If I had to identify one stage that can cause the most stress when tackling a home refurbishment, renovation or extension, it is most likely to be where mistakes are made. It’s also the area where there is most likely to be overspend. Without a doubt, it is when choosing fixtures and fittings.
Fixtures and fittings include your kitchen, bathroom tiling and sanitaryware, flooring, wardrobes and any other built-in joinery items, internal doors, ironmongery, feature lighting, switches and sockets. There are so many choices to make and so much to choose from if you’re not on top of things you can become bogged down and find the process very stressful.
I met a friend recently who is renovating her home and just had to leave work to go and choose her toilets. “The builder called this morning to ask if I’d picked my toilets, I had no idea there was a choice,” she said. She’d spent the whole day rushing around bathroom showrooms, hadn’t made a decision and was totally confused. Here are my tips for avoiding costly mistakes and making the right choices.
Be clear about your home refurbishment budget
Unlike building costs, there is no fixed rate for fixtures and fittings for a home refurbishment. You can literally spend anything on these items. A bath, for example, can cost anything from €200 to €4000 depending on what you choose and the choice is vast. So, having a firm idea of what you can afford will help to narrow down the choice.
When shopping for these items it’s a good idea to get quotes from a number of different suppliers. The important thing here is to make sure each company is working from the same brief. Even the most subtle differences can have a huge impact on the total cost. If everyone is quoting for the same kitchen layout then you can compare the quotes exactly, which will ensure you get the best deal.
Get professional help for your home refurbishment
As your home refurbishment project progresses money will start to disappear very quickly and it can be tempting to cut back on things like professional fees to free up money for interior elements. However, getting help with this part of the project will help you make the right choices and ensure all choices work together so the overall look is perfect.
A good designer will simplify and speed up the decision-making process, guide you on what represents good value, help to ensure the scheme works together. Despite there being a cost for this kind of help, having this kind of expertise will actually save you money in the long run.
The build process can be really daunting and stressful. Designers who are experienced in home design understand the process inside out and will be able to prepare and assist so you don’t become overwhelmed.
They will advise when certain decisions need to be made and will be there to answer questions from the builder as they arise. Once the builder starts on-site things move really quickly. You will need to make a lot of decisions in a short period of time and unless you have the answers you could face delays and a lot of extra expense.
Make decisions as early as possible
These are the items you will need to choose yourself. They are expensive and need to last a long time, so you can’t afford to make a mistake. The builder will also depend on these items being delivered on time otherwise it will impact on the smooth running of the project.
Items like kitchens and anything bespoke will be on a long lead time so it’s important you give yourself plenty of time to make your selection. I’ve known kitchens to be on as much as a 20-week lead-time, so unless you have started the process before the builder starts on-site you risk there being a delay once the project goes to site.
My advice is to have all of your decisions made before work starts on site. Once the build starts you’ll feel under pressure, there will be distractions and emotions to deal with, so you won’t be at your best when it comes to making decisions. Having the decisions made before anyone asked you to make them will significantly lessen the stress.
Think of the scheme as a whole
When coordinating the look and feel of the house it’s important you think of the scheme as a whole, the flooring, furnishings, paint colours, even your window finishes all need to work together.
There is a sequence to making the right decisions and it’s important you follow it. Starting with paint colours before you’ve chosen any of your finishes is going to be a difficult task and one that you risk having to redo to coordinate once you’ve chosen your finishes.
Start with the major purchases like the kitchen which will often be the main feature in the room. Then select your flooring, this should unify the house and connect everything together, then select your colours for walls and any joinery. By approaching the scheme in this way the big decisions will be out of the way first and once made them you’ll find it easier to make the smaller decisions.
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