It’s difficult to renovate in a challenging building market. As expert interior designers we’ve seen it all. Here are our top tips on how to prepare for a home renovation. 

We all know that ‘home is where the heart is’. The past couple of years have seen Australians put even more of that love into their homes. And renovations are at an all time high. But now the building market is soaring. This is due to increased demand for labour and construction materials and a shortage of both.

If you’ve been waiting to renovate your dream home, you may have experienced the lengthy delays and increased costs. We hear your frustration. As interior designers in Brisbane we’ve seen and experienced it all for ourselves!

This series – Renovating During a Soaring Building Market – will bring some understanding and peace of mind for your renovation project. So don’t cancel your renovation plans or fret about delays. Take a deep breath and take things step by step.

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How to Prepare for a home renovation

Step 1: Breathe. Plan. Repeat.

If you’re impacted by time delays or budget blow outs, your first step is just to breathe. It might be slower than normal, but things will get done.

So, take a deep breath. Then take action by planning the next step that you need to take. If they’re not already, lists and schedules will be your new best friends. As you calmly plan over a quiet morning coffee, you can prep so you’re prepared to act as soon as materials arrive or your builder calls to say they’re ready to go.

Planning the next step can include:

  • Getting your plans done and signed off for every aspect of your renovation. This includes cabinetry, plumbing, electricals or painting.
  • Selecting every item needed for renovation that you can. This includes all fixtures and fittings and furniture and soft furnishings.
  • Scheduling quotes from your chosen shortlist of builders and tradespeople.
  • Once you have confirmed quotes, booking in your trades, especially for construction.

Step 2: Lock in meetings

Your next step is to lock in on-site meetings. Include builders, interior designers (that’s us!) and tradespeople that you need to confirm their scope of work. Be sure to get a quote early too. 

As you agree on quotes, plan your renovation and it ultimately gets under way, these are important, ongoing relationships to have established. With these established you’ll be ready to act once the stars align and the work can start.

It’s important to be able to talk to your builder if a quoted item comes in higher than expected. You need to be comfortable asking for recommendations that will suit your budget. Construction costs can vary due to the size of their teams, their overheads, the type of projects, as well as the various tradespeople (such as cabinetmakers) that they engage. Get across this information, and get your point of view across as well.

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Step 3: Engage an interior designer

You may have been trying to plan your renovation without engaging an interior designer. But we can honestly say when you’re asking how to prepare for a home renovations, especially  at difficult times such as the construction industry is now facing, an experienced interior designer can be your best asset. They can save you both time and money with their design expertise and industry knowledge.

An experienced interior designer adds enormous value in guiding you through to a beautiful interior space that perfectly suits you and your lifestyle. They recommend how to create flow and functionality in your home. And they can advise on the best materials and finishes from flooring to cornices. 

So, whether you’ve already finalised your plans or have no plans at all, we can expertly design your interior space. And ensure you’re getting just what you’re looking for.

Having a fully documented set of plans and specifications, allows builders to more accurately quote your project. You know that the selections priced are ones you like and have approved. This minimises the list of items with provisional sums in your builder’s quote.

We also guide you through the process and help you work out where you can save money. We know how to work within your budget, who to contact and how to manage the stresses that can arise. This is particularly important in the current renovation climate. With material shortages your first choice may not always be available. But we can guide you to find the best alternatives, or find innovative solutions to get you the result you need despite the circumstances.

Step 4: Plan your spaces

Step 4 is to use your interior designer to start planning your spaces. In fact, a huge benefit of engaging an experienced interior designer in the current soaring building market, is that we can space-plan to suit your soon-to-be renovated area.

Even if your renovation is delayed, we can help you to envisage your dream space. We create design concepts for your interior as well as space planning. This means you will have floor plan reviews and computer rendered drawings, including plans, elevations, perspectives and renderings. You can hold the plans in your hands, which will help you to envisage the space and also plan each next step.

Step 5: Move forward in stages

Step 5 is to consider moving forward in stages. This will help you determine how to prepare for a home renovation. It’s also particularly useful if the building quote comes in higher than you expect. Or if you aren’t prepared to compromise in certain areas of your renovation.

Your options in that case might be to:

  • Ask for builder recommendations to suit your budget.
  • You may need to refine your plans around your budget. Square metres have the greatest impact on budget. But a builder can make some small changes to design for big gains in savings. For example, they could reduce ceiling height to reduce cuts in plaster sheets. Or they could add a post to reduce costs in steel work for those large exterior door openings.
  • Speak to the bank to see what you can afford. You may have access to more equity than you realise, or be able to negotiate a better deal with your lender.
  • Increase your savings. Sometimes it makes sense to hang back for a little while and save some more money if your quote has come in too high. A short delay might be worth a home that suits you better.
  • Do a part of the renovation first. This might allow you to stay in your home if you were previously having to move out. It can also give you some additional time to save towards the next stage of the reno.
  • Don’t wait for decorating. Working with your interior designer you can space plan your new room area to determine the purpose, functional requirements and basic layout. And you can begin selecting fixtures and furniture to suit your lifestyle and budget.
  • Get prepared. Save time by packing non-essential things away. This can prepare you to move out for your renovation. Or it will simply to allow space for your builder and designer to work.

Patience is a virtue

As we talked about in our last post Preparation is Key, remember that patience is a virtue. This is particularly true when determining how to prepare for a home renovation. Planning all that you can, and establishing good relationships with your construction team, will help bring you a feeling of control over the renovation process.

Allowing plenty of time to achieve your renovation goals and making peace with the timeline delays, will help you to stay focussed on what will (eventually) happen – a beautiful interior space that will suit yours and your family’s lifestyle. Remember that everything happens for a reason. Your renovation won’t happen overnight, but it will happen. And it will be amazing.

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What Else to Expect From the Renovating During a Soaring Building Market Series?

RESOURCES TO HELP YOU GET STARTED on how to prepare for home renovation

As expert Brisbane interior designers, we’d love to chat to guide you through how to prepare for a home renovation. Get in touch so we can make a time to talk through your renovation goals.

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