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The truth about home renovation that no one tells you

Until now. I'm telling you! Renovating your home can be a stressful process but the more prepared you are for the realities of the renovation process, the less stressful it will be. Here are a few things to keep in mind when embarking on your home renovation.

home renovation process tiling process

If there's one thing I've learned from the home renovation projects we've completed at Studio Van Oliver, it's the importance of being realistic. I don't go into clients' homes and promise them a perfect, stress-free renovation from start to finish. Because the reality is, renovating your home is a big undertaking no matter who you have working on it with you! Whilst we manage the process as smoothly as we can, I always try to give an honest account of what is about to come.

Mistakes will happen

Things go wrong. It's just a fact. But they are fixable and it's how they are dealt with that is important. One of the primary factors for me that separates a good contractor from a great one is communication, and their willingness to take responsibility and help find solutions. When we renovate your home, you, me and the contractor must approach the project as one team, and good communication is key to that. Mistakes will happen, but we will work together to get them sorted.

Unexpected issues will arise

Any time you're ripping walls down, there's always a chance you will find something you didn't expect to be there - for example mold (not good) or some rogue pipes that need to be re-routed (not too bad!). Unexpected issues lead to unexpected costs, so always add a 10-20% contingency into your budget.

"When we renovate your home, you, me and the contractor must approach the project as one team, and good communication is key to that"

You will go over budget

Renovation costs go up, sometimes because of unexpected issues, sometimes because you decide to opt for that more expensive tile after all... Chances are, you'll probably go over budget somewhere along the way when renovating your home. The thing to remember is, it's better to do it once and do it right.

It's dirty

...and dusty. Oh so dusty. It is an unavoidable part of the process and if you are living in the house whilst renovating, you need to be mentally prepared for the feeling that you are living in a building site for a few weeks (because... you are...). Although contractors protect the site and close off project areas, the dust often travels through the AC system into other parts of the house. Book a deep clean and AC clean after works are completed.

Delays will happen

Your renovation timelines can extend for any number of reasons, from unexpected issues to change in scope to delays in approvals & permits. If you're prepared for this, it feels a little less painful, so I always advise clients to add 15-20% onto whatever timeline a contractor gives.

It will be worth it

Dream home: incoming! Keep the end goal in sight, put your big girl pants on and enjoy the ride...

Bathroom renovation in Dubai, Whispering Pines with calcatta tiles and gold hardware
Bathroom renovation, Project 18. Design by Studio Van Oliver.


Ready to take the plunge? Got a question?


Studio Van Oliver is a UAE-based interior design studio, specialising in residential design, home renovation and styling.

We love creating spaces that - quite simply - feel like home. Warm and welcoming spaces that evoke that ‘ahh’ moment. The feeling you get when you flop into bed after a long day; the glow of a lamp at night; a cup of tea in a quiet house.


Little moments of peace, comfort, reflection.


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