Do’s & Don’ts When Remodeling a Home

By January 14, 2021Home Makeover

The Do’s and Don’ts of Remodeling a Home

Deciding to remodel your home is the first step in creating your ideal home. While you’re remodeling to create a space in better harmony with your life, the process of getting there can be anything but harmonious. Learn from the people that have been there before. Here’s what you should and shouldn’t do when preparing to remodel your home.

Newly remodeled kitchen.So let’s start with your What TO DO:

Take Your Time to Research

Your home is one of your most important financial assets and possessions. Make sure you are picking the right contractor for the work. You are welcoming them into your home; they must respect you, your project, and the home.

Take your time researching different contractors. Look at the work they have done to gauge their experience and the quality of the finished project. Get recommendations from people you trust, but also read the online referrals and testimonials. Check out their licenses and any registered complaints.

Architect reviewing blueprints

Interview your contractor to make sure they take the time to understand your needs and incorporate exactly what you want. You want them to be upfront with what your project will entail and honest about the financial commitment. You also want to make sure they can carry out your vision.

Ask for references from the leading contractors. You may expect them to all be glowing, but sometimes you’ll be surprised by the level of honesty.

Consider the Resale Value

Most home remodels are done specifically for you and your family. While that’s fine, and you want to make sure the space functions for you, remember that things change. You may have intended to stay in your home forever, but a few years down the road, you might decide to sell.

Illustrative graphic about adding value to your home

For that reason, always keep resale value in mind as you embark on your remodel decision-making. How will this upgrade benefit your home five, ten, or even fifteen years down the road? Is it better to remodel or renovate your home?

Remember that home design trends come and go. Sometimes a home style that is too unique can become too difficult to sell. Consider what’s going to work over the long term in your home. Is it something that can adapt to suit different tastes and styles? Is it neutral enough to evolve with your personal taste?

Remember Function First

Make sure any features included in the home remodel are things you will use. A prime example is a whirlpool bathtub, a common addition to bathroom remodels a few years ago. The idea behind these is alluring, but as homeowners found out, they are rarely used. If you’re not the kind of person to take a bath, you probably don’t need it in your bathroom remodel.

Before and after photos of a renovated mudroom.

The same applies to whatever area of the room you are remodeling. Take the time to think about what your biggest problem is with the current configuration. How is the remodel going to solve that problem for you? Focus on that. A prime example would be redoing the mudroom to add more storage or reconfiguring the kitchen to add an island for family gatherings.

Embrace Your Canvas

Paint swatches and flooring samples

Give yourself space to be creative. It’s okay to embrace a little color on your blank canvas. Pull in some rich jewel tones and some textures as a way of refreshing the room. Or, go the other way–use some monochromatic palettes to create a calming backdrop or to highlight a particular feature in a space. As they say, the world is your oyster.

Create a Sanctuary Away from Renovation Work

We’ve lost a sense of project scale and time thanks to all the do-it-yourself and fixer-upper TV shows. Their timelines of days or just a few weeks is just not realistic. Home renovations take a long time, even for contractors with teams of people assisting.

If your home remodel is extensive, it may be best for you to live somewhere else for a few months. The remodeling process can be stressful. You need a refuge that will help you relax from your day and enjoy the changes happening in your home.

For homeowners still occupying their homes during the remodel, do designate an area of your home as your sanctuary space. Having a place that stays clean, organized, and free of construction will be a welcome retreat from the mess happening elsewhere.

And these are the DON’T’s:

Working Without a Design Plan

Consult with a remodeling professional to help pinpoint your design style and create a remodeling plan. Before the first wall is knocked down or cabinet removed from your home, you should have a detailed floor plan that shows how the different elements will interact in the new space. Pre-planning helps catch any design problems before they become catastrophes.

Two interior designers working on a plan together.These talks with design professionals will also give some home remodeling ideas to maximize the storage in space in your footprint. Organization and flow are essential to make sure you’re satisfied with your new, improved home.

DIY aka Doing it Yourself

Men completing DIY renovation at home

Yes, you can probably tackle certain rooms and projects on your own. Redoing a living room, for example, is something most people can handle.

But once you start knocking down walls or redoing kitchens and bathrooms, the project turns into a bigger challenge. You will need professional expertise to ensure that the upgrades are done correctly and properly, not just for your home’s function, but to make sure no mistakes are made.

Delay Making Decisions

Part of creating a remodeling plan helps you make decisions before the remodel starts. This is important to avoid project delays. If you wait until the last minute to make design decisions, it sets all the contractors back. For example, if you wait to pick a faucet, it must be ordered and shipped before the plumbers can install it. The plumbers will have to be rescheduled until it arrives.

Delayed decision-making is how remodeling projects move from a simple two-week project into a month-long project. Your contractors are stuck waiting for the right parts and materials to arrive because your decision wasn’t made in time.

Change Your Mind Often

Woman talking to a contractor in her home

It’s natural to want to change our mind about something as we go through the project. Just be aware, every time you change your mind during a home remodel, it has a butterfly effect. Changing your mind adds costs both financially and time required. Even little changes, like the deciding to add statement wallpaper, can impact the scheduling of the work. If you are going to change something, just be aware of the repercussions.

Starting Without a Contingency Fund 

Remodeling is something you want to over budget. While we all hope the project will come in under or on-budget, we have to be realistic. The more extensive your home remodel, the more opportunity to discover things you didn’t expect. Never throw 100% of your available funds into the remodel. Reserve some as a contingency; if you still have it at the end, then treat yourself.

Ignoring Home Maintenance

If you patch over cracked drywall, eventually, it’s going to crack and show again. The lesson is, while you may want to update the home cosmetically, you’ve got to take care of the structural issues first. For example, updating the roofing of your home is the necessary home maintenance. Not taking care of that could lead to leaks, which creates structural damage and a bigger problem than replacing the roof in the first place.

Remodeling your home is an exciting process. Just be prepared for the ups and downs of the remodel. Partner with a team of experienced design professionals and contractors to ensure your vision becomes a reality.

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