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Developing your wish list and priorities

Developing a ‘wish list’ involves listing the specific features you would like to include in your renovation. You should also give some thought to the importance of each item. Is it something you absolutely need? Or is it something you would like to have, but not essential if your budget can’t accommodate it? Use a scoring system to help you remember how important something is.

This stage of planning is all about exploring design and product ideas and learning as much as you can about what is available. Get out and see what others have done, what new products are available and what type of ‘look’ is right for your family and home.

  • Visit family, friends or neighbours and find out what they really like about their home, particularly if they have renovated recently.
  • Look for design and home improvement magazines at your local newsagent or library. Collect pictures of homes, rooms and products that appeal to you.
  • Visit builders’ display homes to see the latest in design trends, construction and finishes.
  • Visit kitchen, bathroom and other retail showrooms. Talk with salespeople and pick up manufacturers’ literature on the types and brands of products you like.
  • In many states and territories, home shows are held during the year. Renovators, designers and product manufacturers/suppliers take part in these shows. This provides an excellent opportunity to see what’s new. For more information visit
  • Local builders may display examples of their work and it may be possible to access projects that they have completed. Recently renovated houses that are for sale will generally have ‘open house’ periods as well ¬– this is a good way to get ideas on renovation trends and features.
  • TAFE colleges may have programs that include renovation planning courses for homeowners.

And, of course, the internet is a great source for home renovation information. Visit the websites of product manufacturers and suppliers and builders who display their projects.

Keep the information you collect in a file or box for later reference. This material will be very useful in discussions with your builder to give them a good idea of what you like and want.