Where Do I Start When Renovating A House?

melbourne home renovation

First off, congratulations are in order, and you’re planning to renovate a house! But where to start?

You’re undoubtedly about to take on one of the most transformational projects in your lifetime. Renovation planning is up there with planning a wedding or starting a family. It doesn’t come without its stresses, but you’ll never regret it, and you’ll build memories (and a home) for a lifetime. 

Buying a new home can be so overwhelming. There are so many uncertainties, there’s so much money involved, and there are so many questions that need answering.

The only thing that’s even tougher than buying a new home is purchasing a home in need of work – especially if you don’t know what to expect or where to start!

Often people walk around their prospective new homes and see a rose-tinted version of reality but real-life can be very different. When you’re faced with about a million projects, it can all suddenly seem overwhelming, and even knowing where to begin can be incredibly tough.

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Where Should You Start First When Renovating a House?

Assess Your House

Hire a licensed home inspector to check your house from top to bottom. He’ll climb into the attic to check for dampness, scour the basement looking for leaks, test the heating and air conditioning systems, examine the roof, the plumbing and electrical panels. Evaluate the results before deciding on a plan of action. Whole-house remodelling is down from its peak in the mid-2000s, while repairs increased.


If your heating and air conditioning unit are problematic, decide whether a full replacement or a temporary fix is in order, depending on your goals. Providing a comfortable environment is paramount to your enjoyment of your home. A faulty air conditioner promotes mould, which is unhealthy for you and your family and is expensive to remediate.


If you’re going to upgrade your bathrooms, be sure your plumbing can tolerate increasing pressure and usage. You are repairing leaky fixtures, damaged flooring and improper ventilation results in lower water bills. If they’re not repaired, and you’re selling the house, the problems will be pointed out by the buyer’s inspector. In a survey, bathroom remodelling jobs were the most common upgrades purchased in 2011. Planning for a new look for your house? Look no further!  MJS Construction Group  is here to help in your home builders.


Homeowners are guided by energy efficiency. The importance of downsizing and using energy-efficient appliances is reflected in the Energy Star ratings attached to appliances today. Renovating a kitchen with granite, stainless steel, new cabinetry, and flooring is the second most requested renovation project. A new kitchen increases your home’s value, and installing energy-efficient appliances attracts a buyer’s eye.


A home renovation project that includes installing new windows and doors leads to less cost in running the house. Double glazed windows and solid doors are an expensive renovation but yield benefits for the homeowner and a potential buyer.

Small Projects

While consumers like “new,” renovating with small projects is effective. Paint the house, inside and out, to give it a fresh feeling. Replace the flooring, using wood if you can, to add value. Re-landscape the front and back lawns for curb appeal. Install new bathroom and kitchen hardware if a total renovation is out of your budget.

Plan a methodical makeover.

When major work isn’t required, but the whole house needs a face-lift, work systematically through each room to establish the extent of the necessary work and outlay. Start in the hall — it typically requires more thought than you might imagine — and work logically from there.

Think methodically about each room in terms of floor, walls, ceiling, lighting and furnishings. Prepare a list of items to be purchased and building or decorative work to be done. You’re aiming to create a priced inventory of all the material needed for a successful project.

You may find it helpful to create a shopping list with relevant dimensions on your phone or in a dedicated notebook for handy reference on the go.

Start with issues, not solutions.

If significant alterations or even an extension are envisaged, take time at the outset to reflect on what’s propelling you to undertake the work in the first place.

Think specifically of what your issues are in terms of space, light and storage. Exploiting each of these elements to their fullest is key to creating a home that fits your needs like a glove. Whatever your space and budget, there’s an optimal solution for each part of this home-design trinity.

Also, bear in mind the present and future life stages of household members — from toddlers to schoolchildren to young adults – and how your home will need to respond to each.

Compare what you have with what you want.

Where your issues relate to space use, start by preparing an inventory of the rooms you have now and how they’re used. Next, itemize the spaces you’d like to have and the uses you need to accommodate. Imagine you’re writing the brief for your ideal home.

Comparing both these lists should identify any “gaps” that need to be filled. The challenge then is to see whether your existing home can be rethought to meet these needs.

For example, can the extra living room you desire be accommodated in a first-floor room? Or in a loft? Can the guest bedroom double as a home office? Be broad in your thinking to achieve the best use of your resources, both spatial and financial.

Maximize your existing space. 

If you feel you need more space, first check that the rooms you already have are working sufficiently hard before deciding whether to extend.

Perhaps you even have an unused room. Could it be reinvented and put to work differently? Is it a problem room — with issues of light, warmth or arrangement that need to be solved before it can be put to any use?

Could the dividing walls between the rooms at the back of your house be removed to create that coveted kitchen/dining/family room?

If you decide to extend, make sure that the existing house flows into the extension and that, between both areas, your needs in terms of space and storage are fully met.

Boost natural light.

If the light is your main concern, a light-filled extension might seem like a tempting vision. But bear in mind that such an extension may reduce light in your existing spaces.

Large windows to even the tiniest of external spaces can transform the light levels in any room. So, too, can light tubes, always a powerful source of light.

