Your guide to a complete home renovation

Your guide to a complete home renovation

Kathryn Lee - 5 Dec, 2019

Upgrade your space and renovate like a pro (or at the very least, like the amateur pros on TV) with this home renovation guide for 2019.

The realities of renovation

Reality programs such as The Block and House Rules have generated a new wave of enthusiasm for home renovation. And with the incredible transformations on show, it’s of little surprise that we’ve seen the return of an age-old adage. By buying worst home on the best street and throwing in a little bit of elbow grease (as well as your checkbook), you can create your dream home – and the perfect investment!


Renovating your property can:

  • Increase property value/equity
  • Make it more appealing
  • Increase rental return
  • Make it a better space to live in

What to watch out for

If you’re not careful, property renovation can have some costly implications. Here’s what to watch out for:
  1. The money pit: Avoid turning your reno into a ‘money pit’ that makes no monetary return.
  2. Getting bored and not finishing: Don’t be that guy who spends 15-years living in an unfinished bathroom. Make a timeline and stick to it.
  3. Taking on too much: Be realistic with your renovation goals and be sure you have the resources before you start.
  4. Over-estimating skillset: Yes, there are things you can take care of yourself, but others are best left to the professionals.

Make a plan

A good renovation plan can help you foresee the major pitfalls before they happen, as well as help you carry-through the project to completion. Be sure to:

  • Write down all your projects/ideas, then list them in priority order. This will form the basis of your plan.
  • Work out the cost of each project and ensure you have the funds.
  • Make a timeline for how long each project should take and when you’ll get around to it.
  • Realistically plan for what you’re going to be able to take care of yourself, and what’s going to need a professional.

Where to shop

Once the renovation is complete, you’re going to need homewares to deck out your new space. Check out:

Scout House: An eclectic collection of goods from around the world, including made-to-order pieces and vintage finds. Their collection has a heavy focus on industrial chic.

Sage and Clare: An online retailer with a focus on linens and textiles with a bohemian feel. Known for that hand-dyed donnas and lush throw pillows.

Family Love Tree: Specialise in statement pieces of furniture and homewares with a bohemian-coastal vibe.

Jumbled Online: The online version of the famed Jumbled shopfront in Orange, NSW. Known for their beautiful homewares and one-off paintings, with most of the stock being from Australian brands.

Trit: Albeit pricey, the store is known for their ‘forever’ pieces, with a collection of minimalist homewares and furniture.

Kmart: With somewhat of a cult following, Kmart is now known for their ever-changing collection of on-trend, affordable homewares and furniture. Shop online or instore.

Target: Kmart’s classier older sister. Target is another on-trend destination for budget furniture and homewares.

Bed Bath N’ Table: A Melbourne based homewares company with stores Australia wide. Online shopping also available.


Related: Paint colour trends for your home


Year-after-year, kitchens are one of the most popular rooms for renovation. We’ve scoured the best of Pinterest and pulled together the dreamiest spaces to give you a healthy dose of inspiration.

Plumbing: Certain plumbing jobs, such as installing a hot water service, can only be carried out by a licensed professional. Be sure to check the laws for your state.

Electrical: Generally, if you’re going to be doing anything more than plugging an appliance into a power point, you’re going to need to call an electrician. Check the laws for your state.

Structural changes: If you’re looking at knocking down any walls or extending the space, be sure to call in a contractor to ensure the structural integrity of the dwelling won’t be affected.

Simplified beauty

With its clean, white cabinets and subtle subway tiles, and wooden features, this kitchen retains its classic feel without being too sterile. Perfect for the family who likes to enjoy a casual chat or a snack between meals.

Simon Whitbread for home beautiful

More is more

From multi-patterned rugs to bright tiles and busy shelving spaces, this kitchen utilises every inch of space to cultivate a creative yet classic black and white room. Perfect for testing and trialling exciting new recipes every night of the week.

Simon Whitbread for home beautiful

Night and day

Enjoy a little mystery with a kitchen that takes the best of a darker pallet and mixes it with bright colours and natural light. This open kitchen space has everything in the one area but allows for the opportunity to breathe thanks to the high ceilings and inviting windows.

Simon Whitbread for home beautiful

For the love of outdoors

Part greenhouse and part kitchen, this space takes the best of outside and brings it back in. With enough room to house indoor plants, herb gardens and decorative items – it’s the perfect arena for those who have a bit of a green thumb and love incorporating fresh ingredients into their meals.

