Renovating a house: a new look inside and out

Thomas Bott

Renovation work can make your house shipshape and give it a new look. Perhaps a fresh coat of paint on the facade will make all the difference? Or is it the interior that urgently needs a redesign? We show you how to renovate your home skillfully and successfully, explain what needs to be taken into account, and point out when it’s actually reconstruction that’s required.

A craftsman lays new tiles in different patterns on the floor.
© Getty Images/ Mixmike

In this article

Renovating a house: roof and facade, windows and doors

Whether you want to implement a huge project or simply make a few small changes, everyone’s house needs a face lift from time to time. Wind and weather ultimately take their toll and take the shine off the roof, facade, windows and doors. However, with the right ideas and measures, you can get the most out of each element again.

A not so glittering exterior? Renovating and plastering the facade

Let’s be honest, how often do you take a critical look at the facade of your house? You probably have other things on your mind after a family outing, day at work or shopping trip, and never stop to pause outside to inspect the facade of your house. But you can be sure that visitors, neighbors or people passing by will take a completely different view.

When a property is on the market, the facade is the first thing prospective buyers will notice. So if you want to make a good impression, then it’s time you also took a critical look at the condition of the facade, and made the exterior of your home shine again.

Colors fade over time, and what was once bright white may have given way to a dirty gray. Experts recommend freshening up paint every ten years. It’s important to note that gaudy tones don’t fit in in every neighborhood. You are probably safer sticking to muted colors. A touch of color can create emphasis, but there’s also nothing to be said against a rich white color to give your home a new look. A fresh coat of paint is also a good opportunity to take a closer look at the structure of the facade, because cracks will also become apparent much more quickly.

But it’s not only the visual appearance that matters: if you would like to prevent heat and energy loss from a facade due to old materials and construction methods, you can find more information about energy-efficient renovation here. This applies to the roof, facade, doors and windows.

The roof: re-cover or remove

A set of new roof tiles will give your house a new look regardless of the facade. Lighter tiles appear friendlier, while darker tiles are more elegant. Whatever tone you choose, the color scale for clay roof tiles and roofing stones has the right shade for every taste.

The shape also makes a difference. Trough gutter tiles give the roof a rustic look, while pantiles are timeless and good at draining rainwater. Plain tiles are suitable for old buildings such as half-timbered houses, whereas smooth tiles are particularly effective on modern houses. The advantage of new roofing is that you can take the opportunity to have a photovoltaic system fitted, for example. A flat roof can be planted with luxurious greenery. Or you can simply fulfill your dream of creating a spacious roof terrace right away.

Craftsmen prepare a roof for new tiles.

Even if there is no damage to the tiles, re-covering a roof can be worthwhile – to create a new look or to install a photovoltaic system at the same time.

Windows and doors: stylish and important for insulation

Even if the surface has aged, the core of wooden windows and doors is often still in good condition. If you want to hold on to the beautiful, natural material, simply give the windows and doors a fresh coat of paint. White or dark brown are the classic shades; if you want something a little more colorful, strong colors could be a good contrast to a white facade. However, remember that a lot of energy can be lost through wooden windows and doors.

The alternative is to replace them with plastic. Modern windows and doors made of this material are much better insulated – and they are easier to maintain. They also improve security, because composite materials can withstand more, and tend to be more flush fitting, which provides better protection against break-ins. But don’t forget to choose a door lock that will give criminals a hard time.

Renovating a house: basements and annex buildings

If you want to completely renovate your house, you should work from bottom to top after redesigning the interior. Don’t forget to give the basement a revamp as well. Before you move on to the rooms directly above, first work on the winter garden and the garage. These areas remain part of the property and are therefore important when carrying out renovation work.

Renovating a basement: don’t leave the space unused

Some homeowners downright neglect their basement. But this space has a lot to offer if you take proper care of it: you can organize get-togethers with friends or family undisturbed in a party basement, for example. A separate fitness room will save you having to go to the gym. If you convert your basement into a game room, you can have hours of fun with a pool table and dart board. Or do you simply need an extra room to use as an office? You may also develop a little more empathy for the musical enthusiasm of your percussion-playing child if you let them set up their instrument in a soundproofed basement.

