How to Future-Proof Your Renovation
Make design decisions that will stay fresh through the years – and avoid renovator's remorse
One of the biggest mistakes homeowners make when renovating is to follow a trend. But there are ways you can future-proof ideas, starting from the planning stages through to the decorating. Whether you are planning a new build, renovations or extending an existing home, these future-proofing tips will save you time and money – as well as remorse – from the planning stages through to the finishing flourishes.
Don’t get caught up with what you think looks good now. Sure, open-plan living looks appealing in glossy magazines, but it isn’t always practical. While it’s great to be able to keep an eye on babies while you manage daily chores, as the kids grow, you may need separate space to hide away their mess, or to let them watch a movie while you prep a meal. And the older kids get, the more their parents need a retreat.
Even if you can’t afford to extend your home now, create a plan that allows additions without undoing what you have already done. This is smart planning and will also appeal to buyers, should you wish to sell before carrying out those plans.
Design strategies for a future-proof bathroom
Some trends make sense and are wise investments for the future. Homes that prioritise healthy living, sustainability and efficiency are the fastest growing trends in New Zealand and Australian architectural design, and a direct response to the huge amount of existing ‘sick’ and under-performing homes, specifically a rash of poorly constructed homes in New Zealand that were recently proven to be far from weatherproof, and were therefore unliveable.
Smart homes will provide a good return on your investment. Before you talk to your architect, assess your home’s energy star rating, and wise up on what makes an energy star-rated home. Improvements can be as simple as increasing your thermal insulation, ventilation, water and energy efficiency, to more complex changes such as selecting the right building materials, recycling materials, maximising site positioning and solar gain.
Whether you are planning a house or just renovating a kitchen, be practical and give priority to function. Following trends, your house could be as pretty as a picture, but it’s all a waste of time and energy if it doesn’t perform at an optimal level. So, consider your home’s design and prioritise function over aesthetics. Efficient storage and ease of use are key to every room in the house, but are most especially important for a great kitchen design.
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Once you are confident that your new layout is efficient and future-proof, then you can start to get a little giddy about the individual personality you want to inject into the space. But stay focussed on your overall style and don’t be swayed by trends. When you decorate with a trend, that particular aesthetic tends to become inescapable – which will eventually become tiring to the eye.
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You might think this is your forever home, but you never know what the future will bring. You need to keep in touch with the market and your return on investment. Remember that house you didn’t buy because of the nasty blue kitchen and terracotta floor tiles? Point made. You do need to enjoy your home but don’t set yourself up to fail.
And remember, cheap is often a wolf in sheep’s clothing, so if you are looking to renovate or even just redecorate, if you can’t afford to buy quality, you may be better off waiting until you can rather than settling for sub-par materials and workmanship.
And there you have it: a future-proofed style savoir-faire home with fantastic resale value.
Have you managed to avoid trends during your home renovations? Share your experience and photos in the Comments section.
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