1. Form & function
Work out the type of room you want to create. Will your bathroom be a luxurious retreat, a practical family centre or a minimalist designer ensuite? Is your kitchen a communal family hub or a convenient spot to whip up a quick supper for one? Consider your lifestyle needs, available space and budget. These factors will influence the design and products you choose.
2. Wish list
What do you want from your renovation? As you write your list, compile the must-haves and potential splurges. This can help with budgeting.
3. Assess the home
Visit Your Home for a handy online home assessment checklist geared towards environmentally sustainable design.
4. Environmental considerations
Before renovating, check with your state or territory’s Department of Environment if there are any governmental compliance environmental guidelines for home renovations in your area.
5. Be consistent
Decide on the colour scheme, basic shapes and overall style before splurging on fixtures, fittings and appliances.
6. Service points
Most kitchens and bathrooms will already have service points for major appliances. Changing these can be costly, so if you’re on a limited budget, your design choices may be limited.
7. Lessons learned
Write a list of what you don’t like about your current kitchen or bathroom – is it lack of light, the storage or benchtop space, not enough power outlets, a single sink or basin, a difficult-to-clean oven? A new design gives you the chance to fix those problems.
8. Designer touch
If you employ the skills of a designer, insist on being shown a fully rendered visual of your new kitchen or bathroom.
9. Online help
Take advantage of online planning tools to help design and plan your room and see what size and shape fixtures and fittings will suit your space. For more advice, visit Reece, Bunnings Warehouse, Ikea and Mitre 10. For design inspiration, try Domayne, Cass Brothers and Roger Seller.
10. Green mortgages
Shop around for loans specifically aimed at environmentally sustainable renovations, and other home-improvement incentives.
If you are planning on ‘going green’, you may be eligible for a range of rebates targeting sustainable renovations. Check out My Green Life for a state-by-state breakdown of rebates.
12. Hidden extras
Check if you’re eligible for rebates – ask your local utilities, local council or state/territory government about rebates available to offset the up-front cost of energy- or water-saving features. Factor these rebates into your budget. Visit the Alternative Technology Association. Leave a contingency in your budget – cover yourself for unexpected extras. It’s best to add around five to 10 per cent extra to the cost.
13. Think ahead
Budget for the long term – factor in ongoing savings and improved resale value into your budget decisions.
14. Re-use, recycle
If you plan to demolish sections of the house, there may be building materials, such as windows, doors, floorboards and interior fittings, that you can re-use elsewhere, sell or even give away.
Major restructuring will mean more people, time and costs. Resurfacing or refitting existing fixtures can help cut costs.
16. Check materials
Look into recycled or energy-efficient materials and low VOC products. Check the flooring materials are suitable for the application (with adequate slip rating) and are appropriate for the amount of traffic in that area. Visit Good Environmental Choice Australia.
17. Personal shoppers
Do you want to source your own fittings or have specialists choose and buy for you? Tradespeople generally get discounts on fittings, so sending them out shopping can save you time, money and stress.
18. Package deals
Will you be buying fittings and fixtures as a package or piece by piece? Package deals can be cheaper and are often pre-styled by interiors experts, making the whole process easier.
19. Smart search
To find just about any home-related product or service, go to the Yellow Pages website. You’ll find resources, tips and tricks, expert opinions and new products and materials.
20. On the tiles
When researching all the flooring and wall-tiling options, consider functionality, durability, style, slip rating and maintenance. If resurfacing tiles, request a sample before proceeding.
21. Green shopper
If you’re looking for environmentally friendly products, EcoSpecifier allows you to compare over 3500 products, from building materials to interior finishes and rainwater tanks.
Ready to get started? Check out these top ideas for a daring new kitchen: