Home Renovation

5 Must-Have Features of a Home Renovation

I’m Matt Cornell. I love structural engineering.  When it comes to renovating, these are my 5 must-have features for any home renovation project.

High ceilings

When the air-conditioning isn’t on, the next best way to improve the ambiance of a room is to have beautiful high ceilings. High ceilings allow air-flow and dramatically improve the feel of a room.

If you are raising an existing house or adding a building extension, don’t feel that you have to match existing wall heights. Aim for a 2.7m wall height if you can. If you’re feeling really luxurious then you definitely must have 3 metre high ceilings.

High ceilings in a living room or bedroom drastically make a home more appealing and more valuable to me.

Built-in Ethernet cabling

Televisions and computers (and soon fridges) need high speed internet to make them really useful, and high speed internet is best and most securely served by traditional blue or yellow cables.

Wireless is fine for Ipods and tablets, but to get the most out of your leisure time, open your electronic gadgets up to the world of fast internet. The best time to run these cables during a renovation is before the wall cladding goes onto the walls. After that getting internet to your 3 televisions and 4 computers becomes a lot more difficult and expensive.

Connect every bedroom and every living area with Ethernet cables for the absolute best value. Run all of your cables back to a central location, install a data switch and a small rack next to your modem and experience the benefit of having a connected house.

Exposed Hardwood

There is nothing as beautiful and warming as a solid hardwood feature in a house. I love hardwood staircases and hardwood flooring. Use recycled timber for a more timeless aesthetic feel. Carpet and tiles look wonderful, but feature hardwood timber to add big value for me.

Street Appeal

Having a luxurious house hidden behind a dingy fa├žade is a little old fashioned. A beautiful house starts with a front elevation that has a huge wow factor.

Big WOW means different things to different people, but for a building to have WOW factor it must have a commanding presence. It must have shapes and overhangs to shade the walls. It must have windows positioned to provide privacy to the internal spaces. It must have a link to heritage and character of the street and yet be unmistakable in its presence.

Great street appeal adds huge value for me.

Reverse cycle air-conditioning

When renovating in Queensland, adding air-conditioning is a “must have” because air-conditioners add big value to homes. Better still it must be reverse cycle air-conditioning.

Air-conditioning is affordable to everyone now that energy efficient air-conditioners are available. I prefer split systems over ducted systems because I am only in one room at a time and I’d prefer to only heat or cool that room.

In your next renovation throw out the old window wall air-conditioners and get a professional to install split systems into every living room and bedroom.


If you’re planning a home renovation or a new home, how many of these features will make it onto your features list? Speak to your building designer and Cornell Engineers about how to add real, timeless value to your next home renovation project.