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Dreaming of renovating your home? Do this first!

Updated: Nov 3, 2022

You know that feeling having returned from holiday inspired by either a different culture or place only to return to face the reality check of home sweet home..

It may be that you no longer feel inspired or realise the comfort factor is less than you deserve. This reality check may be caused by a need to downsize due to illness, a financial downturn or personal loss. It may also be due to the family expansion or a move. And these lifestyle changes require an evaluation of what you have and what you now need.

During lockdown, many of us had to combine living and working in our home space. This actually highlighted the need to create zones that would give privacy for work in particular.

And what seemed to be a temporary measure inspired many families to continue the idea of working from home.

So, our DIY selves experimented shunting around furniture and creatively beautifying rooms with decorative elements and paint colour.

Home renovations and improvements topped the online searches.

Any change that you truly desire is a step in the right direction. It will not only uplift you emotionally, it can also transform your life!

Changes to your environment and home space will change the way you use the space and therefore your habits so why not change the habit of a lifetime and make it the best it can be.

But for more than just a visual upgrade we pondered

  • Where do I even begin??

  • What are the key problem areas?

  • How far can my budget stretch?

  • Who can I rely upon to do the work?

  • Could I really be bothered?


A design to spatially adapt the home space comfortably into work and living zones became a real requirement.

But before the layout can be drawn up it is important to assess your newly evolved lifestyle requirements.

The value of understanding one’s lifestyle, habits and desires will only but achieve the best solution. As an interior designer I would never skip over this step.

So let’s start the process.



Once you begin to really look into your home space and the way it is used you will see that there are some areas of the home that may be working for you and some that are actually uncomfortable - physically, aesthetically or both.

So, let’s begin by defining how you currently live and how you would like to live.

Your EXISTING living scenario may look something like this:

  • Cramped

  • Lack of privacy

  • Lack of flow between room spaces

  • Lack of light

  • Visually chaotic

Note to self:

  • Existing list shows up the list of ‘lack of’

  • These problems need to be addressed in the re-design.

IDEAL living scenario

  • Spacious

  • Privacy between work and living spaces

  • Good connection and flow between room spaces

  • More natural light

  • More storage

  • Comfortably ordered

Your ideal list with ‘good room flow and privacy, more light and storage’ - make a note to incorporate these features in the re-design.

To make it easy I have included an evaluation example and a blank form for you to complete below.

For example, let’s evaluate the growing needs of a family:

  • The requirements of each room space may change with the natural expansion or reduction of family members living at home.

  • Where there was once the need for a pram or two there is now the need for storage of sports equipment and bikes.

Another example may be where one or both parents decide to work from home.

  • The requirements would therefore incorporate a home office space.

  • Alongside this, perhaps the gym membership was cancelled so room for a gym/workout space would be an ideal

  • Also, consider the need for quieter zones

Zoning your areas into public and private use will help you see the better relationships of rooms and activities.

Then... with individual room spaces it is best to list your

Your existing use of the space and

Your ideal use of the space with new requirements

A point to remember: Try to always consider your future needs.

Let’s now reflect back at your ideal lifestyle scenario checking

  • How you have described your lifestyle (i.e: the way you want to live . Formally or informally, or a combination of both

  • The connection between indoor and outdoor activities/entertaining.



In order to evaluate what is best for your lifestyle design,

  • List the existing use of each room and

  • Propose a better use of this room

Your lifestyle evaluation will highlight your room ‘must-haves’ and also define what is lacking.



  • How is this room currently being used?

  • How often is it used for this purpose?

  • At what time of the day do you use this room?

  • Does the size and aspect of the room serve the purpose of the room?

  • At what time of the day is the room receiving the best amount of natural light for the room purpose?

  • What would be the ideal use of this room?

  • What improvements could be made to the room?

The Bedroom - this is the room to bring you nurture and serenity at the end of the day.

  • Does your bedroom offer you the comfort and nurture you require?

  • Are you happy with the size, aspect and privacy

  • What improvements would you like to see?

The Bathroom - this element of the house may change when the family grows or expands to incorporate en-suites and a separate WC near to the living room

  • What is the existing comfort factor as it is laid out now?

