A home makeover not only has the potential to change the trajectory of your life, but it can also be a rewarding experience if you have an effective plan for running your renovation project smoothly.

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By George Nicola (Expert Stager)

However, unforeseen challenges are often inevitable.

This article provides a comprehensive home makeover guide for every homeowner, irrespective of the scope of their renovation projects.

Read further to learn more about the average cost of home makeovers, how to create a home makeover budget, the home renovation process, interior design ideas, and many more!

What is a Home Makeover project?

Also referred to as home renovation, home remodeling, or home improvement, a home makeover is a process of upgrading an existing home’s interior (plumbing, flooring, electrical) and exterior (roofing, siding, concrete, masonry) often done by DIY.

Other expected improvements to a house under renovation include landscaping, garage maintenance, and gardening. 

If a room needs a makeover, it means that a professional often needs its appearance changed or improved. Common reasons for a home makeover include personal preference and comfort, repair work, and the need to create additional rooms.

Set of tools for DIY home makeover / Credit: Photo by Barn Images on Unsplash

How Do You Know Your Home Needs a Makeover project?

Bare Walls

Easy to fix; Low cost solution

Whether your room is painted with your favorite color, leaving it plain, blank, or bare always takes its aesthetically appealing potential. Bare walls need bespoke makeover by fixing artwork, photos, and bracket lights to personalize the room further.

Cramped Space

Easy to fix, Low cost solution

Your home needs a makeover once you feel like some rooms are too small to accommodate your family, friends, and acquaintances comfortably. A cramped space requires maximizing space by rearranging furniture, removing clutter, clearing pathways, etc.

Poor Lighting

Average complexity, Average cost solution

Quality lighting is key to designing beautiful spaces.

Do you need a bright home office?

A well-lit kitchen?

A remote-controlled smart lighting system in the living room?

A professional interior designer can personalize your lighting using wide-ranging ambient lighting options and accents.

Underused Rooms

Easy to do, Average cost

After living in your home for several years, you may realize that you barely spend time in some specific rooms.
A home makeover is one of the most effective ways of falling in love with such spaces because redecorating any room prioritizes your well-being and comfort.

You’ve had a Major Life Change

That is just life

A home makeover is vital if current circumstances have changed the trajectory of your life.

These include but are not limited to moving in with your significant other, working from home, a newborn baby, the death of a family member, etc.

How Much Does a Home Makeover Cost?

Generally speaking, a home makeover could cost as little as $10 (£8) per square foot to as high as $150 (£125) per square foot. However, this depends on the type of room you live in, whether you’re hiring a professional, the style, and many more unknown factors, or going the do-it-yourself route. 

Apart from the factors mentioned above, other crucial factors that can significantly increase your home makeover cost include:

  • Room size
  • Cost of materials
  • Type of work needed
  • The magnitude of your renovation project.

According to HomeAdvisor, below are the typical average cost range (currency rates accurate at the time of writing) for different types of home makeover projects: 

Home Makeover Project
Typical Average Cost Range
£11,000 – £32,000 / $13,500 – $39,000
£4,000 – £55,000 / $4,900 – $67,000
Living room
£8 – £50 / $10 – $61 sq.ft
£1,500 – £4,500 / $1,900 – $5,500
£1,000 – £28,000 / $1,200 – $34,000
£10,000 – £60,000 / $12,000 – $73,000
£2,500 – £25,000 / $3,000 – $30,500
£4,000 – £12,500 / $4,900 – $15,500
£15 – £125 / $19 – $152 per hour
£40 – £3,500 / $49 – $4,300
Home Additions
£4,000 – £125,000 / $4,900 – $152,500
Floor Plan Change
£300 – £5,000 / $365 – $6,100
Upgrading Appliances
£170 – £8,500 / $210 – $10,400
Plumbing, Electrical & HVAC
£420 – £6,000 / $510 – $7,300

Pro Tip: If you are working with a tight budget, always prioritize spaces that are in dire need of a makeover and put others on hold.

