Tell us: Do you have any home renovation regrets?

Isidora Markovic
5 May, 2017
last modified: 11 May, 2017

Renovating your home is rarely a straightforward process!

With the potential for clashing ideas to arise along the way, it may be the case that by the time the work is finally finished, everything is not quite as you imagined!

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Have you ever made a renovation decision that you regretted later - either immediately after seeing the finished product, or a little while on? How did you deal with it?

Get sharing below!

Comments (32)

  • K. Donovan

    We once decided to fit radiator pipes from the floor rather than coming out from the wall in a bathroom we were replacing, because the wall was lathe and plaster. We ended up having to replace the wall with plasterboard due to it's condition but went ahead and fitted the pipes in accordance with our original plans. It was only a minor issue in the grand scheme of the project but as everything else in the room (except the bath) was wall mounted, it was a pain having to clean around them. We've never done it since though so it was a helpful lesson to learn. Although the main criteria for renovating might be the finished look, ease of cleaning is right up there too in my opinion!

  • munchkino
    We were inexperienced at home renovations and bought our bathroom tiles based on what they looked like and nothing else, they were natural stone and looked beautiful in the showroom. However they were a nightmare to cut, many shattered and had to be replaced, and the worst thing is that they look awful in the wet room, they show every water mark, they release their natural mineral which looks like rust, and they never ever look clean!
  • Joanna Biddolph

    Oh, yes. Not thinking about changing the direction the doors opened. The refurbishment included total rewiring so if I turn them round now, the switches will be behind the doors. I am so angry with myself! Especially as I have lots of lamps on two-way switches - I bothered to do that and forgot about the doors.

  • tamp75
    Same as Joanna. I naively thought the electrician would think through best placement of light switches as door openings were shown on the plan but he didn't. We managed to change most that needed changing but was too late for one in the build so we left it. It's not actually a huge problem, just a little annoying.
  • PRO
    Bespoke Interiors Global

    Starting a job for a unfriendly customers, at first they don t know nothing, and don t know what they want ,

    then they pick our brains,

    then once they think they know it all,

    they TRY to became total control freaks,

    TRYING to tell us how to do our jobs,

    please leave us professionals, alone to do our work

    , just tell us what you want ,

    don t tell us how to do it , that is our job to figure out what and how to do it ,

    when a customer is looking over my shoulders and then they want to implement a ridiculous idea that total would not work and not look good,advised by us not to do it , they become very persuasive for it to be done,

    now its been done , not matching the plans, and its not looking good, and sticks out like a sore thumb ,and a total miss match

    and then when, they put it on show , then its being critized ,by the visitors , then it us the builder/fitters get the blame

    my regret is ,

    i should not listen to them, and stick to original plans,

  • Joy Spiers

    It's a shame that our mistakes dominate our successes; achieving tasks not previously attempted are a great success in the university of life. Live and learn always and yes, hindsight is a wonderful thing! I'm in the process of a building project with my marvellous son Edward doing the work for me. We have demolished an ancient kitchen and bathroom and rebuilt on a larger footprint with underfloor heating. My only regret so far, and we haven't finished the job, is that I didn't include a zone of underfloor heating outside under the area to be paved for outdoor entertaining. Not a big issue, but someone else might like to consider it.

  • Janina Glover

    I thought having the bathroom window made out of wobbled frosted glass was a good idea - so you can't be seen from the outside. However, when I saw my kids in the bathroom in the evening when the light was on inside, well, you could still see quite a lot. Plus from the inside, because you can't look out, it feels like you are in a windowless room. Next time it's half hight curtains.

  • laurielarx

    I feel for you, Bespoke Interiors Redbridge! Rest assured that you're not the only profession in which some customers insist, against advice, on taking things in a certain direction - only to be aghast when it ends up a dog's breakfast.

    Building and trades work is incredibly complex and interdependent. It requires knowledge of physics, engineering, mathematics, materials science and more, that the average person just doesn't have. But try telling that to someone who's watched Kirsty knock on a wall and blithely say, 'This can come down'!

  • Luciana

    Janina, I had the same problem with our frosted glass bathroom window; my solution was to put a large plant on the windowsill - privacy restored!

    My main regret is not installing a fan in our basement utility room; it gets very humid when the dryer is on.

    Buying two 'stylish, trendy, contemporary basin taps' that make an awful noise when used.

    Also, as other have mentioned, not checking electricians' work - we ended up with far too many awkward placed sockets in some rooms and not enough in some other. Plus, we have twelve, 12! light switches in the kitchen; only seven of them working...

