My Best Advice To You, Wait Before You Renovate

Where has the past year gone? We’ve been in our little house now just over a year! Waking up in this house is still a pinch-me moment, I don’t care whether I’m waking up to howling winds and crashing waves or bird song and streaming sunlight, it is an absolute dream.

For the past 12 months we have done very little to the house internally, we have simply taken this time to just live in our home and get to know it. We’ve got to know where the sunlights moves throughout the day, how we utilise each room, what flows well, what we like, what we don’t like and it has been the best advice we took on board, ‘Live in it and wait before you renovate’.

The temptation to dive in and gut the place, start from scratch, buy all new furniture and coat each feature wall with a trendy pattern was all too tempting. I remember before we’d even moved in I made a massive list of jobs I wanted to get done and things I wanted to change. I had such high expectations when we first moved in thinking X, Y and Z would be done in this timeframe and we’d be this far in a years time. Thankfully, we took on the best advice ‘just live in it’ and restrained ourselves (mainly me) from any major renovations. Looking back at our thoughts (or mainly mine) regarding what we wanted to change have radically changed. Had we rushed into the renovation stage, what we thought we wanted, we would’ve wasted a lot of money and time on upgrades that, as it turned out, weren’t necessary and weren’t right for us.

I definitely think the temptation to renovate not only spurs from the excitement and adrenaline of owning your first home but also the pressure to have that perfect house and the influence from other home owners who posts regularly on social media about their renovations.

As someone who follows ALOT of interior accounts and is regularly scrolling through Instagram I do get absorbed into the perfect home world. When we first moved in I was starting jobs all over the place convincing myself that I was making progress and doing best. Turns out I was just making more work for myself because these jobs that I started weren’t actually getting totally finished. For example I now have ugly, patchy kitchen walls from where I’ve removed kitchen cupboards, electric wires dangling around the place, door frames without architrave, holes in my walls from removing curtain poles and an unfinished fireplace – it doesn’t sound much but it’s eye catching and now irritating to look at.

It’s only till late that I have had to sit down and tell myself to slow down. I have been getting full steam ahead and pushing jobs when it’s not the right time or even important. I think because I’m so consumed in the perfect house I do get jealous at how quickly others seem to complete their renovations, but that’s ok for them, that’s what they can do and that’s what they can afford. Myself on the other hand, cannot. It may have taken me a while to acknowledge this and not compare our situation to someone else’s, but right now I’m excited again about renovating and planning each room one by one – after all this is our forever home, what’s the rush!

MY TOP 5 TIPS FOR YOU TO THINK ABOUT:

  1. Impose a waiting period

Waiting a year might not be the right move for you, we’re all different, but if you have the time I strongly recommend having a waiting period. This time allows you to live in your home, assess how you use the space, find out how the light falls and then from there you can select paint colours, tiles, carpets and furnishing based on a full twelve months’ worth of data. From my point of view renovating immediately is flying blind – you’ve never lived in this home before and so you’re simply basing your improvements off of what has worked for you in previous homes or previous iterations of your life, even basing it off what looks good in someones else home.

2. The Benefits of Waiting

Aside from the stress that comes with buying a home plus the great expensive – between the costs of your deposit, closing payments, moving expenses and your first set of house bills you will quite likely be out of pocket.

Having that first year to sit on ideas, build your inspiration and save some pennies will allow you to build a much more authentic and inspiring home. Also, maybe you’re in a similar position to myself or maybe you’ve been here before but I’ve found that waiting to renovate has created a strong gratitude to appreciate what I have. Just owning a home is a tremendous privilege in my opinion and it would not be possible without family. I’ve found that by simply allowing myself to settle in and appreciate that fact I’m so thankful for what I am able to own and feel so grateful to have a safe, clean and warm place to live and work from.

3. Create contentment

Whilst you may not be hard at work stripping wallpaper, knocking down walls or even slapping on some fresh paint you still need to make your house feel like a home. Make sure you make at least one room comfortable and homely, for some it might be the living room for others it might be your bedroom. I completely understand that feeling of wanting to nest and create a safe haven in your new home and you should have one space which you feel cosy and happy in. For me this was our bedroom, from photographs it might still look bare but it’s little things like having carpets down so the floors didn’t feel so bare and cold and my clothes hung up in the wardrobe, nice fresh bedding on each week and lots of blankets.

4. Figure out your top priorities first

Everyone’s priorities are different, we’ve decided that our main goals for this year are completing the guest bedroom to a solid 75%, new radiators and pipes throughout the house, new soffits in time for winter and the fireplace sorted, if all that is achieved then I’ll be very happy.

By simply living in your home and not attacking it the minute you move in you will soon start to realise what needs attention first, trust me there are greater things that need attention in our house right now but because of money they’re on the back burner (basically till they get very very bad).

5. Temporary Fixes are OK

A lot of the time it’s often possible to rectify problems with a temporary fix, something that won’t break the bank before diving into a full renovation makeover.

Take our kitchen for example, after a couple of months living here I was, and still am, hating our kitchen. It’s dark, it felt very overcrowded by the amount of wall cupboards and the overhang worktop in the middle was like dancing around a maypole. By removing some wall cupboards and with the help of my dad removing the overhang counter top it has made this room a lot easier to manoeuvre in and a little less overcrowded and dark. It hasn’t broken the bank and if anything it’s helped us think about how we can use this space better in the future.

Now I completely understand we’re not all in the same boat and the above might not relate to you at all. But maybe there is a handful of you out there that are in my position right now.

The compulsion to perfect a home, create that safe haven and nest the minute you move in is only natural. But don’t lose sight of what your home needs versus what you want. Enjoy that first year and give yourself the time, the experience, and the money to perform the renovations you’ll enjoy for years to come – not the upgrades that spring to mind before you’ve even moved in.

Love, AR