Buying your first home is so exciting, especially if you've decided to invest in a 'doer-upper'. You can put your own stamp on it! But you might find that you've got a lot to learn when it comes to doing up your house or flat...
1. Painting isn’t fun
It always looks so easy when you see them doing it on 60 Minute Makeover. Grab a paintbrush, slap it on the wall, and you’ll have it all done in no time. You can even get your mates over to help, and it’ll be fun! WRONG. If you’ve had it replastered, there’s the layer of water mixed with white paint… then another two layers of white paint… then you’ll need at least a couple of coats of your colour paint, not to mention cutting in at the edges. Not so fun after all. And you won’t want to inflict that on your mates!
2. Everything takes twice as long as you think it will
As with painting, you’ll probably underestimate the time it’ll take for everything to be finished (especially if you’re working full-time, too). Suddenly, the flat you thought would be all done and dusted by June is still a work in progress as September rolls round. However long you think renovating your home is going to take, add a couple of months.
3. Your budget will go out the window
Surely all we need is carpets and paint, right? Oh, and we could probably do with replacing those radiators. And the doors look a bit shabby. Shall we get new door handles? We need new light fittings for each room, too! Before you know it, you’ve stopped even checking your bank balance because you don’t want to know how bad it really is.
4. It all has to be done in a certain order
As a first-timer, you might not realise that if you’re doing a complete overhaul, everything has to be done in the right order. You can’t just go charging in with your paintbrush – you’ll need to time the electrician, plumber, joiner and carpet fitter at just the right stages, so you don’t end up making a mess of your lovely new walls by trying to fit a new light socket after you’ve painted.
5. You must keep your receipts
When you decide to do up your home, one of the first things you’ll probably do is head to your nearest hardware store and stock up on everything you think you might need – rollers, trays, brushes, white spirit, wallpaper paste, adhesive, tools… but by the time you’ve finished, there’ll always be lots of leftover stuff that you never actually needed, still in its packaging. If you’ve kept your receipts, this can be a great way of recouping some of that money you’ve spent!
6. The neighbours won’t like it
All the hammering, drilling and moving things around won’t go down well with your neighbours, especially if you live in a flat. Be prepared to buy lots of sorry cards, sorry beers, sorry chocolates… Eventually you’ll reach a point when you can’t apologise any more, so you just ignore them and carry on regardless. You’re not stopping until it’s finished!
7. You’ll be without a kitchen
If you’re having a new kitchen put in, this can be another issue you hadn’t considered – you’ll have to remove your old kitchen, and then live without one for the next few weeks until your new one is ready to use. This means eating lots of microwave meals and takeaways, doing your washing up in the bath, and regular trips to the local laundrette.
8. The dust gets everywhere
People always talk about the dust that gets everywhere when you’re doing up your home, but this is something you can never really appreciate until you experience it yourself. No matter how careful you are at covering things with sheets and keeping doors closed, the dust monster still finds its way through. It’s pointless trying to fight it!
9. You have to ignore imperfections
Because you’re doing it yourself, it’s easy to get caught up in the little imperfections you might see. Tiny lumps in the skirting board, a fleck of paint where it shouldn’t be, or a microscopic crinkle in the wallpaper – these are things you kick yourself about afterwards, but in reality, no one else would ever notice!
10. There’s never enough space
Unless you’re lucky enough to live in a huge house, you’ll find there never seems to be enough space to put everything while you’re doing up the other rooms. Where did all this stuff come from?! Your bedroom becomes a hoarder’s paradise, as your bed is surrounded by more and more bags and boxes from the other rooms.
11. The sense of achievement when you’ve finished a room
The rest of the flat may still look like a building site, but you now have a brand spanking new kitchen!!! You can cook! You can wash your dishes! You can clean your clothes in your very own washing machine! Once you’ve finished one room, you’ll feel motivated to get the rest of the place looking just as good.
12. The pride you’ll feel when people come round
You’ve worked so hard, and when you invite your friends round you expect them to be in awe of how amazing it looks. You forget that, to them, it’s just a normal home, especially if they didn’t see it when it was covered in flowery textured wallpaper, mustard yellow carpets and a thick layer of grime on every door. However, the pride is also accompanied by…
13. The fear
You can’t wait for your mates to see your new, improved pad. But what about the cream carpets!? You’ll seriously consider banning red wine or any other dark liquids, and handing out house slippers to everyone at the door, just in case. You smile through gritted teeth as you see someone absent-mindedly putting their hand on your freshly painted wall…
14. It’s addictive
The thing about doing a massive renovation is that you’ll never feel like it’s ‘finished’. There’s always more you can do to make it perfect. It might be difficult, but you’ll have to force yourself to actually sit back and just enjoy living there for a while, before you embark on any new projects!