How to Create a Home Makeover Budget in 4 Steps

Home Makeover on budget / Credit: Photo by cetteup on Unsplash

Learn from other Home makeover projects


Before even considering touching a hammer, learning from other makeover doers’ mistakes and successes is a good idea.

Indeed there are many successful makeover projects on the internet where you can inspire yourself but certainly where you must pay attention to the projects where mistakes were made and shared with others. Fi and Neil’s renovation blog is a perfect place to start, sharing how they did their makeover under budget.

Prioritize Renovation Needs


To ensure that you stick to your pre-set home makeover budget, prioritise renovating rooms that have more needs because they will bring you the most satisfaction. If you want to increase home value, prioritize projects that will generate more profit after selling your home.

Outline Cost Estimates


You need to create a plan detailing the expected costs, as this will help you remodel your budget accordingly after expressing your expectations to various contractors. It also helps you reduce costs in some specific areas e.g. buying countertops instead of fixing a new flooring.

Collect Bids from Several Contractors


To hire the right contractor that matches your budget, select at least three local ones with good reviews or search online for popular ones within your locality. Ask for their bids and timelines then compare their pricing. Don’t go for the lowest bid, but for the bid that fits your price range

Step-by-step Help-Guide to a Successful Home Makeover

Successful Home Makeover
Step to successful home makeover / Credit: Photo by cetteup on Unsplash

Even though every home renovation project is unique, there are specific commonplace requirements and tasks that you can prioritize for a successful and cost-effective home makeover.

Generally, a large proportion of renovation projects follow the following steps:

Find a Suitable House for Renovation

If it’s not your own house that requires renovation, you’ll have to find a suitable house to buy for renovation. Some DIY skillful doers do this as their earn without being a professional contractors.

Be ready for an uphill climb because derelict properties are always in high demand. Generally, cash buyers often outshine those who depend on renovation mortgages or regular mortgages that require independent valuations. 

To secure a renovation property at a great price, ensure you have an in-depth understanding of how the sealed-bid auction system work. Don’t rush into paying for a property without assessing all issues that could significantly inflate your budget.

Create a Renovation Project Checklist

Not all renovation projects will work for you. Some might be too costly, while some might require too much work. Therefore, use a renovation project checklist to assess your home to understand its potential. The following questions can guide you: 

  • Is the house in a suitable location?
  • Is there enough space for an extension?
  • Will your renovations increase the property’s value?
  • Are there any neighboring houses that have undergone similar renovations?
  • How much work will be structural?
  • How much work will be decorative? 

Create a Detailed Budgeting Plan

If you are looking to renovate your home on a budget, creating a detailed budgeting plan will help you discover some unavoidable additional fees that must be factored in.

These include:

  • Reconnection fees for utilities, such as water and electricity
  • Council tax
  • Valuation fees
  • Professional fees, such as Building Regulations approval, structural engineer reports, etc.
  • Contingency fund (some extra cash for unforeseen emergencies, such as earthquakes)
  • Legal costs, such as solicitor or conveyancer fees.

Identify the Needed Building Surveys

The proper building survey plays a crucial role in flagging any potential issues your house has. It highlights various areas that require specific repair work along with the costs. Further investigations may be needed if a chartered surveyor detects the following:

  • Damp
  • Drainage issues 
  • Infestation (rodents and pests)
  • Sinking or wobbled structure

Once you receive the building survey report for your house, use it to decide whether to proceed with your renovation project. 

Apply for Renovation Insurance and House Warranty

You can do without renovation insurance if you have standard home insurance.

However, the policy may not cover the renovation project activities.

Many homeowners often assume that renovations are automatically covered under their existing policies. For peace of mind, it is essential to have the right renovation insurance before kick-starting any work.

Even though they are optional when renovating a house, a house warranty is essential because it covers your home against design flaws, low-quality materials, and defects in design.

A typical house warranty lasts for about ten years. The premium and conversions for renovation insurance and home warranties are usually calculated after a building survey is conducted.