  • laurielarx

    I like your bathroom window solution Luciana :) Re your multiplicity of badly done sockets and light switches - ouch! Just goes to show that finding the good builders and tradespeople isn't straightforward. I'm lucky to have one at home :D

  • Amy Martin

    I bought 2 sets of curtains for the whole house because I wanted to save on hiring a professional. I spent over 1k on them and in the end I still went and hired a guy to make a set of made to measure. Money well spent and a lesson learnt.

  • Laraine Clarke
    I regret being talked out of having underfloor heating by my builder especially in the master bath. We also have one door they refused to turn around. Thank goodness it's our forever home and we will not have to go through major renovation again.
  • Wendy White
    I regret not taking my electricians advice and installing an extractor fan in the bathroom. Being quite noise sensitive I didn't want that irritating hum when relaxing in the bath or showering but instead we need to keep the window wide open, even in the depths of winter, to stop the steam causing damp and mould.
  • Roger Vipond

    Regret - not fitting underfloor heating when I re-tiled the kitchen floor, believing it would be very expensive - not so, as I discovered when I had a bathroom renovation!

    (Best decision - fitting a "silent" inline shower extractor in the loft space when I had the bathroom renovated)

  • aoibheann1

    We renovated and extended a 1950s bungalow. My husband and I had different ideas and after many discussions I allowed both the architect and him to persuade me to

    • accept a design I did not like

    • not put in underfloor heating in our extension

    • not to drop down a step for extension

    • keep spotlights in the bedrooms - they don't give enough light

    • replace bath with a shower in our tiny internal bathroom. (We have a shower in the master ensuite). I miss being able to have a long soak.

    • put in glass doors that allow a view from the hall straight through to the garden - there is no privacy.

    • Too much glass in living areas - it gets too hot and glaring. Also we're unable to install a catflap.

    • kitchen - too small, too hot in summer (because of glass), cold in winter (no heating)

    • lack of storage everywhere

    • position of stove in living room

    • position of tv in living room

    • no radiator covers.... etc etc

  • c0ndu1t07
    i had kitchen tiles with the rough surface, having researched about slipperability etc. Disliked them after they were put down Bought lino and initially happy but hate too now.

    Yes, should have had the underfloor heating for winter as i took out radiator for more wall space... got a plinth heater.
  • Joanna Biddolph

    Oh no, aoibheann1. That sounds miserable. I'm sitting here hoping you are plotting to move - and will spring that as a surprise on your husband as revenge.

  • laurielarx

    From all the comments, underfloor heating is emerging as a must-do. Very useful info, and thanks for your honesty peeps!

  • tezz4

    Separate hot and cold taps!!!! Mixers are so much more convenient.

  • Laura Ford-Thomas
    Too many downlighters in the kitchen/family room, as I was concerned about not having enough light and spacing them evenly/working with positions of joists. We've had so many comments about having enough to light a runway!
    The frames for the hoppers on the kitchen window being at my exact eye level so instead of enjoying the view of fields, river and canal, all I get is window frame whilst washing up.
  • Maire
    @aoibheann1 sounds like a nightmare! we are currently doing a similar renovation on a 1960s bungalow hopefully we will learn from some of your regrets! Have you any further advice or recommendations? would love to see photos
  • patoliver9

    I regret not putting down the flooring that I really wanted in our lounge. The lounge connects the entrance to the rest of the house (kitchen and stairs), so I knew it was going to be a major traffic route.

    Unfortunately, we were at the end of a major 2 storey extension and finishing the house throughout while we lived amongst all the dust and dirt and our cash reserves were almost gone, so I opted for the cheapest... carpet. Major mistake.

    Now, 4 years later, we have to clear the room, level the floor and put down the Karndean that should have been installed in the first place.

  • Laraine Clarke
    Did I mention the 12 or more spot lights that were put in our kitchen living room when our back was turned, all on one switch. Talk about an airport runway or a liner in full Sail!

    I know your anguish and disparate. I'm in Therapy!
  • ali270
    Decided our small ensuite bathroom didn't need underfloor heating .....big mistake !
  • Vicki Phillips
    Our electrician installed LED spot lights in the kitchen as he told us they were more cost efficient but they gave me severe migraines. He was not happy when he had to take them out and replace them with halogen fittings which were smaller than the original fittings, so we still have a gap around each light. He did not believe that the LED lights could cause a problem until I showed him the proof on the internet and his supplier told him of other examples of people having problems. It seems the LED have a constant flicker which is not seen but is detected by the brain and it is that which triggers the migraines.
  • Nathalie Martin

    I am so happy with the
    overall outcome of our renovation, that I could never say I regret any of it.
    Our house is so much lighter now and the general energy is much more flowing
    and calm! However, there are a couple of things I would have done differently
    purely because we overspent where we didn’t need to and are now short on funds
    for finishing touches.

