Tips/Pointers for Minor Home Rennovation

Hi everyone,

I finally bought a home. Settlement is next week.

The townhouse is about 10 years old in great condition with 2 levels (upstairs bedrooms, downstairs kitchen and living). However I want to do some work before moving in:
1. paint walls
2. replace carpet upstairs
3. replace kitchen benchtop
4. replace lights and switches with smart home lights and switches (can wait until after moving in)

I have looked up some rough quotes and estimates for those work, but I am very much still confused, and would appreciate any pointers, tips, advice and insights


This looks like something I could do myself, although I have never painted walls before. I'm not looking to paint any feature walls. Color would be a light beige.
I have not yet searched how much materials would cost (including hardware), nor how much it would cost to have someone do the job.
a. Is it recommended to paint the walls myself? Why/why not?
b. How long would it someone with zero experience to paint a house around 130m2, noting temperature is low, and I suspect that means paint will take longer to dry.
c. What are the factors to take into consideration when deciding whether to do the paint job myself?


From online search and quote, it appears to be around $600 for installation + cost of material. I will go checkout some providers this weekend to get a feel for the carpet.
a. Assuming a provider has sufficient stock, what does the installation process look like?
b. How long would it take to re-carpet 3 average-sized bedrooms + walkway (my guesstimate is about 50m2)?
c. I heard some people remove the existing carpet themselves. Is that something you would generally recommend doing? Why/why not?


I have searched online, but am still quite unsure about the process. I will make some calls and visit some providers on the weekend, but would appreciate any advice before then.
I do not mind the current kitchen layout/cabinets, etc. From the diagram below, I would just prefer a wider (more depth) benchtop on the Right side (benchtop with the sink and under which there is the dish washer).

Top side

[-]——-[-] Right side


Top side
[-]——-[—] Right side

From my online searches, I understand options could be:
* Full renovation: replace whole kitchen benchtop, cabinet, splashback
* Part renovation: replace bits and pieces, e.g. benchtop and cabinet doors

a. Is it even possible to replace the Right Side of the benchtop only and make it fit the rest, or will everything need to be replaced? Will the cabinets below the benchtop need to be replaced?
b. Do providers usually offer installation, or will I have to get someone else to install? If it is the latter, what factors do I need to consider to ensure 'compatibility' (ie. the benchtop will fit)?
c. I heard there are 'Flatpack' options available. How do they work?


In my current apartment, I have a mix of Google Home Mini, Alexa echos, Tuya smart lights, Philips smart light, Philips switches.
Because of the mix of ecosystems, overall the systems are not very reliable (esp. tuya devices).
Ideally, I would prefer an ecosystem that would work reliably, and would not require internet (e.g. zigbee).

a. Is zigbee the way to go or should I consider zwave or others?
b. Should I get all Philips products or are there comparable or better alternatives for use?

Thanks in advance for your help!


  • +1 vote

    Ive reno my whole house.

    Painting is easy, do this before replacing the carpets.

    A couple of tips.

    Don't use masking tape, if you are using Acrylic paint (Dulux Wash and Wear) then it's water-based, and can be easily cleaned up with a wet cloth.

    The issue with masking tape is that it can leak behind the tape, and if you leave it on for too long it will be dry and you can't clean it up. Rather go slower can cut it without tape.

    Use a cutting in a paintbrush, it works great. Monarchs are great brushes. These have a slight angle to the bristles.

    Don't buy they cheapest roller (pink ones) either, they will leave fluff. I have had no issue with mid-priced rolls.

    This video is great.


      Thanks for the tips and the video link. I don't understand a lot of the painting and tool terms you used, but I will search them and will take those into consideration.


      Agree with don't use painters tape. Learn to cut and you'll save yourself a lot of time.


    Too much to answer. Go do some googling on the specifics of your questions. There is tonnes of info out there.

    Painting isn’t difficult, but it’s a bit of a black art. Anyone should be able to DIY it. YouTube is your friend on how to do it. If possible, do it before flooring and before you move in.

    With no furniture, carpet should be done in under a day. They did our 4 bedrooms, hallway in under a day, but the stairs included meant it pushed into a second day.

