Decisions, Decisions! – how to avoid house project overwhelm

Undertaking a major house project takes a huge amount of time and emotional energy, even if you have the resources for plenty of professional help.  But there are two things we think most people embarking on projects completely underestimate – firstly the sheer number of decisions and second, just how early in the process each decision is needed.

Whether you’re having a brand new house built, or you’re renovating an old one, there are probably thousands of decisions to be made.  The big ones tend to come first – where shall we buy the kitchen? followed by a cascading series of decisions, from the colour of the cabinets, through worktops and splashbacks, down to taps and tiles.  Each one of these items has its own mini cascade.  Take cupboard door handles.  You can have knobs or handles, or a mixture of both.  What style, size, colour and finish would you like?  Which supplier to use and are they within your budget?

Tanya Bentley Contemporary Interior Designer Cornwall

Multiplied up across an entire house, the decision making can soon feel completely overwhelming.  No sooner have you made one decision, than the next question comes along!  So how do you avoid mind blowing overload?  Here are our top tips:

  1. Plan everything before contractors start on site. Resist the temptation to rush into getting the building work started. As soon as the builders start, the questions will come thick and fast, especially if the finishes and specifications are still marked “to be confirmed” on the drawings.
  2. If you’re working with an architect, bear in mind that they will, quite rightly, be focused on the big picture and it’s unlikely that their fee will include spending an afternoon with you debating which door handles to use.
  3. If you’re able to employ an interior designer, contact them from the very very beginning of the project. It’s far too late to call in a designer when the painter is asking what colour you’d like on the walls.  We narrow down the choices for our clients, drastically reducing the number of decisions they need to make.  We do this all the time, so we know where to look to source finishes and furnishings in the right style and at the right price.
  4. Making decisions early means materials can be ordered in plenty of time and be ready on site as soon as they’re needed. Delays waiting for items on site are costly, and there can be a knock on effect on the whole programme.  We guide our clients through the process, ensuring that decisions are made in line with the construction sequence.
  5. Once you’ve made a decision, stick with it and don’t change your mind. There’s nothing more frustrating for the whole team than a change of specification and it can be very costly to make changes.

The quality of decision making on a project can be the difference between a happy and successful outcome and a miserable experience for both you and your contractors.  We’re all too aware that it can feel daunting but it’s our job to take as much of the stress out of the decision making for you as we can.  Calling us sooner rather than later will save you money and stress in the long run.