home renovation

First-time renovator’s fool-proof home renovation guide

Check out this handy guide to get the most out of your home renovation.

Is your home showing signs of ageing? Do you have the time, the funds and the desire to start renovating? When the timing is right, don’t delay your plans any longer! Continue reading this guide to discover exactly how to plan easily, design, and manage your upcoming home renovation 一 and emerge successful!  

Build your dream space by learning how to:

  • Best prepare for a home reno 
  • Plan your renovation the right way
  • Accurately measure your space
  • Better visualise your design and see it come to life 
  • Decide whether to move out or live through the renovation
  • Design to a budget and stick to it
  • Obtain upfront build cost estimates
  • Establish realistic time frames and logistics
  • Figure out the types of services that you’ll need
  • Prepare for construction
  • Streamline your renovation journey to make it more convenient for you
home renovation
Image credit: Stratco

Getting ready for a home renovation

When preparing for a home reno, first start by assessing your spaces real quick before you make some calls. It’s best to be armed with all the information possible around your project so you can easily and effectively convey it to the necessary professionals.

  • What are the things that you want to update, upgrade, or fix in your home?
  • What spaces are you planning to revamp?
  • How do you want your home to look after the reno?
  • How much can you allocate to your budget?

Here at Dreamspace, we encourage you to create a design brief at the beginning of your home renovation journey. This is your wish list and your guide when consulting with a design professional and the quickest way for the pro to understand what you want to achieve. 

Your design brief is a written document. To make it more visual, save images in your project dashboard! This album is automatically shared with your chosen designer, so save photos from our inspiration gallery that best reflect the looks you love and the style of home you want to create here!

home renovation
Three-generational family getting ready for a home renovation.

Now that you have some solid ideas for your upcoming home renovation, you are ready to speak with a design professional! Go ahead and schedule a call back with a Project Consultant here.

After submitting your project details, expect to: 

  • receive a phone call from our Project Consultants
  • get a detailed design strategy and quote afterwards, and
  • be presented with qualified professionals who can help you with the design and drafting of the house plans 

Getting ready for a home renovation has never before been this easy and convenient!

When you sign up for Dreamspace, you will also get instant access to the free dashboard, which provides you with all the tools you need to plan, coordinate, and visualise your home renovation.

In addition, you can access your project info from anywhere, any time via your PC, tablet or phone. 

We’ll also assign you a Project Support team member to ensure your project runs smoothly too!

Planning your home renovation the right way

Proper planning is the key to a successful home renovation project. 

Here are the renovation tips that you should never forget:

1. Check relevant regulations

When you sign up for Dreamspace, you will see a checklist to use as a guide while planning your home renovation. 

There, you will find resource materials about checking your local planning regulations and guides to the development and building approvals processes. 

This step is one of the most crucial parts of the planning process. These resources explain what you can and can’t build on your property. 

The design professionals within Dreamspace’s network are knowledgeable of these laws and regulations. They can help you design and draft house plans that comply with the council requirements and building codes.

Once completed, Dreamspace’s support team can help you prepare for the council submission of your house plans.

home renovation
Image credit: Knotwood

2. Measure your space correctly

Getting the measurements right is crucial to the success of your home renovation project. Your designer needs the correct measurements to draft the planning drawings properly.

A site measure typically happens during the design consultation. Design professionals offer both onsite and virtual design consultations nowadays to cater to your needs better. 

When you choose the onsite design consultation, the pros come to the site to discuss the project with you and measure it on the spot.

Dreamspace implemented safety measures during the COVID-19 outbreak to safeguard the well-being of our customers and team members. We always ask our customers PRIOR to the design consultation to confirm that it is safe to do so.

When you choose the virtual design consultation, you will meet your designer online via a video call to discuss and conceptualise your project. For this option, your designer will rely on your measurements for the drafting and documentation phase as well. Don’t worry; we will guide you on measuring your space accurately by the designer and our DIY Site Measure Guide.

home renovation
Image credit: Project Floors and Design

How to better visualise your design and see it come to life 

Make use of Dreamspace’s 3D technology.

For a more accurate measurement of your space, check out our 3D scanning technology. Scanning the property and creating a photorealistic 3D version allows the designer to get a more accurate measurement of the site despite working remotely. 

Decide to plan for the fixtures and finishes of your new home in 3D as well. Consider this when you want to: 

  • visualise your project and bring your floor plan to life
  • walk through your future home in lifelike 3D
  • confidently make decisions on every room’s layout, size, window and furniture placements, interior and exterior finishes, fixtures, fittings and more
home renovation
Image credit: Oknalux

3. Decide whether to move out or live through the renovation early

Moving out temporarily or living through a renovation is one of the most complex decisions to make. Moving out to make way for the builders is convenient, but it will incur extra costs. However, staying put until the renovation is complete will be challenging. 

