total budget.
Budget for Interior Design:
Self-serving? Well, no. Budgeting for interior design isn’t necessarily about hiring Adelaide’s best interior designer (although it could, haha). No, it’s more about YOU than me.
It’s important that you provide a budget for furniture, fabrics, lighting, art works and accessories. These are all part of the renovation process not an afterthought.
Children’s bedrooms are just about the most fun spaces to decorate. You can get frivolous, colourful, playful and take risks. However, one of the biggest mistakes some people make in decorating a child’s bedroom is to design a space for the age the child is now.
Children grow quickly with their tastes and needs changing quickly too. So when you plan a bedroom space allow for flexibility and the opportunity for a child to grow and change.
Woo Hoo, see lots of gorgeous creative and colourful space for babies and children on our Kid’s Bedrooms Pinterest board.
Having said that, it’s also very important to involve children in the design and decoration of their own room. It teaches them an important lesson – that they can control the look and feel of their environment.
Children tend to have more respect for a room they have helped design. So have some fun with your children creating mood boards for their rooms.
Children’s Bedrooms Should Be Wild + Free
Children don’t impose parameters on themselves that we adults tend to develop over the years. Let children think about colour, texture, pattern. This gives them the opportunity to be involved while you still have control over ensuring the space can grow with the child.
If they choose an outrageously coloured cushion or ridiculous wall art then what’s the harm? These items can always be replaced when they grow out of them.
One word of caution, DON’T paint walls in very strong colours such as red and orange. Bedrooms are still places of rest so strong and hot colours are not conducive to sleep and relaxation. Strong colours may also bring out aggressive tendencies in some children.
Children’s Bedrooms Are For Play Too
If possible, allow a child to have a big bedroom so they can play in there as much as possible. It minimizes toy clutter in the living room and avoids the ‘lego in the foot’ scenario.
In some households, children will share a room so delineation of space is important. This can be done with rugs, different coloured bedding or a different picture above the bed. Bunk beds are great to create more useable floor space.
This can be important when a study desk is required. However, no child under the age of six should be given the top bunk.
Children’s Bedrooms Need A ‘Show-Off’ Area
Provide a display area where your child can show off their favourite items. Tall shelving should be fixed to the wall and access easy enough for a child to control.
Remember, a child’s bedroom is a separate place in the house where they can show their own personality. It’s the one room where they can really express themselves. Let them freely decorate and control this important space.
The perfect bedroom is no longer a place in which to merely sleep. The humble bedroom has morphed into one of the most important private spaces in a home.
The modern perfect bedroom now reflects the personalities and lifestyles of the occupants. Even guest bedrooms are not spared from chic options, creature comforts and bursts of style.
New Rule #1: Consider the
What can you see from the window? Which rooms are adjacent? Are there
privacy or noise issues? How does the air flow through the room? Are there any
interesting architectural features? Does the room have good natural light?
Depending on the answers to these questions, your perfect bedroom design decisions may take a different direction from what you may have first envisaged.
New Rule #2: Function before
The functionality of your bedroom must work FIRST. You could have the most stylish bedroom in the world. However, if it doesn’t perform the function of a bedroom you will soon be frustrated and dissatisfied.
For example, you may love sheer curtains but if they don’t provide the privacy you require then they are not functional. OR, if your home is near a railway line or noisy neighbours then maybe double-glazing IS an option worth considering.
Measure spaces for all furniture, rugs and wall art; DON’T wing it. I recently redesigned a master suite for clients when it became obvious their architectural plans would not fit a Queen-size bed. True story.
New Rule #3: Layering is the
Start with the biggest items first; floor, walls and ceiling. Decide on a neutral colour palette in whites, taupes, greys or a pastel – cool blues and greens or warm pinks. Then co-ordinate your bedding. This provides the biggest opportunity for impact in terms of colour and texture.
The new rules love a mixture of tones and textures with linen, cotton,
faux fur, velvet, patterns and block colours being mixed with different sized
pillows and cushions. Don’t match; MIX… on the bed at least.