    Get someone in to quote the benchtop. It’s not really a first time DIY job.


      Cheers. Will do


    Congratulations on your new home! That was me a couple of years ago.

    My family came and helped with the walls. I recommend that if you can! Painting is a long and boring job. It took about five of us a few days of pretty long work. Paying someone was pretty expensive, but could be worth it, depending on how much you like manual labour. I wouldn't do it alone, but with the family was fine.

    Good to get someone to do it for you I think. Removing the existing carpet takes hardly any time. It took a pro two days to do 3 bedrooms and a hallway and stairway.

    Not sure about this, as I didn't have a similar experience. But I did get a (Melbourne) company in to do the big wardrobes and cabinets, because what I could find at Ikea, etc. wasn't what I wanted, and that was quite good. They did installation and building it. I heard of flatpack companies, but when I looked into it more, it seemed like they were dead websites with no social media being maintained, so I'd double check before going down that route.

    I have Philips lights and switches and is great. Get an Ozbargain alert and wait for them to be on sale on Bunnings or something. But given you have experience with a few of the products, you're probably in a better position to answer that than most of us.

    How is the mix of Alexa and Google Home? I got a free Amazon Echo Dot which is good for the bedroom but am considering a Google photo frame/display assistant instead for the living room, where there's already a great soundbar.

    Good luck getting it all sorted.


      Thank you! Super excited to move in.

      Thanks for the tips. Will consider painting ourselves. Will likely get pros to do all the carpeting work.

      Benchtop is what i'm most unsure about. i'll visit some providers tomorrow to enquire.

      I use Alexa to control all house stuff except Android TV. I use Google for Android TV and web searches. Google seemed like a pain to setup with smart home devices (esp. mixed ecosystem).


        As a smart home enthusiast but still very much a novice, I wouldn't use Philips in a townhouse unless you will be looking to upsize in the near future. The separate hub is just another device that takes up space, and from my understanding isn't required unless you have a ton of devices connected to it. It's also more expensive per device. I'd stick with Alexa/Google. I haven't had any experience with Alexa as I chose Google on the (probably false) belief that they're more agnostic and flexible. Set up Brilliant lights, Kogan bulbs, TP Link bulbs, TP Link smart plugs, Sonos speakers, Mirabella globes, Mirabella IR repeater, Google nest mini and Google nest wifi, Roborock s50. No issues with anything except I had to reconnect the Roborock to Google a couple of times.

        • +1 vote

          thanks for the response. The main issue with those is that when internet goes down, you lose most features. With zigbee (or zwave) you have local net functions still available.

          I already have a philips hue hub. 2 hubs should provide enough for the house IMO.


    100% Agree with previous post from smigglejiggle, learn to 'cut-in' like a pro and you wont need masking tape. I too have renovated my entire home and found this is to be best method. Also, best to start with skirting boards and cornices (if you have one), then ceiling, then cut-in walls and then roll walls. This way you can paint over all skirting boards & cornice quickly and come back to make a clean line. Do ceiling after this in case you splatter paint onto the walls (or before everything really). Followed by rolling the walls. I like the Monarch micro-fibre rolls.

    Regarding the kitchen bench top. If you are happy with the cabinetry, you can simply remove and replace the bench top. Say you were looking at getting stone, you would contact a stonemason, they would come out to create a 'template' (typically 3mm MDF) of the new bench, they take these back to factory to base the stone cuts off. I'd suggest also changing cabinetry hardware (handles) to improve the look & feel. Get a heap of quotes from local stonemasons before picking one (they vary quite a bit).


      Thanks for the painting tips. The terms still go above my head, but I'll research more over the weekend.

      I did not think about stonemason. I thought I'd have to go with Ikea-type provider, or 'flatpack' providers. Thanks for the suggestion, I'll look into stonemasons.

      • +1 vote

        Ikea will subcontract local stonemasons for all their stone products. I looked at Ikea stone but thought it looked a little too 'Ikea'. haha!

