Top 5 Renovation Tips For Your Home


Wouldn’t it be great if you could fast-forward your renovation project to the grand reveal? That way, you could take a sneak peek at the final design and be relieved that all those decisions made along the way worked out in the end.

We don’t have a crystal ball to offer, but we do have some great renovation tips from our brand ambassadors Shannon Vos, former winner of The Block, and Geneva Vanderzeil, Australia's favourite DIY enthusiast. Both have lived through multiple projects and not only survived but created inspirational spaces. Here are their top five renovation tips for those just starting on their journey.

1. Seek help when you get stuck

Can’t decide between stripped or floral wallpaper? The budget may not stretch to include an interior designer but doesn’t mean you are left to figure it out on your own.

Step into any homeware or building supply store, and you are likely to find an expert who can put some ideas together for you at no cost, says Shannon. It may not be a formal plan, but often they will show you what has been popular in-store.

“Also, seek out advice from tradies who can give you an honest opinion on what will and won’t work,” he said. “You might have your heart set on a showerhead that looks great, but maybe it isn’t going to be practical. These guys work with these types of products all the time, so listen to their advice.”

Mood boards are also a fabulous place to start your renovation journey. Geneva is a huge fan as they gather all her ideas for a project into one spot. Showing friends and family your design options is another tip, although be prepared to be swamped with differing opinions.

“I asked my followers to help us choose a colour palette in our home, and I love it so much! I also asked them to weigh in on the patterning of our bathroom tiles,” Geneva said.

2. Make your budget work for you

Renovating with champagne tastes on a beer budget? Remember, no matter how tempting, stick to the plan when it comes to spending on your project.

The good news is it is possible to swap some expensive finishes for something similar but less pricey. The trick is making it not look obvious. For instance, quartz or granite can be an ideal replacement for marble.

“In the kitchen, try and skip the cheap bench option if you can, but this doesn’t mean you have to blow the budget,” Geneva said. “My pick is a wooden one that will age well. But if you must go with laminate, then choose a matte finish that doesn’t scream basic. Another tip is to laminate with a timber edge; then you get the best of both worlds.”

When competing on TV show The Block Glasshouse, Shannon was lucky to win some much-needed cash to top up his budget. Unfortunately, in the real world, there are no such prizes on offer. Only your own hard-earned or borrowed cash. “It is important to work out where you are going to spend and where you are going to try and save,” Shannon said.

Some budget-savers include using open basic shelving rather than getting a customised wardrobe or pantry installed. Try steam-cleaning before ripping up any old carpet. And while floor-to-ceiling tiling in the bathroom is favourable, it is more of an aesthetic choice than functional.

3. Start small and have fun

Don’t make every room a major production. Sometimes, all it takes is a lick of paint and some new floor staining to rejuvenate a space stated Geneva.

One of her renovation tips is to create your own collection of paint swatches. Buy sample pots and paint a regular A4 piece of paper with the name of the colour written in the corner.

“This saves me from having to swatch or test colours every time I do a project,” Geneva said. “I can just pull out my box of swatches, tape them on the wall and figure out which palette will work best. It also allows me to see how the paint colours look in a different light and against other colours in my home.”

Add a little personality to your interiors by mixing in textures and materials. Antiques are a fabulous way to bring out the charm and character of your home. Upcycling is also a thrifty option for first-time renovators.

4. Don’t forget the lighting

Renovators are often so focused on what to put in their newly created space that they forget about setting the right mood with lighting.

If money is tight, you can come back to lighting down the track. Shannon recommends asking your electrician to ‘rough in’ some additional cabling ready to add a feature pendant light or wall TV. “When the time is right, the cable is there and ready for what is known as the fit-out,” he said.

Lamp shades are an inexpensive way to brighten up a space, and even better, they don’t require an electrician. “If you’re dealing with poorly placed lights or bad bulbs, add some lamps to a space to give it a warm feel,” said Geneva.

And resist using downlights, fluros and predictable pendants in the kitchen. Instead, invest in something unexpected, like a basket or an antique fitting to add some personality.

5. Focus on the end goal

Your renovation is likely to turn your life upside down for a while. If you decide to stay at home while the work is being completed, it will undoubtedly be chaotic and messy.

“The amount of dust is just crazy,” said Shannon, who has just spent the past two years living through his latest renovation. “Remember renovation doesn’t just affect you, it impacts your spouse, your kids, your work life – so go easy and make sure you do it right the first time so that you don’t have to come back and spend lots of money doing it again.”

While Shannon wouldn’t necessarily recommend staying in your home while doing the work, the upside is that it saves a lot of money. While it is ‘doable’, his one tip for staying sane during the project is not to be ‘too precious’ about your home.

“When you have 30 trades walking around putting muddy footprints everywhere – you have to just suck it up and let them do their job – you can clean up afterwards,” he said. “I would have just hated to have paid rent for six months – that would be a killer.”

With these tips in mind, as well as the most common mistakes to avoid, you should be ready to tackle a renovation with gusto. Start looking for your inspirations, create your mood board and set yourself some plans – including a budget. Before you know it, you’ll be living in your dream home.


DISCLAIMER - The information provided is for guidance and informational purposes only and does not replace independent business, legal and financial advice which we strongly recommend. Whilst the information is considered true and correct at the date of publication, changes in circumstances after the time of publication may impact the accuracy of the information provided. LJ Hooker will not accept responsibility or liability for any reliance on the blog information, including but not limited to, the accuracy, currency or completeness of any information or links.

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