Top tips to avoid going over-budget and over-time on your home refurbishment

1. Define your brief

To enable your design team and builder to deliver the finished home that you want, you will need to be clear and open about what that is. Before appointing your team, write down your “strategic brief”. This is not necessarily what you want your new kitchen to look like, or where specifically your new bathroom should go (those discussions come later), but the key things you want to achieve: “a brighter space with a better connection to the garden,” “an extra bedroom,” “somewhere quiet for me to work when I am at home” etc.

It is also important at this early stage to set clear boundaries in terms of budget and program. How are you funding this project? Are there any time-constraints on mortgage/loan payments that will affect your cash-flow? Will you need to pay VAT? And on the flip side, how much will these works increase the value of your property by? It is remarkable how better utilisation and organisation of the space that you already have can improve resale value.

In our experience, client briefs tend to fan out in many directions, sometimes contradicting themselves and often changing throughout the course of the project. This is understandable, and often an enjoyable part of the design process, but it is important to keep sight of your original ambitions as a reference point to refer back to – allowing you to see the wood from the trees when you are in the midst of your project.