        I learnt 90% of my home DIY skills from Youtube, here are some of the channels I watch a lot:

        Vancouver Carpenter
        Scott Brown
        Mitre 10 New Zealand
        HomeRenovision DIY
        Mr build It


          Thanks for the video links. I'll check them out. I did watch some of HomeRenovision DIY a few months ago (while I was still on the purchase market). I'll probably look into doing more DIY stuff in the future, whereas I just want some immediate fixes and settling in now.


    I work in the industry for a living. The only advice I can offer you is do some research before making selections on things such as carpet choice, colours and stone selection.
    Obviously do what you like as its you're home, but if you're planning to sell your home in the next 5 years it's something I would consider.
    Keep it simple with paint, use a nice white (Dulux Lexicon Quarter, Natural white, Vivid White). Beige could make the home feel slightly more dated.
    When we have clients trying to sell homes its never how much they spent on the materials, but it was always the people who had the best selection in choosing the right materials that got the highest returns.

    Use a pro for the install of your carpet, carpet pros are decently priced and will make sure it lasts. If you would like to rip the old one up and remove the nails go ahead, it may help when negotiating install costs for your carpet.
    Perfect time to paint everything especially skirting, before the new carpet goes down.

    In terms of finding deals, check gumtree to try to find the people who import cabinetry and aren't big companies, if you're lucky you can occasionally find people who are knocking relatively new homes who have good condition cabinetry for a decent price. IKEA can be good if they have what you're looking for. I personally wouldn't advise going down the painting the cabinetry route unless your patient/have time.
    You can pickup quality stone/quartz on gumtree for decent prices and arrange a stone mason to pickup and install.

    For smart home, personally I use google home for bedrooms and it works fine (provided the internet doesn't crap itself). Check some of the brands on eBay for the switches. Make sure if you're changing any wall outlets or light switches that they are Australian Approved, for insurance purposes. I have sonoff switches on lamps which are relatively inexpensive ($8) that way I can use whatever bulb i want. They have been flawless for 3 years. Make sure when you look at lighting, think about how it will make the room look. Down-lights are always a safe bet, and pendants if you have the height.

    Most importantly make sure to shop around! Good luck


      Thanks for the response.

      Absolutely agree not to go with dated beige color. I was more on the white than beige side, but don't know the color references to describe it.

      Agreed on carpet, I'll thoroughly research carpet and get a feel before buying.

      Agreed re painting. We plan to paint in first few days and then to the other bits of work.

      And yes, I will only get Australian approved electricals and will get a certified electrician to install. House uses only downlights, which I am happy with. Not keen on pendants or other lighting at this point.

      I'm just now wondering whether it may be best to sort light switches and electricals before painting. I want wall light switches that you can physically switch on/off and also control through smart home integration.


        The colour your looking for is called Antique White USA, I imagine. Might go for a 3/4 strength if your house is a bit more modern,

        If you're in Melbourne I can recommend places for carpet.

        Yeah I would take all the downlight and leave them hanging when painting. Theres a chance when you take them out if they're old that it will damage the plaster. Also helps when painting the ceiling.
        Same with switches paint with them connected but not screwed in. That way you won't get nasty paint on the switches.


          Thanks. It's hard to tell the colors apart on a computer screen. I'll definitely check the Antique White USA in store.

          Thanks for the offer, unfortunately I am based in Canberra.

          Good tips re painting. Will keep those in mind.


      Thanks for writing all of this, we're in the same position as the OP and this was useful.

      We're just at the stage of planning countertops and I hadn't thought of using Gumtree. Any tips for avoiding dodgy sellers/low quality product? Other than cracks, I couldn't think of any way to identify flawed caesarstone/etc.


    So I bought my first place late last year and was in a similar situation wanting to change the kitchen a bit and add in the smart home features.

    I held off on renovating the kitchen and glad I did as living in the place for 6 months gave me a much better understanding of what I wanted to change.

    On the smart home front I went with Hubitat Elevation. It's a box that runs locally so will work if your internet goes down. It uses zigbee, zwave and can connect to Lan/wifi devices. I flashed my tuya devices with the tasmota firmware and they all run locally now. I've set up motion and light sensors throughout and don't ever have to touch a switch again.
    It works with Google home also.


