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Think hard about realities and potential complications. Set aside money for mistakes.
Think hard about realities and potential complications. Set aside money for mistakes. Marinaph

Home renovation: You’re doing it wrong

RENOVATION: Many of us have seen the dream turn into a nightmare.

We've consulted the experts and come up with the top 10 mistakes home renovators make. Ignore these at your peril:

Trendy tastes

Don't let fleeting fashion override functionality and funding. Know what you need before even thinking about the latest trend.

Boldly going

Be wary of bold design choices. A good renovation should last at least 10 years, so make choices your future self won't get cranky about. If you want striking colours and styles, use them in replaceable goods, such as appliances or decorations.

Going with first quote

As the customer, it is your money and your choice - don't feel obligated to go with the first or friendliest contractor if they're not a perfect fit.

Too handy

Indulging in a little DIY is a great way to save money, and it can be really rewarding - but there are aspects of a renovation job which are dangerous to tackle without formal training (especially plumbing and electrical).

Budget optimism

Think hard about realities and potential complications. Set aside some money for emergencies and mistakes.

Too trusting

Not checking contractor credentials is dangerous and can be costly.

Decisions, decisions

If you're overwhelmed with decisions, it's tempting to make a hasty choice just to end the ambiguity. Take the time to sit back and distance yourself from the process to find a fresh perspective.

Not doing your research

Lack of early information can lead to you having to compromise or entirely scrap ideas. Picture the frustration of purchasing precisely enough tiles for your swanky new kitchen, only to realise one is broken and you have nothing to replace it with.


If you skimp in the wrong areas, you can face the consequences of low quality. Know which battles to fight. Cheap materials are great for some things but bad for others - know where to save, where to splurge.

Forgetting priorities

It's lots of fun to flip through paint samples, fancy materials and fittings - but it's not just about aesthetics, and the less glamorous side is just as important. Ensuring electrical wiring is compatible, avoiding structural damage or burst pipes, and installing insulation are essential.

Should I renovate or build?

YOUR family needs more room? To renovate or start from scratch: that is the question.

Build from scratch:

If you are flush with funds and can afford alternative accommodation during construction, you should consider building from scratch. Remember it will take time and effort, but the results of building can be rewarding.

Expect a greater cash outflow - demolition and accommodation add to the construction cost.


If there isn't a viable option to move into while the building would take place, renovation may be the answer.

Renovation can be cheaper too - no demolition cost and adding/removing only certain features will save you lots. Squeezing into whatever space is available during the renovation removes the extra accommodation costs.


To get professional help:

Explain it once: No ring-around. Say what you need done, on servicecentral or on 1300 557 917.

They contact you: Get up to three quotes from certified, licensed, insured and qualified businesses.

You pick the best: Use quotes, feedback and online profiles to select the right provider for you. And leave your own feedback. 

For information on how to become a local Service Central member, call 1300 136 181 (press 4) or email

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