The common mistake I see renovators make with their design and how to AVOID it


When you’re renovating or completely refurbishing a house, one of the hardest things to get your head around is knowing which order to do the work in.

This isn’t a blog post telling you the order of events to follow though (our renovation online course outlines this). I’m here to highlight a common mistake you might not have given much thought to yet.

I see this happening more and more, in fact almost 75% of renovators who enquire about my 1-on-1 interior design service make this mistake…

And honestly, it’s easily prevented if you prepare in the correct way.

The common mistake I see renovators make with their interior design is this…

They don’t confirm their interior design at the same time as they firm up architectural plans.

I understand why.

They rush to make decisions on structural layout such as door positioning, window positioning and extension dimensions or stairwell positioning in order to get their planning application submitted asap (to speed up when work can start!)

But when planning gets approved and it’s time to turn your attention to the interior layout, you can start to unravel a whole host of regrets and missed opportunities.

Problems you can run into, for example:

  • The area allocated for your kitchen, dining or living area could be too small or not size-optimised for your every day needs

  • Not enough space surrounding large tables or family dining

  • Redundant space left in kitchens – where thought hasn’t gone into the size width of collective units and positioning of appliances yet

  • An inability to install lighting – either they’re unreachable to change the bulbs, can’t be wired in or they’re obstructed by beams

  • Having to squeeze heaters/radiators into designs which takes up valuable wall space for furniture

  • Windows being too small, too big or too low/high for the room

  • Piers or columns blocking views or light

A lot of these compromises can be prevented by doing the correct preparation before any work begins.

For example in our online course How to Renovate a House, we help students consider their layout and design plans in harmony with their architect’s drawings (and budgets) to prevent regrets like these.

The students who are following this guidance are preventing hiccups that can lead to costly rework. …and they’re ending up with a more considered, optimised design as a result.

Take a look at our student Laura’s fabulous kitchen extension results as proof that this method works. What a fantastic finish!

Laura is @sun_sea_and_skirting_boards on instagram

Laura's kitchen extension

Design your interior layout alongside your structural layout and you’ll give yourself the ability to optimise every room for areas like:

  • Enhanced lighting – natural and artificial

  • Enhanced electrics – plug sockets will go exactly where you need them

  • Statement materials and design features – such as panelling, cladding, murals, mirrors, paintwork can be worked into the layout

  • Enhanced views and flow – if you know your interior layout, it’s possible tweaks can be made to the exterior to enhance a view or improve flow

  • Furniture layout – having to choose a 2 seater sofa instead of a 3 seater because of stud wall positioning will leave you resenting your initial planning choices

This is why you shouldn’t make interior design an afterthought to your planning application.

So, how do you start planning your interior design the right way and avoid making this mistake?

It takes leg work and a lot of forward planning but the solution is simple. Confirm all your interior design and layout decisions, like kitchen unit sizes, appliance positioning, bathroom layout and lighting and electric plans, preferably before you’ve submitted any plans.

We can help!

If it’s your first time renovating and you need help with budgeting, hiring the right contractors and managing the project in the right way start with How to Renovate a House. You’ll get access to our Reno Club community for support and we work with you to holistically budget, design and plan your project.

I hope this post has helped you consider reasons why it’s so important to begin planning your interior design holistically alongside your planning application.

Thanks for reading!