Five common renovation design mistakes

Five common renovation design mistakes

Tips and Advice

Renovation Design Mistakes

With a number of home renovation and design shows on television lately, I thought it would be appropriate to discuss the five most common renovation design mistakes that DIY renovators make.

The internet has provided many online tools to help homeowners create floor plans and visualise different looks – you can add products and paint colours to a room, and locate design ideas from hundreds of websites and across platforms like Pinterest.

From our conversations with homeowners, we often find that the plethora of information and general design advice leaves them feeling confused and overwhelmed. Their decision-making process is hampered by too much choice, with mistakes then being made when they try to incorporate ideas that do not work with their specific home and lifestyle. Even with the best intention of knowing how they want their homes to function, they just seem to struggle to get the mix right.

So here are the most common design mistakes we see from the Do-It-Yourself renovators.

1. Not planning their renovation

All too often renovators will focus on specific elements they feel must be incorporated into their project. Getting locked into something you have seen and desperately want may result in a disjointed and mismatched space.

Having a clear perspective on the direction of your renovation and why you have that vision will be paramount to how to tackle the renovation. There will be a flow on effect from each and every decision you make. Many steps must be managed to ensure the result works with relation to family activities, furniture placement, and overall flow and function of the renovated space.

renovation design mistakes

2. Not designing for the best orientation

Similarly, natural airflow and cross ventilation can make all the difference. Capturing the breezes to cool the home in summer is a vital consideration for our Queensland climate. Whatever the advances in air-conditioning, there is no substitute for fresh air and natural heating and cooling. The humidity we deal with each and every summer will additionally play a factor in the design, and maximising the cross ventilation capabilities of the home to create a far more comfortable space for year round enjoyment is a must. The design phase should consider these notions.

kitchen design to outside deck

3. Too much emphasis on open-planned living

Renovating your home with “open-planned living” as your major focus may limit the home’s functionality. Open-plans quite often do not consider how a space is used for family living. Removing walls and creating a large void may, in fact, be counterproductive. Removing walls limits the placement of artworks, impacts on the placement of furniture and may impact on the privacy of the home’s occupants. The idea of open-planned living is great as a concept, but the planning and design phases must be considered thoroughly before the walls come down.

4. Kitchen design with aesthetics in mind

Kitchen design can make or break the home. For the majority of homeowners, our lifestyle runs through the kitchen. Individuals and families alike spend a considerable portion of their time in and around the kitchen on a daily basis.

The function of a kitchen plan must come before the consideration of aesthetics. The design must adequately proportion bench space, cupboard storage and appliance location to ensure the functionality works for your lifestyle. Understanding how you cook and entertain, how you would like to store things and what appliances are required within your kitchen design must be thought of before that stone bench top you have your heart set on!

Kitchens are major investment items. Spending time to consider the elements which make up clever kitchen design is imperative if you are to have a perfectly renovated kitchen which should last you for many years to come.

kitchen renovations brisbane

5. Valuing a style rather than your needs

At dion seminara architecture our mantra is “design enhancing life”. For us, the individuality of each and every client will dictate the design elements and overall look and feel of their home. As each client is different, so are the design challenges, and therefore the design outcomes will reflect the client’s lifestyle needs.

Designing with a certain style in mind often results in disappointment. Commencing a renovation with style as a mantra will inevitably cloud your judgement, and the best layout and orientation will come at the expense of the “look”.  This is a common error as so much choice can confuse and blur the fundamental requirements of the renovation.

The style should come after careful and cautious planning of the building blocks according to lifestyle, function and form. The aesthetics are like the icing on the cake; they must complement the overall functionality and liveability of the home.

If you are looking to renovate and are concerned that you may fall into any of these traps with your renovation, then one of our advice services may be in need. We can discuss your renovation plans, offering valuable advice about functionality and liveability, reviewing your ideas on floor plans, kitchen layouts, style and orientation. Early advice before a renovation can save you thousands on a poorly planned and executed build. Contact us to find out how one of our advice services can save you from making one of the above mentioned common renovation design mistakes.

five common renovation mistakes

Dion Seminara Architect


Hi, I am Dion Seminara, practicing architect and licensed general builder for 20 years as well as an environmental sustainable design (ESD) expert. I graduated from Queensland University of Technology (QUT) with honours, QLD in 1989. Registered as an architect in 1991 and registered as a builder in 1992, I am also a fellow member of the Australian Institute of Architects (AIA). Having received 12 ArCHdes Residential Architecture Awards, LJ Hooker Flood Free Home Design Award and the 2016 AIA Regional Commendation for Public Architecture, my expertise with both residential renovation (to all types of houses, especially Queenslanders, 50s/60s/80s), new contemporary homes and luxury residences has earned me a reputation as one of Brisbane's architectural specialists in lifestyle design architecture, interior design and landscape design.