Decorating made easy
Embarking on a big home revamp? Confused about what to do first? Follow our step-by-step guide to make the process as pain-free as possible
1 Start with a clear sense of what you want to achieve.
‘For a big project you need to begin planning at least four to six months before you start the work,’ says Helen Parker, creative director at Devol Kitchens.
2 Do your research.
Visit showrooms, order brochures and test paint samples in the spaces where they will be used (this helps you to see the colour in the correct light). ‘Speak to tradespeople and suppliers as early as possible – good ones are in high demand,’ warns interior designer Martin Brudnizki. Rebecca Hitchman, designer at bathroom brand CP Hart, adds: ‘Get at least three quotations so that you can compare them to each other. And ask for a breakdown of the works entailed, so that you know you are comparing like with like.’
3 Work out your timings.
Find out the lead time for delivery on all key items, such as carpets and bathroom fittings. ‘ You should allow four to six weeks for products to arrive, and longer for any specialist pieces,’ explains Hitchman. Some things will take longer: a bespoke kitchen can take up to three months to be made. Checking this now means you can sketch a timetable for what you need to order when, so that your project runs smoothly.
4 Don’t forget the legal stuff!
‘If you are working on a larger, structural project you should ensure that every legal requirement is dealt with before you start, from listed building consent to party wall agreements,’ says Emma Oldham, director of Solange Design. ‘Be aware that it takes around 12 weeks to get planning permission – and that’s without any hold-ups.’
5 Once builders are on site, get the messiest jobs out of the way first
– for example, moving walls, adding anything structural or stripping out old fixtures. If you are replacing cornicing, ceiling roses or fireplaces, now’s the time to do it. ‘At this point it’s also wise to ensure that your supplier double-checks all measurements,’ advises Oldham. 6 Next, it’s time to get all of the wiring and the piping in place.
This is called the ‘first fix’. Chris Eaton, associate director at Stiff & Trevillion Architects, says: ‘It might seem early in the job, but it’s important to know the layouts of the rooms – where the bed or sofa will be and their dimensions. Knowing this means that the positioning of sockets, light fixtures and radiators will be right. ➤