Reform, renovate, restore and other re-words

I'm often asked how you say "hacer reformas" or "estar de obras" in English.

In the sense of home improvement, we don't say make reforms.

There are several ways of saying it, depending on the changes that you are going to make.
  • I'm going to do up my bedroom.  (paper it, paint the ceiling, perhaps buy some new furniture - so it looks fresher) 
  • They buy run down homes and renovate them and then sell them at a huge profit. (major works - to make as good as new again)
  • I want to redecorate the living room. (the walls need papered, the ceiling needs painted)
  • They are going to restore the church. (to repair it so it looks as it used to)
  •  I'm going to do some DIY this weekend. (Do It Yourself - repair things and make general improvements around the house)
  • They are having building work done next door - it'll be quite a while until the've finished. (They are getting an extension, knocking down walls...)
  • They are refurbishing the restaurant - it'll be closed for a month or so. (they are making significant changes)


We are probably referring to changes to laws if we talk about reforms:
  • The last government made some significant reforms to the education system.
or we might be talking about changes to a person who has had problems:
  • He spent several years in prison but he is a reformed character now.
  • He was a heavy drinker - he only reformed when his doctors warned him that he could die before he reached 50.


Be careful - you renovate a building but you renew thinks like passports and contracts.





Do you like doing DIY?

Which room would you like to do up? What changes would you make?

When did you last have work done at your home?

Which room do you think needs redecorating?

Which building / store has been restored / refurbished? Do you like the result?




Comments

Montse said…
Hi, again, Graham. This post is very interesting.
For many years I've have the chance to do up my home. We've painted almost every rooms. The last one was my daughter's room but about tree years ago we had building work done to enlarge the living-dinning room. I hate them!!!
Regards....
Graham said…
Hi Montse,

I hear "make reforms" all the time and I occasionally struggle to come up with a suitable translation.

Over the years, I've had the chance to do up my home. We've painted almost every room. .. I hate *it.

*"It" refers to the building work.





angelnisoruiz said…
Hi, Graham

This post is very useful for me, because I should know how I say "reforma" "reestructuración" or "rehabilitación"... in English.

By the other side, I want to tell you that I love to do some DIY in my free time. I usually go to Leroy Merlin or places like that to buy things that I need for the job. Sometimes I keen on recycling some old furnitures and restore it making a new life.

Thank you very much.
Graham said…
Hi Ángel,

This is an example where I sometimes struggle to find an adequate translation. As you can see, there are quite a few ways of saying ¨hacer reformas en casa".

This post is very useful for me, because I should know how to say "reforma" "reestructuración" or "rehabilitación"... in English.

On the other hand WRONG (This is used for contrasting). Also is used for saying something extra.

I also want to tell you that I love to do some DIY in my free time. I usually go to Leroy Merlin or places like that to buy things that I need for the job. I am quite keen on recycling old furniture and restoring them so that they have a new life.
brigida said…
I´m terrible at DIY. Last year we did up the walls and the ceilings and it was awful it took five weeks, no because my house is big, because we had to put our stuff from one point to other. that´s the problem with doing up if you stay in your house during the doing up.
Graham said…
Hi Brigida,

That makes two of us - I'm hopeless at DIY too. For some people it is a hobby but it's one that I'm unlikely to take up.


... It took five weeks, not because my house is big but because we had to move our stuff from one point to another. That´s the problem with doing up your home if you stay in your house while the work is being done.