Home renovations, regardless of their size, can be a scary undertaking. Plenty of time, effort, and money will be invested into making your home look great, and there’s nothing worse than completing a project only to realize you’ve made a design or installation mistake. In order to avoid this outcome, and the financial and mental strain that accompanies it, we’ve compiled a list of the 30 most common home renovation mistakes you should try to avoid.
1. Starting Renovations Too Soon
Renovations are an exciting time, but one of the most common mistakes we see homeowners make is starting their projects too soon. If you’ve lived in your home for some time and are familiar with the space, it’s flow, and your preferred use, that’s no problem. Issues begin when new homeowners make a purchase and then immediately start renovating, without any understanding of how they’ll actually live and work through the space.
2. Underestimating Costs
As intricate as they may be, you’ll want to do your absolute best to accurately estimate the costs associated with your home renovations. Most projects will take longer than expected, and require additional material, support, and more to get them done as you’d like. A safe rule of thumb is to add 20% to the renovation budget for the purpose of handling over-run. If this isn’t financially feasible, you may want to scale the project back.
3. Expecting Everything to Go According to Plan
If you’ve spent any time building or renovating anything, you’ll know that nothing ever goes according to plan. A lot of unexpected items will arise as you work through the project, and it’s best that you prepare yourself both financially and mentally for the long and winding road that is home renovations.
4. Not Hiring a Designer from The Start
The best way to avoid spending thousands of dollars on renovations only to be left unhappy with the results is by hiring a designer and architect, as necessary, right from the beginning. Although an added project expense, it will be a minor element that ensures the end results are exactly as you’d like them to be.
5. Going for The Lowest Bid
You know what they say – you get what you pay for. A great contractor is one that will work with you to create a beautiful space at a reasonable price. Be wary of those who come in offering bottom-dollar pricing, as they are sure to cut costs along the way so that they can still profit healthily.
6. Hiring a Professional That’s Not a Good Fit
Home renovations are a very personal project. Although there are plenty of design and architect professionals around, you’ll want to be sure that you work with one who aligns well with your vision and objectives. Not only will this ensure that they craft a beautiful living space for you, but it will make the entire renovation process significantly more enjoyable.
7. Not Asking for References
With projects as large as home renovations, it’s better to be safe than sorry. Prior to signing the paperwork with a renovation company, ask to speak with their last two or three clients. This will give you a detailed idea as to the work they’re capable of doing, as well as what the experience was like throughout the process.
8. Waiting Too Long to Consult a General Contractor
In order to get a detailed understanding of the costs associated with your designs, you’ll want to get contractor insights early in the process. This will ensure that you’re made well aware of the time and budget requirements associated with various designs and floor plans.
9. Pretending to Understand a Design Scheme
The design blueprint will never quite paint the complete renovation picture. Instead of pretending to understand the drawings, take the time necessary to map out the ideas in your physical space and see how they feel and flow.
10. Not Asking Enough Questions
It’s easier to correct something along the way than after project completion. Don’t be afraid to ask questions to your designers, renovators, and so on. There really are no dumb ones, as it’s your money being spent and what matters most is that you’re happy with the finished product.
11. Making Too Many Changes Along the Way
If you have a design that you like, and have spent time determining the unique elements, materials, and styling, don’t make too many changes along the way if they aren’t necessary. Not only will they lengthen the time it takes for your renovations to be completed, but they’ll also begin to tick-up your cost. Re-working items takes time, time takes money.
12. Not setting up a timeline
You’ll want to work with your contractor to determine project requirements and assign deadlines. Putting a proper project timeline in place will ensure that things run smoothly and that there aren’t any panic purchases or major delays.
13. Interiors as An Afterthought
Before diving into your renovation project, ensure that you’ve considered absolutely every element of the project – both interior and exterior. This will ensure that nothing goes overlooked, and that you’ve adequately prepared for everything that will come your way.
14. Underestimating Psychological Stressors
Renovations are synonymous with disorder. Understand that when going through the home renovation process you’re going to be presented with more than a few psychological stressors, and they’ll need to be managed in order to see the project through to completion.
15. Skimping on quality
You’ll only do major renovations every once in a while, and so when you do, it’s best that you focus on quality that will last through the years. It will be significantly more enjoyable, and less expensive, to start with high quality materials and labour that doesn’t give you headaches and constantly require replacement.
16. Splurging Where You Should Save
Following the note on quality, it’s also important to understand that there are affordable routes to take during renovations. The largest items don’t necessarily need to be the most expensive, and you can find ways to save meaningfully without jeopardizing overall quality.
17. Installing New Appliances Last
You’ll want to have your appliances picked out at the beginning of the project so that you can design with them in mind, however, don’t have them delivered until it’s time for their installation. This will help tremendously with space organization.
18. Not Knowing Measurements
Create a detailed list of the items you’re looking for and always have measurements handy. Be sure that you’re only shopping and purchasing for couches, tables, and so on that will actually fit your space!
19. Buying Giant Furniture
Large furniture inside of a home can look great, but getting it in is a completely different story. Be sure that you’ve measured your entrances and hallways so that the furniture you’re purchasing will fit.
20. Buying Miniature Rugs
A properly sized rug should ground your furniture – with at least a portion of it resting atop. Don’t buy rugs that are too small, regardless of how nice they look, as they’ll compromise the aesthetic and quality of your space over time.
21. Not Getting Everyone on The Same Page
Be sure that every single renovation decision maker and worker is on the same page for the project. Print out the specific items and measurements needed and place them somewhere easily accessible throughout the project.
22. Trying to Be Your Own General Contractor
The beautiful part about hiring a general contractor is that they’re accountable for the work you’ve hired them to do. Don’t try to do everything yourself and run the risk of making costly mistakes.
23. Spending Too Much on Tech
Although great to have, technology will rapidly ramp up renovation costs and often become outdated quicker than any other item in the home. Find a balance between technology that will make your life better but that doesn’t go overboard in terms of functionality and cost.
24. Working on Too Many Rooms at Once
Renovations will feel significantly less stressful if you’re seeing progress and project completion along the way. As opposed to partially tearing apart each room in your home, tackle them to completion one-by-one.
25. Sacrificing Function for Form
As you build out your space, pay extra attention to the flow. You’ll want to design your home in such a way that it functions well with your lifestyle, and place windows, doors, outlets, and other elements so that they’re conveniently located.
28. Being Too Trendy
Although helpful for immediate resale value, trendy designs don’t tend to age well. If you’re going to be conducting home renovations in a space you plan on living in for a while, focus more on combining modern design with traditional elements so that a timeless look can be achieved.
27. Focusing on Appearance
Visual appeal is an important element of renovations, but it certainly isn’t the only one. Be sure to address all of the structural and safety requirements needed to ensure that your home, and the renovations completed, will stand the test of time.
28. Updating the Wrong Things
When investing in home renovations, focus on the items that will create long-term value, as opposed to cosmetic items that don’t really have an impact. This includes items like flooring, storage, and so on.
29. Ignoring lighting
Don’t forget to light up the newly designed space. With the help of a lighting specialist, you’ll be able to install the fixtures needed to create a warm, inviting experience in your newly renovated home.
30. Impulse Buying
Before purchasing any individual elements for the renovation, consider how they will fit into the complete picture. It’s incredibly inconvenient to purchase a table or couch and realize that it doesn’t fit the aesthetic at all. Preventing impulse buys will vastly improve the end project result.
If you’re in search of a home renovation team and would like to learn more about project options, pricing, and more, get in contact with us today!