The value of renovation projects across the country has increased by 7% to $748 million[1], the highest level recorded since April 2016[2], as homeowners take advantage of recent favourable market conditions and realise renos dreamed up during lengthy COVID-19 lockdowns. Here, award winning Designer Natalee Bowen and Architect Joe Snell share their top home renovation tips from James Hardie’s comprehensive and recently published Home Renovation Guide.

Dream and rationalise

There are so many possibilities when it comes to upgrading a home. Before starting, it is important to be completely clear on the reason for renovating whether it is for a resale, changing family needs or the creation of a forever home. With the purpose sorted, focus on space, design budget and block.

Natalee Bowen shares her top tips to starting the renovation process.

1. Create a vision board

“Gather examples of homes and elements you love, which could include open plan living, alfresco area and façade.”

2. What are the things that will add value?

“This could be adding a level, increasing street appeal by cladding over tired brick, or converting wasted space into another bedroom.”

3. Design for living

“Lifestyle equals value. Create a holiday-at-home feel by opening up the layout and creating an indoor-outdoor feel. A better flow increases the enjoyment of a home.”

4. Budget realistically

“Deciding on a realistic budget is an essential part of any planning renovation. It is worth spending more time planning and budgeting to achieve an affordable and desired result.”

Lay down the groundwork

Take time to assemble a team you can trust, perfect your plans, pick reliable products and calculate well-informed budgets. Interrogate every opportunity because the decisions you make at the start will shape your build and lifestyle for years to come. Here, Joe Snell shares key renovation foundations to implement.

1. Use a professional

“Renovating is often our biggest investment. You wouldn’t skimp on a doctor or lawyer, so don’t on your home.”

2. Research builders

“Make sure to meet builders’ past clients and see the work done. If a builder can’t recommend anyone, then alarm bells should be going off.”

3. Confirm and understand your budget

“Think carefully about what you really need. Nail down your budget and contract with your builder before you start.”

4. Design for the future

“Ensure you have design for your changing needs over the next five to ten years.”

5. Connect with the outside

“We live in one of the most liveable climates in the world, make sure your renovation is making the most of the outdoors.”

Prioritise rooms

Renovations should prioritise the rooms your family spends the most time in. The kitchen is known as the heart of the home, where family and friends connect the most. It needs to look good, be functional and durable. Here, Joe shares some tips to consider for the kitchen:

  • “Storage and bench space is a must – whether that’s putting in a butler’s pantry if you have the luxury of space, or an island bench that can also open up a room.”
  • “The trusted formula for achieving the functionality is the ‘kitchen triangle’ that connects the sink, cooking space and fridge areas.”
  • “If you have a separate kitchen, try opening it up to the dining and living areas to increase the sense of space.”
  • “Consider high impact materials such as HardieGroove lining. It’s a durable wall material that resists moisture and gives a vertical joint timber look to a kitchen splashback.”

A bathroom is a sanctuary, so ensure you have enough space and invest in high quality products in this high use area. Joe’s tips for making the most of the bathroom include:

  • “When renovating for a busy family, aim for a family bathroom and an ensuite.”
  • “Keeping space usable is crucial – think long vanities and double basins. The ultimate layout has a bath and shower.”
  • “Don’t forget about internal wet area walls such as those behind shower recesses, tiles, vanities and floors are high risk areas for damage in the future. Use fibre cement products such as James Hardie Villaboard wall lining which has high resistance to water, impact and doesn’t rely on coating.”

To achieve a contemporary design, modern materials need to be used for efficiency, strength and durability. Premium fibre cement cladding such as Linea Weatherboards or Stria Cladding create similar shadow lines to timber boards, offers design flexibility and are resistant to flaking, warping or swelling and damage from moisture. The combination of fibre cement cladding, the right insulation and spacing can make a big difference in creating a functional and great looking renovation.

Find out more tips on how to renovate your home with the James Hardie Home Renovation Guide

For more information, visit

[1] Australian Bureau of Statistics

[2] Australian Bureau of Statistics