Planning Home Improvements?

Are you tired of seeing the amazing reveals on Room to Improve or Grand Designs and think it is time to take on a home improvement project of your own?

Although we are finally beginning to see some stabilisation in house prices in Ireland, MyHome predict there could be a 5% increase in the cost of a home in 2019. The turbulent property market means it is becoming more and more popular to undertake home improvements to an existing home.

Whether you are planning a renovation, extension or other improvements, is hard to know where to start.

We spoke to some Irish people who have recently completed a renovation to get their top tips on what to think about before you begin:

1. How do you use the space?

When you are planning what you would like to do, think about how you use your home at the moment:

Don’t automatically assume an extension is the answer. Building extra space works if you genuinely need it but knocking a dividing wall might provide the space you need at a lot less cost.

You could build a dream extension but sometimes the life of the house moves into the extension and the rest of your home ends up under used. Would that money be better spent reconfiguring and refurbishing the existing house?

Try to think outside the box when it comes to home improvement. Do you need a dining room? Does the kitchen have to stay where it is? Think about every conceivable option with the space you have. Don’t be afraid to break with tradition, if moving the kitchen to the front of the house works for you, think about doing it.

2. Consider the position of your home

Knowing the orientation of your house is invaluable when it comes to planning home improvements. As Dermot Bannon reminds us on a Sunday night, light is a key factor in making your home a pleasant place to be. Questions to ask yourself when planning a home renovation include:

  • What direction is the light is coming from?
  • Is there anything we could do to improve light getting into the house?
  • What rooms do we spend most time in?
  • Are they getting light at the time of day we need it?

Away from light there might be other factors to consider when it comes to the position of your home. Is there a side of your house that you avoid because of traffic or other noise? What could be done to reduce or eliminate this?

If you are struggling with any of these questions - the next point should help.

3. Home improvement professionals

If your budget won’t stretch to hiring a professional, home improvement and design shows often have architects, builders and interior designers offering advice. Bring as much information as you can:

  • Floor plans
  • Drawings
  • Colour swatches

Attend any relevant talks and ask questions.

Even if you are only planning a small extension or renovation it can be worth involving an architect. Their professional advice can save time and money in the long run.

If architect fees are beyond your budget, consider taking part in Open Door 2019. You donate €90 to the Simon Community to help fight homelessness in exchange for an hour-long consultation with an architect. We think you will agree it is a win, win all round.

4.  Home renovation budget

Establishing a budget is one of the most important parts of planning home improvements. Websites like provide estimated costs for some common construction work.

Like housing in Ireland, the cost of construction work is increasing at a rate. If you had a home improvement job priced up a few months ago, it is worth going through the process again. Your money may not stretch as far this time.

If you are trying to work out how far your budget will stretch, don’t forget the miscellaneous items most builders will add to costs:

  • Securing the site
  • Demolition
  • Profit margins

5. Home renovation grants

If your planned works involve replacing:

  • Heating systems
  • Insulation
  • New windows and doors   

There are grants available to ease the cost burden. Although you must pay the full cost initially, you will receive a percentage of them back once the work is to the required standard.

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) website has more information on grants available for home renovations. There are also tax breaks in the form of Home Renovation Incentive (HRI) for repairs, renovations or improvements to your home.


So you can see there is a lot to think about before the latest design trends when planning a home renovation.


When it comes to protecting your property and the things you love, it is important to have comprehensive home insurance. If you have questions we are happy to answer them or get a quick quote today.


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