20 Tips To Renovate Your House Beautifully And Economically

You are surely asking yourself many questions about the planned renovation work and that’s normal as the subject is so vast! Renovating a home is not as easy as you might think. The total or partial remodeling of a dwelling house requires real know-how for which approximation has no place.

The risk? Poor workmanship, rough finishes, a result far from the expected quality! Renovating a house is an adventure and, in fact, you want to get started. From an old village barn or the small house inherited from your parents, you will make a comfortable and trendy place to live. A successful renovation begins with good preparation and method.

Renovating your house is often synonymous with heavy work. It is however an essential stage in the life of a building, because it is the occasion to improve your comfort of course, but also to prolong its lifespan. Whether it’s giving it a little makeover, rearranging living spaces to create larger or brighter rooms, or even expanding it, each project needs to be well thought out.

Renovating a house: the 5 mistakes to avoid

This house, you dreamed of it. But when renovating for the first time, the fear of making a mistake is never far away. Did you do well to break that wall? To open at this location? For a Zen home renovation, anticipate. Everything must be thought out (financing, fittings, equipment) even before touching the first tool. Also, be sure to surround yourself with good professionals.

Retyping an old building without an architect

Since you don’t need a building permit, you’ve decided to do without an architect. That’s always saving money when the budget is a bit tight. Fault! You underestimate the contribution of the architect. Its role is not confined to the signing of a building permit, far from it. It will help you:

●make the initial diagnosis of your house: its weaknesses, the most urgent work,

●take a step back and develop a global vision so that the renovation corresponds exactly to your needs and your budget,

●prioritize and cost the work,

●give personality to your project and enhance the house,

●finally, if he coordinates the work, he will deal with the delays, errors, omissions, overbilling, etc … which have been the mark of any site since the dawn of time.

Underestimating the renovation budget

On the budget side, you navigate in the fog. You have planned a starting envelope and after … we’ll see as we go. Not that easy! Renovating is expensive and you risk leaving feathers if you do not anticipate budget issues. Never forget that it is more profitable to carry out an overall renovation than to do it bit by bit. 

You must establish a precise financing plan for the purchase of the house and its renovation, integrating your personal contribution, any credit and all the assistance to which you are entitled. The mortgage is the solution best suited to a combined project: purchase and renovation. The rates in 2015 are historically low, you can borrow large amounts over a long period. To obtain this credit, you must have the quotes from the companies in hand. They must be realistic and adapted to the project. Once the credit is granted, you will have two years to carry out the renovation work. 

Rehabilitate without making a prior energy balance

Energy is a big expense in the house. Renovating is the perfect opportunity to put everything back together. Also, do not rush to replace identically a boiler, radiators, an oil tank, rather make an inventory of your needs and your possibilities. 

Since the best energy is that which is not consumed, priority must be given to reducing the energy consumption of the house: insulation, replacement of windows, installation of shutters and closures, adapted ventilation, sober equipment.  

Then comes the delicate question of the choice of energy. It depends on many criteria related to the house (surface, orientation, location, etc.) and your lifestyle choices. 

Some solutions make everyone agree because they are ecological and economical, such as solar thermal. With a well-oriented roof, you save up to 70% on the bill linked to the production of hot water. 

Renovating your house while forgetting the ventilation

The air inside our houses must be renewed so that the inhabitants and the buildings remain in good health. In old houses, leaks provide this ventilation. But this model of natural ventilation “by default” is no longer tenable because it is accompanied by strong energy losses and increases the bills more than reason.

To properly ventilate your old house, you will have to make it a little more waterproof and add mechanical ventilation to it. The VMC turbofan (centralized), which equips many new homes is, in practice, little suited for renovation as it is bulky (two sheaths circuits) and imposes a very tight frame.

Arranging the house without questioning your lifestyle

A common mistake is to arrange the house without first wondering about your lifestyle. Forget for a moment the major decorative trends of the moment, also forget the habits of the former owners, it was another era. The house must now be adapted to your family, your rituals and your tastes.

Review every moment of the day. How do you live? What are the key moments of your day? Are you getting up when your spouse is getting up? Do you like to receive?

Starting from your needs, you will more easily find technical and layout solutions. Finally, is the kitchen completely open to the living room made for you? Is the shower in the bedroom such a good idea? You found the kitchen too big, does it really make sense to partition it? How to bring the light into this dark room? The bedroom on one side of the house, the bathroom on the other, is it comfortable on a daily basis? Think about the layout but also about the light, the distances and the points of view that you will have from each room, inward and outward.

Why renovate a house?