      Thanks for the response. I'll checkout Hubitat Elevation.

      I also flashed my tuya-based devices with tasmota, but they are so unreliable :/

      Which sensors did you get? Could you share the name/model please?


        Looks like the Australian frequency is out of stock at moment due to COVID-19 limiting shipping out of China.
        I've got so many sensors now it is a bit ridiculous.

        Z-wave devices:
        The Fibaro ZW5 is expensive but a real good multisensor so you are getting what you pay for. I have 2 of these.
        I have an Aeotec multisensor 6 which is rubbish.
        REMOTEC ZRC-90 is a good button controller.

        Zigbee devices
        Xiaomi/Aqara motion & Xiaomi temperature sensor. They are cheap and works well for me but they use their own implementation of zigbee so don't always work well.
        Ikea Tradfri globe which isn't great.
        Various Blitzwolf devices from banggood which are cheap and work well with no issues.
        I do also have a Hue hub for my lights mainly because I got it on one of the really cheap Amazon deals which integrates with HE.
        Nue light switches and power points which work great but other have had them fail after 12 months.

        Wifi Devices
        Various tasmota flashed plugs which I've never had an issue with.
        I also have a sonoff rf bridge with Tasmota for some really cheap rf door/window sensors I got. This also controls my rf motorised blinds.
        Yeelight bulb which I don't use at the moment but worked with no issues.

        There is a really active AUS/NZ section of the community that can always give you more detail if you want to learn more. As well as the rest of the community.


          Good info


      I held off on renovating the kitchen and glad I did as living in the place for 6 months gave me a much better understanding of what I wanted to change.

      I have to say 100% agree with this. I did a couple of things before I moved into my place and I kind of regretted spending that money on them.

      It was things like installing shelving etc into BIRs and wasn’t too extravagant or expensive but I think had I lived in it for 3-6 months first I would have done them differently, or not at all in some rooms.


      Yep I also went with Hubitat for the freedom to choose both zigbee and zwave devices (especially smart light switches and dimmers, and probably power switches in the future). I've got to say that so far in my experience the Phillips Hue works the best though (granted you pay for it), and they don't have a great offer of downlights.


    Just a word on painting.

    Yes you most definitely can do it yourself. We have done so before. Howver, most recently we hired a painter who came in with a spray unit and completed the job in a day. The house was totally empty and we also had carpet removed prior to re-carpeting. We had done a thorough clean down of the walls and skirting boards (using sugar soap), so it was a straightforward job for the painter and as they say - time is money!

    If you haven't painted before and don't have the equipment, you might find that if you are able to thoroughly prepare the surfaces, having a painter come in might be worth it in a time v cost analysis.

    Also re: removing carpets. Again, you can do this - but don't forget you will have to get rid of them. We have found having existing carpets removed then new ones installed was most cost/labour effective. Our carpet layer leaves removed carpets in rolls outside their shop for anybody to pick up if they are after carpet pieces, but you can't dispose of it like that. Easier for them to take it away.

    Finally, a total re-fit of knobs and knockers is an excellent investment and makes an older place look a million bucks!


      Cheers for the response.

      I'll try to get some quotes on painting and take that into consideration before deciding how to proceed.

      Re carpet, I'll have to check whether the shops include removal costs as part of the installation (and whether the costs can be discounted if I pre-remove the carpets) or whether removal is additional costs.

      Agreed, will look into re-fitting knobs and doors

  • +1 vote

    It's certainly DIY and we painted our 2 bed apartment without issue, it was fun enough.
    From that we learned one thing - the $60+/4L dulux was much harder to apply and had much less coverage than the $12/4L Bunnings brand 'Spring' paint. YMMV but that was our experience and I was pretty stunned. The Spring was also plenty hardy with cleanup after kids dirty hands etc

    We then moved into a 4 bed place and decided that there was too much timber work (window and door frames, skirting) for us to tackle.
    Hot tip
    GET LOTS OF QUOTES! A webpage like Hipages will get the quotes rolling in so quickly and easily.

