Many of us have spent more time at home this past year than ever before and as a result, home improvement projects across the nation have skyrocketed. Those little niggling issues you easily ignored previously have suddenly come into sharp focus and you may be thinking that it’s time to tackle a renovation project.

Image: Kimberly Duran – Swoon Worthy

Not only do improvements we make add value to our homes, but it also creates a better environment for the way we want to live. While kitchens and bathrooms often give us the biggest return on our investment, even smaller jobs can transform how we use a space. Happily, there are plenty of ways you can create a home you love on a budget you can afford. Plus, approaching your project in a creative way means the end result will always be uniquely yours.

Image: Kimberly Duran – Swoon Worthy

If you’re ready to tackle a renovation project, our tips today will help you get started.

Assess the Space

Think first about how and when the space will be used as well as by how many people. You may be eyeing up a new sofa for your living room but think about whether you tend to sprawl out in the evenings or sit upright when working from your laptop during the day. You may be thinking of purchasing a dining table but how many will regularly be sat at the table? Will it also act as a makeshift office during the day or a homework station in the evenings?

When you answer questions like this, you’ll get to the heart of your functionality and storage requirements which can then be incorporated into your design.

You’ll also want to think about the quality of light coming into the room to guide your colour choices as well as take measurements of the entire room to ensure anything you choose will fit well into the space as well as through doorways!

Get Inspired

One of the most exciting parts of any renovation project is gathering your inspiration. A Pinterest board, tears from physical magazines or saving posts on Instagram are all great ways to get your imagination flowing with ideas.

While it’s easy to get swept up in what your space may look like, it’s important to remain realistic. If you find yourself lusting over images with tall ceilings and ornate cornice in a Parisian apartment but you live in a 1960s semi, it might be better to look out for homes that are more similar to your own to really bring out the best of what you already have.

When gathering inspiration, look for repeating themes. Whether it’s certain styles, colour schemes, distinct materials or types of furniture, if you see the same elements come up again and again, then you’ll likely want to incorporate these elements into your own design.

Create a Budget

When creating a budget, be sure to account for any foundation work you may have to do first – things like electrics, plastering or replacing flooring may mean calling in a tradesperson and is not something you’ll easily be able to do later. Get any quotes early in your planning process to ensure your budget is sufficient plus include an additional 10% as a contingency for any unforeseen expenses.

Larger ticket items will also need to be included like furniture and storage pieces as well as paint, wallpaper and lighting. Don’t forget to set aside some of your budget for the all-important finishing touches like artwork, cushions, plants or window dressings which will bring your room to life.

Of course, keep in mind anything you may already have to keep costs down or look to upcycle items you already own to give it a fresh new look. Online marketplaces and auctions are another great way to pick up smaller pieces when you’re on a budget.

Designing Your Space

Once you know your room requirements, you’ve gathered your inspiration and you’ve got a budget in place, it’s time to start designing.

Research items within your budget and create a rough mood board physically using cut outs and material samples or digitally using programmes such as Canva, PicMonkey or even PowerPoint. This is simply for your own use, so it doesn’t have to be fancy.

Creating a mood board allows you to see all the elements you’ve chosen before you make any purchases, ensuring the pieces work well together and creates a cohesive space that reflects your personal style whilst addressing any requirements you’ve noted down.

Create a Schedule

Finally, create a schedule or calendar for when each element of the renovation will take place to ensure a smooth working order. Take note of delivery dates for any materials or furniture with longer lead times and if you’re working with trades, keep the lines of communication open to ensure your room comes together on time and on budget.

Planning to DIY? Be realistic and flexible as you’ll likely be working on this project between other responsibilities. Progress is often slower than a professional so allow yourself sufficient time to get everything completed.