Key Tips for a Major Renovation
The final reveal of a major renovation is worth the wait, but you have to get through it first. While remodels have their ups and downs, there are plenty of ways to keep the downsides to a minimum.
Read through this list of key tips to make your home renovation manageable (and even enjoyable)!
1. Choose a temporary replacement set up
The space you renovate is usually out of commission while construction goes on. Before demolition gets under way, set up a temporary space that can stand in for the basic requirements of that room.
For example, if you’re remodelling your kitchen, create a mini kitchenette or wet bar area. A sink, hot plate, microwave or toaster oven are all you really need. A coffee machine will likely help too. In the summer, the backyard and the BBQ also come in handy.
If you’re redoing your bedroom though, set up shop in a spare bedroom, finished basement or living room. You can find cheap clothing racks to use in the meantime and air mattresses if an extra bed isn’t available. It might not be luxurious, but it beats trying to work around dust and debris.
Bathroom renovations are tricky ones, especially if you only have one full bath in the house. You will likely have other sinks to wash your hands and brush your teeth, but bathing is another story. Make use of gym memberships, local recreation centres, friends, and family.
Of course, there are some projects that are a complete no-fly zone: abatements, flooring for a whole level, or more than two rooms at a time. In this case, it might be easier to stay elsewhere during the reno. See if you can room with friends or family for a couple weeks, or find an affordable hotel.
2. Work around your needs
For some people, even the quickest or most straightforward project can take its toll. Know your limits and whether it’s worth the stress. If any commotion is going to cause you too much anxiety, just bite the bullet and book a hotel room. Your sanity is worth it.
3. Plan well in advance
Like any project that involves keeping things organized, the key is planning. Don’t leave this stage to a few days before things get started. If any problems pop up, you’ll have little time to put plan B in order.
Take about 3 weeks beforehand to plan your alternative living arrangements; that’s the stuff from pro-tip #1. The planning for the renovation itself, should be starting at least a month before. Get your contractors, materials, designs etc. in order well in advance.
4. Plan more than design
If only remodels were as simple as picking the paint colours you like and watching the magic happen. Unfortunately, it also involves timelines, corralling contractors and professionals, making design decisions for every square inch, permits, and budgeting.
The best course of action is making those decisions before things start. Then plan back up options for when one of your original decisions inevitably doesn’t pan out. If you’ve watched a day of HGTV in your life, you know things rarely go exactly as planned, so have contingencies ready.
This part is particularly important for the professionals you hire. Compare quotes and pricing, but don’t just choose the cheapest option. Remember, you get what you pay for. Thoroughly look through reviews, testimonials, previous work sites and more.
Don’t hesitate to ask them for these references and get referrals from people you know.
6. Choose appropriate time of year
The time of year you choose for your renovation is important. You obviously want to avoid big projects during holidays like Christmas, when things are hectic enough already.
Weigh the seasons too. Having to deal with a chaotic situation in humid August heat could be brutal, but summer also means outdoor space to escape the indoor madness.
Fall and Winter have cooler weather for cooler heads, but all that foot traffic is going to bring in slush on top of dust. Costs can be more expensive in the Spring and Summer, due to demand.
Consider which pros and cons have a bigger impact on you and time your project accordingly.
7. Downsize your lifestyle
Downsizing your lifestyle, at least for the short term, is a given. Using a kitchenette during a kitchen remodel or locker room showers during a bathroom overhaul will force you to cut down on some of the luxuries you might be use to.
Prepare to live a little simpler: you don’t need that cappuccino in the morning, put your hair up instead of curling it, and dry shampoo is an amazing thing.
This is also a great time to take stock of your possessions. Things are already packed up at this point, so use this as an opportunity to donate, gift, sell, or throw away items you no longer need. Browse these ideas on what to do with your stuff.
8. Be available
Design and budgeting decisions are an ongoing requirement with home improvement projects. Even if you move out during the process, be available to take calls and regularly check in on progress.
Make sure that workers can reach you in case any issues come up. This avoids delays and contractors having to make quick decisions on your home. Being a consistent presence also ensures you can spot any issues that may arise from miscommunication before they get too far.
9. Prioritize what you want (and know where to save)
Unexpected things happen during home reno projects. Getting electrical back to code can take a chunk out of the budget and that ‘sudden load-bearing wall’ can dash your open concept dreams.
When you decide on your design, prioritize each element. That way if you need to readjust for budget or architectural issues, it’s less disappointing. Is an open layout more important than granite counters? Where can you cut back and where will you refuse to compromise?
Along those lines, really research which choices are worth the investment. Marble counters are gorgeous, but they’re also prone to chips and scratches. Pools are beautiful, but some potential buyers will actively avoid purchasing a home with that much labour attached to it.
10. Pets and kids
Small children and pets have the toughest time with renovations. The noise and disruption to routine can upset them both. Start by planning out ways to keep things as close to normal as possible.
With pets, it’s beneficial to have friends or family dog-sit or cat-sit for a few days or take them to an animal daycare. If you’re worried about babies or kids being around the chaos, staying with family during the worst of it avoids those issues. Additionally, enforce strict barriers to keep kids away from power tools and debris.
11. Have fun with it
With all the warnings we’ve identified, it’s important to remind you that this is suppose to be a fun experience. Try not to let stressful parts drown out the good parts. You get to make creative decisions and spruce up your space into something that is uniquely for you.
Take this time to turn off the tech and reconnect with the family. Go outside more often and think of it as the new beginning that it is. For everything else, merlot usually helps.
Get in touch for more tips on how to best prepare for your home renovation project. We look forward to seeing your design ideas and all the ‘after’ pictures!