Sound tempting? Then renovate your basement to make it even more useful in the future. Even old, musty basement rooms can often be easily brought back to life. If you want to use the basement as anything other than a storage room, it’s important to remember that

it should always be well ventilated. You may have to install additional basement windows for this purpose. You should also check the basement waterproofing regularly, because if moisture gains access, there is a risk of mold forming.

Windows or light shafts are one way to bring more light into dark basement rooms, but retrofitting them is very time-consuming (and expensive). It’s somewhat easier and cheaper to choose light colors for the walls and floor. Don’t place too many items in the rooms, otherwise they will quickly seem constricted. You should also make sure that there is a heating system in addition to good insulation so that it does not get too cold.

Renovating an extension: redesigning a garage and winter garden

As well as the actual house itself, any annex buildings will also welcome a new look every now and again. Over time, the walls and floor of a garage will suffer the effects of cars constantly being driven in and out. Colors gradually fade, as if a gray veil has been placed over them. A fresh coat of paint can help. You can of course take into account your personal aspirations and interests: motor sports fans can hang iconic patterns of legendary race cars on the walls, vintage car fans can display models of their favorite cars, while cyclists can decorate with chic bike equipment.

Even new lighting sometimes works wonders. This also applies to the winter garden, which can be made to look much more cozy. There are usually not many walls to paint, but changes can still be made to the floor and of course new furniture can be added.

A new shine for the kitchen and bathroom

The utility rooms in the house are an important part of everyday life. It’s particularly important that everything works perfectly and looks attractive. That’s why you should take your time over planning. Modernizing is often worthwhile, for example by fitting new appliances in the kitchen, or installing a new washbasin, bathtub or shower in the bathroom.

Renovating a kitchen: fed up with the old look

The kitchen is a utility room where it can get hot. Steam, oil splashes, cuts in the worktop and other wear and tear are bound to make the room look old at some point. It’s always worth giving the walls and ceilings a fresh coat of paint. Don’t be afraid to use a little color here too. A kitchen does not always have to be white to look good. A contrast in the room makes a nice change, especially when the cabinet fronts themselves are quite plain. Tiles do not have to be replaced immediately, here too there are alternatives: they can be given a new design thanks to special paint, stickers or film.

Film is the trend word: it’s even suitable for cabinet fronts. With a little bit of work, doors and drawers can be made much more attractive. Another alternative is lacquer. When it comes to the worktop, the material is what really matters. If a worktop is made of glass, natural stone or metal, renovation is difficult – at least without damaging the high-quality appearance. Wood, composite and concrete, on the other hand, can be styled similarly to the cabinet fronts.

A complete rebuild is necessary if you want to change the layout of the kitchen. It might even be a good time to try out a new style. How about a country style kitchen, for example? Playful shapes, warm colors and lots of wood give the entire room a completely new look. Technical modernization can be carried out at the same time.

New appliances in the kitchen bring many advantages. For example, they offer new functions, such as a built-in timer for the oven, or practical no-frost technology in refrigerators which makes regular defrosting unnecessary. In addition, new devices usually consume less energy and for this reason alone will have paid for themselves after a relatively short time.

You can find more information about kitchen renovation here

A man stands at the stove with his little girl on his arm and holds a pan in his hand.

The kitchen is an important utility room in the house. It should not only be functional, but also look good.

The bathroom: where ideas bubble up

Your bathroom can also be given a completely new look in the course of renovation work. Why not replace your old mirror cabinet with a large wall mirror with natural lighting? The old free-standing WC could make way for a modern one with a wall bracket and built-in bidet. Ground level and open showers are very much in vogue – and are also an investment in the future since they are so much easier to access. As for the bathtub, you can choose from a particularly wide range of options, as there are numerous shapes and sizes.

