Planning a DIY renovation? Get it right

In this age of DIY and the pandemic confining us to our homes for longer than we like, many of us have tried to make our homes Pinterest-worthy and Instagrammable.

Published: 21st October 2021 12:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 21st October 2021 09:38 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

HYDERABAD: In this age of DIY and the pandemic confining us to our homes for longer than we like, many of us have tried to make our homes Pinterest-worthy and Instagrammable. We scroll through social media for ideas to redecorate and renovates our space. 

Be it something as simple as changing the vibe with some wallpaper to complex alterations such as widening a room, installing a partition or reposition the entrance. This can get tricky, sometimes causing unnecessary damage and denting the value of your property. To avoid this, architects strongly suggest renovating your space with the help of professionals.  

“DIY renovation is perhaps the best way to go about revamping your house, as only you can reflect your feelings, thoughts, emotions, sensibility and identity most accurately. But speaking as a commercial architect, I don’t think it’s a good idea,” says city-based architect Srinivas Murthy, who has his office, SMG Design Inc, on Banjara Hills Road No. 14. 

Creating space 
If you are someone who loves celebrations and throws parties often, space is a must. This can be achieved by decluttering or placing furniture in symmetry. “Create the illusion of space by playing with light and ventilation. Allow plenty of natural light and make sure that the walls are painted with light colours and are flat plastered instead of textured,” says Srinivas. On the other hand, if you don’t have too many people visiting too often, there are no rules. What matters here is comfort. “Take for instance a working couple. They would want a cosy and comfortable space. The would make changes keeping in mind the low-maintenance factor,” he says.    

Rope in professionals 
Sometimes, it can be hard to figure out where and how to start. Not everyone can visualise changes or ideas before executing them. Also, knowing which change works and which may harm the structural integrity of a house can be confusing. “It is okay to be confused rather than take bold steps when it comes to renovating a structure. Hence, it is a must to seek professional help. For instance, removing a column, a beam or breaking a wall to create space would mean tweaking the primary structure of a house. You will need professional advice for this,” says Shankar Narayan, who runs Shankar Narayan Architects in Trimulgherry.

Even if you decide to go ahead without an architect or structural engineer on board, there are certain things to keep in mind. The most important is to learn about what holds a building together -- pillars, beams, walls and the ceiling. Do not distort these. “You can still play with brick walls -- by breaking the doors or windows etched in them or removing them altogether to create space or adding a wall as a partition. Just make sure that the wires and pipelines passing through these walls are not disturbed,” Shankar says, casting light on what mistakes to avoid while revamping your home. 

Maintain structural integrity and aesthetics 
As houses age, they tend to become forlorn with neglect and poor renovation. It becomes difficult to live in them as the modern-day comforts cannot be accommodated. Walk through the bylanes of Old City and you will find many such ancestral homes which are in poor condition. 

It takes special care, attention and sensibility to restore such homes and bring them up to shape to suit the contemporary, tech-driven lifestyle without defacing them. “While renovating an ancestral home, it is critical to preserve its significance. In some buildings, it is the gateway, in some, it might be the hallway, a room or the courtyard. The identity must be preserved as it has been carried down for generations,” says conservation architect Ratish Nanda, who is the CEO of the Aga Khan Trust for Culture (AKTC). The Trust is currently restoring the Qutub Shahi necropolis in the city.

“It is possible to restore a heritage home without compromising on its design and historic character. A sensitive architect or an owner can integrate modern-day infrastructure into it. Wherever possible, we have to use the material that was used in the past -- such as wood, lime, stones or other decorative elements. We also have to try and make sure that we do not play a lot with textures and patterns as it would not gel with the character of the building and may end up looking edgy,” says Ratish.

Bear in mind 

Make a budget and stick to it

Renovations can cost a bomb. Prepare a budget and try to stick to it. That said, keep aside a buffer fund just in case the bill shoots up 

Don’t compromise on functionality 
Certain elements of a house are meant to be where they already are. For instance, a window, the door or the plumbing system

Buy furniture at last 
It is never wise to buy furniture until the project plans are finalised. The measurements have to be accurate and should complement the paint textures and lighting 

Focus on essentials 
Pick elements that add long-term value to your home, such as storage. Make sure they 
have some aesthetic appeal to complement the architectural style you are going for 

Get it right 
Home renovations need to have accurate measurements. It can save you a lot of money. Besides poor fits are an eyesore

Who would not want their home to be Pinterest-worthy and Instagrammable? In the last two years, many of us have scrolled through  social media in search for inspiring DIY home ideas. While DIY home renovation may sound adventurous, it is way trickier than we think it to be. City-based architects share some tips so that we don’t mess up our space


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