Tips and Guides

5 Renovating Terms that You Need to Know

Familiarize yourself with these common terms as you embark on a home improvement journey

Photography: Kurt Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions (Main Photo)

Are you renovating your home anytime soon? To ensure a smooth makeover process, you need to be in the know when it comes to common renovating terms. Knowing the basics can help you communicate and discuss concerns better with your architect or interior designer.

Architect Mia Quimpo and interior designer Tess Quevedo share these five renovating terms that you need to take note of. 

Read the original article in the June 2013 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App now! Log on to for more details.

As-built plans 

As-built plans show how the space was actually constructed, including any changes made from the original house plans. “These plans are of great use when renovating. It will inform you of where pipes and wires pass, and which walls or structures you may or may not break down,” shares Mia.


Contingency refers to the backup budget for unforeseen additional costs during construction. Mia states this example: “While tearing down a wall to open up a room, you discover that the wall is riddled with termites, thus increasing your budget to include pest control.”

RL Tip: Mia advises to always prepare a 5% contingency fund when doing renovations.


“As applied to furniture, this is a piece that you buy unassembled or partially assembled,” says Tess. “Beds are usually knock-down for easy transport and also so that they can be brought inside a room without difficulty.”


“Upholstery is the process of fitting furniture such as sofas and chairs with springs, webbing, padding, fabric or leather,” explains Tess. A room with upholstered furniture can visually soften up a space.

Click here to learn more about upholstery fabric.


Veneer is a thin layer of wood laminated or glued on a surface to give it the beauty of solid wood. Wood species with beautiful grains are best for veneer. It is commonly used on wall panels or furniture.

RL Tip: Instead of paint, use wood veneer panels to create an accent wall. The result is more sophisticated and goes well with tropical interiors. 

Click here to learn more decorating and renovating terms.

Photos by Ocs Alvarez and Paolo Feliciano.

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