Top tips and tricks to save costs and time during a reno

If you’re a first-time renovator, there are a few hints and tricks that will help you to carry out the works required, manage the stress, financial strain and deliver you a well finished and well timed result, on budget with all of your important relationships intact.

The first thing you need to consider when carrying out a renovation is...

Decide when you’re best to DIY and when you need to engage the services of a professional.

Your time could be well used if you earn less per hour than it costs to pay a professional – but you need to consider that a professional will generally be able to carry out works at a faster rate and often better quality than you could yourself.

Tasks like sanding and painting are easily managed by most people and can be carried out at a pace that suits your availability and project timeline. A professional painter will always be able to achieve the result faster and better than an amateur but it is one way that you can save on funds if you’re happy to plug away at it at your own pace.

Keep your task simple.

If you are carrying out the painting works yourself consider hiring a giraffe sander, coupled with coarse grade sand paper discs, to sand your walls and ceilings. This will cut the time and dust associated to the task to a fraction of doing it by hand or with an electric hand sander.

Also consider hiring an airless spray rig to paint your home. If you don’t mind having a white box you can always paint your ceiling and walls in the same colour, changing the type of paint from ceiling to walls. You save loads of time on cutting in and roller work and can even lay down several coats in one (long and warm) day.

Reuse whatever you’re able to.

That means looking at existing plumbing points, cabinet carcasses, light switches, doors or door handles and assessing what you can retain to work in with your proposed works. Often you’ll have to wipe the slate clean and start again, but if you first consider if there are any things from the current configuration of your home that you can keep or reuse, you will save on time removing them as well as cost of replacing them.

Consider the major problems of your home and what the simplest way could be to remedy them. The more walls you pull down and rooms your change the location of, the more cost and time you’ll be contributing to your project. It’s good to rework a plan that doesn’t function, has poor light or is poorly planned, but think about the most economical way to do so and see if that approach will garner you a result worthy of pursuing.

Think about what your home needs, not just what you need from it.

Considering your home as something with requirements to be satisfied might sound odd, but by doing so in relation to what your building looks like, your street scape, what your suburb’s occupants and buyers respond to and what your geographic location informs in terms of architecture and interior fit-out, you can align your agenda with what will give you the best result for your home in your area.

It’s great to improve a property, but not so great if you’re the only one that sees your hard work as an improvement.

If you’re not intending to leave your property for decades to come, then you have slightly more carte blanche, but it’s still worthwhile to think about what works will improve your home and its value, and what is just satisfying your own flights of fancy.

Consider what impact your works have on the people around you.

Talking to your neighbours and keeping them in the loop should you be proposing any noisy or disruptive works is the way to go. By letting them know when you’re carrying out works that will impact them, whether acoustically or because of heavy machinery affecting their access, you will maintain the important relationships with your neighbours and minimise delays brought about by complaints to council or rangers. You might just get a nice house re-warming gift when you finish and show them through the fruits of your labour.

Darren Palmer has a broad portfolio, having studied fine art & graphic design, originally working in advertising and owning his own graphic design company. After succumbing to his true passion, Darren now operates his own interior design studio and has been a judge on numerous seasons of The Block.