DON'T HATE, RENOVATE - 10 reasons not to DIY

Renovating your home may be a romantic  dream, but in reality a Do It Yourself renovation poses plenty of pitfalls… the trick is to be prepared.


1. It costs more than you think.  Adding 15-20% constringency to your budget is always recommended. That means you’ll need to add 15-20% to your total budget to cover unexpected costs.

When doing your own renovation this becomes even more vital because unexpected costs will be more likely. The reason is; while DIY renovators have access to resources such as building information centres- they are more likely to make basic mistakes such as not allow for underlying structural work, incorrect calculations while ordering materials, insurances, permits/approvals and hiring of equipment.

2. It always takes longer than you think it will. How many times have you begun a task that’s only supposed to take five minutes, only to find yourself still there two hours later? With DIY renovation you can multiply that time blow-out-factor many times over, even if you’re not doing the actuarial hands-on stuff.

3. You don’t know as much as you think you do. If you are an avid watcher of TV lifestyle programs you could be forgiven for thinking that you can renovate your house over a weekend using a screwdriver.

The most vital part of construction occurs before everything is covered up by walls and ceiling sheets. If you have no technical knowledge, you won’t know when something goes wrong or how to rectify it.

4. Your paid work will suffer while your unpaid labour of loves takes over. You may save money on labour by doing the renovation yourself, but chances are you’ll have to take some time off from your paid job to get the renovation done, or spend every weekend doing them. At some point you and your paid and unpaid jobs collide- to the detriment of both.

5. You may not do it safely. A survey by Victorian Injury Surveillance System found a link between the increased popularity of television lifestyle programs and a rise in accidents around the home.6. You have no tricks of the trade. It takes a tradesman four years to perfect their trade, don’t think you can learn it from one television program.

While there are many resources around to help the DIY renovator, expertise is the only real source of knowledge. Also professionals spend time building relationships with the suppliers that deliver good prices and excellent service, while you will be paying retail on everything.

7. Implements may cost you money when trying to re-sell. People are savvy. They are not taken in by a cheap cosmetic job, and they know what things cost.  If the quality of your work is not up to the professional standard people will factor the cost of fixing it into their offer.

‘Quality is remembered long after price is forgotten’ – unknown

8. Insurance is tricky. Professional builders carry Home Warranty Insurance (Building Indemnity Insurance). This protects the home owner against work defects, death or disappearance. It is also recommended you check with your home insurance provider and your financial institution, should you borrow money to ensure you comply with their policies.

9. You can make legal mistakes. The approval processes for building work is complicated, and time consuming. Guidance in these matters is invaluable.10. Your relationship my not survived the improvements. Never underestimate the stress that renovations and improvements can place on your relationship.

It’s not just time, finances, and the never edging decisions, but also the dust, noise, lack of personal space, exhaustion and pressure when things go wrong, as they invariably do.

Avoid the trap: As a designer I help people renovate, build, design and create spaces all day long. The most common problem people come to me with is not seeking professional design advice at the very beginning of the project, but rather after making a costly mistake such as purchased incorrect product to suite their lifestyle or colour palate.

Apart from being a costly mistake to rectify, you may need to compromise on either quality, lifestyle and or price.


To help you prepare you for the unexpected, read our interview with The Sun Herald newspaper – expect the unexpected (anticipating additional expanses is the secret to a successful renovation)



 AGATHA O house of design – interior decoration & design is an award winning interior design Company in Adelaide, South Australia writing about lifestyle and WHAT’S HOT in the world of interior design, architecture, art and travel.



Agatha Ozhylovski is the creative director behind AgathaO House of Design. She infuses art, music, ++ fashion every step of the way. And believes in a Vogue way of living, working & playing; where design is defined by people, lifestyle ++ culture.

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