Theme boards and color palettes are the fun part of renovating your home. They’re a great way to generate concepts and narrow down your options. But they only take you so far. Remodeling also involves planning, budgeting, vetting contractors, acquiring permits, and getting the right balance between function and aesthetic value. As designers and contractors, there are a few mistakes homeowners make that we see repeated again and again.
The best way to avoid making these common mistakes is just to be aware of them. In this article, we’ll go over the 8 biggest mistakes in home remodeling and what you can do to avoid making them.
1. Not Doing Enough Prep Work
Anything worth doing is worth doing right — and doing right on the first try. Prep work is a necessary and important part of every home improvement project, from repainting a wall to remodeling your entire home from top to bottom.
Planning ahead is very important here, whether that means taping, spackling, sanding, and priming walls or completing structural work before laying flooring. Doing your due diligence when it comes to prep work can save you time, money, and a lot of frustration.
2. Not Interviewing Enough Contractors (Or Not Asking the Right Questions)
When you’re planning a renovation, you need to consider things like plumbing, electrical, and the structural integrity of your home. You’re putting a lot of trust into the hands of the designers and contractors you choose to hire. Don’t just hand your project over to the first person you call. Interview designers and remodeling contractors carefully. You need them to demonstrate experience and expertise, and you need them to have your best interests in mind.
Here are a few home remodeling questions to ask a designer or contractor in an initial interview:
- Is your company licensed and insured?
- How long have you been in business?
- Can I see some examples of your work?
- What percentage of your business is repeat clients or referrals?
- How is construction supervised?
- Can you provide recent referrals?
3. Purchasing Materials Too Early
Purchasing materials before you’ve created a solid design blueprint can be problematic. Before you go out and buy any materials, it’s important to have a comprehensive list of the type and quantity of materials you need — and to know exactly how you plan to use them. Working with an experienced designer always makes generating a materials list much easier. Your designer will be able to tell you what works and how much you need to buy.
4. Buying Cheap Materials
Understandably, most homeowners want to save money on materials so they can stretch their budget and do more with their money. Unfortunately, cheap materials often don’t last very long. The quality and durability of the materials you select are as important as what they look like.
Home builders and designers should step in and advise homeowners on the quality of materials, but unfortunately, this sometimes doesn’t happen. So do your research before you hire a designer and buy materials.
5. Sacrificing Function for Form
One of the biggest home planning mistakes we see again and again is that some homeowners and designers focus too much on aesthetics and not enough on the practical usability of the space. For example, we want our kitchens to look beautiful; but we also want them to be easy places to clean, prepare food, and entertain friends and family.
Getting the right balance between function and form is one of the most important aspects of home design. Here are a few practical things to add to make your new spaces more functional and usable:
- Convenient smart features
- Grab bars, adjustable sinks, and other aging-in-place features that may be required
- Floor plans that accommodate your preferences and lifestyle
6. Spending Too Much Money
No one wants to spend more than they need to on a home remodeling project. Unfortunately, this happens fairly frequently. More often than not, the cause is insufficient or inadequate planning.
For example, you may want to run out and buy a slab of quartz that you really love because it’s on sale, only to end up not using it because it doesn’t work with your other colors or textures. You may also run into structural issues you didn’t know existed if your contractor doesn’t assess the structural integrity of your home prior to building, which can be costly.
Creating a budget and a detailed plan for your project can help cut down on unforeseen costs substantially. It’s also important to communicate clearly and often with your designer or contractor to get feedback on what you’re spending and whether it’s appropriate or not.
7. Not Measuring Spaces Properly
When you hire professional designers and contractors, it’s their responsibility to correctly take and record the measurements of your rooms. But for DIY home renovators, not measuring correctly is one of the biggest mistakes you can make. Even a fraction of an inch can have huge consequences when the materials you order don’t fit properly. The old adage “measure twice but cut once” has a lot of truth to it. Investing the time and care needed to take accurate measurements can save you time, money, and stress.
8. Losing Focus
Full home or multi-room remodeling requires finesse and a different approach than single room remodels. Doing everything at once can easily save you time and money, but don’t rush into it without careful planning or else you can end up with more problems in the long run that are hard to fix. Here are a few problems you may encounter while doing multi-room remodels, along with potential solutions:
- It’s harder to focus on any one room when you’re working on too many at one time; this is where communication with your designer, careful planning, and looking at the big picture comes to play.
- Living in your home during the remodel becomes more difficult (and sometimes impossible) when you’re remodeling too many spaces at one time. Consider alternative housing options while your home is being remodeled.
- It’s more difficult to separate each room’s design and color palette in your mind. When you’re working on too many rooms, it’s common for their designs to overlap, even if that’s not your goal. Thus, make sure you and your designer write down your goals for each room so everyone is on the same page.
Avoid Mistakes & Ensure Your Remodel Goes Smoothly!
Mistakes can be costly. Working with experienced, knowledgeable designers and remodeling contractors can help mitigate the risk of mistakes and make sure your project goes smoothly and stays on schedule and on budget.
At L. Evans Design Group, we’re all about careful planning. We take the time to listen to your preferences, concerns, and goals to truly understand the ins and outs of your project. We always do our due diligence and never skip steps or prep work. We work with you to transform your ideas into a comprehensive plan that’s both beautiful and functional. Then all that’s left to do is sit back, relax, and watch your new spaces come to life!