Where space and planning controls permit, a garden room, such as the one in this photo, can expand your space without intruding on the quality of light in the main house. Depending on your home’s orientation, the garden room may even enjoy better sunlight than the main rooms.

Manage your storage. 

Your aim throughout the house should be to achieve storage that’s both convenient and appropriate to what’s being stored.

You may think your existing storage is woefully inadequate, but before ripping it out and starting again, ask yourself: Could it work harder?

For example, in the kitchen, rearranging the contents of existing drawers and adding cabinet shelves can free up valuable space. This thinking can be applied to closets, linen cabinets and all other special storage areas around the house. Your primary outlay here will be time, not money.

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Turn a “problem room” into a successful one.

If there’s a room in your home that’s shunned and avoided, you may well have a problem room.

However, there’s always a reason why a room is not used. It may, for example, be physically or architecturally cold, uninviting in its furniture arrangement or just dark and gloomy.

Make an effort to find out what doesn’t work in your problem room, explore possible solutions and get cost estimates for the work involved. Could you take down a wall, as in this inviting, open-plan space? Even moving a door or a radiator can transform a room — and for a fraction of the cost of an extension. Finding the right Melbourne home builders  is an important decision. Check out our range of the best home design constructions at  MJS Construction Group.

Renovating A House Step By Step 

Back when we first started in the world of interiors and home renovations, one thing we wish we found was a step-by-step renovation guide to explain how a renovation typically evolved. 

There was just no support for renovators out there at the time, which is why we’ve created everything you need to renovate a house right here on this website smoothly.

Having a timeline, step by step, to renovating a house is something the renovators we work with get such huge clarity. It helps them understand what’s required, how long it might take, and costing up projects.

You might be at different stages to others, so we’ve split this timeline of a renovation into 4 phases:

Phase 1: Considering a renovation – you might be looking for a property to renovate currently, assessing options

Phase 2: Purchasing a renovation – you might have an accepted offer on a property, starting to plan your home renovation

Phase 3: Planning a renovation – you might already have the keys to your home renovation, either living there or not, and you’re planning which order to do work in

Phase 4: Renovating – maybe you’ve got contractors and builders already working on areas of your home renovation, and you’re keen to clarify the order of events

No matter what stage you’re at, the first thing we must tell you is – no home renovation is the same. Houses and projects are all different, so with this, timelines will vary.

Finding that Ideal Contractor or Design-Build Firm.

Taking your time at this stage of your home renovation is vital! Often people are apt to go for the “lowest bidder”. And yet, they are failing to price apples to apples. Meaning is one contractor being completely comprehensive and transparent when it comes to the work and materials included. Some, unfortunately, will omit essential details or facets of the job, only to add those in later as “extras.”

Interviewing design-build firms and asking the right questions will help get your project off to the kind of start that doesn’t keep you awake at night. You want to look for a home remodelling company that has a solid track record of satisfied clients and stellar work—such that they aren’t afraid to let you see and speak to. You also want a fully insured and applicably licensed firm for your project—ask to see proof. And you want a home builder who takes the time to understand your vision and your budget. For the next few months, you will be a team. Establishing that type of rapport at the onset will make your home remodel much easier and much more pleasurable an experience.

Remodelling a House Requires a Flexibility Factor.

When it comes to remodelling a house, you need to maintain a level of flexibility. Yes, in a perfect world, everything will run exactly according to plan. But especially with renovations versus new construction, some unknowns that your builder just isn’t going to be fully aware of until they tear up walls, unearth foundations and remove ceilings.

If you go into the project expecting the only perfection at every single phase, you’re going to make yourself crazy in the long run. Have faith in the company you hire to create a fantastic end product. One that you can be proud of relaxing and entertain in, and truly enjoy as a family.

Evaluate Your Home with a Detached Eye.

Simply put, you have to be able to think critically about your current home. The most significant renovations are to fix the problems, remediate any issues, and make the space flow and function more effectively. This requires you to be able to step back and examine each area/room of the home. And determine what solutions will work best in transforming that particular space.

This is also where a design-build firm worth their salt comes into play. Their experience and input should help guide you in figuring out which types of renovations make the most sense in your house remodel’s a grand scheme. They’ve been at this for years, most likely, and so they’ve probably seen it all. Communicate, get ideas, take feedback, and input into careful consideration as you plan out your whole home remodel. Check out our range of dual occupancy builder for your dream house.

When remodelling a house, where to start is usually with you to avoid costly home remodelling mistakes and timeline delays. You need to plan. You need to strategize. And think it out according to what your family needs and wants in the long run. You will find that you will save a lot of money on your home remodel by following this advice!

Once you find that perfect design-build company to work with, lean on them to help you through the early phases of the renovation. It will make it so much easier and more streamlined, resulting, of course, a stunning new space!

Whatever scale of work you take on, resolve to stay focused on the very end. Renovation work tends to be a long and tiring process, and you may be tempted along the way to delegate minor — or even primary — decisions to outside parties.

Those decisions you delegate may haunt you. Remember, you aim to create a home that fits like a glove.

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