Find the Right Home Building Experts and Design Professionals

Hiring a professional is not always compulsory, especially if you have your own home renovation ideas that you can implement effortlessly and save money.

However, you will need professional advice if you have a large-scale renovation project, your home is situated in sensitive areas, or a listed building. 

Your options may include an architect, builder, interior designer, landscaping expert, and other relevant real estate professionals who can offer you effective solutions for specific problems.

You can also hire a trusted virtual stager to help you reconstruct up to 93% of the space virtually before starting the renovation.

Renovation Project Checklist
Find the Right Home Experts / Credit: Photo by Annie Gray on Unsplash

Seek RelevantPlanning Permission

Before you start renovating your house, check whether you need Building Regulations approval, a listed building consent, or planning permission. 

You need Building Regulations Approval and planning permission if you are building an extension, or changing the original use of a building. 

You need a listed building consent if you want to extend or partly demolish a listed building in such a way that it alters its architectural character or historic appearance. 

Pro Tip: To avoid delays, always prioritize repair works that don’t need planning consent.

Create a Complete Schedule of Repair Work

Don’t even bother starting your renovation project without a detailed work schedule.

A detailed program of repair works goes a long way in keeping all activities on track and, at the same time, ensuring that every contractor follows it to the letter.

Even though work schedules vary from one home makeover project to another, a concise and detailed one often lists all the repair work that must be completed.

They are always written according to the order in which every task will be carried out, the people involved, and the costs.

InspectYour Drains/Sewer Lines

Are the existing drains in good working condition? Failing sewer lines or faulty plumbing are standard in older houses. Without quick inspection and repairs, they can cause leaks and even structural damage, making the cost of your home makeover skyrocket.

Start by inspecting the utility holes by pouring different food colors down the sinks and toilets. This identifies not only the plumbing and sewer connections but also the septic tank’s condition. If you are extending your house, you may have to relocate the drains.

Improve Your Home’s Energy Efficiency

One of the most effective ways to make your home eco-friendly is by ensuring that your finished renovation uses less heat. While upgrading the radiators and boiler may help reduce heating bills, you should also prioritize draught-proofing and wall and loft insulation. 

When it comes to draught-proofing, you can add a draught seal and repair ill-fitting doors and windows. Insulation involves the addition of cavity wall insulation or internal wall insulation to existing solid walls. Both can significantly minimize the cost incurred when producing heat.

Protect Your Renovation Project from Bad Weather

When you are done repairing the roof of your house, it is essential to ensure that the entire structure is weathertight. Start by checking whether the chimney stacks are stable and the chimney pots are clear.

In cases where the old and new parts of the roof overlap, it is advisable to match the covering of the original roof. It would help if you also sealed off the windows and doors using boards, plastic sheets, or any other burglar-proof and water-resistant material.

Preserve and Repair Damaged Original Features

Original features of a building not only add to its charm and aesthetic appeal but also attract investments especially if you are renovating to sell. While original features are unique to every building, look out for the following features:

  • Roofs
  • Floors
  • Doors
  • Windows
  • Fireplaces
  • Timber beams
  • Original moldings

Furthermore, prioritize retaining their existing shapes, sizes, textures, and colors by promptly repairing the damaged ones.

Update Old Electrical Components

If the building survey report indicated that the electrics are outdated, you would have to purchase new fittings and fix the faulty ones.

Updating the electricals not only allows you to install bespoke systems that match your current lifestyle and budget, but it can also significantly increase the value of your property. 

If you are building an extension, consider using underfloor heating instead of radiators.

This is because, unlike radiators, underfloor heating minimizes the movement of dust particles in a room and produces radiant heat. 

Let the Plastering Begin!

Before you, plaster, ensure that all fittings that might be covered up are installed. Common examples include alarms, extract ducts, ventilation ducts, hot water cylinders, HVAC wiring controls, and any other vulnerable features that plasterers can mess up.

For those who go for underfloor heating, you can only lay the cables and pipes after plastering. Also, be prepared for lots of dust and cluttered rooms once the plastering begins.

