15 Home Renovation Tips You Need Before You Get Started

Embarking on a home renovation journey is scary and intimidating at first, but with the right preparation, it doesn’t have to be worrisome. All you need is the right home renovation tips.

We started our first home renovation journey in 2021 when we bought a new home for our family. Since then, our family has been in the midst of all sorts of changes and projects.

It’s crazy, to say the least, but we are excited to have the homes of our dreams. However, I have to be honest – I felt like there was a lot of things I didn’t know when I started this journey.

So, I put together some of the best home renovation tips I received from experts to help you have the renovation of your dreams without the headaches.

15 Home Renovation Tips You Need

Don’t start your remodeling project without reading all of these tips.

1. Do Your Research and Homework

Unless you’re a professional contractor, you need to do plenty of research, even if you hire a contractor to do the work for you. When you’re working on a DIY project, it’s best to watch and read as many tutorials as possible.

Doing your research is almost MORE important when hiring a contractor because you’re putting your trust and hard-earned money into someone else’s hands. You want to be sure you can trust those hands.

Ask your friends for references on contractors, and read reviews online. Get quotes from different contractors – don’t settle for the first one you receive. The first one might be the best, but you don’t know that until you talk to different options!

2. Know Your Limits

I love a good DIY project, but some can turn into a huge disaster if you don’t know what you’re doing.

Know your limits.

My husband and I replaced the flooring in a previous home. The hardwood planks take a lot of time, but once we figured it out, we were happy to save the money rather than hiring someone.

However, when we wanted to get a larger shower installed, we called in the pros. The last thing we wanted to do was mess up the plumbing, causing even more problems.

3. Get References From Previous Clients

Picking the right contractor truly makes or breaks your experience with your home renovation. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

Ask how many projects they have going on and how quickly they can start. This has no right or wrong answer, but it gives you a comparison to others when getting quotes.

You want your general contractor to have projects to show you, and if they refuse to let you speak to former clients, then find another option. That’s often a red flag.

“When chatting with a former client, be sure to ask about the general contractor’s communication skills, quality of work, timeliness, cleanliness, team member interaction, and the overall experience they had with them.”

– Shawna Percival from Styleberry Creative Interiors

4. Be Flexible with Your Plans

The timing of the project doesn’t often happen the way that you expect, even if you use contractors. It’s important to remember that your contractors are at the will of others to finish the job on time.

Keep in mind all sorts of issues may cause your plans to change. Include time for delays or setbacks into your time table to reduce disappointment.

“Weather delays are always a risk, and they may extend any building stage. As a result of the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, several contractors are experiencing months of delays due to the inability to acquire supplies, such as roofing and siding.”

– Imani Francies from Clearsurance.com

5. Keep Your Kids Safe

Home remodels are a great way for your kids to get involved in projects around the house. Kids love to paint, and older kids can be seriously huge helpers.

Remodel zones also can be quite dangerous for little kids.

You’ll want to make sure you have gates or a way to close off the area you are remodeling. You need to make sure all sharp tools are stored out of the way and anything electrical is covered.

This is especially true for off-hours when no supervision is in the remodeling area.

6. Consider Pets if You’re Living in Your Home

If you have dogs or cats, you will need to create a safe environment for them. That means they may have to live somewhere else for a few weeks, or you need a way to keep them out of the construction zone.

This may mean you have to use a doggy daycare or a friend’s house when you’re working. Your animals may have to stay in the basement or your bedroom while you work to keep them comfortable and safe.

“Construction produces a lot of environmental hazards that your furry or feathered friends should never be subjected to. Dust, sharp objects, loud noises and strong smells all come with the territory.”

– Matthew Lerczak from Mayday Restoration

7. Keep Functionality in Mind

Functionality is important when making the design for your home renovation. While you want it to look nice and fit the theme of your home, if it’s not functional, you’ll find yourself disappointed with the results.

The goal of a home project is to also make the space work better for you and your family, along with making it look nicer.

” Before thinking about anything else the person needs to think about the functionality of the remodel. The improvement has to be beneficial, user-friendly, and effective. Owners need to make the place much more convenient rather than making it good-looking.”

Brady Bridges – realtor

8. Plan to Spend More Than You Expected

As much as we would never like the unexpected to happen, that’s not reality, and if you spend every penny in your budget, it doesn’t leave room for the unexpected.

