Many of us think that the only good thing about a renovation project is its end. You no longer have to puzzle over how to paint the ceiling. You can finally embark on something more pleasant – decoration and creating coziness.
In this article, we will discuss renovation challenges and how to avoid the most common of them during your project. We take a look at which parts of the work is best delegated to professionals, and what pleasant chores to leave for yourself.
Do you need re-planning first?
It all depends on the base you are starting from. If you are in the new building, which does not have internal walls yet, yes, you can re-plan. For example, combine the kitchen with the living room to create studio type space, or increase room for your kids at the expense of your own bedroom.
Such re-planning is not more expensive than building walls as per the original construction plan, but living in an apartment that is built exactly the way you want it, is much more pleasant.
Often it is much more simple to go ahead without prior re-planning. For example, if repairs need to be done quickly, or if you are preparing an apartment for rent. Then, there is no need to spend extra money on the re-planning project, which may require hiring a professional architect.
In any case, before starting any renovation or re-planning project, make sure that all changes are legal. If your project does not have required approvals, this can harm both you and your neighbors. Moreover, it will be very difficult to sell such an apartment. Understanding renovation/re-planning rules and regulations is also not an easy task.
Many of such rules are in place for many years and may also differ from region to region. In this case, it also may be easier to hire a professional architect to help you understand what can be done and what is not allowed.
Instead of working with plans and calculations, you have a chance to do something a bit more pleasant, such as develop a style for your future apartment, for example. There are dedicated websites with photographs of finished interiors, which will help you with this. Create folders for each room in your apartment and save all inspirational images there. Do not forget to mark what exactly you liked.
Such thematic galleries will help you better understand what you want, find a compromise with loved ones and even explain your requests to an architect or a designer if you decide to order a complete project to one.
Plan electricity after placing furniture
In many renovation projects, it is done the following way – electricity sockets are placed first and then furniture is selected. You need to do the opposite: before planning power outlets and switches, you need to know how the furniture will be placed.
It also helps to know the exact dimensions of the pieces of the furniture, so that there are no unpleasant surprises later. What happens if this is not done? Wall lights appear to be somewhere on the side, and not above the sofa; bedside tables close wall sockets since you did not correctly account for their height.
To avoid these mistakes, it makes sense to hire a specialist to calculate and place switches and power outlets. And take time to think through the lighting scenario. For example, a ceiling lamp should not be placed in the center of the room.
It is more logical to highlight certain areas with such light spots. It could be a large dining table if you plan a dining room. In corners where there is usually not enough light, see if you could floor lamps next to the sofa – the room will immediately become more comfortable. And don’t forget about the final touches – wall lights for reading and backlighting for wall decorations or paintings.
Do not save on preparation tasks and materials
Many tend to think that it is not necessary to spend money and time on preparation and related materials. This work will not be visible when the final renovation is complete. But this is far from the truth.
It will be a shame if, for example, the designer tiles in the bathroom fall off in a month due to a poorly prepared foundation. At the same time, it is also not worth overpaying. For some finishing materials, you do not need a perfectly flat wall.
The rule here is the following: the finer is the finish, the smoother the foundation should be. For example, to put medium-sized tiles in the bathroom, you can either cover the wall with plasterboards and seal the joints between them, or apply a layer of putty mixture and smooth it out.
If you plan to cover the wall with thin wallpaper, the surface should be made as even and smooth as possible in order to avoid the slightest scratches even from construction tools.
Calculation and purchase of materials for renovation is a rather difficult task for a beginner. A professional will better cope with it. A much nicer job is to focus on decoration and color selection.
What is trendy now is matte paints of deep shades, parquet of natural wood color, large-format tiles with concrete or stone patterns. And if you prefer classics, consider wallpaper with geometric patterns and floor cement tiles: relief picture is embossed so deep that it will last forever.
Buy a few spare bathroom tiles
Even if a professional can help calculate the number of tiles required, it is better to take 10-15% in reserve. Even if the tiling work is done perfectly from the first try (which is not always very likely), this reserve may come in handy in the future.
