6 renovation mistakes you don’t want to make

Heed these handy tips to make the best use of your time and money

Good spatial planning can enhance the liveability of your home and make staying at home more comfortable. PHOTO: U HOME INTERIOR DESIGN

As many experienced homeowners would tell you, renovation is a gruelling process - one that tries to balance budgeting, personal style, aspirations and future needs all at the same time. While there is no one-size-fits-all solution to surviving the home improvement journey, there are ways to keep those stress levels down.

The team at HomeRenoGuru (HRG), a renovation platform helmed by former interior designers, suss out six common renovation mistakes to avoid.

1. Choosing "pretty" over "practical" for everyday fixtures

We're talking cabinet handles, bedroom doors, sinks, faucets, and lighting. In creating a unique home, it's easy to get carried away by trendy designs - but "pretty" doesn't cut it when your kitchen tap is corroded beyond repair or you have a statement lamp emitting a light so glaring that you avoid sitting near it. So focus on the technicalities, and splurge on quality.

2. Taking space-planning lightly

Good spatial planning maximises every inch of your home, so don't sacrifice long-term factors such as ventilation and storage for short-term impulses. For instance, a warm dining area with poor cross-ventilation may result in the space being under-utilised. Poor ventilation in the master suite could also result in mould and mildew.

For storage solutions, remember that an organised home is a comfortable one. Ensuring adequate space for current and future possessions is one way to avoid clutter or purchasing mismatched compartments that do not suit your home's measurements.

Having sufficient storage space will ensure that your home is organised. PHOTO: DESIGN 4 SPACE

A good interior designer (ID) should be able to recommend a layout that allows for air flow and storage without compromising on a homeowner's style mood board. As Singapore's number one renovation portal trusted by Singaporeans, HRG lists a wide variety of projects in its design gallery. Pick some reference images or videos from HRG's 25,000 listed projects, and check with your ID if the same design concept is applicable for your living space.

3. Choosing an ID solely based on the lowest quote

Renovation is a fickle process; you may encounter structural issues or change your mind along the way. Hence, prioritise assurance over cost. Hiring an ID who offers an affordable quote yet rushes you to make decisions, does not understand your style, or disagrees with what you say without basing his or her opinions on industry insights may give you problems down the line.

Do your research carefully to pick the right ID for your home renovation. PHOTO: DESIGN 4 SPACE

Platforms like HRG, where homeowners can browse honest reviews and the portfolios of listed IDs, makes the pre-renovation process more transparent. HRG recommends CaseTrust-accredited, ACRA (Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority (ACRA)-registered, HDB licensed IDs. Homeowners can request for free no obligation quotations on the platform too!

4. Signing on the dotted line without clarifying workload and expectations with your ID

Many renovation disputes arise from miscommunication and unmanaged expectations. When meeting potential IDs, you'll notice that every firm works differently. Some undertake the construction and carpentry themselves, while others are design consultancies with sub-contractors. It is important to clarify who does what.

Ask these questions:

  • Who coordinates with the vendors?
  • Who shoulders the responsibility should a pipe burst during renovation?
  • Will the firm charge a design fee and if so, what does it entail?

Getting these clarified from the beginning will ensure a smoother process.

5. Not preparing for potential renovation disputes

While home renovations often herald new beginnings, one cannot rest on their laurels - even if you've gone through every precautionary measure. Homeowners must be prepared for potential disputes caused by shoddy workmanship, misunderstandings or miscalculations. Ensure every item in your contract is understood and accounted for, and keep your communications clear and in black and white.

Should the need arise, homeowners can clarify their legal queries for free with a legal professional when they sign up for the complimentary HRG Guarantee service. An industry-first free legal advice and deposit guarantee, HRG Guarantee also safeguards your renovation deposits by covering 50 per cent of your contract value if the selected ID winds up.

6. Not budgeting the right way

Don't make the mistake of not factoring in hidden costs. For an accurate calculation, shortlist must-have appliances and window-shop for staple furniture pieces such as sofas, beds and dining tables.

Draw up a detailed budget that includes furnishings and fixtures before your renovation to avoid overspending. PHOTO: DC VISION DESIGN

And remember, the cost of items such as kitchen handles, window treatments, and track lightings are often borne by the homeowner and not the ID. Having an overview of these items allows you to gauge what to splurge and save on.

HRG's budget calculator tool and list of trusted suppliers will come in handy during this stage.

To kick off your HomeRenoGuru experience, click here.

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