If you don’t want a colourful bed then opt for accessories, such as cushions and throws, with lots of texture but a narrow colour palette – for example, all white, all beige, all cream, all grey.
Amp up the style with knotty wool, tassels, self-patterning and embossed fabrics. High-quality bed and plush accessories add interest without overcrowding the room.
It may seem odd that I’m writing about having a real or authentic home. I mean, it’s YOUR home so it’s totally authentic, right? So why do homeowners hire an interior designer?
Many people hire a decorator or interior designer for different reasons. Often they have no time to do it themselves, even though they want an authentic home that’s personal to them.
However the most common reason for hiring an interior designer is because most people don’t trust their own instincts and ideas. Of course, I don’t want to do myself out of a job because I LOVE what I do.
However, I also discuss with my clients the importance of having a home THEY love. It’s not my role to tell clients what to do. Moreover, my role is to interpret what a client wants in the most functional and stylish ways. And maybe break a few design rules along the way.
Getting Your Authentic Home
The atmosphere or feeling of a room is very important. In addition, this translates to the style and theme of the whole house.
For example, it would seem a little strange to have a minimalist living space but a kitchen that is rustic country or Hamptons inspired.. Instead, aim for interiors, and exteriors, that convey YOUR loves and lifestyle.
Tapping Into Your Neighbourhood
In order to create a real or authentic home, pay attention to the architecture of your home both inside and outside. Take photos of your home, its garden and your immediate neighbourhood.
Walk around your neighbourhood to take in the ‘flavour’ of where you live. Make notes that describe how you feel about what you are seeing. It’s very likely you purchased the home because of the style it’s style, the land and views, or the neighbourhood.
Can you take some of those exterior concepts indoors? This will create another level of authenticity in your home.
Authentic Homes Live
Don’t be afraid to mix styles. For example, if you live in a heritage home don’t feel you have to be a slave to the period. You can acknowledge the heritage whilst creating your own wonderful juxtaposition of styles.
This not only creates a personality-filled home but it’s also very authentic to your loves and lifestyles. As always, love where you live.
One of the hardest interior design elements with which homeowners grapple is in the area of colour. Most people don’t want to live with a riot of colour.
However, most people don’t want to live with cool and boring interiors either. So where is the balance? Right here.
See some unexpected colour combinations that will excite and inspire you on our Colour Combo Pinterest board
#1 The 60/30/10
As a guide for beginners, divide your colours into 60%
primary or dominant colour, 30% a secondary colour and 10% an accent color.
This enables you to use colour without a room appearing unbalanced.
Tap in to the emotional connection you have with a
space. Cool colours are calming and warm colours are more active. What colours
truly appeal to you? Find a connection and be confident with your choices.
Colours for Vibrancy
These are the colours opposite each other on a colour wheel – yellow + purple, red + green, blue + orange – they are strong yet they work together.
So if you love one, try bringing in the other one but at different levels – one dominant and the other secondary. Use black as the accent colour to tone it all down.
These are good neighbours on the colour wheel. They
are similar so they look good together providing a cohesive and casual feel.
They can be bold or pastel, thing yellow with green or blue with violet. You
choose the intensity.
Small room? Choose a bright colour and paint the floor
and walls in the same colour. The connection between wall and floor is blurred
giving the illusion of a bigger space.
Cool colours recede and warm colours come towards you.
To make a small room seem bigger, use cool colours. To make a large room feel
cosier, use warm colours.
#7 Add Black
When using bright or bold colours, black will inject
some sophistication. When using pastel colours, black will stop a room feeling
too childish (unless it’s a child’s room)
#8 Warm Up /
Create warmth with red, orange and yellow (although
not too much in a bedroom) and cool a room down with greens and blues to create
a fresh palette.
#9 Neutrals Are
You can create impact with neutrals but they don’t
have to be white and beige. Consider warm golds, rich caramels, and relaxing
pastels in green, pink, blue, mint and grey.
Use colours from your past as inspiration. Live with what you love. Embrace colour that’s meaningful.
Grab HEAPS of cool ideas with colour and paint on our Pinterest board dedicated to Paint .