    • We rushed to get our kitchen plastered and
      allowed the builders to bring in contractors to finish the job without getting
      a quote first. Although they did a fabulous job, they charged over £2.5k for a
      job that we could have had done for less than half of that.
    • Similarly, we were
      struggling to find the right bed frame. So, when we finally found one we liked
      we jumped straight in and ordered both the frame and an expansive mattress from
      the store on finance. Later we looked at an online mattress store and found the same model for
      significantly less than we had paid, but had already ordered the whole package.

    My takeaways from these: ALWAYS get a quote for any work you’re having done.
    And check online resources before buying/committing to a purchase in store.

  • Lauren

    Whilst I recognise there's a few tradespeople on here bemoaning fussy clients I have to say my biggest regrets when renovating my house was not being specific enough with trades!

    We had an electrician put in an extra light switch in the hall to control both the downstairs and upstairs lighting. He put it in a good 10-15cm lower than the other switch further along the same wall which looked completely ridiculous. Made him move it in line with the other one much to his annoyance.

    Another similar incident was with a vertical column rad for the kitchen - whilst I was specific enough this time to ask it be centered to the wall it was on, he installed it much higher than needed with about 30cm of pipe sticking out the bottom! It would have looked much better in line with the doorframe adjacent. Had to learn to live with that one.

    We had engineered wood floors put in upstairs - the fitter used the shortest wall in the smallest room to take a plumbline from. When it came into the hall it was obviously on a complete wonk. By this point I'd gotten a bit better at speaking up and ensuring we actually got what was needed (and paid for!). He had to take it up and re-lay using the hall as the plumbline. Looked so much better but he was extremely annoyed!

    After all this I learned to use masking tape to direct exactly where pipes/light switches/trim should be fitted so there was no room for 'interpretation'. I also forced myself to speak up more and advocate for what I really wanted. That said I'm a designer by trade so I generally know what I want and how to make it look good but was definitely a bit too shy to contradict trades in the beginning!

  • cavgirl
    Ditto re speaking up. Four years ago I came up with the idea of combining talavera tiles with travertine as a splashback. First problem was I ordered the wrong size tiles by mistake; I wanted 7x5 and ended up with tiny mosaic style bricks.

    Then I hadn't counted on the travertine being so pinky peach in my kitchen, particularly at night. And next to cream cabinets... Horrible. And I did get samples, but because it's natural stone it's so variable. I knew I hated it when the tiler was doing it, but hoped it would be ok when everything was done.

    Nope. I hated it every day for a full year until I convinced my father to cover it with easipanel beadboard; MUCH more my style and works better with the traditional diamond chequered floor too.

    The positive side was that when I was doing major renovations the following year and came in to find the tiler tiling the bathroom floor with the wrong floor tiles (despite having pointed out the correct ones) at least I had the confidence to stop him and correct him. AND insist on cream/white grout with the very pale whitewashed style floor tiles in the living room and hall. He said it would be a nightmare but I insisted ... and I'm so glad I did. Standard grey grout would have looked wrong and argued against the effect I wanted to achieve.
  • dorsetdor

    Wish I'd stuck to our plans for a concrete subfloor in our remodelled kitchen and extension. As our architect had drawn up what turned out to be rubbish half-a-job-harry plans we appointed an experienced (=pricey) builder who persuaded us that he would do the best job of making up for the short-falls. In fairness in many ways he did live up to his promise BUT, he argued persistently and ultimately successfully, in favour of installing a timber suspended floor. I know there's nothing inherently wrong with going down that route - the big bonus was a quicker drying out time so that the finished floor could go down sooner (so he kept going on and on about!) plus we could examine our foundations which was of genuine interest to us due to historic issues with subsidence like cracks (all fine).

    SO imagine our disappointment when this super duper floor moved due to the new joists drying out ( i assume) at an inconsistent rate (I reckon due to UFH). We now have a creaking floor with huge gaps under the skirting and the Karndean LVT showing all sorts of lumps, bumps and gaps. It will all need to be redone. To top it all we are stuck with ventilation mushrooms at the corners of the patio which are attached to pipes beneath which keep the air beneath the floor circulating.

    The lessons learnt - pay well for a good architect and if poss go with a builder who knows them (or vice versa). We tried to get a good one on-board once the project started but nobody decent would oblige (too much work around here so no need for them to get involved half way - dont blame them!)

    I need therapy too!

  • rosiewaite14

    Thanks for all the info.

  • Kayte Mosse

    Painting the windowless bathroom walls coffee brown. The bathroom shrank instantly and felt like a prison cell. I even screamed in fright. The same colour on the rest of the walls in apartment and they look great. Natural light is important if painting in dark/deep colours.

  • Fiona Ambrose
    Oh no! I'm going to go home and check our bathroom window frosting now!!

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