Renovating your home? Congratulations! This will be an exciting time.

It can also be a very daunting time as you face decision after decision, often while enduring stressful living conditions (the endless dust!), and feeling the financial challenge of a large project. So the last thing you want to do is make any mistakes that will cost you more time, stress and money.

If you want to save yourself from these six most common renovation mistakes, keep reading…

6 most common renovation mistakes when designing an open-plan space.

Six most common renovation mistakes (when designing an open-place space)


1. Not planning the furniture layout in advance

Most homeowners will excitedly crack on with designing and ordering their kitchen at the beginning of their project. But they can often pull back when it comes to planning the exact placement of the dining table and seating area, thinking it will be easier to do this once the space exists and they can get a feel for it.


And whilst this makes complete sense, there is a big problem. If you wait until the space exists and the kitchen is ordered (and sometimes installed) it will be too late to change small details that could have made all the difference.


If you know you want a huge, squishy corner sofa, or a dining table that can seat twelve people and still have room to walk comfortably around it, then you need to plan for this! By planning your furniture placement right from the beginning (as soon as you get the drawings from your architect or builder) you can make sure everything fits! And if it doesn’t fit you have the opportunity to tweak things so they do fit.


Early in the project you can change the placement of a radiator, or move a door 200mm to the left, or shorten the island by 150mm. But once it’s all built and installed there’s no going back! You’ll have to wave goodbye to that dream sofa that just didn’t quite fit (sob).


2. Not planning a lighting scheme

Lighting has a huge impact on the look and feel of a space. For a space to feel warm, welcoming, homely and soft you need your lighting to be warm, welcoming, homely and soft. And a grid of downlights just isn’t going to cut it, so don’t leave your lighting up to your builder (they just can’t get enough of downlights).


You can easily achieve a blanket of flattering lighting by using a combination of;

  • Wall lights
  • Floor lamps
  • Table lamps
  • Ceiling pendants
  • Uplighters
  • LED accent lights
  • Warm bulbs (around 3000 Kelvins)


So when thinking about your new space plan floor space for floor lamps, wall space for wall lights and surface space for table lamps. This is why planning your lighting scheme and your furniture placement always go hand in hand, and needs to be done early in your project. You don’t have to decide which specific light fittings or lamps, that can come much later. You just need to know where they are going to go. That way you can get switches and sockets in the right place.


3. Allowing builders to place heating controls wherever they like

Builders just seem to have a gift for placing a control in the middle of a lovely large wall that would have been perfect for a piece of art or a tall piece of furniture. It’s a tiny mistake that can totally mess up the look of your room, but luckily it’s easy to prevent. Ask them in advance to sign off with you about where they are placing the controls.


Of course, what this does mean is that as well as planning your furniture placement and lighting scheme in advance, you also need to know where you will be wanting to hang your artwork. There is a recurring theme here right? Again, you don’t need to know what the artwork is, but you do need to know what wall space you want to protect.


4. Making decisions as you go along

There is always an element of this in any project, you can’t anticipate every question! But when it comes to design style decisions, the clearer your vision at the beginning of the project, the more cohesive and pulled together your new space will feel.


It can be really useful to create a vision board where you identify the colours, materials, textures, patterns and furniture styles that you want to use in your new open-plan room. That way, when you are choosing flooring, or tiles, or pieces of furniture, or fabrics for the space, you can cross-reference them with your vision board to ensure you are staying true to your original vision.


If you begin your renovation with no vision or clarity it’s easy to become overwhelmed and lose your way with what overall look you are trying to create.


5. Not planning for the finishing touches

A very common enquiry I get from prospective clients is to help ‘add the finishing touches’ to their brand-new kitchen. It’s usually because they have come to the end of their renovation but they are left feeling a bit disappointed, that their new kitchen is a bit lacking in something. And what it’s normally lacking in is decorative details that soften the space, the details that make it feel homely and welcoming.


The trouble is if you don’t plan in advance to have decorative details they can be very hard to shoe-horn in retrospectively, particularly if your kitchen surface space is already allocated to toasters, coffee machines and waffle makers. So. If you know you love inspirational images of kitchens with trailing plants, decorative pots, propped-up chopping boards and vases with tall stems, then you need to plan space for these items! Just as you would plan where you are going to put your appliances, factor in where you are going to put the decorative elements before signing off on the kitchen design.


6. Ignoring the orientation when choosing a colour scheme

When choosing a colour scheme for your new kitchen it can be really helpful to look at inspiring images on Pinterest and get out and visit inspirational showrooms. This will help you work out what colour palettes you are naturally drawn to. But before you fall for a scheme, it’s also worth considering the natural light within your own kitchen space to see what colours will work. A forest green kitchen may look fabulous in a sunny, south-facing space but very different in a west-facing room. Always try samples in your own space to get a true feel for the colour before committing.


And if you want any advice on how to choose a kitchen colour you can check out this blog here. And check out our home renovation planner here, it can help inspire you and keep your project on track 🙂


Good luck with your exciting renovation. There are always bumps in the road, and even if you plan and plan and plan, a curve ball can always come along and disrupt things. But the more you plan in advance the better your chances of designing a truly beautiful space that you will love forever. Stay positive and happy designing. And if you don’t fancy doing it alone you can check out my services here. 

Sarah x