How do you know whether to decorate now or wait to renovate? Interior designer Nelly Reffet shares her answers to this common question.
Here are some of the scenarios in her experience mean either a) decorate now or b) wait to renovate.
You can’t tell the difference between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’
In today’s society, the line between ‘wants’ and ‘needs’ is getting blurrier and blurrier. As our buying power increases and technology enables lower-cost production, our houses are getting bigger, our fittings more luxurious, and our expectations of what a home should be have skyrocketed.
Four-bed, two-bath houses with theatre, activity room, alfresco areas, engineered stone benchtops and reverse-cycle air conditioning have somehow become more standard in Australia over the last decade. And for many of us who live in smaller or older dwellings that don’t have such features, it can feel frustrating that our homes don’t meet these ‘standards’.
Instead, think long and hard about what you actually need. Do you really need a larger home or could you do with a big declutter? Are bigger rooms and windows necessary, or can simply bounce light around and add the illusion of space with strategically-placed mirrors? Do you have guests around enough to warrant adding on a guest bathroom?
By making some adjustments to your home through considerate decor, you will give yourself the opportunity to assess what your real needs are – and you might even realise that you already have a lot of them covered.
It’s your first home
First home, first taste of freedom, first chance to realise those interior design dreams and finally let your creative vision run riot. However, while I absolutely encourage my clients to nurture that sense of ‘design entrepreneurship’, I also advise that they think carefully about what they want to do.
If it’s your first home, unless you’re a pro in the homes space, it probably means you don’t have much experience with renovations, with what they involve, what they cost, etc. So before you plunge in head first, step back and start small.
There are plenty of basic updates you can make to your home. Repaint the walls and the ceilings, lay new carpet and layer some rugs on top, change window treatments, revamp a piece of furniture, or simply change your soft furnishings with the seasons.
Your home is structurally unsafe
Your health and your safety are always the top priorities. So if your home’s electrical system is not safe, your roof shows signs of weakness, or if mould appears on your ceiling or walls then you need to address these concerns now. And the sooner the better – for you, your family, and for the integrity of your building too.
If your planned renovations are beyond your current budget, resist buying any non-essential items and focus on saving as much as possible, until you have the funds to start the work. Ideally, you should also have 10% to 30% more than the estimated cost, as structural issues often hide other problems, especially in older buildings.
It’s your ‘forever home’
You know you will live in this house forever. It’s a home that you want to write your own story in and it might even be passed on to your children one day. It’s a special place. Or it will be.
The big advantage you have here is time. There’s no need to rush or make-do. You can take the time to find inspiration, plan and budget for it. Don’t waste your energy on temporary fixes – you are in this for the long term, so focus on the big picture. It’s an investment towards your lifestyle, and one which you will never regret.
Reference: Houzz & Nelly Beffet Photo credit: Austurban Homes, D Max Photography