  • What elements would you like to include in the new layout?

  • What improvements could be made with lighting, material maintenance and overall design layout?

  • Is the existing plumbing and heating adequate?

  • What improvements can be made to increase energy efficiency?

The Living Room - open plan living is catering to everyone and therefore needs to be thoughtful in design

  • Is your living room catering to all of the activities for the family to be together in a relaxed style you are all happy with?

  • Are you happy with the size, aspect and placement?

  • What improvements would you like to see?

The Kitchen - When you are considering the footprint of your kitchen you need to list your requirements:

  • Types and sizes of whitewoods ie oven, fridge dishwasher.

  • The style of serving ie counter or table or both

  • The connection to other spaces eg outside dining often the hub of the house and the centre of conversation, kitchen smells and sounds. It can also be multi-functional, combining kitchen with laundry, office or seating area

  • How do you use the space as a family?

  • What type of foods are you serving at main sittings? This is important particularly if you need good ventilation

  • How many need to be seated?

  • What size and quantity of white goods are required?

  • How is kitchen waste and separation done?

  • What improvements could be made?

The Garden Patio or Terrace - we know how important we all nature is. Being outside within all of the scents, smells and sounds of nature is good for our health and wellbeing

  • How do you connect with your outside space ?

  • How would you like to entertain and utilise your garden?

  • How often would you like to be outside eating and dining?

  • How does the kitchen and dining space connect with your outside space?

  • Do you use the garden for sporting activities?

  • How sustainable is your garden seasonally?

The Entrance Hall - this is the first area of the home you meet and greet friends and guests so make it your design statement and that is both physically and aesthetically.

  • Does the space work on a practical basis?

  • Does the entrance reflect the them of the house?

  • What improvements can be made to incorporate more space, storage, better lighting and a welcoming theme?

  • Can you enlarge the space?

  • What existing technology is incorporated to serve the entire house?

  • How can the technology be improved?


  • How Technologically Friendly would you like your Home to be?

  • Would you prefer a system that controlled everything or a simpler more basic system?

  • Where will your technology hub be placed?

  • What areas of the home will be needing technology?

Sustainability and your Home

  • Is sustainability a key factor with your design choices?

  • What is your ultimate goal to making your home more sustainable?

CONGRATS! - your home renovation brief is being formulated.


Let’s now address the aesthetics - your choices in materials, finishes and colour will reflect Your Style of living.


It is your visual expression of your lifestyle (ie the ambience, the colours, the materials and the lighting).

As an example, when you are considering the style of your kitchen you will address:

  • The types of entertaining

  • The design detail,

  • The materials on the floor, cabinetry, worktop and splash back

  • The types of lighting - task, ambience and general.

Defining Your Style

How do you want your home to reflect your taste?

1. Describe your Style and be inspired again by your Lifestyle Statement:

For example: natural, textural, casual sophistication, expressive, classic/contemporary with an element of surprise

Or cool, fresh, light, spacious, casual, sleek, urban, avant-garde, cutting-edge, textural, natural, fresh, casual, organic, rich, sumptuous, elegant

2. Consider your Preferences of Colour and Finishes

Be inspired by your lifestyle statement

  • Use colour and finishes to depict the energy of the space

Existing home palette:
  • What colours/finishes do you like, find easy to live with

  • What do you like and dislike in your existing scheme?

  • What room brings uplifts with colour or finish?

Ideal Colour/Finishes Palette
  • What overall scheme would you prefer?

  • What would you like your colour/finishes scheme to achieve ie brightness, calmness, warmth, nurture.

  • What would be your favoured colour/finishes in each room?


Most importantly, make the decision to:

  • live your best life in a home

    • that changes your perspective,

    • That uplifts and nurtures you,

    • That fits your lifestyle and

    • is authentic to you

My Top tips for Evaluating Your Home Space and your Personal Style

  1. Evaluate what you have

  2. Define what you want

  3. Review the use of your rooms

  4. Define the ideal use of each room space

  5. Define Your Style

  6. Define your preferred colour and finishes scheme


Two ways I can help you:


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