    We had quotes from $3000 - $18,000!! For the same job, same paint, same number of coats. 2 came in at the $3-4k range, 2 at the $6k range and 2 over $14k
    Pays to shop around as they say

    The same would apply for your other jobs - you can use hipages or service seeking to get a bunch of quotes without calling around, they call you once your job is posted…


      Wow the amount of $$$, that's valuable information. I would rather save the budget for other things.


      So the house is in really good condition. You could easily move in without painting. However, we would like to fix the hook holes and apply a refreshed color.

      I got a quote today for $300 for painting the living room (prepping, including gyprock), but no ceilings and no wood. Got a separate quote for $700 for bedrooms and hallway. Materials not included

      I'll get a couple more quotes tomorrow and decide. For around 1-2k, I would prefer to avoid the paint job.


    If your bench tops are structurally sound, consider using a company that can stick a thin layer of stone (i think about 7mm) and the finished job you would consider it is totally stone. Not sure if the cost is much cheaper compared to stone but it saves disturbing the existing providing it is structurally sound.


      How would you go about benchtops that have a 'raised extension'?


    First-time post.
    I changed carpet for three bedrooms, stairs and the landing. Total area 19m.
    I removed the carpet, the underlay, the staples and the tack strips (although removing the tack strip is not necessary) myself. It didn't take long and was somewhat satisfying to do.
    To dispose of the carpet. First, I tried to hire a skip bin, which was stupidly expensive. In hindsight, it wasn't a big job to have to hire a skip bin for anyway. My smart sis recommended the council clean up. Where I live, the council provides 2 household clean up per year. What a bonus!
    I shopped around a bit, learnt a bit about carpet weaves, etc. Ended up using Carpet Court. The experience was easy. Someone came out and did the final measure, making sure they can cut in a way not to have too many joints. Nice consideration. The carpet and underlay were pre-cut and delivered and installed one Saturday morning.
    This is going back a while, late 2012. Cost was $2,900, all-inclusive, of which $640 was paid directly to the installer. Total carpet, underlay and tack strips supplied.
    I hope this is of use.


      I'm assuming you mean 19m lineal, and not m2.

      Removal is about 200-300 for 3 bedrooms


    Paint it yourself. It's simple. Just spend more time on prep than you were planning to. Seriously, there's tons of info out there and I'm gobsmacked that you'd have to ask here. Seriously, you haven't painted anything before? Wow. Just start on a less visible wall and you'll be fine.


      Just start on a less visible wall and you'll be fine.

      This is a good tip. Don’t start on the entrance or lounge room. Start in the least used room. If you’ve never done it before you will need some walls to get the hang of it.


      Good tip re starting with a less visible wall. If you have any link to a particular guide or video you recommend, please share


    I did a lot of the stuff you're planning at my place a couple of years ago (except carpets). Did it all myself (except benchtop fitting), and found it an interesting and rewarding experience, although relatively time consuming.


    I think for the size of your place it'd probably cost you $10k to hire a painter. Do it yourself if you have the time. Our place was similar size, and i did all of it in about 10 days (slow-ish coz was 1st time painting). My tips are:
    * You need at least 2 coats on your walls if your previous colour was light. Probably 3 coats if you're covering a dark colour. A coat takes about 2hrs to dry enough so you can start putting the next coat on.
    * They quote how much m^2 you can cover with a liter of paint on the tin. I found that you need about 2x as much paint as that. I think i used 20L all up?
    * Paint is muuuuch more economical to buy in large amounts. 1L costs about ~$50, while 10L costs ~$150
    * I personally disagree with people above saying dont use masking tape. For a beginner it's something you can do to guarantee you do a near painting job. I didnt try cutting in, but it sounds like it would take a bit of experience to do this well.
    * Dont skimp on drop-sheets. No matter how careful you are, paint will drip and splatter further than you might think. Cover your floors and any built-ins you might have.
    * I think with brushes, rollers, tape & paint, my job cost me about $1000 all up in materials.


