Updating or redesigning your home is a daunting job. There are many components, and big jobs almost certainly require help from the professionals. Finding adequate inspiration, getting clued up on legalities, planning an extension or even calculating the costings. All these things require care, attention and planning.
So what are the best online tools to help you get started, learn along the way and keep track of the tasks and budgeting involved? We have a few that we always call upon. And today on the Mark King blog we want to share them with you.
For ideas and inspiration, we love tools like Pinterest, Instagram and our favourite home improvement websites. But for design work, we work closely with our professional partners to set up floor plans and 3D imagery of properties. If you’re about to embark on a big project, then you’ll need all the help you can get to stay organised. Fail to plan, and you will no doubt incur unnecessary costs. And we all want to avoid that!
If your looking for some tips to spruce up your home on a budget, then read our recent article here; ‘home design on a budget’
From redesigning a floor plan to keeping on top of your project budget, renovation is an intricate job. It does pay to plan! Whether you’re adding value for sale or extending your family home, these online tools are sure to assist your next refurbishment project, however big or small!
Get inspired www.pinterest.com
Getting ideas and inspiration for your project is certainly one of the best bits. If you’ve got lots of ideas and are feeling inspired, then you’re ready to get your ideas organised. If you’re serious about renovating your home, you’ll need to organise your research, and mood boards are a great way to do this! Pinterest allows you to arrange your ideas onto boards. So for example, if you’re planning a loft conversion, you might have a board titled ‘Loft conversion ideas’ or ‘Loft conversion stairs’ to keep ideas in order. This way, you can easily refer to them as needed.
If you’re getting professional assistance with your renovation, then showing them visuals can bring your ideas to life!
Get clued up www.planningportal.co.uk
Home renovation can be overwhelming. There are so many things to consider, from building regulations to how to apply for planning permission. There are policies and legislation to consider, and it pays to be clued up in these areas. Planning Portal is a vast and highly informative website funded by the UK Government. It has detailed articles on all home renovation projects in the form of interactive guides. It’s up to date with all industry relevant news and is also the online portal whereby you apply for planning permission and track your application progress. There are details on common projects such as extensions, demolition and garage conversions including all the frequently asked questions on such projects.
The cost of not knowing your responsibilities when it comes to big projects can be devastatingly high. So, use this thorough and informative online tool to get fully clued-up before you get started!
I love buying oldie worldy houses like this one in Tremorfa Cardiff, nothing better than coming up with ideas to bring it bang up to date. We normally aim for these type of properties to be ‘recycled’ back into an owner occupier property rather than rent them out, it will be great to see a family buying and moving in once its all modernised. – #propertynews #propertyinvestor #propertyblog #flip #fliphouses #landlord #rental #estateagents #CEO #director #meninbusiness #businessintellegence #2017 #housingmarket #propertyexpert #propertybuyer #propertyseller #buyhouses #sellhouses #realestate #housingmarket #UK #Wales #SouthWales #Cardiff
Get planning www.smartsheet.com
Now you’re inspired, clued-up and ready to make your ideas a reality, you’re going to need a pretty robust planning tool. Smartsheet is a great overall project management tool, but they offer a range of free, downloadable spreadsheet templates too. You can then use these in MS Excel or Google Sheets, free of charge. We suggest starting with a Project Budget Planning spreadsheet; as this enables you to set out all tasks involved in your renovation alongside their associated costs. This means from the onset; you can estimate your budget and track as you go.
Remember to include the additional budget for running costs for the duration of the project and add in a contingency budget, too.
Get designing www.smartdraw.com
Fancy doing a bit of the design work and layout tweaking yourself? Well, the good news is that you don’t have to be a fully qualified CAD designer. Online software like Smartdraw and Planner 5D allow you to create floor plans from scratch so you can tweak, render and visualise your plans on screen with digital accuracy. Both sites have ample templates you can choose from too; so you can get creative with your plans for new builds and extensions. Having a play around at this stage is a great way to see what you can do with the space you have, but we highly recommend getting a professional in for the final designs. Their knowledge and experience are invaluable when it comes to considering all possible layout options. Especially when it comes to getting the most out of a small space.
If you’re embarking on a smaller project (such as redesigning the kitchen), then a tool like Smartdraw is ideal to see how you can rework the space.
Get learning www.youtube.com
Next time you need to know how to do something, don’t just Google it. Head over to YouTube and ask the same question. For visual learners, video guides are particularly helpful. But they’re also great for things that simply need to be demonstrated rather than described. Ever wondered how to sketch a floor plan? Or how to fit skirting boards? Then YouTube is a great place to learn, explore and conduct some practical research.
Some people document their entire home renovation on YouTube. And home interior websites post useful tips and tricks videos too, depending on your project.
Get on top of the tasks trello.com
Renovations are effectively big projects with lots of intertwining, overlapping tasks. And sometimes a standard spreadsheet just won’t cut it. You’ll need to write checklists, keep a master list of all tasks, make notes on tasks and keep the progress of each one up to date. In short, you’ll need to know what’s to do, what’s in progress and what’s done. Trello offers a complete online solution to this, and when used alongside a budget planning spreadsheet (like those from Smartsheet) you have a complete solution.
Trello is a great tool to keep track of any home renovation project. But, you’ll need to dedicate adequate time to keeping the system up-to-date to ensure things run smoothly.
Get the professionals in www.niceic.com
There will no doubt be crucial points in your project where professional assistance is advised and inevitable. What about when you need to rewire your kitchen before the new hob gets fitted? You’ll need an NICEIC approved electrician for that. Their network of approved contractors meet strict, Government set regulations for all electrical work, and Trustmark provides the same for all types of tradesmen.
When it comes to building and electrical work on the property, it is always best to call in approved professionals, to avoid hazardous or expensive mistakes wherever possible.
Do you use any online tools to help with home renovation projects? Let us know over on @MarkKingProp on Twitter; we’d love to hear from you!
If you are looking to add value to your home on a budget then check out my recent blog: Home Design On A Budget: The Bathroom Makeover.