Carry Out FinalInterior and Exterior Improvements

A newly renovated house has considerable potential for a spectacular interior and exterior makeover, including new roofing materials, cladding, gardens, lawns, driveways, furniture, artwork, carpet, etc. 

To create a curb appeal, make small but impactful changes, such as landscaping, adding a porch, and painting the brickwork and any timberwork in the facade.  

To get a good finish, painting and staining should also begin once the building is dust free and clutter-free. Re-tiling of the bathroom and kitchen walls can also be conducted, followed by fixing shower doors and enclosures.

Create a Snag List

Over the next few weeks or months, your newly renovated house will encounter minor problems which you must fix promptly. By creating a snag list, you’ll be able to fix various issues as they arise at some additional costs. 

You can also reach out again to the contractors you hired if your house starts developing major defects due to its faults, such as plaster cracks. If you have legal and contractual reasons that they ripped you off, this article explains how you can get revenge on a wrong contractor.

Interior Design Ideas that Make a Small Room Look Bigger

Use Minimalist Furniture and Keep them off the Wall

Use Minimalist Furniture and Keep them off the Wall

High impact

Did you know that tall and bulky furniture tends to occupy more space? Therefore, go for chairs and sofas with exposed legs and open arms because they effortlessly let in light, making the room appear more spacious.

Did you also know that contrasting colors in a room make it appear even smaller? To fix this, choose furniture that matches the wall color, as they will blend with the space to give the illusion of a larger room.

Choose Neutral and Lighter Colour Schemes

High impact

In the design world, it is an optical illusion to use light colors to make a small room look bigger and brighter. You can accomplish this by painting your walls with neutral bright colors because they reflect more natural light and makes your space feel open and casual. 

Lighter neutral colors like grey inject rich qualities into rooms like the kitchen and bedroom However, it is advisable to stick to white hues for a clean and crisp finish in the living room.

Use Mirrors and Accessories Made of Glass

Average impact

Mirrors make a room look more open and larger, especially if you angle them toward a focal point in order to give the optical illusion of depth. A good idea is to place a mirror opposite a strategically placed window to reflect light from the exterior of the building. 

In addition to mirrors, decorating your room with accessories made of glass helps reflect both natural and artificial light during the day and night. You can also add glass table tops, mirrored cabinet doors, and mirrors on the floor.

Allow Natural Light and Use Creative Artificial Lighting

High impact

Whether a room is well-lit using natural light or artificial lighting, it will look larger. If the house you want to renovate has small windows, consider expanding them. If not, ensure you don’t use dark, heavy curtains, and often consider opening the windows to let natural light into the room. 

For more artificial lighting, install lamps around the room instead of using only one source overhead. Sources of artificial light from multiple parts of a room create a brighter ambiance and expand the feel of a room.

Hire a Virtual Renovation Expert

High impact

Virtual renovation is similar to physical renovation, except it happens digitally, mostly done on real estate photos. Virtual renovators replace and revive walls, furniture, and decors with special 3D software. This is well received, especially by DIY-doers who seek to check-proof their plans before getting their hands dirty on the renovation.

A virtual renovation expert can help you choose the most suitable furniture, colors, patterns, texture, decorations, and other design elements to make your room feel spacious and brighter.

Saving countless trips to the shops and online browsing gives you a better understanding of how your design ideas will work with the existing spaces.

Pro Tip: Some DIY homeowners are choosing to plan better their home makeovers by using virtual renovations, thus saving time and improving their understanding of the renovation.

Key Takeaways

  • A home makeover is a process of upgrading an existing home’s interior and exterior.
  • Your home needs a makeover if it has bare walls, cramped space, poor lighting, underused rooms, and if you’ve had a major life change.
  • A home makeover could cost from £8 to £125 per square foot.
  • To hire the right contractor that matches your budget, collect bids from at least 3 contractors
  • To secure a worthwhile renovation property, ensure you understand how the sealed-bid auction system work.
  • Every home renovation project is unique.