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Before jumping into the deep end of building or renovating, we’re here to share with you our 5 most valuable tips to guide you on your way to a highly rewarding project.


Before you engage in a designer or builder, it is important to have a clear understanding of what outcome you want to achieve. Start with the basics and weigh up your options - to renovate, to demolish & rebuild, or to build on a vacant block of land? Of course there will be different costs associated with all three of these options.

Next you need to consider what is going to be most functional for your living situation. Are you a growing family that needs an extra bedroom & larger living areas? Or are you simply looking to downsize after all the kids have moved out and looking for more higher quality finishes? Identify how many rooms, sizes and an approximate configuration that appeals to you.

Finally you need to decide on the aesthetics of the house - (this is where the fun begins!!) Seek inspiration from Pinterest, Instagram, design magazines and consolidate all your personal preferences into a folder for quick and easy reference - not only will your designer love you for this, but it will help to create a clear and concise design brief in order to achieve exactly what you've envisioned.


The most unfortunate reality of the building industry is that it is expensive.

In the circumstance that you have no idea of your budget, it can result in biting off more than you can chew leading to hardship and an unfinished job. It is important to assess your finances to figure out exactly what you can afford and how elaborate your project may be. There are also many online cost calculators that can guide you before you drop any cash. It’s also crucial to ensure that you don’t end up over capitalising on your project!

We will help you work towards your budget, even if that means breaking the news that the your expectations are mismatched with the reality of costs. We do this to remain realistic and honest and to avoid major surprises further down the track. We will break down floor areas and work with our cost guides as soon as we have a drawing on paper so you have a clear understanding of the costs. The worst thing you can do is have your dream home drafted by a designer and approved by the council, just to realise that it exceeds double your budget and having to start the entire process from the start.


It is important that you hire the right designer for the job. Do your due diligence - check out the work of the designer, read reviews and remember - the best testament of a good building designer is through word of mouth and physically seeing their work.

The same goes for the builder - we recently wrote a post on the importance of selecting the right builder so make sure you check it out. To be brief, narrow down your selection based on reviews and recommendations, check out their previous work and meet with them to ensure you get a good vibe. You're trusting this person with one of your largest investments after-all.


When your project is delayed, not only can this be frustrating, but also costly. To ensure that your project is completed in the most time efficient manner, it is important to lay everything out on the table and prepare a schedule early on. For example, it may not be the most ideal to lay your beautiful new flooring before all the trades begin in the kitchen at the consequence of damaging your brand new floors.

Another thing you need to consider is if your renovations are substantial, are you and the family going to stay in the home while beautiful chaos is erupting in the house? It may not be so much fun when the family needs to shower with the outdoor hose and cook with the camping stove for a couple of weeks!


We all want more bang for our buck and the more money you can save means the more items you can splurge on.

  • Shop around for fittings, fixtures and the materials required for your project. Normally your builder will have a suppler that they have a good relationship with and will continuously use, but if you shop around they will be more than happy to use the materials that you've sourced.

  • If you have great project management skills and plenty of time on your hands you can manage the logistics of the home building process by taking on the role of owner builder.

  • Prepare the site prior to the beginning of works. This may involve clearing rocks, shrubbery or any rubbish that you would otherwise need to pay someone to take care of.

  • Stick to the plan. This is where careful preparation pays off as changing your mind once work has begun can be costly and any amendments to the plans will need to go through council again. In addition to this, builders will typically charge any changes made after the contract has been signed as a variation, sometimes charing up to 20% as a premium.

  • Re-use materials. Not only will the environment be thankful to you, but when carefully planned you my be able to make beautiful features out of a material that was otherwise destined to the bin! Think reclaimed brick walls, old rafters spruced up to become a feature or old fencing that can be sanded & painted as a privacy screen.

Here at Your Home Designs we can come to you at any area of the Port Stephens, Mid-Coast, Newcastle and Lake Macquarie to discuss your project needs and help you to get your project on track to ensure you get it under budget and on time.


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