We’ve been in our new home for exactly a week and our home improvement to-do list is already so full that it looks like it might explode if I add just one more item.
We have so many projects planned, jobs to do and repairs to carry out – we’re definitely going to be busy for a long while!
Planning all of these new projects got me thinking about our last home renovation. We managed to achieve a huge amount, especially as we had absolutely no previous DIY experience. We’re so proud of how our house turned out but I couldn’t help but think about things we’d do differently.
These aren’t things that we necessarily did wrong or regret doing. Some things just wouldn’t be right for our new home and we also learned a lot about how to tackle certain types of projects.
1. Take Our Time
Considering it took us 6 years to renovate our last house (and we still didn’t manage to complete everything we wanted!) this sounds like a totally mad way to start our list of things we’d do differently.
Even if our renovation took us a long time, I often found myself rushing through projects instead of enjoying them. For most people, it probably sounds weird to enjoy DIY but over the last few months in our temporary rental home, we’ve really missed it!
I also always want a perfect finish and the only way to achieve it is by taking my time and doing things right. No corner-cutting this time around!
2. Finish Projects Before Starting New Ones
I’m so guilty of this! A shiny new project is just too difficult to resist but there’s also nothing worse than living in a house full of almost-finished projects that niggle away at you.
The feeling of completely finishing a job is so satisfying and rewarding. It’s what gives us the buzz and motivation to keep going!
3. Use High-Quality Fixtures And Fittings
It’s not that we didn’t use high-quality products in our last house, on the contrary in fact! We definitely over-specced a lot of things from a money-making point of view but we did what felt right for the house and for us. Some of the most expensive updates like our wood burner, door handles (with hidden fixings) and bi-fold doors, were also our favourites.
4. Pay For More Jobs
Yep, a radical thing to say on a DIY blog but one thing we did learn during our last home renovation is when it’s best to call in the professionals. We’ll still be attempting to do as much of the work as possible ourselves but we’ll also be getting in the professionals when we need to.
5. Prioritise The Kitchen & Bathroom
Both the kitchen and bathroom were at the very top of my priority list when we first move into our Edwardian home in Manchester. I hated the kitchen and I hated the bathroom even more. Although these were both projects that I was desperate to get done we didn’t get around to doing them – at all!
Needless to say, I’m well and truly sick of living with ugly and impractical kitchens and bathrooms.
We will give the kitchen a temporary update by painting the laminate kitchen cabinets and in the long term we’re planning on moving the kitchen to another room.
6. Learn to plumb
Plumbing is one of the very few jobs that we never got around to trying (unless you count removing the odd radiator). Having watched our plumber at work, most of what he did really didn’t look too difficult. I know that there’s more to it than just pushing a few pipes together but it would be great to complete a few basic plumbing projects. After all, how hard can it be?
7. Be more daring with colours
We already shared the colour scheme for the apartment a couple of weeks ago. It’s nothing totally radical but we would like to use less neutral and bolder colours. The dark blue-grey walls in our dining room worked so well and it’s something we’d like to do more of in our new home. You never know, we might even opt for some wallpaper along the way! Mind-blowingly radical, right? ;)
8. More magnetic plaster walls
We installed our magnetic plaster walls not long before moving out of our house and I loved them! Magnetic plaster has got to be one of the best home things invented in the last decade – who am I kidding – one of the best things ever!
I’d have magnetic walls everywhere if I could but they are expensive, so we’ll have to carefully consider where to install them.
In case you’re wondering what on earth I’m on about you can see our magnetic hallway update here).
9. More temporary solutions
Although I want to take my time with this renovation, there are things that I want to update as soon as possible.
We obviously won’t be able to afford everything straight away so we’ll be doing a few quick fixes to upgrade what we already have and then replace and refurbish things properly when our finances allow us to.
10. Choose what we really want
As much as we loved our last home we always knew it wouldn’t be our forever home. We’d actually never planned on staying there for as long as we did!
For this reason, the financial aspect of improving our home was always at the back of our minds.
It, of course, wasn’t all about making money but we always kept a very careful eye on our expenditures and always weighed the pros and cons of any investment we made. That’s not to say that we didn’t do what we wanted but it does mean that we sometimes chose a more neutral option or ended up installing something that was good but not amazing.
Our new apartment is a much more long-term investment so we can hopefully choose exactly what we want without feeling like we need to please anyone.
Is your to-do list also always longer than it should be? Are there any home improvements you regret or that you’d do differently?