Home styling tips don’t require a renovation or hours spent with an interior designer. Whilst interior designers have an expert eye and can save you from making expensive mistakes, with a few styling tips you can personalize any room.
You could say that ‘styling’ is the art of arranging of objects so they are pleasing to the eye. A home should never be ‘perfect’. A home should be relaxed, stylish, surprising, entertaining.
So having items off-centre or injecting a surprising colour is a fun way to showcase your personality. The home styling tips shown here are not exhaustive but they are easy to execute.
Home Styling Tips for Your Living Room:
– if you have different table lamps then keep the side
tables uniform to show cohesion
– inject curves into an angular room with rug patterns, a round ottoman, or a curved arm to a chair
– if you have matching furniture then mix up the colours and
patterns in the cushions
– use a rug to ‘ground’ the conversation area
– inject a bold colour even in a small way, such as a vase
or the trim on a cushion
Home Styling Tips for Your Bedroom
– keep the bedroom restful but personality packed
– use fun and quirky items that have no place in another room. This is your private space so let your hair down
– have a calming tonal palette but use pattern and texture
to liven things up
– in a small bedroom don’t use large-scale fabric prints as they will make the room feel smaller
– fresh flowers are never out of place in a bedroom
Home Styling Tips for Your Kitchen
– have a beautiful tray laid with a jug of lemon and mint
infused water and gorgeous glasses
– add the warmth of wood, natural fibres and ceramics to a
black and white kitchen
– place your stylish soap dispenser and hand cream on a hand
thrown pottery plate
– create a vignette using an upright wooden chopping board,
a mix of fruits, a plate stand, artisan bread and interesting old cutlery
– buy a fabulous copper pot and display it on the cooktop
I’ve never been one to play by the rules (just ask my Mother) so I do like to break a few design rules in my interior design work too. If you want to create edgier décor, then be open to breaking a few design rules… just like these.
#1 Art Should Always Be Hung
At Eye Level
The question here is at whose eye level should art be hung? People with
differing heights usually populate homes. Moreover, we don’t stand around looking
at the walls. We lie on the floor, sit on chairs, lounge on sofas, and relax on
Try placing a large artwork on the floor (secure it if you have children). Hang an artwork high up on a flight of stairs to draw the eye up and be a point of difference. Play with size and scale by mixing up the prints and frames for an eclectic effect.
#2 Always Match Timbers
As an interior designer, I am never a fan of matchy-matchy anything let alone timbers. When faced with timber floors, wooden kitchen cupboards, wooden furniture and wooden doors homeowners can panic about matching all the woods. Natural timbers are warm with a unique personality.
Timber works fabulously with almost anything including concrete, stone, metals, tiles, etc. This is one of the silly design rules you shouldn’t be afraid to break. However, don’t mix more than 3 or 4 timbers and choose woods with similar undertones (warm or cool).
#3 Never Mix Metals
Again, matchy-matchy usually breeds boring interiors. Mixing metals adds character and depth to interiors especially in wet areas. The trick is to mix cool metals – stainless steel, chrome, silver – with warm metals – copper, brass, rose gold, gold.
I am obsessed with black metal windows, as they don’t ‘frame’ the view they blend it and seem to disappear. So if you choose black metal frames for window or art, mix with warm copper lights or other warm metals.
#4 Paint Your Ceilings White
Why? I often recommend painting a ceiling in quarter strength of the wall colour. This creates a cosy room with an intimate feel.
Painting a ceiling in a darker colour will draw the eye down so you can focus on the view or another feature. Even wallpaper a ceiling for drama or a calming effect.
#5 Paint Small Spaces White
This is the worst ‘rule’ ever. Absolutely break this silliest of design rules. A tiny powder room wallpapered in a bold print looks amazing. Dark colours in a small room can make it look bigger because it blurs the wall lines, especially if it has great natural light.
Natural light will help a darkly decorated room feel warm. Add reflective surfaces and mirrors to expand the space.
If you’re thinking of renovating, then please check out more expert design tips on this blog including expert renovation advice you may not have considered and renovation preparation before you start.