    Sorry no experience there

    I had an L-shaped benchtop (with an elevated shelf) that i didnt like, so wanted to replace it. I demolished the Shelf bit myself and then got a benchtop specialist to do the rest. I recommend going with a small benchtop fitter rather than some mega-corp that has show-rooms. You'll get a much better price, and they get their stone from the same wholesalers anyway. Go with a fitter than can take you to the warehouse to show you all the stone. It's where all the fitters get their stone and they have 100's of slabs of various types on display. For my 1.5m*3m slab, the cheap range was about $1500 fitted, mid-range was about $2k fitted, and premium range around $2.5k fitted. I went with premium coz really liked the look of one particular type stone.
    If you're replacing an existing benchtop on top of a cabinet you want to keep, make sure you ask the fitter to remove it (might charge you $100). It's quite difficult to remove safely without breaking the cabinets as they're glued on. THey'll need to use a heat-gun to melt the glue.

    I kitted out my house with Alexa's and lots of Z-Wave devices. Works well, but i would've gone for a better quality Z-Wave hub if i was doing it all again. I got a Vera budget model, and the interface is awful, and its quite slow.
    If you already have devices but want to use zigbee/z-wave, make sure those devices support that. Some only work via wifi-only or within their own eco-system, like Hue.
    If you have z-wave/zigbee devices and a hub, then you can control these via your Hub's interface, so only via your computer/laptop. If you want to use Alexa or an app, then this will still need go over the internet anyway. Z-wave hubs tend do have plugin for Alexa and GOogle home.
    I use Alexa as it used to have much wider smart-home device support, but i think Google is catching up there. Google is a much smarter device outside of smart-home stuff, Alexa's arent great at answering generic questions.


      Outsourcing painting is ridiculously expensive!

      How do you go about to find small benchstop shops?

      Any suggestion for smart home wall switches?


        i looked them up (asked for quote) on hipages. There's also lots advertising on gumtree.

        In regards to wall switches, i didnt replace the switch itself but instead bought smart modules that you wire in behind each switch.
        Only a few work with the australian 2-wire standard, so not all switch modules are compatible. I got the Aotec Z-Wave Nano Dimmer modules. You can get them from this pretty great smarthome online shop which is based in cancerra,


      So the house is in really good condition. You could easily move in without painting. However, we would like to fix the hook holes and apply a refreshed color.

      I got a quote today for $300 for painting the living room (prepping, including gyprock), but no ceilings and no wood. Got a separate quote for $700 for bedrooms and hallway. Materials are not included. We don't want the kitchen, laundry, bathrooms and toilets painted (their current condition is pristine)

      I'll get a couple more quotes tomorrow and decide. For around 1-2k, I would prefer to avoid the paint job.


        are those quotes from a pro painter? sounds a bit cheap..


          Their ad says "We are a professional and qualified experienced painters". I will get and check more details after getting some other quotes and before deciding how to proceed.


    Laying new carpet in the bedrooms is the perfect opportunity to install underfloor heating.

    It comes in rolled sheets and is put down on the underlay before the carpet goes in.

    With a timer you can schedule the heating to come on for a couple of hours each morning and evening. It's lovely to walk on when you're expecting to walk into a chilly room.

    I used Coldbuster and they can supply only or install as well.

    Most people think about underfloor heating for bathrooms but it's economical and well worth it for bedrooms, living rooms etc.


      That's a cool idea.

      Might be better for living room and kitchen than bedroom IMO.


    Painting is relatively straightforward. Key points:

    1. Prep the surface. No shortcuts. It will pay off in spades.
    2. Use water based acrylics low sheen for walls, semi or gloss for doors, skirting boards, architraves. Oil base paints r too messy.
    3. Buy the best you can afford in materials, cheap stuff will just make experience tiring.
    4. As it’s getting cooler, read the paint instructions.
    5. Watch YouTube vids if you’ve never done it b4 - we all have it start somewhere.
    6. Did I mention prep the surface?
    7. Good luck.

      Good tips


        Use water based acrylics low sheen for walls, semi or gloss for doors, skirting boards, architraves. Oil base paints r too messy.

        Agree. But make sure you get a water based enamel for the arcs, doors, skirts etc. it is a harder wearing paint. Nearly as good as oil based, but so much easier to clean up (and way less dunes).


          Good point 👍


          Less fumes. Autocorrect strikes again.