You’ve bought a house, collected your keys, and you’re all set for a home makeover. Hooray! But with so many things to take care of, it’s often easy to overlook things (after all, it is your first renovation). With so much being invested, you need to make sure you do it right the first time. So before you start on your renovation work, get to know 10 common renovation mistakes made by first-time homeowners that can ruin your home makeover experience.
1. Expecting everything to go according to plan
Working on an interior is rarely a process that goes smoothly, even for experienced interior designers. Expect lots of hiccups along the way, no matter how simple your makeover can be. Common problems include manpower and material shortages, as well as unforeseen site constraints that require a change of plans. As much as we all hope for everything to go according to plan, always be prepared for the unexpected.
2. Starting renovation too soon
Before you even start your renovation work, take the time to explore the layout of your new home. Take note of key structures (such as bomb shelters and structural walls), learn the layout flow, and familiarize yourself with the sunshade patterns. Visualise how you want the home to be designed, like where you want the sofa and that bar counter to be positioned. All of this will make it easier for you to explain your preferences and needs to your interior designer.
3. Not setting aside an emergency fund
Most renovation work will be met with unforeseen circumstances along the way, so you should plan for a contingency fund. We recommend setting aside 10 to 20 per cent of your total budget for emergencies just to be on the safer side. Remember, renovations rarely go entirely as planned, and having that extra percentage will help to cushion any unexpected problems.
4. Going for the lowest bid
Good professional help is worth the money. While it can be tempting to go with the lowest bidder for your project, you may risk hiring a professional that cuts corners and skimps on materials (that low cost is usually low for a reason). A good practice is to note down any common numbers offered by the bidders, which is likely the true cost. From here, research on the contractors for their reviews and portfolio before deciding on one to go with.
5. Buying furniture and appliances ahead of time
Ever bought clothes that you’ve had an eye on for a long time, only to find out that it doesn’t fit you at all? That’s what happens when you rush to buy without doing proper planning beforehand. Before getting any furniture or appliances, make sure to get the measurements of your home right. The last thing you’ll want is for that leather sofa to not be able to fit in your living room.
6. Forgetting to plan for the future
Getting too caught in the moment? Then perhaps you’ll want to take it slower and thoroughly think about your future. Thinking of having kids? Or letting your parents move in after they’ve sold their apartment? Then make sure to consider how your home will be utilized a decade or two down the road. Make sure that your home is designed to accommodate any changes in lifestyles, and meet the demands of your family.
7. Skimping on quality
Being stingy is not necessarily a bad thing per se, it’s being financially savvy. However, there are aspects of your renovation that you mustn’t save on, such as built-in appliances, cabinetry and other essential fixtures. These components determine how comfortable your life will be in your new home – would you want to be stuck with a creaking cabinet that doesn’t lock fully or a toilet that doesn’t flush well? Here’s a general rule that you can follow: Splurge on function and save on the decorative.
8. Splurging on the unnecessary
If you’re renovating on a budget (see our tips on how to save on renovation costs here), it’s better for you to save on those designer furniture and expensive lighting fixtures and direct your budget to the essentials like flooring and storage. Treat decorative elements as add ons. Sure, having that rose quartz marble countertop may make your home look fancy, but is it truly worth it? Well, not really if you ask us.
9. Hiring a professional that’s not a good fit
Just because someone has a good portfolio doesn’t mean they’ll be a good fit for you. What matters most is having the same aesthetic and priorities in mind. If the interior designer doesn’t inquire about your needs, preferences, and your lifestyle, then find someone else who will understand you better.
10. Not asking enough questions
Unless you’re working in the interior design or construction industry, chances are, you’ve no idea how to read a HDB floor plan. So don’t pretend to understand but rather, ask any questions that you might have. After all, you are the client and it is your home that’s being renovated. You have the say to everything.
Excited for your renovation journey?
Renovating your home takes a huge bite out of your pocket and time so it’s important that you do it right the first time. If you ever have more questions, contact us and we’ll try to help!