Why You Should Value Good Design When Renovating


One of the primary reasons people renovate their homes is to improve their current home to better suit their current and future needs. This translates to a house that functions well for them every day and is a joy to live in.  

So when you consider that renovation is typically one of the biggest money outlays you’ll ever make, one would think that getting the design of your home right would be a priority. But in our experience in a lot of situations, this isn’t always the case.  So we are asking the question ‘Why don’t people value good design?’

It takes Time...

Well firstly , it takes time…

To give you an example, we currently have a client who has a pretty tight budget (not unrealistic but tight.)  Their home is a good size but is poorly laid out so a redesign of their current floorplan is the best option to meet their needs.  is the thing that will make or break their project – their home is their hub and it ‘s really important that it is functional and enhances their everyday lives as specific personal circumstances mean that it is their base for the majority of their work and personal and social endeavors.

Yet even with the design factor being such an important part of their project success,(and they agree that it is.) They can’t get past the cost and insist on going for the cheapest choice of designer.

As we’ve mentioned creative input and a creative approach to their budget is an important factor that will dictate the success of their project but our concern is that by going with the cheapest option they aren’t, in fact, choosing the right or the best designer for their project

The cheapest option may, in fact, cost them money in the long run.


It's more involved than you think...

Design is often more involved than people think.

Any design and especially good design takes time  – it does, this is a fact.

Good design takes the time to address many things with the aim to maximise the functionality and liveability of your home, The critical factor here is time and as a result attention to detail.  Exploration of a client needs and wants, of ideas and possible solutions, takes time. Researching different and often cost-effective design and material selections and solutions takes time, especially if it is done well.


Good design is like a refrigerator...

In life, if something looks simple and works seamlessly then more often than not a lot of work has gone on behind the scenes to make this a reality – design is no different.

This quote by designer Irene Au is, in our view, says it all…

Good design is like a refrigerator—when it works, no one notices, but when it doesn’t, it sure stinks.

To be creative, a designer has to take the time to explore the clients needs, to research, to explore different design options and material choices and solutions ( which these super cheap designers just can’t do – its simple maths – to run a successful business you need to make money – and designing and drafting house plans take a certain amount of time regardless of the design work that is input, the only thing that can change beyond simple drafting efficiency is the time spent exploring and working through different design options and solutions – ones that might save you far more in the long run than the upfront cost of the designer’s fees.

And just for the record, we’re not saying that you need to spend $40,000 plus on design fees, far from it, we simply want to educate people to the concept that you get what you pay for and that to have a great liveable and functional home then you need to prioritise the design of your home and invest some money into it.

Function before looks...

We read a comment recently on a forum, which is alluding us right now as to its origin. It read something like this: ‘It doesn’t matter how amazing your builder is, an internal wall essentially costs the same regardless of where it’s built but its ultimate location can have far-reaching impacts on your day to day life, and your enjoyment of your home.’ Wise words there.

And it needs to be remembered too – a room can look magazine worthy but that doesn’t mean that in fact it actually works.  Good design is about function before looks.

No doubt, there are things about your home that annoy you – these things are usually a result poor functionality and lack of design.

Steve Jobs, sums it up

Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.

All this got us thinking about why is it that we don’t value good design.  People do not as a general rule want to pay (or pay much should I say) for design, they undervalue it  – but why? They are happy to pay for financial advice, fitness advice, so why not design?

A false reality...

With all the reno shows currently on TV, Pinterest  a blessing and a curse) Houzz and the endless blogs and web pages, magazines, not to mention Instagram at our fingertips, all giving a false impression that design is easy. It’s little wonder that people think that they can do it themselves because they feel that they understand best what they want to achieve.  This can mean however that they are at risk of missing some very real design opportunities because they are close too close to it or simply have no real design experience.

More than just looks

Vanseo Design explores this topic and many of the arguments are relevant to the renovation industry.   “Non-designers generally see design as making things pretty. They don’t value design for what it is, only for the shiny coat of paint on top. Because they see the pretty and not all the work we do, they can’t see all the value that design brings.”

Food for thought

We’ll explore this topic in greater detail in later posts, but this has been festering and we needed to get it off our chests.

Hopefully, it will give you food for thought… and a better idea of the value of good design and how it is worth the investment.

Until next time.


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