Start your renovation right with advice from Melissa

Not sure where to start with your renovation project? We asked HOMEmade interior designer, Melissa Greenough, for her best advice for renovation rookies, to get you started on your next project.

How do you prepare for a renovation and get started?

Spend a good amount of time planning things out right from the start. Something that will help is to collect a bunch of images that inspire you and reflect the style you’d like to have as your end result. Pinterest and Instagram can be a really good starting point. If you’re hiring the help of an interior designer, they will be able to help you narrow down your ideas and craft a clear vision and path for what you’re aiming to achieve. I like to visit a fabric showroom as I tend to be inspired by a piece of fabric that can spark the whole idea or theme for a home.

What’s one of your ultimate rules of thumb that you follow when it comes to home makeovers?

I feel like less is often more. Sometimes people can accidentally overdo a room by adding too much stuff without realising. Accessories are really important to making a room complete, but you have to be careful with the amount otherwise you can create chaotic clutter. I try to narrow it down to the essentials and add personal touches like family photos and plants to create a welcoming space.

What advice can you give to people having difficulty choosing paint colours?

I think the most important thing is when you choose a paint colour for your walls, ideally it runs throughout the whole home, with the exception of any feature walls or cosy nooks you create. Generally, a main colour to choose would be a soft grey or white, because anything will go with it. Strong, bold colours tend to have an expiration date for when you’ll start to tire from looking at it, neutral colours last longer and aren’t as risky long term. Of course, it’s always important to consider the colour of your doors and skirting, which is generally white.

What are your top three tips for renovating small homes?

Where you can, take walls out, lift ceiling heights and bring lightness in with skylights. These are all great things you can do to create natural light and create openness which will help with smaller homes. It will also pay to think really carefully about where you can have logical storage solutions, so maybe you could have built in seating that doubles as storage on the inside. Or utilise having stairs by including storage underneath.

What kind of home items are great for an upcycling project?

I reuse a lot of tables and furniture to give them some new life. Even for tables, something as simple as a fresh lacquer can make a big difference. For chairs and sofas, upholstery can also be a great option to give it a new look. Sometimes your old sofa still has good bones and good comfort, so instead of replacing the entire piece you can replace the worn-out fabric with a fresh look. Buying your own fabric can be a perfect way to bring in your personal style as well and make some unique pieces.

About the writer

Melissa Greenough is an award-winning interior designer and an Auckland real estate agent. Her career has seen her lead a design team at interior design company, Antony Todd in New York, where she regularly worked with high profile clients including Martha Stewart. She was also interior designer for TVNZ 1’s popular primetime show, Kiwi Living. Melissa’s clever solutions for planning and decorating a room in only two days will give the HOMEmade audience plenty of makeover inspiration.

Have a question for us?

Find out why we‘re consistently awarded best insurer and most satisfied customers:

Make an online enquiry

Call us on 0800 500 231

8am-8pm Monday to Friday.  8am-6pm weekends & holidays