An Insider Guide to Renovating
But before you start knocking down structural walls to add an indoor Zen garden, experts say there are plenty of ways to give your place a Moët makeover on a VB budget.
1. Break it down
To avoid getting overwhelmed, renovation expert Barry Du Bois, from Channel 10’s The Living Room, suggests you divide each job up into small tasks.
“If you’re doing the whole house, break it up into rooms, then break it up into the jobs within each room,” he says. “Otherwise, it can become too big and you’ll lose track of where you’re headed, then lose motivation and enthusiasm.”
2. Get kerb appeal
Invest in things that give your digs the “wow” factor. To do that, head outside.
“The great Australian dream is a big back yard, but unfortunately the front and rear yards are the most neglected areas of most properties.” Says professional renovator Cherie Barber.
She’s on the money: 81 per cent gardens and outside projects are left unfinished by Aussie home improvers, found a survey by Masters Home Improvement.
“Install new garden beds and plants, rejuvenate old concrete pathways and driveways with a gurney and paving paint,”
“These are all tricks you can use to make people think you’ve spent more money than you actually have.”
3. Little things, big difference
Small jobs and finishings, such as updating doorknobs and handles and painting doorframes, can make a big difference. Give skirting boards and architraves a fresh lick of paint.
“But don’t buy cheap paint,” says Peter Bushby, president of the REIA. “You’re saving about 30 per cent by doing it yourself, so buy good quality.”
If this is your first DIY reno, Du Bois says the first room you attempt should be the laundry, rather than the kitchen or bathroom.
“Not many people see it and it’s not really an extension of your personality,” he says. “If it goes wrong, it’s probably the most inexpensive area to fix. It’s also a great way to try out all those little skills: tiling, joining, painting.”
4. Look the part
If you want to get discounts on hardware, appliances and contracting work, don’t do it while wearing your polo Ralph Lauren, says Barber.
“Like it or not, sales people judge you on your appearance,” she warns.
“If you walk into a store to negotiate wearing designer bling, they’re going to try and extract every single cent out of you – so actually look like a tradie.”
And if online shopping is more your speed, Barber and Du Bois both recommend graysonline.com for discounted supplies for the entire house, from tools to furniture.
5. There’s an app for that
Save cash – and frustration – by downloading these popular home fix-it apps.
- Paint My Place: Never buy sample paint pots again. Trial more than 30,000 colours from best-selling brands, by taking a photo of the area you’d like to paint and virtually changing its colour.
- DIY Handyman Toolbox: Performs common handyman calculations; converts between metric and imperial measurements; calculates in square or cubic metres, which is useful when buying materials for floors, concreting, gardens and painting.
- Houzz Interior Design Ideas: Find loads of interior decorating inspiration from 1.5 million design ideas that you can save to a virtual scrapbook.
We hope you’ve enjoyed these little tips!