Many reports are discussing the increase of new aircraft owners, so I thought it would be the perfect time to share some dos and don’ts when refurbishing your private aircraft.

DO Understand what type of refurbishment you need.

I classify projects in three ways, all based on what sort of timeline the project has. Here they are:

Quick-Turn Refurbishment

This is generally a partial or full soft-goods. These projects usually happen when a plane is newly acquired, and you are looking to freshen up the interior. The plane needs to be up and running as soon as possible, and the materials and design need to meet short deadlines.

Standard Refurbishment

This type of refurbishment can also happen with a newly acquired aircraft, but you will also see this for interiors that are ready for a facelift. It typically includes new veneer, plating, countertops, and all-new soft goods. The difference between this type of refurbishment and a custom one is there isn’t any deviation from the standard floor plan, cabinets, or materials.

Custom/Reconfiguration Refurbishment

Any time you start moving or adding seats or developing custom cabinetry, you can add some serious time to your project, which also means more time for custom materials and designs. These refurbishments are more like works of art where everything down to the latch design is custom-made for the owner. These refurbishments are typically paired with maintenance events and updating avionics, CMS, and connectivity.

DON’T wait to select your materials.

I see this mistake happen the most often, and it can be upsetting if you’re not expecting it. Picture this scenario. You’ve signed your refurbishment proposal, and then you are notified by the facility you need to pick your materials. You get the design all set, and you are super excited! Then the project begins, and you are hit with multiple charges and a longer downtime because your refurbishment proposal didn’t account for the materials or design selections you made.

I like to encourage my clients to start the design process before starting to get final quotes from refurbishment facilities if possible. Aim for 3-6 months out. Budgetary quotes are helpful to help decide the scope and solidify your budget, but you want your last quote to be based on your real materials and design when possible.

DO purchase custom pillows.

There’s nothing sadder than an old lumpy pillow in an aircraft interior. If you’re taking the time to have your interior refreshed and updated, new pillows are an excellent way to help bring life and warmth to the cabin. I’ve had designs where the pillow fabric was the statement that brought the interior together. They may seem unnecessary, or something you could pick up from the department store, but I assure you, if you get custom pillows made for your aircraft, you’ll be glad you did.

DON’T skimp on the details.

Even in a quick-turn refurbishment scenario, you can still add beautiful details to your design. Whether it’s through a thoughtful sew-pattern for your seats or a unique galley flooring, you can work with your designer on items that will make the interior have an elevated sense of style that’s completely customized for you.

DO be careful with proportions.

Designing for an aircraft is unique because you visually take in the whole interior when you step on the plane. Because of this, you need to be extremely considerate of the proportions of your design. Proportion is critical in every design detail, including the style of your seat, the pattern on your carpet, the color of your sidewall panels, etc.

DON’T forget about lighting temperature.

Depending on your aircraft, you may have cooler or warmer temperature lighting (Or maybe you’re getting to choose for some new LED lights!) This can dramatically change the color of your cabin and the materials inside of it. When viewing samples with clients, I always prefer natural sunlight to help get the truest sense of color. When designing, I’ll also watch my schemes throughout the day to make sure they look still look great in the morning and evening light.

These are just a few dos and don’ts for an aircraft refurbishment! What advice would you give someone about to go through an aircraft refurbishment? If you liked this blog, be sure to check out Five Tips That Will Make You Better Prepared for Your Aircraft Refurbishment.