Choosing fittings and fixtures in your home
What you need to keep in mind when renovating your home.
Picking the finishing products for your renovation can be the most fun, and daunting, part of the process.
A whole home reno requires you think about absolutely everything – and there’s a lot to cover.
A full-service contract with your architect should see them choosing things for you (but you need to give them the OK). If you don’t have that, you can leave some details to the contractors on site.
Ask why you’re doing it
Are you doing up your place to sell? Or are you in it for the long haul?
If you’re trying to flip your place, you probably won’t mind too much about the details. Just go for the easiest option to get your home looking clean and crisp.
But if you’re making your dream home a reality, you’ll spend much more time and effort agonising over decisions. It can seem painful, but you’ll thank yourself in the long run.
That said, remember father time always catches up. Whatever you choose will eventually start to look tired, and might need updating in the future. So don’t come to blows over the right kitchen tap; you’ll probably need a new one in 10-15 years anyway.
Where you should spend your money
Invest your dosh in the parts of your home that get the most abuse and wear and tear – namely your floors and walls. If you go cheap in the wrong areas, your reno won’t look fresh for long.
A major reno also presents the perfect time to kick your old (or non-existent) insulation to the kerb. Stretching your budget here means you’ll reap the benefits later; your home will be much easier to keep warm and healthy. If your heating is inadequate, and you can afford it, opt for a new heat pump or woodburner. They might cost thousands to buy and install, but both do an excellent job.
Tip: Does your designer or tradie have a relationship with a particular company already? You might be able to get a great deal at trade prices.
Choosing paint can be confusing. The aisles of your local hardware store will throw up plenty of competing brands all with very shiny but similar brochures. Ignore all that, just look at colours you want.
You’ll be locked into specific brands if you’re after special paint. For example, one with a low volatile organic compound (VOC) or for making a “blackboard” in the kitchen.
If someone’s doing the paint for you, they might always use a specific brand and might even score you a better deal for it. If you have a specific colour in mind that you haven’t seen in a brochure, fear not – they should be able to make it, or something very similar, in-store.
Don’t get tied down to arguing over duck egg versus off-piste white, you can paint test strips on the walls to help make up your mind. Just remember that interior paint is one of the easier DIY projects. If you’re still not convinced, you can always change it in a few years.
Tip: Stick to neutral colours if you’re renovating to sell.
Your floor gets an absolute hammering. From furniture crushing carpet, through to the terrors of pets and children running amok on them. While you’ll want something durable, it also needs to be pleasing on the eye as it’s a massive tone-setter in your home. Cheap flooring looks and feels cheap.
Don’t hold on to your pennies here, especially in the entrance and main living areas.
That doesn’t mean you can’t sneak in something cheaper down the back of the house to save some cash. There’s no shame in laying lino in the laundry where no-one really goes anyway.
Make sure you’re putting the right flooring in the right zone, though. Polished timber and carpet, for example, can look lovely but they’re not a fan of getting wet, so be careful using them near bathrooms and kitchens. Tiles are a better option in wet rooms but are cold and unforgiving of falls and dropped coffee cups.
Where does it come from?
If you can buy local, do. It’s especially important in the current global situation with supply lines under so much stress. There’s also an environmental cost from shipping products to our shores. Some things can’t really be helped – most engineered- and natural stone benchtops are imported, for example.
That said, there’s a case to made for visiting a local building recycler. You might nab a bargain or find something beautiful to install in your home. This is especially relevant when it comes to your front door. New ones cost an absolute fortune while you can find a second-hand stunner that only needs a lick of paint to revive to its former glory.