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Taking on a restoration project can be a serious commitment.  For the uninitiated, it might seem like a fun project that will leave you with a beautiful home at a great price.  However, you need to go into any serious renovation project with your eyes open in terms of how much it will cost, how long it will take and how much hard work is involved.  Check out the following top tips to prepare yourself properly.

restoration project

Research is Key

Ask the experts.  Speak to a tradesman about how much some of the work will cost and how long it will take.  They should be able to help you identify the correct style for your period property, giving you a clearer idea of what is needed.  They can also spot jobs that need doing that you might not have considered.

Keep it Simple

Depending on exactly how far back into history you want to delve, and how you want your home to fit in with modern times, the main focus should probably be on keeping it simple and working with what you’ve already got.

Whether you’re looking for a 16th century-style heritage kitchen or an elaborate period bedroom, you might wish to strip it back to the main feature. For example, a country cottage period-style kitchen could have large dark oak or pippy oak panelling, which should be showcased as much as possible.

Keep a List of all Outstanding Jobs

Making a list of all the jobs that have yet to be completed in your renovation project could mean that either you, or the tradesmen you have employed, have a clear idea of the progress of the restoration project.  Be sure to include all the smaller items, as well as larger jobs.  Use the list to keep track of progress, and ensure you purchasing all the fittings and materials needed for the work.


Over the centuries and decades, the walls of your home will have seen many coats of paint or wallpaper and stripping these layers back one by one could potentially unearth some gems.  If you find a shade of wallpaper that fits the period you are trying to emulate, you may be able to send off samples to have a custom-made paint mixed or roll of wallpaper made to match.


Cornicing is the decorative moulding located along the edges of your ceiling.  It can range from simple to intricate in terms of its design.  While cleaning cornicing can be done with a combination of lukewarm water, sugar soap and a soft sponge, specialist products may be needed if there is a build-up of paint.  However, restoring cornicing that has been chipped or damaged may be a job that is best left to the professionals.

Period Fireplace

Before you begin the job of restoring your period fireplace it is worth consulting a surveyor to see if the changes could have a bearing on the structure of your home.  If you are unable to restore your fireplace surround, by stripping back the paint and grime, visiting a reclamation yard could help you find a surround that fits the size and specific dimensions of your fireplace.

Replicating Woodwork

Recreating period woodwork can be a complicated task, because of the difficulty of finding mouldings to suit your needs. However, you may find an outline of the profiles of a moulding in the architraves of timber doors, architraves or behind old wall coverings, which could help an expert joiner to bring them to life.

Restoring Timber Windows and Doors

If your windows or doors are not appropriate for the period of your property, or need restoring, it is worth contacting a specialist, professional company to replace or repair them.  At The Sash Window Workshop we have extensive experience working in a wide range of period properties, including Victorian, Edwardian and Georgian homes.

Get it Right First Time

It can be tempting to try and save money on projects by not paying for the best materials and features.  However, you may then end up spending more when you have to replace down the line.  If the building needs double glazed sash windows, then go for them from the start.  There’s no point throwing good money after bad in a few years.

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