If you are planning a renovation in your home, you’re probably feeling a little overwhelmed at the thought of it. This is not uncommon. Early project planning will definitely pay off if you are hoping for a stress-free renovation project. Mind you, there will always be hiccups along the way.

So I am going to let you in on a few pre-renovation tasks to complete, to ensure you are as prepared as you can be for this project.

1 Think to yourself, why am I doing this renovation?

A few things that could pop into your head would be:

  • Do I need more room?
  • Do I need more storage?
  • Is your home too dark inside, are you trying to bring some more light into a space, create a more open-plan space for you and your family?
  • You need to keep your reason for renovating clear. By knowing this and keeping that visible in your head, it will help you to stay focused.

    2 Make a list

    There are probably items you “need to do” in your home or property, and then on the flip side of things what you would “like to do” in your property if you had the money.

    When you are planning a project, divide the list into two sections. One section on the list can be for “must-have items” and the other for “love-to-have” items. Add in the essential items from the start, then add in non-essential items when you have the budget done.

    3 Gather information, (or maybe I should say inspiration)

    Nowadays when it comes to planning for a renovation, there are a lot of design options available. It can get overwhelming, so if you’re feeling a bit stuck, start gathering some inspiration from interiors magazines and Pinterest. This is a very beneficial exercise for yourself as it gives you an idea of the colour and interior style you would like for your new space.

    4 Declutter is key

    Storage is a key element in any renovation project nowadays, but before we start with the new storage, we need to look at what we need to get rid of in our old storage areas, or around our house. Pencil in some time to do this, there are even professional declutterers available now. By doing this, it also gives you an idea of the new storage you need and for what.

    5 Brainstorm your ideas/ project plan

    Before you decide to contact a builder or interior designer, make out a rough sketch of the look you want to achieve in this new area of your home. This will give the builder/designer a better understanding of your project needs.

    6 Research professionals

    The key to a successful renovation project is hiring professional and reliable tradespeople. Also ensure they are a good fit for you. Do your homework and get recommendations from friends and family. During your first meeting, take note of how well you get on with this professional. Can you imagine yourself working with this company on your renovation project?

    7 Get a few quotes

    It is always wise to get a number of quotes from a few professionals, I suggest three or four quotes if possible. Ensure you give each professional the same information. That way when it comes to the final quote, you will be comparing like with like. This is where your sketch and ideas will be very handy. Don’t go for the lowest quote. Give each professional an opportunity to advise on their quote and final costings. If your renovation is a big job, you may need to hire an architect, or engineer. If you have any issues that you need to get fixed in the property before the renovation starts, ensure that you make the chosen builder aware of this well in advance.

    8 Look into planning permission

    When you are doing a renovation, or extending a property, you need to check with the local planning office if you need planning for the extension/renovation. This will depend on the size of the project of course.

    9 Your budget

    This is always the one that people struggle with when it comes to renovation projects. Plan a budget for your project, and add in a contingency fund of 10-20% to ensure you have money to afford any unplanned extras. This nearly always happens in projects like this.

    I hope this checklist helps you in some way if you are planning a renovation project.

    Maura Mackey is an interior designer and home staging specialist based in Ballinhassig, Co Cork. For further information, call 087-769-9714 or visit www.mauramackey.ie