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5 Tips for your first home reno - from an interior designer.

Ready to rumble on your reno but don't quite know where to start? Here's your chance to take some advice from a real-life room whisperer and sidestep any surprises or drama. Emilee McHugh of Studio McHugh has helped clients breathe new life into homes of all shapes and sizes by re-energising rooms with healthy doses of style and class. We spoke to her about the best way to approach big projects, prioritising your wants and needs and what else you should consider when outfitting new spaces.



Undergoing a renovation can be such an exciting time, but for a lot of my clients it can also be very daunting. With what seems like endless options of tapware, tiles, cabinetry colours, (and the list goes on…), it’s easy to make mistakes or choose things that you may regret over time. Below are five things I always tell my clients when they are planning for their renovation:


1. Research, research, research! 

People often overlook the initial planning stages in their renovation as they get so caught up in the end result. It’s crucial to have a clear vision of how you want your renovation to run, and more importantly what you want your renovation to look like. Research the builder/trades you want to use, research how they work, set your expectations right in terms of the average timeframe and budget and start to familiarise yourself with all things renovation so you can have an understanding of what it will look like when you begin!


2. Narrow down your style.

Often when clients come to me one of the first questions I ask is to see their Pinterest/Inspiration board. A lot of the time they have a million different images with different style homes. While it’s great to have a diverse range of styles you love, try and narrow down the nitty gritties of what your style is. Narrow down the type of colours you are drawn to in terms of cabinetry, tiles etc. Try and distinguish a common theme between your images. For example, if most of your bathroom inspiration images have black tapware then you’ll know you want this to be a feature. Or if most of your kitchen inspiration has white shaker style profile then you may want to incorporate this. Narrowing down your style will make it ten times easier to make your fittings and fixture selections when the time comes!


3. Write a wish list & prioritise.

My clients often come to me with an idea of wanting to renovate their kitchen or bathroom. Once I meet them onsite and start discussing their renovation, I realise that often they want a lot more than just a kitchen renovation. I always tell them to write down a wish list of all of the things they would like to renovate and prioritise the areas needing their attention first. Designers tip - It’s often more cost effective to have a few jobs done at the same time while your trades are already onsite.


4. Try and stay away from trends. 

While it might be tempting to be doing the latest trend in the renovation industry at the time, you want to ensure your renovation is going to stand the test of time. Trends come and go, and often within a few months a new trend will have taken over. Incorporate timeless features in your renovation so that in a few years you’re not wanting to repeat the whole process again. For example, a couple of years ago rose gold tapware was the hottest colour tapware on the market! I’d say that now it’s not as popularly used and probably won’t be as timeless as chrome tapware.


5. Choose quality over quantity.

One of my biggest pieces of advice to clients is to include quality fittings and fixtures that are going to be durable and last a long time. There’s no point buying things that look good but only last for a few months due to poor quality. Things that I tend to look out for when looking for quality products are using reputable brands and products that have long warranty periods. I also tend to not buy products that are the cheapest you can find, as there is often a reason for this. 

Emilee Content


And there you have it – a peek into the beautiful mind of an interior designer. Ready to light this candle? CLARK has dynamite pieces for your bathroom, kitchen, laundry and other renovation targets that won't blow your budget. Between Emilee's sage advice and our sweet selection, you've got everything you need to ensure your reno dreams don't become nightmares. Get started today!