Remodeling projects can be stressful, no matter how carefully you plan. The disruption to your space, the expense, and all the unexpected things that pop up — it be hard to remember how much you’re going to be thankful you undertook the process. There are some things you can do to take some of the stress and chaos out of remodeling, though. Read on for 10 tips for planning your remodel.
Know what you want. Being very clear about what you want out of the remodel is the first and most important thing you can do to plan a successful remodel. Being very clear about what you want — in terms of look, function, maintenance, and budget — will help you make better decisions at every other step of the way. It will also allow you to be realistic when choosing materials and effectively communicate with any professionals you hire.
Do your research. Once you know what you want, spend some time researching. Look into how the materials you want will hold up in your climate. Compare prices of materials and services across different vendors. Ask for recommendations for contractors, and look for reviews online or speak to past customers; consider asking for written quotes from several before you commit. Understand what your new space will need in terms of upkeep, maintenance, and regular repair.
Set a budget. Remodels can very quickly eat up all your spare cash. Set a realistic budget and stick to it. Build in some room for the unexpected, but otherwise know how much you’re willing to spend. Get written estimates from your contractors or otherwise draw up contracts.
Set a schedule. Like budgets, remodel schedules can slip a bit due to weather and unforeseen circumstances. But having a realistic sense of how long the project will take will allow you to make other decisions accordingly. Talk to your contractors and other professionals about how long such a project typically takes. If you are using multiple contractors, determine what order their projects need to be done in and schedule accordingly. Also consider issues like how much vacation time you can take (if needed), any holidays, and other time constraints
Make a comprehensive list. Make a list of everything you will need to buy (or rent) and do. Having a master list keeps all the information in one place, so that it is easy to refer to. It also makes it easy to spot if something is missing or has gone undone.
Think about the kids. If you have children, think about how you will keep them safe during the remodel, especially if the space being redone is a family room, kitchen, or other space children frequent. Set up spaces where kids can relax and play far from all the action. Consider whether your children will be off of school during the time of the remodel — you’ll need to come up with a plan to keep them busy.
Consider the furry kids, too. Remodels can be stressful on pets. All the noise and disruption, not to mention the mess, can stress Fido and Fluff out. Not to mention, all the contractors going in and out provide prime escape opportunities for your pets. Plan for how to keep your pets safe. Keep food, litterboxes, and water dishes out of the construction zone. Consider boarding your pet for a day or two during the most disruptive parts of the remodel.
Consider your own needs. Think about the areas of your life that the remodel will disrupt. If you’re having your kitchen gutted, find a spot elsewhere in the house for the fridge and microwave so you can still prepare food (unless you’re staying elsewhere for the duration). Try to create one functional space where you and your family can relax and just be while the remodel is going on.
Get your permits. Plan ample time for this — the wheels of municipal government can grind slow! Don’t be tempted to go ahead without permits. It’s not worth the hassle. If you’re unsure of what permits you’ll need, research online or speak to someone at the agency in your city that issues permits. Take that master list with you!
Schedule time to clean up. Remodels are messy, period. Even if your contractors do an excellent job of cleaning up after themselves, you’re going to want to do a final clean before you settle into the new place. Schedule some time after the dust has settled (literally) to clean up your newly refreshed space. Remember to put cleaning supplies on your master list!