The main issue when you want to restore your house is practical. A place that was unusable and poorly configured until then can become a pleasant and comfortable place to live. Rehabilitating is also an opportunity to improve the aesthetic appearance of a building , whether it is an exterior or interior renovation. It is quite possible to transform the exterior appearance of a house during insulation work from the outside, for example. An old building can experience a second youth as long as it is accompanied in your work by quality construction companies.

Finally, the objective of a renovation is to make its occupants safe. This may in particular involve bringing an aging electrical installation up to standard or restoring a framework that is severely weakened by parasites. Reviewing the aging cover also means putting a stop to water infiltration, which is conducive to fundamental damage to the structure of your home in the long term.

The renovation of a housing can be partial ( facelift, roofing renovation, insulation / heating, for example) or global (such as alteration of a dwelling barn, the complete renovation of a townhouse, the discount new from an old apartment, etc.). In all cases, it requires rigor and a well-defined order: shell, finishings, interior fittings, then interior finishes.

Focus on interior renovation

The interior renovation helps modernize a home or a room quickly, without spending too substantial sum. It can be likened to refreshing paintings and changing floor coverings, but also to renovating a kitchen or repairing a bathroom. Very popular, the renovation of attic offers the possibility of exploiting the full potential of your home to create a parental suite, an office or a dormitory for children.

Are you planning to remove the wallpaper from the walls and apply a paint of your choice? Once the removal is done, remember to sanitize the wall and make it perfectly smooth for painting. This step is essential for an impeccable result and to avoid the appearance of cracks! The choice of paint can also be discussed with a professional painter who will explain the differences in visual rendering (mat, gloss, satin) depending on the part to be painted and its brightness.

Focus on energy performance

Optimizing insulation, changing the heating system, replacing single glazing with double glazing are all avenues to explore to limit energy loss and gain thermal comfort in your home. Ademe estimates that 30% of heat loss occurs through the roof and nearly 20% through the windows. The question of renovating the insulation of your house must therefore be part of your priorities to reduce your heating bills, but also to benefit from comfort that is as pleasant in winter as in summer.

The different stages of a home restoration

The study of the existing

Before getting started, it is important to understand that the different elements to be renovated can be very closely linked. To avoid unpleasant surprises in the middle of the construction site, it is therefore important to carry out a preliminary analysis of the existing situation.

Taking stock of the current state of your house will allow you to have a global view at a given moment, but also to assess emergencies or priorities in the planning of the work. There’s no point in re-painting a room if you ultimately have to overhaul the entire electrical system, for example. Likewise, there is no need to fit out your attic before having a roof in a perfect state of tightness.

The shell

The first stage of the site, that of repairing the shell (which sometimes has to go through a demolition phase), is only valid when the solidity of the structural elements of the building needs to be reviewed, therefore often in the case of a old house.

The finishing work and the finishing touches

The finishing works and the finishing touches do not guarantee the solidity of the house but aim to make the places habitable with all the necessary comforts of a contemporary home.

How much will it cost to renovate your house?

What estimate for your work? This budget assessment point will impact the scope of the work to be carried out. You can plan a single phase of work or, on the contrary, plan it over several quarters or years, depending on the urgency and your desires. The more the site requires the intervention of different trades, the more quotes and lines you will have to scrutinize in each commercial proposal from the construction companies and craftsmen solicited.

How long does it take to renovate?

Determining the precise duration of a renovation project is not easy. Indeed, each project is unique. To calculate a first estimate, you must take into account two main parameters:

●the area of your property

●the nature of the work to be done.

●The availability of materials desired

●The possible schedule for the selected companies

Calling on a renovation professional will allow you to accurately assess the duration of the work and thus plan for any arrangements in the event that you cannot stay at home during all or part of the work.

How much does an old house renovation cost?

As mentioned above, depending on the nature of the work to be done, the cost of your renovation of an old house can vary from simple to double. The study of what already exists is essential because it makes it possible to precisely assess the scope of the work. It also aims to detect possible pathologies that could harm the structure of the house and its solidity.

4 rules to follow to successfully renovate your home yourself

Doing the work yourself can be a good idea and can save you a lot of money since you won’t pay for labor costs. But beware, the dream can also turn into a nightmare if this project is not scrupulously prepared. Some precautions must be taken to not exceed your initial budget and risking to suspend the construction site.

Allow a margin of 10 to 15% for your budget

The first thing is to estimate how much budget you have available for the entire job. Nothing should be forgotten: plumbing, decoration, furniture, coatings, materials, equipment, etc. It is a task which takes time, but which is essential. Once the cost of the site has been accurately assessed, it will be necessary to provide for a margin of error. In fact, in many cases, the work is subject to unforeseen circumstances, which makes it longer and more expensive than expected.

