When it comes to home improvement, renovation, decoration or almost any other type of interior or exterior design, there are some essential things to keep in mind before you start tearing down walls or digging up the patio.
Assuming, that is, you’d prefer to avoid standing amongst a pile of rubble like an idiot or scratching your head while trying to explain why you just ripped out the old bathroom furniture before the shiny new bathroom suite had even arrived.
If you are this kind of person, then you should definitely read on.
If, on the other hand, you just want a few essential tips from a professional tradesman and interior design specialist, then you should read on too. Here at Big Bathroom Shop, we have something for everyone!
Our dedicated specialist, Steve Jacques, has spent most of his life fitting everything from kitchens to conservatories, from guest bathrooms to guest bedrooms and pretty much everything else in between.
There isn’t a room in the house that Steve has not, at some point, been asked to tackle. His knowledge of all things relating to home renovation is, to say the very least, encyclopaedic.
So, what are the most important things to remember when turning a house into a home and a home into the home of your dreams?
Assess, assess, assess
“No matter how large or small the project,” says Steve, “the most important thing is to assess. Assess, assess, assess.”
And… assess again?
“No. Three is enough. More than that and you’ll never get anything done. But seriously, before you even start planning, you need to look at the job and decide whether it’s something you want to attempt yourself, or if you are going to require the services of a professional.
“Some people will feel confident enough to tackle certain parts of the project themselves, and will then employ a professional for things like plumbing or electrics.
“Others will prefer the role of Project Manager – my wife, for example – and have a professional carry out the actual work. Still, others will have all of the requisite skills and experience to do everything themselves.
“There is no one size fits all in this game,” Steve says. “It depends how confident you are and which approach you prefer.”
“At the end of the day though, whatever you decide to do, there are certain essentials you don’t want to forget.”
First things first – put the kettle on
While there are no end of guides out there which will explain what to do, what not to do, what to aim for and what to avoid when carrying out home improvements, we tend to find they deal with the specifics of a given job, rather than taking a broad overview.
However, by stepping back and taking a look at the big picture, so to speak, it is possible to avoid some of the more common pitfalls.
So before you do anything else, before you even think about rummaging around in the shed for your trusty old Sledgehammer like some kind of suburban, handy-man Thor, take a few moments to follow Steve’s super tips for absolutely ANY home improvement project.
You’ll be pleased to hear that’s going to mean putting the kettle on and putting your feet up. For a little while at least.
Failure to prepare is preparing to fail
Once you have decided exactly who is going to carry out your project, be it yourself, a professional or a mix of both, it’s time to sit down with a paper and pen and make a short checklist.
“It’s usually the most obvious things that trip people up later on.” say’s Steve. “One thing I can’t stress enough is that you should never, under any circumstances, book tradesmen or start on your project until every item you have ordered has been delivered and checked.”
“Ordering online, as many of us now do, can mean several different companies working together to get your purchase from A to B. This means that a complex supply chain is in place and not every aspect of the journey can be controlled at the point of purchase.
“While in the vast majority of cases products ordered online flow smoothly and uneventfully from one point to another, why take chances?
It may be something as simple as an inexperienced driver taking a wrong turn. But if it means you will be left without a kitchen or bathroom, it makes sense to wait until you have everything in place before making a start.”
“From start to finish there will always be certain things that are beyond your control, but it only takes a little forward planning to minimise the risk of something going wrong.
“So, number one on your checklist should always be to ensure you have absolutely everything you need, from the smallest to the largest item, before doing anything drastic.
“Another one, which may seem obvious, is to be sure you have the correct tools for the job. One of the main problems people encounter is not having the correct tools after jumping in, and only realising too late.
“There is a saying in the construction industry: Measure twice, cut once. If you keep this at the forefront of your mind, you won’t go far wrong. Again, it is all about assessing the project before you begin.
“It is always tempting to just get stuck in, but again remember: Assess, assess, assess.
“Failure to prepare, as they say, is preparing to fail.”
The things to remember before you begin any project, are:
- Assess the space and decide what you wish to achieve
- Decide who will carry out the actual work
- Ensure you have all the correct tools if you plan to do any of the work yourself
- Create a list of essential things to remember
- Never, ever begin a project before the materials have arrived
- Never, ever book tradesmen before the materials have arrived
- Don’t attempt anything without a steady supply of tea or coffee
- There will be few people out there who haven’t been tripped up at some point by neglecting to take either one or all of these simple considerations into account.
“I’ve made the same mistakes myself,” Steve tells me. “At the end of the day, we all make mistakes. These are some of the most common things to remember and that will save a lot of headaches later on.”
Good luck with your planning and all the very best of luck with finishing off your project in style