Renovation Advice

Renovation Advice

How to start planning a successful home renovation

Deciding to renovate your home is an exciting step and the key to achieving the perfect result is to take your time getting the plan and details right.

Talking to a design professional will help you avoid common pitfalls, especially in more complex areas like kitchens or bathrooms.

Kim Reiche of New Zealand renovation specialists Refresh Renovations has some advice on what to consider when starting your renovation journey.

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What should your budget be?

Kim recommends budgeting around $50,000 for an average kitchen (excluding appliances) or bathroom renovation. This can fluctuate either way, depending on what you spend on fixtures and fittings. Waterproofing and tiling will also impact cost. Quality benchtops and cabinetry are worth investing in, while tapware could be upgraded later.

Kim’s expert advice:

  • Cost up your layout and add from there – “Getting the structure and the build right is the most important part. We also recommend that clients keep 10-15% contingency in case something pops up during the renovation, or to give them a buffer if there are price increases.”
  • Research your fixtures and fittings – “In an average bathroom the sanitary ware is about $10,000. You could go to $50,000 on that with high-end tapware and vanities, or down to $5-8,000 from home improvement stores. There’s a vast difference in costs.”

*based on 2022 estimates

iconic switch on wall

Upgrade your electrical

Smart home elements make daily life easier, even when you’re not there. Switchgear ranges like PDL Iconic make it simpler than ever to control lights and appliances like heat pumps from your phone, as well as offering features like built-in USB charging.

Kim’s expert advice:

  • Streamline the switchgear – “We’re putting in a lot of power points that incorporate USB chargers, and banks of power points in cupboards and laundries for charging vacuum cleaners or other cordless appliances. We always upgrade lighting and switchgear and the distribution board too and offer the option of EV car chargers.”
  • Get smarts and style with Iconic – “What’s so good about the Iconic range is that you can upgrade individual switches. It doesn’t have to be hardwired through a network, so as an entry level to smart home tech it’s a really good place to start. The integration of the different finishes is great too and gives you a lot of flexibility.”

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Room-by-room inspiration and planning advice

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Kim’s pick of the trends


  • Island benches and ‘gallery-style’ kitchens to minimise corner cupboards
  • Using the same benchtop surface for the splashback to minimise elements and keep clean lines
  • Drawers and cupboards that are push open and soft close
  • Overhead cabinets that open and close electronically
  • ‘Boiling water taps’ so you don’t need a kettle on your benchtop


  • A variety of tap and hardware colours to soften or highlight the space
  • Vanities with ‘vessel’ basins – “These are stunning but do need more cleaning care.”
  • Underfloor heating – “I highly recommend this, especially if you have level entry showers because your shower dries much faster and it drops the humidity. It gives much better longevity to a tiled bathroom.”