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Home Renovation 101: 30 Do's and Don'ts You Should Know

Updated on April 8, 2017

My wife told me one evening she bought 3 paintings online. She'd found the walls in our apartment plain and wanted to decorate them. “I hope they’re pretty,” I prayed.

The pictures came, and they’re beautiful… however, they’re humungous! Hanging them on the walls would be unsightly. My wife’s forgotten about a renovation rule: Consider scale and proportion. What a waste.

Our home isn’t just a living space, it’s an extension of our personality – when we walk into the house, it’s got to look right, it’s got to feel right. It’s also a place where we spend a great deal of our time in and with our loved ones. What’s more, for many of us, our residential property is the most valuable asset we own. it’s little wonder why we pay close and special attention to how our house is decorated.

However, if a house renovation or remodeling isn’t done thoughtfully, it’ll look a mess. Visualize walking into a residence where the living room is retro style, the kitchen is countryside inspired, and the rooms are Victorian… I guess you get the picture. Such mistakes could be costly to rectify.

Much had been written about interior design, not so for renovation/remodeling works. Therefore, this article’s written to provide you with meaningful renovation tips. Armed with the right knowledge, we hope your home refit would be carried out smoothly, the project can be completed on time, and you may even save some costs.

Actions and Inactions that Spell D-I-S-A-S-T-E-R

Let’s first identify some common renovation mistakes people tend to make:

Renovation Mistakes
Possible Consequences
1. Not assessing their personal needs before engaging interior design and/or renovation professionals
Uncomfortable living space; Items out of place
2. Not considering how different parts fit together in the grand design
Eye sore
3. Proper design drawings and floor plans/layouts not done, or relying on rough sketches before renovation work commences
Outcome below expectations; Frequent changes throughout the renovation period; Disputes with the contractors
4. Keep changing their mind
Project delays; Cost overrun
5. Unrealistic budget
Contractors cut corners; Quality of materials used compromised
6. Poor or late preparations
Deadline not met; Existing furniture, fixtures, and/or fittings damaged
7. Ignoring issues
Time wastage causing delays; Rework resulting in unnecessary expenditure
8. Having cluttered, uncomfortable spacing in the bathroom or toilet
Movements restricted; Personal injuries
9. Owner playing the role of a general or main contractor by coordinating the schedule of the subcontractors themselves to save costs
Undesirable outcome; Needless additional expenditure; Project completion delayed
10. Choosing a renovation contractor based solely on price, and not considering other important evaluation criteria like skill, experience, and quality of workmanship
Lower quality workmanship and materials used; Problems start surfacing not long after renovation completed
11. Starting work without a contract and a plan
Potential disputes and disagreements with the contractors
12. Not getting appropriate permits
Fines and penalties imposed by the authorities; Dismantling and rework, resulting in additional costs
13. Rushing the renovation or remodelling process
Poor workmanship; Deliverables below expectations; Additional costs incurred to fix issues

So, be thoughtful, careful, and seek the right people for advice, and you’ll be able avoid these mistakes.

Home Renovation 101

What about stuff we should do so that our home reno will be tip-top? That’s what we’ll talk about next…

Essential Renovation Tips
Positive Outcome
14. Ensure proper prep work is done
Deadline met; Existing items like furniture, fixtures, and fittings remain intact
15. Take accurate measurements
Things fit well in their rightful place
16. Have scale and proportion in mind for all aspects of the project – especially for small apartment units
Balanced, uncluttered, and pleasing décor
17. Cater for adequate storage space
Unsightly items stored out-of-sight; Clutter minimised
18. Plan ahead for furniture, custom cabinetry
Adequate space allocated for customised furniture; Furniture design congruent with the rest of the house
19. Choose appropriate flooring and flooring design
Convenient to move about; Easy maintenance
20. Use the right paint
Longer lifespan of the paint
21. Have adequate ventilation
Need for mechanical ventilation and cooling reduced, thereby saving utility costs
22. Consider lighting early; Use proper lighting (ambient, task, and/or accent)
Appealing lighting design; Adequate lighting
23. Don’t buy cheap materials
Cost of maintenance and replacement reduced
24. Order extra flooring and wall covering
In case supplies no longer exist, there’re materials on hand for repairs in the future
25. Don’t skimp on things you can’t see, like waterproofing membranes
Need for repair due to wear and tear is prolonged
26. Cater for space to place the appliances
Neat, uncluttered layout
27. Consider layout before installing electrical, and don’t overload the electrical circuitry
Adequate electrical outlets within reach for usage
28. Use environmentally-friendly products, like LED lighting
Save the Earth
29. Consider ageing residents
Moving around the house is safe and convenient for them
30. Don’t compromise safety for good-looks
The house is truly a safe haven

Back to Our Story

My wife insisted on getting new paintings to be hung on the walls, but I was hesitant. Then one afternoon I had a Eureka moment… I could cut the paintings down to the correct size and re-frame them. If I were to do it myself, I could even save some costs!

So, it became a weekend project. And this was what I did:

  1. Measured the walls.
  2. Determined the new length of the painting by multiplying the width of the wall it’d be placed on by a factor of 0.57.
  3. Hung each painting such that the center of the painting was 160 cm from the floor.

The results turned out better than I had hoped for.

Tell Us Where You Get Your Renovation Ideas from

Where do you usually source for renovation ideas?

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