Questions to Ask Yourself Before A Renovation

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Before starting any renovation projects, whether it is renovating an office, a home, or your new coffee shop venture, there are a number of questions to ask yourself before communicating with your architect or interior designer. Asking some of these questions can help you determine whether it is an architect or an interior designer that you are looking for, and puts some of the ideas in your head on paper. 


1. What are you expecting out of the renovation?

Understand the main aim of your renovation that clearly identifies what you are expecting out of the renovation. Is it purely an improvement of the existing conditions? Is it to carve out additional space? Clearly define your expectations when preparing your project requirements to your design professional. Unsure who you need to work with - An architect or an interior designer? Read our blog post Architect or Designers - Who should you work with?


2. Is this a long term or a short term solution? 

The first question should be able to help answer whether this renovation is a long term of a short term solution. Is it to improve the look and feel of the space to make it in line with your business image? Or is this a forever home that you are creating? Understanding this can also inform some of the decisions in terms of project budget and specifications of materials. 


3. What rooms do you want renovated? 

In the order of importance, what rooms do you want renovated? If you wish to reconfigure the entire layout, ie. move the walls or make an open plan space, you should hire an architect to carry out your project. Ensure you work with a design professional that is skilled to carry out the renovation work that you require.


4. What is your non-negotiable? 

If there is one thing that matters most to you during the renovation, what is it? For example, is it that extra bathroom that you would like to add to the space? Understand this and communicate it to your design professional at an early stage.


5. What style of design do you like? 

Understand your preferred design style, material preference, colour preference, and include additional stylistic choices such as your aspired AV / IT to go into the space. Remember to consider the rest of the people who will use the space too, ie. a work team or family who will be using the space. A good place to begin is looking through design magazines. Pick up a few from your local newsstand and mark your favourites. Pinterest is also a good source of image references but be careful of the endless suggestions, if you’re unsure yourself, you may be on the website for far too many hours. 


6. Is sustainability a main criteria for you? 

Sustainability in a renovation project could include increasing energy efficiency and choice of materials for the renovation work. In the long run, a well-specified and installed product should reduce your energy costs. Speak to your design professional about this as early as possible. 


7. Realistically, how much can you spend?

After thinking through the above questions, you will hopefully have a better understanding of what you want to achieve and allocate a realistic budget for your project.  


8. Realistically, how much time do you have? 

Understand the key dates you need the project to complete by. Do not underestimate the planning involved for a move in, and any contractual dates such as the end of a lease period.  


Still unsure and have further questions? We regularly hold informal chats in Central London. Contact us at for further information on the latest scheduled meet-up. 


Yvonne Chua, Architect | 23 September 2019

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