For some extra luxury, opt for a bathtub with a whirlpool function that will make baths even more relaxing. And don’t forget the sink. Most manufacturers offer series with visually coordinated elements. It’s often also worth thinking about new tiles and wall colors. You don’t always have to stick to light colors – with a few colorful splashes you can bring a little atmosphere into your daily bathroom routine.

You can find more information about bathroom renovation here

Renovating an interior: the living room and bedroom

Of course, these rooms also become shabby over time. The reason for a renovation here, however, is usually a change of scenery – in the literal and figurative sense. There are virtually no limits in terms of design. From a single wall in a new color to a big change of style, everything is possible.

The living room: feeling good is the priority

Whether you spend time there in the evening with your partner, with guests or with the children: the living room offers space for entertainment and relaxation in equal measure. An attractive design is therefore particularly worthwhile. After all, a living place should be a place to feel comfortable, where you can relax and unwind. If you prefer clear structures, practical and simple colors, a minimalist style makes sense for you. If you prefer a “rougher” look, an industrial or rustic style might suit you better.

A new sofa or bookshelf can make all the difference. But you should always pay attention to the matching decoration. On the walls it’s a good idea to pick up colors from the decoration or the furniture. If you want to install new flooring, it should also be in keeping with the overall style.

You can find more information about living room renovation here

A woman hangs a picture on the wall while her partner checks the positioning from a distance.

A newly decorated and better equipped living room brings a breath of fresh air into the house. Decorative touches like pictures and plants should correspond to the overall style.

The bedroom: dreamlike designs

A change of scenery can do no harm here either. Soothing colors such as blue or a warm orange create an atmosphere of well-being. A rug on the floor can have a sound-absorbing effect but is less suitable for allergy sufferers. You should also pay attention to the curtains, because they not only contribute to the style, but also protect against prying eyes and early morning sunlight.

It might even be worth replacing the bed as part of the renovation work. As the central feature of the bedroom, the bed always has a major influence on color and style. Whether you opt for a box spring model, a four-poster or a waterbed, you will need to coordinate the remaining furniture such as dresser, wardrobes and bedside tables so that everything goes together. A cluttered room can eventually have a negative effect on your sleep. Perhaps it’s also worth rethinking the positioning of the furniture. If you move it around a little, you might create more space – for indoor plants, for example. These can even contribute to a better indoor climate.

You can find more information about bedroom renovation here

Reconstruction or renovation: what’s the difference?

Rebuild or renovate, that is the question. Both involve redesigning the existing space. Necessity is the key factor. If you just want to change the style, then renovation is what you need – in other words, to enhance the visual appearance of your home. If, on the other hand, solid components such as walls or floors are seriously damaged and have structural defects, reconstruction is necessary – this is repair work.

In the case of a new building (and if everything goes according to plan) it usually takes a while before reconstruction is required.

The situation is different with old buildings. Whether it’s a simple residential house, a farmhouse or a villa: in the vast majority of cases, it’s even worth carrying out energy-efficient reconstruction work. This allows you to bring an old house up to date by fitting new insulation and a modern heating system. However, caution is advised with historic buildings, because special rules usually apply.

A little girl is sitting in a room in the attic among all kinds of building materials and tools.

Reconstruction is often associated with more effort, because it involves more extensive work and more material is required. It’s usually worthwhile all the same.

Tip: work out a plan

No matter which room is concerned by your renovation project, you should always plan carefully. This will enable you to keep a closer eye on the costs of the conversion and will make sure the styles of the various rooms do not differ too much. Do it yourself, spreading the work over certain days if possible.

However, don’t forget to allow a little more time. It is not unusual for work to take longer than expected. If structural changes to the building are required, it’s a good idea to consult an architect, who will give you a few initial ideas for the design or come up with a concept for the conversion.

Read next

On our website we use cookies and analysis tools to constantly improve user-friendliness. This allows us to offer you the best possible service and personalize the advertising for you, both on our website and with our advertising partners. By using the website, you agree to the use of cookies. You can find more detailed provisions in our Privacy Statement).