Project planning 101

Tackling a big DIY project? Here’s how to nail down a plan that will see it through from start to successful completion.

Bunnings magazine, March 2020

1. Make a moodboard

If an overhaul of a whole room is on the cards, a moodboard will help you form a plan. Moodboards are a crucial part of the planning phase to make sure the colours, materials, finishes and furnishing items selected all work well together and are in line with the overall vision,” says Luisa Volpato of Advantage Interior Design.

Collect paint, fabric and material samples, take photos of things you like when you’re out and about, and include existing furniture as well as fittings. Then gather everything together and play about with your findings until you settle on a look you love. A digital moodboard is an option for the tech savvy, or you can create a physical board made from cork or foam. The benefit of the latter is you can place tile samples, paint swatches and more on the board and get a true sense of the colours, which you won’t get on a computer screen.

Watch it: How to install and style a pegboard

modern kitchen with a contrasting black and timber benchtop
A pinboard of ideas can help you create your dream kitchen. This one from Kaboodle has a benchtop in Molasses and Victorian Ash. 

2. Create a timeline

Set out a prioritised checklist of activities, assigning each a realistic timeline. For example, if you’re painting a wall, you might need to factor in time for patching dings in the plaster, or devote a whole day just to prep cleaning, sanding and taping up so you can launch into painting the following morning.

If it’s a large project, break it down into manageable tasks, and aim to work sequentially in other words, finish all the preparation first before you move on to the fun stuff, such as painting!

3. Define the scale

Some tasks, including plumbing and electrics, require a licensed tradesperson. Also be realistic about your skills. If you can’t manage every task yourself, call in the experts. “It’s easier and more cost-effective to bring in a professional early on rather than make expensive mistakes and then seek assistance later,” says Luisa.

Work out when you’ll need professional assistance – for example, laying a new floor – and when you’ll be tackling the DIY part, like painting the walls and trim. Bear in mind you might want their help mid-project – such as after the messy prep work, but before finishing painting.

kids bedroom finished with pink bedspread, toy rabbit, floral artwork and a contrasting duck egg blue feature wall
Porter's Paints Capsule Collection in Eggshell Explorer Blue and Irish Linen

4. Make a list

Measure your project space, taking note of the dimensions of the areas you need to consider so you can work out exactly what you’ll need to complete the task and in what quantities. There are convenient online planners, such as Bunnings’ paint and flooring calculators, which can help.

Make a definitive list of everything you need to avoid mid-project trips back to the store. If youre ordering materials yourself, check and recheck your calculations and always order extra – 10 per cent more flooring, an extra roll of wallpaper, for example just in case. Running out of materials before the end is not only inconvenient, but if youre relying on professionals, it will actually cost you money in your tradies wasted time. It can also make a visual difference, as Luisa explains: A plain white tile can really differ from one batch to another, so if you run out and then buy a box from another batch, those new tiles can be a slightly different shade.

5. Draw up a budget

Assign realistic costs to each item. Make sure to record all your estimated costs and dont forget to include a decent contingency allowance. Allowing at least 20 per cent for contingencies is smart, because there will always be something you forgot, need or want,” says Luisa.

Pro tip
“Floors and walls are the two biggest surface areas in a room. If a space you’re making over is looking tired, that’s a good place to start.” – Luisa Volpato, Advantage Interior Design

Start your project today

Check out our D.I.Y. Advice section for a huge range of project and renovation ideas.

Photography credit: Getty Images, Kaboodle and Porter’s Paints.

low water garden

Planning & Projects How to create a low-water garden ‘Dry’ or ‘low-water’ gardening is a real art and, when done right, will provide you with an inviting landscape that uses very little water.

Finished artificial green garden wall behind garden bench 02:05

Planning & Projects How to create a green wall using artificial hedge Green walls are all the rage at the moment, but buying and maintaining one can be costly. Why not have a go at creating your own using pieces of artificial hedge – it looks great and will last the distance. Here’s how.

reducing water

How To Save Water How to reduce water usage Whether indoor or outdoor, there are lots of ways to be smart about water usage. And there are some simple actions that can make a big difference to your water bill.

doorbell 02:04

Doors How to install a ring doorbell The Ring video doorbell is a wireless doorbell which allows you to see who is at your front door. Find out how to install the Ring video doorbell yourself.

a tree lit up with solar lights around it 01:46

Garden Lighting How to install solar lights in your garden Solar lights are a great way to illuminate your pathways and highlight your garden beds at night. Install them yourself with these easy steps.

how to organise your pantry 02:52

Shelving & Storage How to organise your pantry Create an organisational system in your pantry with these handy storage hints. Trust us – its life changing!

front door 01:31

How To Paint How to paint your front door Make an entrance every darn day of the week by painting your front door a bold, enticing colour!

how to hang pictures

Walls The best way to hang pictures on a wall Learn the tricks to hanging your wall decor so it looks good – and doesn’t damage the plasterboard. Create an effortless-looking display by taking the time to consider spacing, proportion, frame styles and colour palettes.

Health & Safety

Please make sure you use all equipment appropriately and safely when following the advice in these D.I.Y. videos. You need to be familiar with how to use equipment safely and follow the instructions that came with the equipment. If you are unsure, you may feel it is safest to consult an expert, such as the manufacturer or an expert Bunnings Team Member.

Grave health hazards are linked to asbestos, which may be in homes built up to 1990. Health hazards may result from exposure to lead-based paints in older materials and copper chromium arsenic (CCA) treated timber. For information on the dangers of asbestos, lead-based paint and CCA treated timber and tips for dealing with these materials contact your local council's Environmental Health Officer or visit our Health & Safety page. You can also use a simple test kit from Bunnings to indicate the presence of lead-based paint.
Top of the content