Your Essential Checklist to Plan Ahead for a Renovation Project
Make sure your home design project runs as smoothly as possible by ticking off these tasks before you begin
Before you work out how you’ll renovate, it’s important to assess why. Ask yourself what it is you’d like your home to do, or how you’d like to feel while you’re in the space.
Do you want more room, or just more storage? Or are you hoping to feel calmer and more relaxed at home? Do you find your home too dark?
If you identify your real motive for renovating, it should keep you focused on your ultimate goal.
There are probably things you need to do to your home, and other things you’d love to do if money were no object. Make a list that includes everything, then go through and edit it.
Divide the list into a ‘must-have’ column and a ‘nice-to-have’ column. This will help you make clear decisions when it comes to planning your project. You can include the essentials straight away, and add in any non-essentials later if budget allows.
When it comes to planning a room, the endless array of styles and design options can be overwhelming. If you’re feeling spoilt for choice, the key is to find as much inspiration as possible, then whittle it down.
Search images on Houzz and save your favourites to an ideabook. After a while, you’ll begin to identify which kinds of spaces you’re saving most often. These favourite colours and styles are the ones you’re most likely to find appealing long term.
A key goal of many home projects is to design storage, but, before you do, take time to work out what you actually need to store. You might think you have an overwhelming abundance of stuff, but do you actually need all of it?
Schedule time for a few decluttering session. Go through all your belongings systematically, identifying which things you want to keep and which you can give away or recycle. When you’ve finished, you should have a better idea of the exact storage you’ll need now and in the future.
Before you a book a consultation with a renovation professional, it’s worth sketching out some ideas of your own. Draw a rough outline of the room and the layout you have in mind. By providing information for your designer, you’ll give them a better understanding of what you’re hoping to achieve.
The final plans might well be radically different from these initial sketches, but they’ll be built from the insight the designer gets at the start.
The key to a successful renovation project will largely be down to the professionals you hire. Yes, the architect, designer or builder needs to be good, but they should also be the right fit for you.
Take a close look at images of their projects to see if you like their style and workmanship. Also pay attention to reviews from previous clients to get a feel for the way they work. Check out any blogs on their website or editorial elsewhere to see more in-depth explanations of their projects.
During your initial meeting, be aware of how well you get on with the professional and ask yourself if you can imagine working together on a large project?
Find a local professional and read reviews from homeowners by browsing the Houzz Professionals Directory.
It’s important to get a range of quotes, so make a shortlist of three or four professionals to give you an estimate for your job.
Give each renovation specialist as much information as possible to ensure their quotes are as accurate as they can be. This is where your image searches and rough sketch will come in handy.
Finally, don’t just go for the lowest price. Ask the professionals to explain their quotes, which will give you more idea of what they’re offering and the reasons behind it.
To ensure your project is as plain sailing as possible, it’s a good idea to deal with any underlying issues ahead of time.
If you’re hiring an architect or project manager, they’ll be able to bring in a surveyor to assess your property. Or you can find a chartered surveyor on the RICS website.
If you know there’s damp in your home, for example, or the roof needs fixing, you could deal with it before the project starts. Alternatively, talk to your professional about it to see if they can include it in your project.
If you’re hoping to extend your property, or convert the loft, it’s worth doing a little research to see if your plans are feasible.
Councils vary when it comes to the types of extensions and conversions they allow. You can find information about planning regulations in your area by doing a search on your local authority website, which you can find through Planning Portal.
No matter how much planning you’ve done ahead of schedule, there are usually a few unforeseen challenges to deal with along the way.
Plan a budget for your project and put aside 10 to 20% as a contingency fund. This will ensure you can afford unplanned extras without jeopardising your renovation.
Are you planning a renovation project? Will you be using this checklist – and is there anything else you’d add? Share your thoughts and ideas in the Comments section.