Simon Whitbread for home beautiful

Related: How to find your plant/life balance

Space saver

Not every kitchen has to be big. For those of us dealing with smaller areas, optimising the space with innovative design thinking is a gamechanger. Just like a babushka doll, this kitchen features drawer within drawer within drawer, and it’s the perfect way to stash all your utensils, crockery, pots and pans.

Simon Whitbread for home beautiful

Country chic

It’s one thing to head off to the farm for a quiet life, but it’s another to entirely decorate your house in plaid. This earthy and neutral-toned kitchen has the solution for those dreaming of a life off the beaten path but who are still searching for a simple and modern design to complement their surroundings.

Simon Whitbread for home beautiful

Nothing to hide

While some of us love stashing away our wares, there are others who want nothing more than to put their items on display. This kitchen shows you how a simple approach can work without the need for cupboards or storage solutions. Easy, simple and efficient.

Simon Whitbread for home beautiful

Magic carpet ride

What’s the best way to bring a dash of colour and warmth to your kitchen? Why not add a rug? Rugs aren’t just reserved for the lounge room, hall or bedrooms. Place one or two rugs in your preferred kitchen area to help tie the room together and bring one-toned rooms to life. Just make sure the rugs you use are quite thin and the appropriate pattern to complement your colour scheme. Oh, and preferably choose a colour to hide the bolognaise stains!

Simon Whitbread for home beautiful

Related: Hacks to make your rental feel like home

Take a seat

There’s nothing more comforting than a booth, but when it also doubles as the kitchen bench, dinner table and communal living space – it’s all the more worth it. Best of all, the added storage below the seating area means less clutter and more room for the whole family.

Simon Whitbread for home beautiful

Industrial chic

If you’ve got the space, why not use it? This kitchen could double as a barn, and to make the most of the high ceilings, beams and additional overhead light, this family has added in a moveable ladder to ensure easy access to the additional storage. It’s never been more fun reaching for the spice rack.

Simon Whitbread for home beautiful


Thinking of re-doing your bathroom, but a little overwhelmed by all the design choices which lay ahead? We’ve found the most lust-worthy bathrooms out there to get your design juices flowing.

Plumbing: Certain plumbing jobs, such as installing a hot water service, can only be carried out by a licensed professional. Be sure to check the laws for your state before starting any advanced bathroom renos.

Electrical: Generally, if you’re going to be doing anything more than plugging an appliance into a power point, you’re going to need to call an electrician. Check the laws for your state before playing with wiring.

Trendy Terrazzo

Terrazzo has well and truly made a comeback. From classic monochrome to pink and gold, terrazzo is making its way into bathrooms once more. The fun choice of vibrant blue in this modern bathroom is grounded by the minimalist design choices throughout the rest of the room.

The Royal Bathtub

A chandelier in a bathroom? Well, I never! But in this beautiful space, it actually works. The addition of the chandelier turns this room from provincial to Royal. The classic tub, white marble flooring, gold tapware and filigree mirror amounts to a bathroom where the Queen herself would feel at home.

bathroom renovation inspiration

Image credit: Decorpad

Think pink

Gold fixtures and sweet pink sinks – this bathroom is chic and playful all at once. The timber vanity and sleek grey marble prevent this room from feeling like it’s straight out of Barbie’s Dream House. Perfect inspiration for those who are a little tongue-in-cheek in their design choices and aren’t afraid to use a lot of colour.

You’re so vain

This exquisite vanity has earned the right to be a little vain. Jet black marble with gold and pearl screams modern opulence – perfectly paired back by an art deco mirror and light fixture. Unfortunately, your toothbrush and bar of soap will have to find a hiding place, as it would be a shame to mar this beauty with their presence.

bathroom renovation inspiration

Image source: Nicole Franzen

Take a wash on the wild side

For the shy naturalists among us, this indoor/outdoor shower will allow you to be one with nature within the privacy of your own home. This heavenly shower is complete with lush greenery and floor to wall natural stone. Feel the sun on your face and the pebbles beneath your feet and briefly transport yourself to a simpler time, forgetting about all modern inconveniences.

Related: Top tips for a backyard makeover

Bold print, bold choice

This Palm Springs-inspired bathroom will have you rethinking the marble-on-marble bathrooms that are in vogue. Subway tiles coupled with candy pink wallpaper is a surprising yet adorable combo – proving that wallpaper and bathrooms can be a match made in heaven. The combination of the out-there print with black grout and modern fixtures has resulted in an eclectic wonderland.

Soak it up

Get inspired by this literal piece of art disguised as a bath. You can’t go wrong with a classic white bath – but this remarkable tub turns the bathroom into something truly special. Nestled amongst an array of greenery, the only issue you’ll have with a bath this beautiful will be prying yourself out of it.