Sometimes, the budget may have to increase due to an increase in the price of materials. We are seeing that more in recent years, so keeping 5-10% back for the unexpected is smart. If you can keep back even more, that’s ideal.

What happens if the contractors find dry rot or mold? Be prepared for anything to happen!

9. Get Help From Experienced Friends

If you’re working on a DIY project, getting help and advice from experienced friends is ideal. They’ll be able to share with you advice you might not get elsewhere, and they might be willing to pitch in some elbow grease to help complete your project.

“When I installed my first shower, I was nervous about doing it all wrong. I asked my colleagues that had this kind of experience for advice. They were delighted t share and gave me tons of advice!”

– Ludovic Chung-Sao from ZenSoundProof.com

10. The Space Won’t be Usable During Reno

Whatever space you are renovating won’t be usable during the project, so make sure you consider what you will do during this project.

If this is your only bathroom, you may need to rent a port-a-potty. It’s not fun, but it’s better than not having a bathroom. You also may have to consider staying elsewhere if the project makes the space unlivable.

Kitchen renovations are frustrating but often workable. You can use the bathroom sink to clean dishes, or use paper plates for a few weeks.

However, you need to figure out how you will make this work for your family. There is no right or wrong answer, but take into consideration your children’s needs as well.

11. Go with The Kitchen First

If you’re wondering where you start your project, the answer is the kitchen – always.

The kitchen is a hub of the home, and you need to feed your family. If you manage to renovate the kitchen before moving into your home, that’s ideal, but if you’re living there, you want the kitchen done as soon as possible.

You can only cook so much in your bathroom, and after awhile, fast food gets REAL old.

Start with the kitchen and go from there. Since the kitchen often sets the mood of the home, move out from the heart.

“Kitchen remodeling jobs will mean a huge accumulation of dust and debris in your home. It also takes the longest to complete, especially for larger kitchens. Reduce the headaches and hassles by taking care of the heaviest job right away.”

– Jack Miller from How I Get Rid Of

12. Go Professional for Bathrooms

Updating bathrooms is one of the most common projects that homeowners want to tackle, but it’s also a place you could majorly mess up if you aren’t experienced. Even though it increases your budget, hire a professional for bathroom updates.

Plumbing is a lot of work, and you might encounter unforeseen troubles that require a professionals help.

Changing faucets out or simple projects are typically safe DIY projects, but if you want to rip out a shower and add something new, call in the big guns!

In addition, ensure that you get professional help for plumbing repairs. Since your bathroom is one of the busiest places in your home, a good plumbing company will come in handy when faced with plumbing issues. They have professionals who understand the job and can handle things like drain cleaning or pipe repairs effectively. 

“While you may feel confident giving it a whirl, the results could be disastrous. If you mess up, you could have leaks, mold in the walls, drainage back up, and more. When it comes to bathroom, hire a professional.”

– Nikki Webster from Brit on the Move

13. Avoid Cutting Corners to Save Money

Always be careful how you decide to save money on a project. We always want to be budget-conscious and opting for less expensive materials is often a safe choice. You may decide to tackle some of the project yourself – like painting or simple DIYs – to take money off the contractor quote.

Some corner cuts are just not a good idea and will bite you in the butt. If you see an issue that needs to be fixed, don’t stick a band-aid on it and call it good.

Fix the issue.

In the long run, it will eventually need fixed, and it may cost you even more then.

14. Lighting Should Never Be an After Thought

When you create your design, make sure lighting is not an after thought. It should be a integrated part of your layout.

You might want a well-lit pantry and need to ensure you have lighting, or you could put pendant lights above your new kitchen island.

Be clear with your requirements and the purpose of your lighting. Lights are important in your home, and if you’ve ever had a poorly lit home, you know how true that is!

15. Add USB Outlets

Smart homes are all the rage right now, and one of the most popular things to add is USB plug sockets.

“Our top tip is to opt for USB plug sockets, which are convenient for charging phones and iPads. If you are planning on having an island unit and want plug sockets, our customers love ones that pop up from the worktop.”

– Nathan Smith from Wandsworth Sash Windows

Related: Home Automation Ideas: 15 DIY Smart Home Systems You Need

Starting a remodeling project is exciting, but it also can be a stressful time. Use these home renovation tips to reduce stress and make the most out of your experience.

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