1. Plan your renovation properly and stick to your plans, as changing your mind during a project can be cost and can really slow down your progress.
Ensure you apply for and get permission, if needed, from the correct regulatory bodies for your project before you begin work. You will not want to have undo any hard work you undertake because of a technicality.
Do not try to take on a whole property at once, you should work on one room at a time ideally. That being said, do not blow your budget on a single room. New homeowners especially, find this very easy to do. You can initially finish a room and go back to add decoration or other finishing touches later on.
2. Always double, and even triple, check all your measurements and remember that judging perception can be very difficult for an untrained eye.
Whether you are measuring for new stairs, doors, kitchen units, or even just so you can organize your furniture in a different way, accurately measuring is always vital. If measurements are just slightly off it can mean that things do not fit properly and the finish will not look good. The key to an expensive and professional looking finish, even when working to a tight budget, it accurate measuring and taking note of each dimension. Spending that extra time at the start of the project can save you a lot of time and money later down the line.
Ensure that larger installations will actually suit the space. Overly large units, fireplaces, staircases and other installations can ruin the look and feel of a room, and it can be difficult to judge how they will look before they are fitted.
3. Always have a contingency as well as an estimate for costs and materials.
You will want to have a ballpark figure of what you want to spend at the start of a project, but you should always prepare for overspending. Things can change and things can go wrong for any project and if you run out of money before things are finished it can turn a small problem into a disaster.
You must also allow for violations and over cuts of materials. It's advisable to order more than you need and return unused items. Things that can easily be cut short by mistake or broken include molding strips, such as dado and picture rails, stair spindles and handrails lengths and flooring panels.
4. Remember the unseen details. Skimping on the features that are not actually visible can be a big mistake in the long run.
Never ignore structural faults, like cracked walls, as this could create more work in the future. Having things such as adequate drainage, heating and ventilation are absolutely critical in all properties.
Other details to consider are things such as high-quality underlay for floors or linings for wallpaper can have a real benefit. Opting for underfloor heating rather than a luxury rug will keep your feet warmer for longer. Tackle the mundane first and work on the finished decoration later.
5. Consider all options when looking at materials generally. Cost, longevity and appearance should all be considered.
Hardwood floors are popular and can look stunning, but if you have kids and pets, or even if an area has high traffic, laminates may actually be much more suitable. You may also be surprised by the quality, feel and strength of modern laminate and vinyl flooring options.
Granite works can look stunning, but you should look around and consider that cheaper options as well.
Choosing the wrong paint or wood care product can cause problems and may require you to do regular touch-ups. Bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms will need moisture resistant paints. Doors and windows need to be finished correctly at installation and also maintained over time to ensure they are as long as possible.
Remember sometimes it pays to choose the more expensive, longer thinking options, but not always, so do your research.
6. It does not always pay to go for the cheapest options. This goes for materials, furnishings, tools and contractors.
You should shop around and consider all options. Cheaper materials might actually cost more in the long run if they do not last, and you should always look at references and genuine examples of work with contractors as well as prices.
If you are undertaking any work yourself it will pay to invest in some high-quality tools to ensure high standards are met. These tools will usually come in handy at other times later on.
7. Do not be afraid of rearranging more permanent fittings and appliances, such as plumbed features. Adapting the layout of your bathroom or kitchen can have some real benefits in the long run that will outweigh the effort it takes initially. You may be surprised how easy it actually is to move a toilet or shower, and it can make a huge difference to the feel of the room.
8. The latest trend may not always suit your home's style and may not always be practical. You should always consider the heritage and the overall structure of your property and respect it. Some design schemes will just not suit every home.
You will also find that if you follow the latest trends too rarely you can shorten the lifespan of a room as trends change quickly and you can find yourself with something that suddenly looks dated not long after it's finished. Consider choosing a simple base design for a room that you can easily add accessories to when you want to incorporate the latest style choices.