Invest in equipment and materials of sufficient quality

You thought you would save on materials or equipment to carry out your work? Quickly forget this idea! If you want to achieve a professional end result, use specialist tools in the trade. An unsuitable material may waste your time and poor quality materials will be less durable over time.

Plan the site in detail

Plan each phase of the work, step by step, to avoid delays in your schedule. If you are ordering new windows, find out about the average delivery time, for example. It can vary from 6 to 8 weeks. And if you had planned a “deadline” to move into your new house, the delay in the construction site can cost you dearly: a rent to pay or even the monthly payments of your credit which begin, for example.

Don’t overestimate your DIY skills

Before you decide to do your home renovations yourself, consider whether you have the skills and help you need. Removing rubble on your own is no small task. As well as restoring a framework in complete safety or bringing the electricity up to standard. Allow time for training. Also, make sure you have help from your more experienced relatives. If this seems complicated to you, entrust the work to a professional. For reasons of safety, experience, time, and finishes, nothing beats the know-how of a seasoned craftsman!

6 spectacular and inspiring examples

Do you want to redesign your interior, bring it up to date, enlarge your house or even renovate an old building to settle there or make it into guest rooms? Back in pictures on some of our most beautiful reports and as many spectacular renovations.

Before: an old-fashioned family home

This family home had not been renovated since the 1970s. The exterior, but especially the interior, needed a good facelift. Objective of the owners, the third generation to occupy the premises: to modernize the building without altering the soul of the house.

1. After: an interior redesigned for a more modern house

In addition to a facelift, the house has been completely redesigned from the inside. Opened up to enlarge the living space, it has also been rearranged according to a more user-friendly plan for the whole family. The result: revisited and optimized pieces, and a more up-to-date decor, right in the air.

2. Before: a house with too much concrete

This 1960s house had undergone several modifications over the years. Extensions had in fact been added, giving it a fairly geometric profile cut into blocks. Its new occupants needed more space, but also more light. The architect therefore made sure to erase the very pronounced concrete effect and create a direct link with the garden.

After: a facade transformed into a bay window

The house now benefits from a wide opening to the outside thanks to a fully glazed facade. An entire gable of the house has in fact been replaced by a huge bay window. A terrace, decorated with a pergola, further accentuates the impression that the garden has become a direct extension of the living room.

3. Before: a derelict house

Uninhabited for many years, this little house was falling into ruins. However, the new owners wanted to settle there with their families. It was therefore necessary to rehabilitate it, but also to enlarge it. The metamorphosis is spectacular: the pavilion has grown from 40 m2 to 140 m2 and has been completely transformed.

After: a house three times the size

Yes, it is indeed the same house. The architect has managed to keep the classic codes of the pavilion to make it an elegant family home. Thanks to an extension, coupled with an elevation, the house has thus gained 100 m2 of living space and benefits from a small garden, also completely refurbished.

4. Before: a small house to modernize

This small Breton house was in need of a second youth. Its owners wanted to make this second home a contemporary and comfortable home to receive family and friends, but also to develop it in anticipation of their retirement. It was therefore necessary to expand and modernize it.

After: a modern house with sea view

The original building, whose structure was sound, has been preserved and extended with two extensions. The interior, very partitioned, has also been completely renovated and refurbished. The living space has gained in volume and comfort. It has also gained in brightness thanks to large openings and a double height under ceiling.

5. Before: a very dilapidated house

Abandoned for several years, this house was in a sorry state. Squatted, the openings had been walled up. As for the interior, it too had suffered a lot: the humidity had become encrusted in the walls following extensive water damage. Everything had to be redone.

After: a charming family home

Eight months of work were necessary to restore it, but the metamorphosis is breathtaking. The facade was first thoroughly cleaned and then restored. It has also gained cachet thanks to some elegant details (the addition of a cornice under the roof, wrought iron railings on the windows, a marquee above the entrance). The interior has been completely exposed in order to start again from a blank page. Result: the house has turned into a real little family cocoon and full of charm.

6. Before: a house that lacked space

Located in the city center, this house already offered a nice floor space but its owners wanted to be able to arrange a room for each of their children. It was therefore necessary to create additional square meters without modifying too much the volume of the building, located in a heritage area.

After: an original heightening to enlarge the house

To impact the facade on the street side as little as possible, the architects created an astonishing elevation with an inverted roof. The extension thus created is almost invisible from the street, and the added volume has saved 30 m2. The interior has been redesigned and some of the existing rooms redistributed. The living rooms have become more comfortable, each now has its own bedroom, and the couple has a large master suite.

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