How to Renovate a House
The hardest part of renovating a house is knowing where to begin, but whether you are faced with a fairly simple task or something much more ambitious the same approach to the work involved is needed. To ensure the result you want and to avoid any disasters, the whole job has to be planned properly. Money is also a determining factor in any home improvement scheme, so make sure you work out what you can afford from the start.
Making a Good Start
Before you begin any work, you need to have a clear idea of your requirements and establish your priorities, and you need to make sure the end result is comfortable and practical as well as aesthetically pleasing. For each room, start by asking yourself questions about your lifestyle.
- Who will use the room – will it be for children’s use or will it be an adults-only environment?
- How will the room be used – does it have to be able to accommodate several activities or functions?
- When will the room be used most – during the day, evenings only, or just for entertaining?
Consider Your Lifestyle
Assess each room
- Draw up a scaled plan on graph paper and mark in the fixtures such as windows, doors, alcoves, electrical sockets, telephone or television points. You can then experiment with the layout and visualise problems that may arise.
Take a critical look at the room itself
- Don’t expect to come up with a detailed plan overnight. The best plans usually evolve slowly, so take your time and consider each idea carefully, especially if the renovation work involved is complex.
- What do you like most and least about the room? Don’t forget to consider the practicalities of electrical fittings and storage as well aesthetics such as natural light or the view from the window.
- Which features would you like to accentuate and which would you like to disguise? Answers to these questions will help to determine specific materials or jobs that may need to be done to achieve your goal.
- What fixtures and furnishings are to be retained? Make a note of their size, colour and style as they will form the basis of any new design.
Make an action plan
Once you have a basic idea of what you want to achieve in each room, make a list of all the jobs that need to be done, starting with those that involve the most mess and disruption:
- Structural alterations; extension or alteration of services such as lighting.
- Replace features that need to be changed, like doors, built-in furniture, shelving and curtain track.
- Replace electrical fittings, fit tiles, wall panelling, lay flooring.
- Strip floors, wallcoverings and old paintwork.
- Make good any damage to walls, floors or ceilings, and clean up and wash down paintwork ready for decoration.
- Paint or paper the ceiling and walls, and paint woodwork.
Make a Mood Board
A mood board will help you to create a cohesive room scheme, so once you have an idea of the look you want to achieve, start collecting colour samples, swatches and cuttings from magazines or brochures. A big pinboard is ideal for creating a mood board, but it is worth making a mini-version on card to take with you when you go shopping for accessories.
- For your starting point, use a picture of a room that appeals to you. Fix it in the middle of the board, then pin samples of all the elements in the room around it. Use samples in a size that reflects their proportions as they appear in the room.
- Walls are usually the biggest area, so have a large sample of the paint colour or wallpaper, to give an idea of the impact it will make. Actual paint colours can look different to colour charts, so it’s a good idea to buy a tester pot and try it out on paper.