With your plumbing and electrics in place, the end is in sight and your renovation project is nearly complete. But before putting your feet up and reaping the rewards of your efforts, there are all-important finishing touches to be considered – don’t underestimate their value to the overall enterprise.
These details are the things you’ll see and live with day-to-day, influencing the overall style and feel of your house. So it’s worth spending time researching the options. Here’s an outline of key areas that benefit from some attention.
As well as being aesthetically pleasing, skirting boards help hide untidy joins between walls and floor while preventing knocks or scuffs from damaging plaster. All too often, a mish-mash of ideas and styles ruins a house design, which is why the right option will be down to the look and age of your property.
If rooms have high ceilings, small boards may be disproportionate and look incongruous. Likewise, high skirtings in a small room can be overpowering.
Case study: London flat renovation
Julian Prieto, co-founder and head designer at MyEdge2, bought a one-bedroom ground-floor terrace flat in Fulham for £515,000 in 2016. After collaborating with Godsmark Architecture to rework the layout, the result is a spacious two-bedroom home. The extensive renovation was completed for a cost-effective £65,000.
Despite the tight budget the flat now boasts a large living room, two bathrooms, and a separate kitchen-diner.
As the project required a full structural renovation, a large portion of the budget went on the ‘invisibles’. “You spend a bit more on the build so you have to rein in on costs for fixtures and fittings,” says Shawn Rea of MyEdge2.
This meant shopping around to find value for money when it came to the finishing touches. Shawn and Julian bought £20 chairs from John Lewis and tiles from Topps Tiles, for instance.
While modern varieties are slimmer, smaller and usually cheaper, traditional-style skirting can have a striking effect in the right property. Several varieties exist so check what works best and retain that same kind throughout.
Within any home, the staircase can make a powerful statement and will set the tone for the look you’re trying to create.
“Does your home have a classic or contemporary aesthetic? It’s important that you consider this because a flight needs to fit within the house,” says James Murray, senior staircase designer at Neville Johnson, specialists in stair renovation.
“Every staircase refurbishment we undertake is bespoke and tailored to the client’s specific requirements. Do you want to invest in a wow factor statement flight or create a subtle style?”
When you’ve added your feature fireplace, new kitchen or perhaps restored a vintage porch, what better way to highlight it than with unique tiling? A seemingly endless selection of styles and materials are available for floors, walls and other elements – everything from colourful patterns and minimalist designs to vintage and retro styles.
Learn more: Choosing Bathroom Tiles
Replacing hearth tiles on a renovated fireplace, for example, can bring it to life. Feature flooring also works well, says Mark Findlay, founder of Harvey Maria, experts in luxury vinyl tiles (LVT): “Creating a statement underfoot packs a powerful punch and can transform a room. Using distinct flooring allows you to add focal points, frames and borders to zone off specific areas. A border is probably the most discreet approach and one that works really well in
a kitchen where it could frame a central island or table.”
Porches and hallways are also good places to make statements. Porcelain tiles are popular because not only are they less expensive than some other materials, they’re easy to maintain, hard wearing and available in many realistic, natural and non-slip finishes.
Case study: Bungalow revamp
A mundane mid-century bungalow has been catapulted into the 21st century with some skilfully thought-out updates. The project included a full refurbishment of the existing house, plus the addition of two extensions clad with black vertical timber panelling.
Inside, the space has been lightened and brightened by opening up the ceilings to full height
For the finishing touches, En Masse Bespoke Interiors created lots of sleek storage solutions that help to keep the open-plan kitchen-diner looking minimalist and clutter free. This theme continues into the bedrooms and bathrooms, where concealed storage units allow for a contemporary, fuss-free finish.
The pared back material choices of grey lacquer, birch ply and stainless steel, combining perfectly with the home’s neutral colour palette, is completed with pops of brightness to add personality to the space.
Andrew Chappell, UK area sales manager of tile manufacturer Vives, says: “There are now many more anti-slip tiles on the market, which is an important factor when selecting a floor tile for the outside or a work area, such as in a kitchen or bathroom.”
From curtains and roller blinds to Venetian blinds and shutters, many options exist to maintain your light and privacy. “When choosing window coverings, think about how much energy and heat you might lose through the window, who can see in and out and how much light will stream through,” says Chris Rocker of Just Shutters.
The colours you pick are important, too. “We created coloured shutters because we recognised that the modern homeowner is having fun with decoration and seeing new possibilities in how to experiment to make their home unique,” says Chris. “We were inspired by the British coast when creating this range. The neutral yet eye-catching shades add a sense of tranquillity in the home.”
Be prepared to compile a snagging list, which means going over the work and understanding if anything isn’t quite up to scratch. It’s inevitable that little problems will arise that need resolving, perhaps poorly fitted doors, for instance, or shrinkage between skirting boards and walls.
If you’re reading this early in your project, then bear in mind that rather than letting the list grow, it’s always best to try and fix problems as and when they occur.
Case study: Making the most of a compact bathroom
This three-bed semi-detached house has undergone a major renovation. Part of the project involved replacing the bathroom. After removing three layers of tiles, the layout was changed and the owners fitted a bath and Methven Aio Aurajet shower, wall-hung toilet and vanity unit with sink.
“The bathroom is only 2.3m x 1.6m, so it was important to utilise the space in the best way possible,” says homeowner Henrietta Painter, who lives with her partner Josh Minton. “We positioned the bath directly underneath the window, which has been framed with black tile trim to create a definitive edge and sense of symmetry.
“The Methven Aio Aurajet shower provides practicality, but it’s also the perfect finishing touch
“We’ve made the most of the space we have and have really achieved this with the finishing touches we’ve added, such as the unique shape of the shower head, the black tile trim and a waterproof TV.”
If a building company was hired to complete your renovation, you’ve probably agreed to hold retention monies from any payments. Not releasing such sums until the snagging list has been actioned is an effective way to retain links with your builder once the main thrust of the project is complete.
“Any good tradesperson should be more than happy to remedy work that’s not up to scratch,” says David Conlon, head designer and founder of En Masse Bespoke Interiors. “This would
only cost extra if you’re making changes to the spec that was first agreed within the original contract.”