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9 (Avoidable) Renovation Mistakes That New Homeowners Make

Oops! These newbie mistakes can make or break your renovation!

The prospect of bringing your dream home to life is naturally a thrilling one – after all, it’s finally going to be real!

But with 101 things to take care of (and be excited about), it’s often easy to mess things up. So before you start renovating, take note of these 9 mistakes and pitfalls that could turn your home makeover into an unforgettable experience in all the wrong ways.

Fernvale Lane by Livspace
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1. Thinking everything is going to go without a hitch

While there’s a chance that your renovation will be completely smooth sailing in the hands of a capable interior designer, going in with the expectation of a hiccup (or two) is something you should do. Seriously.

You might be surprised at how things can go awry, even for a simple makeover. Common obstacles include work delays due to material or manpower shortages as well as unforeseen site constraints, such as building restrictions that may require a change in your plans.

Yishun Street 51 by The Makers Design Studio
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2. Not taking a closer look at your home beforehand

If you’re collecting the keys pre-renovation, be sure to pop by for a quick look (even if it’s nothing more than a blank slate at this point). This will give you a better idea of where things ought to be, along with making it easier to come up with the ideal layout for your new home.

Also, take note of key structures (e.g. HDB bomb shelter, load-bearing walls) as they will inform your choices when it’s time to start renovating!

Pine Vista by ChengYi Interior Design
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3. Neglecting future proofing

Thinking about having a kid? Or letting your elderly parents move in? Then it’s worth putting some thought into future proofing your home. Planning ahead will make it easier to adapt your home’s layout and features when it’s time to start catering for the needs of your family members, whether young or old.

We know how hard it is to resist the edgy industrial charm of cement screed and the warmth of authentic brick walls, but you might want to think twice before introducing them into your new home.

Serangoon North Avenue 4 by Artspaze
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Some popular features, like the above, may require extra upkeep (read: frequent cleaning/more maintenance time), so you may wish to pass on them, especially if you think the housework is going to be a pain.

5. Shopping for furniture and appliances before planning your home

It’s all too easy to fall in love with that handsome leather recliner that’s 2.7 meters long, but you’ll soon experience buyer’s regret upon finding out that you barely have enough living room space left. For that it’s important to get the measurements right before committing to a purchase.

Jalan Satu by ID Gallery Interior
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The same goes for large electrical appliances, such as the fridge and washing machine. Depending on how big your kitchen or yard is, you may wish to scale back on the size of your purchases to ensure the right fit.

6. Not setting aside a ‘rainy day’ fund

Yes, it’s good to plan a budget and stick to it. But don’t forget to set aside some dough for any renovation ‘emergencies’ that you may run into along the way – especially if you’re making over a resale home.

Tampines GreenVerge by The Alchemists Design
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Some of the main culprits of additional costs include repairs/refurbishing works for old electrical wiring and plumbing as well as debris clean up (if it hasn’t already been included in your renovation contract).

7. Saving where you should splurge

Spending good money on hardware, cabinetry and other essential fixtures is almost always worth it. Why, you may ask? That’s because how well these components work is directly tied to how comfortable life in your new home will be.

Alkaff Courtview by erstudio
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Plus, it’s not hard to picture the consequences of being stingy about the wrong things – just imagine being stuck with a faulty showerhead or an un-flushable toilet in the morning while rushing for work, and you’ll understand the (instant) regret of not spending a couple of dollars more on better-quality goods.

8. Splurging where you should save

Sure, having a genuine marble feature wall, a fancy kitchen backsplash, and a designer sofa are bound to make your home stand out from the crowd, but are they worth it? The answer is, well, no, not really.

Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 by Ovon Design
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If you’re renovating on a budget, splurging on showy home features isn’t advisable as your funds can be put to better use elsewhere. Plus, it’s possible to get the look on a budget with the help of look-alikes.

9. Hiring an interior designer who isn’t the right fit

Would you go on a date with someone you barely like? Or hire a worker without the right skills? Well, if your answer is no, then there’s absolutely no reason why you should work with an interior designer who is unable to match your needs.

Alkaff Crescent by The Interior Lab
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Instead, start off your makeover by dropping in a quote request! Get connected with reliable interior designers, architects or contractor-IDs based on your home, budget, and renovation needs — for free.

What’s more, homeowners who enquire with an interior firm via our platform are automatically part of the Qanvast Trust Programme, including the Qanvast Guarantee that safeguards your renovation deposits. So go ahead and renovate with peace of mind!

This article was first published on 3 Apr 2017 and last updated on 12 Sep 2022.

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