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3 tips to get your renovation expectations right from the start

Updated: Jul 21, 2022

Running a survey is a great source of information. Running a home renovation survey is a great source of information and a pool of jokes for another decade. Everyone loves a little rant and asking questions such as what you would do different next time provokes really interesting responses!

I found some real diamonds when running the survey myself. To a question ‘What was your biggest lesson?’ someone responded:

Never ever let my wife find and buy a house on her own. "It only needs decorating!" 😅


It sounds sooo familiar! When I bought my first house, I knew that all the finishes, bathroom, walls will go. Yet, when it turned out that windows and stars also need replacing my husband was a bit… terrified. He did think it will be a matter of doing the bathroom, running new wooden floors and decorating. Seriously! Like we just met a day before…

It’s so interesting that it came back in the survey! I felt like it’s almost a case of people lying to themselves, believing that a lick of paint will sort out the problem of a dark, awkward space. Obviously getting carried away and replacing stairs is a bit extreme but in my case, this was the only way to get a decent size bathroom!

As a response to this problem, I would like to share with you my 3 top tips on getting your expectations right from the start.


And I don’t mean here ask everyone around what they would do. In fact you shouldn’t ask anyone’s opinion unless they know exactly as much as you do about what it is you want to achieve.

Pinterest, Instagram, Home Magazines. These are your friends when it comes to research. Create a mood board of spaces you like. Kitchens, livings, bedrooms, bathrooms. Anything you like.

Don’t stop with ‘Ow I love this kitchen! I want one exactly like this’. It may be a case that someone designing this kitchen thought of you and its absolutely perfect but the chances of that are quite small. Analise which elements of the photos you love and like, what works really well and what is absolutely horrible.

Turn on your practicality sense as well. Having a green wall (garden view behind a big window) in the shower is great. Fantastic! But last time I checked my shower in use there was someone naked in it! If you live in a city – we have neighbours. I know, shocking! Of course, there are options such as Smartglass that can turn opaque in seconds but these are very far from budget solutions.

That is why research is really important. It will allow you understand your taste, what do you like, what you don’t like. The fact that you like something doesn’t automatically make it practical or feasible in a space. Just saying…


I can’t repeat that enough. Audit is the most important part of every renovation. And be honest with yourself! If you hate your kitchen cause its small, dark and has impractical layout – the fact that you paint it or replace cabinets will not help. If you have a 3-bedroom house and only 1 bathroom, regardless of how big it would be, there is always going to be a queue in the morning. Perhaps it’s worth trying to squeeze a shower room?

When you audit, remember that the house is not only inside. There is also exterior. Garage? Garden? How are these spaces doing? I’m not saying you have to include them as part of the renovation but… no. Actually, I am saying that.

Going back in time. Terraced house. Renovated 12 months earlier. Now extensive garden works, new patio, pergola, seating area, planters, flower beds. And absolutely no direct street access from the garden. First option is to have muck, concrete, bricks, soil, plants brought in through nicely finished house. Option two is to pay absolutely bonkers sums of money for a cranage. Lesson learned. Make sure the outside is part of your renovation plan and audit. To help you will your current house audit we have a freebie that you can download by clicking the button below 👇

Be realistic!

Remember that renovation its not only nice pictures, choosing colours, hanging curtains. Its dust, dirt, upset neighbours, noise, stress, more dirt, more upset neighbours, stress (level hard) and finally moving in. If you can afford a team of people that will deal with everything and you can only walk into a ready-made house with a toothbrush and suitcase – good for you!

Otherwise, it’s not a bad idea to plan things ahead. If you can’t afford full scope in one hit – phase it. But make it sensibly! So, it doesn’t lead to doing things twice (see above the garden works example). If you can, give yourself a breathing space. To a degree – construction is predictable. You know you will need to choose the bathroom tiles eventually. No point leaving it to a last minute. Choose them, enquiry with the shop have an order ready to go waiting for you to press the ‘order’ button. Make the process as easy as possible for yourself. The more you do before you start, the less stressed you will be and less of an important decision will be hanging above your head. We need that for a sane life.

Once you gone through this process its very unlikely to fall into the belief that a tim of paint and a bucket of good will will sort all your life problems 😉

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