Four easy steps to home improvement

Organisation and planning are the two main allies one needs to execute anything.

Published: 11th May 2012 07:59 AM  |   Last Updated: 02nd June 2012 10:20 PM   |  A+A-

So, you want to refurbish? Easy as 1,2,3… or Herculean task? Is your dream home turning into a night spent at the Bates Motel? Fret not. Help is at hand. And it comes in the form of a simple note called the TO DO LIST. Organisation and planning are the two main allies one needs to execute anything. Sure, it could get very confusing, but as Julie Andrews once famously sung it… Let’s start at the very beginning.

THE LOOK: Figuring out what is your preferred style of design could get overwhelming. The key here would be to trust your instincts. Glance through various magazines, browse through various sites. What instantly grabs your attention is your preferred décor style. Word to the wise: try not to fake it. Pretending to be something else in your own home will lead to a lot of dissatisfaction. A home—and I cannot state this enough—must be a reflection of oneself. Maintain a file. Keep photographs of everything, right from the floor pattern that you like to the colours that you prefer to the style of your dining table and even the curtains. Having a collage of your selection will help you visualize your space better.

THE PLAN: What goes where? Will a two-seater sofa look better than a three-seater? Where should I place my dining table? To answer all of these questions, one must start with measuring the room. Note down all the functional requirements to the room, for example, will the television be placed in the room? Will I need book storage? Do I need a large dining table? Do I need a pull-out sofa? Ask yourself—and members of your family—innumerable questions, no matter how silly they may sound. Figure out an arrangement which suits you best keeping in mind the traffic movement. I highly recommend using masking tape to outline in exact sizing what goes where. This gives you a clear idea thus leaving you less confused.

THE BUDGET: Let me be brutally honest here. Whatever budget you may set, you will always exceed it. The trick is to reduce the degree of its extent. One cannot account for hidden costs, emergencies, dislike of choices and the ever-potent Murphy’s Law and it is imperative to note that everything costs money. EVERYTHING. Right from the floor tiles to the windows to the basins to the handles to the hinges and even the curtain rods. An average renovation job should cost you between `2,000 to `2,500 per sq ft. But of course, the sky is the limit. There is no ceiling as to how high you can go. All depends on how deep into your pockets you can reach.

THE LINE-UP: Now that figuring out what one likes, needs, desires and can afford is done, it is crucial to determine a time frame. Speak to your contractor, determine all that needs to get accomplished, procure a schedule from him and then add a month to that, perhaps two. I highly recommend starting the work in the days immediately following a rainy season. That way, you will know exactly which areas are prone to dampness. The civil work such as breaking and building of walls and floors should be attended to first. Electrical and plumbing will follow as will installation of doors and windows. Orders for large pieces of furniture should be given simultaneously so that all jobs can be completed together. And if you have the time, will and patience, scout around for light fittings, carpets, draperies and artifacts.

Well, as I said earlier, it could get complicated, what with so much to do and so many different choices. But if you hang on to your TO DO LIST, it will see you through the toughest of times. Happy Living!

;The writer is an interior designer, with offices in Delhi and Mumbai. E-mail her at


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