Most of us have watched one or other of the many property renovation programmes on TV, from Homes Under The Hammer, Restoration Man to Grand Designs and you may have been tempted to give it a go.

Now seems a particularly attractive time to try:-

  1. Mortgage interest rates are low so borrowing is cheap
  2. Savings rates are on the floor so money in the bank isn’t an attractive proposition
  3. The stamp duty holiday gives an opportunity to save money if it’s not a second property.

I thought it would be a good time to share some tips on how to get through the experience if you are going to being living in the property at the same time.

1. Plan

Image of a person writing in a notebook. The image shows the person's arm writing with a pencil. There is a white mug and pair of glasses to the side on the table.

You can never invest too much time in planning, it will always pay dividends. There will always be surprises – some good some bad, but plan as much as you can and constantly review your plans. If you are doing work that will require a professional then get their input at the outset and don’t be afraid to ask questions. If you don’t understand what they are telling you then ask them to explain. What to them is obvious isn’t necessarily so to a layman. Planning will save time (and possibly money) in the long run.

2. Schedule

Image of a schedule for construction works

This is closely allied with planning. You need to know how things interact, when different processes take place such as plastering, electrics, plumbing. Always have the messy stuff done first. So draw up your schedule and share it with your trades so they know who’s doing what when. When creating your schedule you need to include deliveries. If you are taking responsibility for ordering supplies or products you need to ensure that they will be on site when the work is to be done. The object is to minimise delays.

3. Have As Little On Site As You Can

Image of an interior being renovated

When you are living in the property you are renovating you may find yourself moving from room to room as work is done. To make it easy to move around and for work to be done it makes sense to have as few possessions as possible. This may involve you putting things into store or in a garage but it makes things easier and also minimises the chance of belongings being damaged.

4. Create A Refuge

Image a bathroom with freestanding modern bath

Renovating a property is inevitably dirty work to a greater or lesser degree depending on the extent of the project. If it lasts for any length of time and particularly if it involves major works it can be dispiriting. Therefore, it is a good idea to have somewhere you can escape to in order to avoid the mess, perhaps a bedroom or bathroom. This may involve renovating one room first.

5. Have A Contingency

Image of a pile of coins used to illustrate the concept of a contingency fund

Not strictly confined to a project where you are living on site, but a crucial aspect of any renovation. As mentioned previously, invariably something crops up that you weren’t expecting or costs more than you had anticipated so you need a cushion to cover these eventualities. There is no hard and fast rule, it depends on the individual project, but 10 – 15% is a starting point. You may also decide to upgrade your fittings and fittings which is another reason for a contingency.

I hope these tips will be useful. Are you undertaking a project or are about to and need help with the design aspects of your project do give me a shout. Call 07745 876182 or e mail me at