We previously wrote a guide to help you assess your situation before you make a decision. We discussed factors you need to consider, such as your budget, how much work is required, length of construction, access to water, food preparation, bathroom situation, patience, and how much noise and disturbance you can tolerate. 

home renovation
Image credit: Knotwood

4. Design to budget

Dreamspace designers are proactive and follow the ‘design to budget’ approach. Here, you and your designer try to balance what you want with what you can achieve and afford.

‘Designing to a budget’ instead of ‘budgeting the design’ ensures that you can stick to your budget and still renovate as planned.

5. Get upfront build cost estimates

Another way to avoid going over budget (it is avoidable for the most part) is to request a build cost estimate from your Project Consultant. You can also use the Build Cost Estimation Calculator found in your project dashboard. Use it to check if your budget is realistic and to plan how to finance your project. It is free, and you can access it when you create a Dreamspace account. 

Sign up for free here.

home renovation
Image credit: Project Floors and Design

6. Try to stick to your budget

One of the best ways to cut costs is to find more affordable alternatives to your expensive building materials without sacrificing quality. You can ask for recommendations from your designer. There is always a way to get the same or a similar look for a lower price. Be flexible design choices to avoid blowing out your reno budget.

home renovation
Image credit: Brickworks

7. Establish a realistic timeline and logistics

The construction timeline must be realistic too! You don’t want it to be too short that it becomes a ‘rush’ job. You don’t want it to run without a deadline either 一 you will be stressed every single day hoping that you’ll finish the project soon. Not to mention, both situations will cost you more money. 

Critical to overcoming this problem is good planning and coordinating your project’s progress based on a realistic timeline. Ask how long it will take to finish the project first, then figure out how long you should realistically allow for every milestone. Don’t forget to consider seasonal impacts and logistical concerns.

architectural drafting

8. Figure out the types of services that you’ll need

You can connect with a lot of design and construction professionals via Dreamspace 一 from building designers, draftsman, architects, interior designers, landscape architects, land surveyors, green energy designers, structural engineers, builders and more! 

Who should you hire for your home renovation? It depends on your project, really. Below is a list of the most commonly needed professionals. 

Land surveyors

Land surveyors are the ones who conduct a property survey or a land survey, the set of drawings that establish the property’s legal boundaries, exact site measurements, ground levels, and technical descriptions of the site’s condition. 

The data from the land or property survey will be used by the architects, building designers, or draftspeople who will produce the working drawings later in the process.

home renovation
Land sureveyors

Architect, building designer, or draftsman?

Architects, building designers, and draftspeople are the professionals who draw up the house plans for your home renovation. 

It is important to know the differences when it comes to qualifications. 

Architects completed a university degree, passed the exam, and rendered hours of relevant training to become a registered architect. 

Draftspeople either took courses and training from TAFE or learned the skills on the job. 

Building designers are often draftspeople who have gone through additional processes and training to become licensed and able to use that title, or they may have a degree in Architecture but have not undertaken the next steps in becoming registered as one

architectural drafting

Structural engineers

Structural engineers are the engineers who make sure the design of the building is safe, stable, and secure throughout their lifetime and can withstand the pressure and stress of their surrounding environment. 

Your renovation project might require the services of a structural engineer to make sure that your home is structurally sound. 

architectural drafting

There are a lot more professionals that you might need on your home renovation project. Don’t panic, your Project Consultant will give you an idea of the professionals you need based on your project’s requirements. Your Project Consultant will help you establish which pros will be needed on your team. This way, you won’t get confused or feel overwhelmed with your choices.

You can also use the project coordination platform to organise and coordinate with the design and construction professionals you need in your project as well.

home renovation
Organising her renovation team from the comfort of her home.

Getting ready for construction

Once you get the complete set of drawings required for your home renovation and receive approval from your local council, it’s time to find the builders to construct the house.

There are thousands of builders across the country, and all have varying offers and specialties. Logically, you may choose to work with builders located near you, but that would still leave you with too many options to narrow down. 

Sourcing builder quotes on your own is a massive undertaking, then trying to figure out which quote offers the best value for your money can be confusing and stressful. Not to mention attempting to negotiate on price with them.

home renovation
Overjoyed after finding a suitable builder via Dreamspace.

Here at Dreamspace, we understand how overwhelming it can be to find a builder, which is why we offer a build tender service. Here, your Project Consultants (who are adept in construction and experts in negotiating with builders) will tender your plans out to local builders, and help you compare quote inclusions and differences, and make that final decision.

Your home renovation journey with Dreamspace

Make use of Dreamspace’s project coordination platform to easily plan, design, build, organise and coordinate your project. We make it simple to connect with the right design and construction professionals, as well as the consultants you require for your home renovation.

Sign up here to get started.

Start planning now for free

Find more articles, guides and inspiration in the planning dashboard. Save them to your dream board, and start planning your dream space today.