Renovating a home is stressful, time-consuming and expensive.
No matter how well prepared you think you are, you will always hit bumps in the road that will rack up the cost and make the project more complicated.
In fact, a recent survey of more than 1,000 DIY-ers revealed that the average renovation went overbudget by £3,024 and took three months longer than expected.
Additionally, 31% of renovators underestimated the likelihood of problems occurring during the project – hindsight is a beautiful thing.
However, if you’re only renovating a room or two, rather than your whole house, the room you choose to tackle will impact your level of stress. Not all DIY jobs are created equal.
According to the research, gathered from Brits who have completed a large-scale renovation in the last five years with the help of trade professionals, there are some rooms that trigger much more stress and expense than others.
The best rooms to renovate from the data gathered are the dining room and the conservatory, these rooms were voted as the most stressful by only 3% of renovators, making them the lowest voted in this category.
So, if you’re thinking about diving into a big DIY project – these easier rooms could be a great place to start. But which rooms are likely going to give you a headache?
The most stressful rooms to renovate
According to the survey, the kitchen is the most stressful room to renovate for close to half (49%). This could be due to the amount of equipment, accessories and utensils that need to be packed up, the loss of cooking facilities and disrupted routines, also the cost.
The second most stressful room to renovate was voted as the bathroom (22%). Renovating your bathroom can be stressful because it can uncover plumbing issues, and leaves you and your family without a toilet/bath/shower – not ideal.
Not too far behind the bathroom was the living room/lounge (9%). This is unsurprising because the living room plays a huge part in our lives. As a room meant for relaxation, living amid a renovation is bound to cause stress.
So, why is it that so many of us find renovations so stressful? It isn’t only because of the disruption to the rooms in our homes.
Close to a quarter of those surveyed stated that their renovation was not completed on time. Most people were found to be, on average, three months over, but this differed across regions. In Norwich, renovations were found to take, on average, six months longer, and four months in Southampton and Leeds.
Delays can be caused by a range of renovation issues – from problems finding trustworthy tradespeople, sourcing equipment and waiting for furniture. External factors also cause delays, things like extreme weather, financial problems and of course, events like the recent pandemic, and political events like the impact of Brexit.
How to keep costs down while renovating
Do what you can yourself
‘Arm yourself with confidence (and lots of YouTube knowledge) and have a go yourself,’ says Bonnie Harington, content writer and experienced renovator.
But she says it’s important to remember that electrics and gas should never be DIY-ed.
‘You need to be qualified and certified to manage these jobs, and getting it wrong could be deadly,’ she adds.
Draw up an accurate budget
‘You’ll have to get online and research the costs of materials before you start to get a good idea of how much things actually cost,’ says Bonnie. Stressing that you shouldn’t forget the little things.
‘Screws, wall plugs and washers are only pence, but if you’re using hundreds, even thousands, it all adds up,’ she says.
Ask the experts
In every single DIY store there are people you can speak to and ask questions, and Bonnie encourages you to squeeze all the knowledge out of them that you can.
‘Usually, you’ll find they are friendly and well- informed, and they can help you choose the right material, tool, or brand you need,’ she says. ‘This will save you making costly mistakes and buying things you don’t need/can’t use.’
Hire tools, or better yet, borrow them
Instead of spending money buying specialist tools, Bonnie says hiring them is a really good idea.
‘They’re usually high quality, well maintained and you can ask the assistant in the store exactly how to use them,’ she says. ‘The downside of this is that you’re still spending money, and sometimes the costs of hiring tools can be prohibitive, especially over longer periods of time.
‘Instead, ask friends, neighbours, family members or even local Facebook groups if you can borrow the tool you’re looking for. You’ll be surprised how generous people can be.’
All of these issues lead to DIY regrets.
According to the data, the most common regret among renovators is underestimating the likelihood of problems arising that require more time and more money (31%).
This can be easily connected to the percentage of people that go so over budget to cover the costs of unpredicted problems and expenses. Over a quarter of respondents (26.12%) admitted they had to borrow money from family or friends to help finish their renovations due to changes and unpredicted aspects throughout their project.
Nearly 50% changed aspects of their renovation while in the process of completing it, which can contribute to people exceeding their timescales and wanting more time to complete their projects.
The second biggest regret was revealed to be living at home during the renovation (27%). This can be due to several factors including essentially living in a building site and your everyday routine being majorly disrupted, to not being able to relax in your home since the process can take so long.
If you’re after top tips for renovating your bathroom on a budget, read these tips from the people who managed to do it without too much stress.
Or, for kitchen renovation tips, take inspiration from this retro 70s look, or the mum who transformed her kitchen from dated to chic.