It will be a shame if a tile breaks in a couple of years, and the collection has already been discontinued. It is important not to forget when making this calculation that there will also be tile joints. If you do not take tile joints into account, you will be spending extra. By the way, it is better to select slightly gritty tiles for the floor. It is a bit more difficult to take care of, but you won’t slip.
Choose the color, shape and right functions for your sanitaries. Modern models have many interesting technological features: shower heads simulate rain shower, shower cabins with changing lighting, toilets responding to voice commands. If you plan to have simple white traditional sanitaries, make your highlights with accessories. For example, pick up bright wall lights or order an unusual mirror frame.
Do not start renovation without a budget
Even if it may seem that the amount allocated for the renovation project is certainly enough, make a detailed estimate and a budget. Estimating the cost of the necessary work and materials without calculation is very difficult even for a professional, and an inexperienced one can make mistakes literally in everything.
All required renovation materials should be included in the estimate – not only parquet, but also glue; not only tiles but also grout. The decoration and final finishing materials can be selected to your taste, but foundation materials such as glue and putty should be discussed with the professional, who will do the work.
Agree in advance who will buy all materials: sometimes it is more economical to trust this job to professionals, as they may have discounts in construction stores. Still, it is important to ask for all payment slips and invoices.
Carefully choose professional help
As always, there is more than one option. You can hire private craftsmen or sign an agreement with a large renovation company. Services of craftsmen are usually much cheaper. But, at the same time, unless you are getting a personal recommendation from somebody you can trust, the level of quality is often unpredictable.
When you are working with a larger company, you are insured by the contract. If something goes wrong, there will be someone to complain to. Larger companies are usually following deadlines more strictly. They monitor that their workers do their jobs on time.
It’s easiest to look for craftsmen based on the recommendation of a friend. You can immediately visit their past job site and see for yourself how the work has been done. If none of your friends can share their recent renovation experience, you will likely need to select a professional team via the Internet.
Quite a few renovation teams have their Instagram accounts and post photos of past projects. You can also search for customer reviews and even try to personally contact those who worked with them in the past.
If you find a professional team that knows what they are doing, you only have to show up from time to time and watch how empty walls turn into a dream apartment.
Design your kitchen with a specialist
It can be a designer you hire or consultant, who works in the kitchen retail store. There is a popular rule: three focus points of the kitchen – the refrigerator, the sink, and the stove – must form a “working triangle”. But following this principle is not required.
It is important that all processes in the kitchen are well organized. A sink goes first, then a work surface, then the stove, then again the work surface. A stove should not be near a refrigerator. It is better to integrate household appliances into columns – pre-design sections for an oven and a microwave, allocate space for a kettle and a toaster.
Do not worry, there are many pleasant elements in planning your kitchen. For example, the choice of color of cabinets and texture of countertops, purchase of equipment and selection of textiles. Buy a new set of dishes for the housewarming – such elements create comfort and pleasant feeling.
Buy furniture and lights in different stores
Many furniture brands manufacture full sets – furniture and lights. They are designed for those who do not have a large budget, are not ready to spend a lot of time on decoration. And, at the same time, want their apartment to be furnished all in the same style.
This is a good option, but there are some disadvantages. Such monolithic design can appear as dull. If you do not want your apartment to resemble a showroom, spend time and visit different stores to find collections that will match well together.
Yes, you will probably need to visit half of the city to find something you like. You can also order online, but there are pitfalls. The item you buy may look different in reality, not the same as you saw on the photo. And delivery times could take a while.
If you have done your planning and your budget, this will save a lot of time on trips to different stores. Spend this time on pleasant finishing touches, for example, on choosing paintings or posters, purchasing plants and other decorative elements.
A good approach would be to contact a professional decorator. Not only she will help select textiles and curtains that go well with the overall design, and will calculate the required fabric, but, quite possibly, could also inspire new ideas.