Let there be light!

For those who don’t have the luxury of an indoor/outdoor shower, this sun-drenched bathroom has cleverly mimicked the look and feel of the great outdoors. The abundance of light, coupled with lashings of timber and greenery have created an outdoor bathroom minus the drafts.

bathroom renovation inspiration

Image source:

Fire and water

This enormous, space-aged bathtub is beautiful on its own – but with the addition of a fireplace, it’s a complete masterpiece. While away those frigid nights chin deep in hot water listening to the sound of a crackling fire. Bathroom bliss!

bathroom renovation inspiration

Image source:

Related: What will our homes look like in 10 years’ time?

Shower power

A shower so big it could moonlight as a spare bedroom? Yes, please. The double showerheads have us daydreaming of family bathtime without having to take turns being left out in the cold. The added bonus of a generous bench seat is a clever touch for shaving legs, deep shower conversation or just having a little rest mid-wash.

Spare room

Got a spare bedroom with no windows? it could make the perfect home cinema. Not a movie buff? Declutter your master bedroom and turn the spare room into a walk-in wardrobe. In need of some extra cash to support your metro home? Put the room up on Airbnb.

Structural changes: If your spare rooms plans include knocking down any walls or extending the space, be sure to call in a contractor to ensure the structural integrity of the dwelling won’t be affected.

Making your spare room into more than a dumping pile for junk can take some creative vision, so here are some ideas for your renovation.

Home office

Globally, an increasing number of workplaces are recognising the advantages of encouraging staff to work from home. Aside from cutting commute time and the associated fatigue, it also decreases traffic and the related environmental impact.

Flexible home-office work arrangements have also been shown to increase productivity. In a recent study it was found that over a two year period, employees who were offered flexible arrangements had a 13% increase in productivity. Employees involved in the study also took shorter breaks and fewer sick days.

A home office can also help save you money and improve your work-life balance. By working from home, you’re less likely to splurge on coffee and lunches out, and if you’re a parent, it can also help you to spend more time with the kids. If you do decide to work from home just remember, as tempting as it might be to roll out of bed and sign in to your computer, continuing to get dressed in the morning can help you maintain productivity and stop you from getting too comfortable.

Related: Top 5 side hustles that can make you a fulltime income

Airbnb it out

If you’re keen to make some extra cash, live in a popular location and don’t mind sharing your property, consider putting your spare room on Airbnb. Co-founder of Airbnb, Joe Gebbia, says most hosts are everyday people, so the process seems easy enough. When you want your bedroom back, simply remove your listing.

Home cinema

Have a spare room with no natural light? Don’t know what to do with it? While it may seem a little dull and enclosed, this might be the ideal place to put a home theatre.

Bringing the home theatre experience to your spare room is easy. Simply set a dimmer for the light, install surround sound, add some noise proofing and set up a projector. Lastly, find some comfortable chairs and get ready for some cozy nights in!

Related: The top-5 ways a Google Home can change your life

Toy room

It can be frustrating to follow a trail of toys, worse when they’re found by stepping or tripping over them. Save yourself the rush of packing up scattered toys before guests arrive by confining the mess to one room. Not only will it help you keep the house clean, but it also gives the kids their own space in a dedicated child-proof room.

Turn it into a bar

Design an intimate cocktail bar to entertain in your own home. Find some decorative stools and showcase your liquor true-barstyle on some floating shelves. For some added theatrics, have some cider or beer on tap – but spare us your home brews.

Home library

If you never made the switch to e-books and equally enjoy the “new book smell,” amalgamate your interests and set aside a space dedicated to reading and reclining.

Hobby room

If you enjoy sewing, painting or playing music, you’ll understand some hobbies come with a lot of equipment. Personalise the room and avoid overcrowding other parts of your home by dedicating the space to your craft. And remember, if you’re just starting out on an instrument, show some compassion and soundproof the walls!

Home gym

Spending your hard-earned dosh on a membership to a gym you can never find the time to go to? Turn the spare room into a home gym and you’ll save money and always be able to find the time. With a personalised set-up metres away, no excuses can absolve you from exercising. It’s also probably more hygenic and there won’t be a wait for equipemnt.

Walk-in wardrobe

If your master bedroom is small and you’re looking to maximise space – or if you want a different place to get dressed – opt for a walk-in closet. With designated storage space, you’ll be able to organise your attire in an accessible and orderly way. As a bonus, with everything clearly visible you’re less likely to keep picking up the same shirt and pants.

Contributors: Alana Wulff, Nell Matzen, Kathryn Lee and Michelle Elias

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