Top 10 Newbie House Renovation Mistakes to Avoid

Transforming a house to a home can be hard work, especially for people who’ve never done it before. Been thinking about ideas for your home — new windows to let in more light in your kitchen, new tiles for the guest bathroom, a more organised laundry room with additional storage cabinets, etc. Without prior know-how and careful planning, designing it, getting the right supplies, and hiring the right contractor can end up being a nightmare. Before you know it, the bills are adding up too!

That’s why at Kaodim, we strongly believe in outsourcing work that professionals can help with. But before you start your remodeling, here are 10 common newbie house renovation mistakes that you should be aware of.

1. Inaccurate measurements

Taking accurate measurements is the basis for pricing, cutting and managing materials and other resources. It’s one of the core elements of any remodeling project. If you get this part wrong, it will come back to bite you in many ways. People buy kitchen cabinets, have them installed, then realize their fridge doesn’t fit. Always measure and re-measure, get someone else involved in the process too. Two pairs of eyes are always better than one! They say ‘measure 10 times and cut once.’ Print out the specs for the appliances you’re using and compare them to the plans for the cabinets with the cabinet installer.

2. Choosing the cheapest contractor

It’s always tempting to go for the cheapest option. But that’s not usually the wisest decision. Home remodeling experts recommend bringing in at least three contractors and getting written estimates from each. Some contractors give cheap quotes just to get the job, then tack things on or cut corners and install low-quality products. The written estimate should include details (e.g., exact cabinets, hardware, flooring, and install costs, not just “new room”), a waste removal plan, permit costs, insurance, general contractor fee, an explanation of how design changes are handled, and the warranty on the work. If your estimate doesn’t include these, the contractor is either not very thorough or he’s underestimating the project. It’s also important to meet them face-to-face and ask them questions to understand how they work.

Get up to five free quotes for your home renovation through Kaodim today.

3. Lowballing your budget

Surprises inevitably pop up and then snowball when  you’re renovating your home (or anything else, for that matter). Say you’re installing a backsplash: You might damage the wall and have to replace some of the drywall. Then you see inside the drywall and find electrical issues, and before you know it, you’re dealing with more than just a new backsplash. Set aside 15% of the total project cost—even more for older homes—to deal with unexpected expenses. If your budget is too tight to start with, consider holding it off until you can afford to include “emergency funds” for your project.

4. Gutting everything

It’s exciting to want to break down the old walls and begin anew but make sure you have a plan and professional advice before you start knocking things down. Sometimes, the better option is to work around some areas before approaching it with a wrecking ball. Experts have seen it time and time again—people just start, and they think they’re going to pull a piece of wallpaper off, and by the time the process is over, they’ve completely gotten themselves into a tricky situation. Discuss your plans with your house renovation contractor thoroughly.

5. Forgetting about lighting

Another mistake that homeowners often make is not taking into consideration the lighting in their home. The lighting in your home can completely change the colours, the feeling, the ambiance. According to experts, there are three main types of lighting: general lighting, task lighting and drama or accent lighting. You need a combination to have a really good end design. Also, don’t forget about natural lighting!

6. Focusing too much on what’s trendy NOW

People often make the mistake of wanting to be too hip and trendy in their new home by picking the latest, hottest, coolest things. What they don’t take into consideration is that current trends can expire. Think of clothing — these days, the women are pulling out high-waist shorts and cropped tops again. That was a look popular in the 80s but went away after. Clothing’s easy to replace but renovating your home takes a lot more work, time and money.

The best thing to do is go for a timeless look. Because the trendier things are, the quicker it will go out of style. This can bring down your home’s resale value.

7. Forgetting to update the electrical system

Out of sight, out of mind right? You’re going to feel it when you sit down at your couch and realize you have nowhere to plug your phone in to charge. Walk through the house with an electrician before you start to talk about outlets, where they are, where you want new outlets, three-prong outlets. You have to make sure everything’s up to code.


8. Ignoring a floor drain in the laundry room

Don’t make the mistake of ignoring a floor drain in your laundry room. If the washing machine hose ever breaks, you risk flooding your house. A floor drain directs the water into your home’s main drain system. You’ll need a professional plumber for this. If you install it incorrectly, you’ll have soap suds coming up in the kitchen sink or bathtub drain. Not fun.

9. Not doing your homework

It’s important to do at least some preliminary homework. Our Bengkel Post is a great place to start as we have topics about house painting, kitchen design ideas, materials for bathrooms, and more!

Even if you’re not doing the work yourself, know what to look for, what your contractor is doing. That way you can keep a close eye on the project and know when something’s not working out. With some background knowledge, you’ll also be better equipped to ask your renovation contractor, plumber, electrician the right questions.

10. Changing your mind

To all the flaky folks, listen up! Once the plans have been made up and work has begun, it’s a little late to start second guessing yourself. Putting another electrical outlet in the kitchen for your new espresso machine may seem like a simple last minute add-on, but it might not be. If you have a creative bent or just can’t envision the new layout until it starts taking shape, don’t expect to make many changes without a hefty price tag attached. Do your research and strategizing before the dust starts flying.


On, you’ll find professionally trained experts in home renovation, interior design, cleaning, painting, electrical work and plumbing around Malaysia (Kuala Lumpur, Klang Valley, Johor, Penang and more!). Check them out today!