4 Things You Need to (NOT) Do For Your Next Home Improvement Project
‘Home improvement’ has become somewhat of a loaded phrase, meaning something different to every person. Shows such as HGTV’s Fixer Upper and TLC’s new Nate & Jeremiah By Design further fuel America’s obsession around home improvement, design trends, and insistence on self-education. Yet, there are still very real pains homeowners feel in the midst of a home improvement project. If it looks so easy on TV, how can remodeling be so difficult in real life? Sure, those snapshots of the before and after paint a beautiful picture, but what you don’t see is the all of the time and stress involved. Not to mention the real-life aggravation of living months without a functional kitchen.
To keep you focused, here’s what you don’t want to do for your next project.
1. Don’t Wind Up In Project Purgatory
The home improvement journey is a wild ride that has the potential to produce some truly stunning results, but it is easy for projects to stall or take an unexpected turn for the worse. So, don’t start without a plan, and coincidentally, don’t expect everything will go according to plan.
As you conceive ideas for your ideal home, it’s worth taking the extra time to do your research on needed design elements and trends — consulting home improvement experts to establish a firm, realistic timeline for project completion. And while you look for outside research, get to know your home better than anyone else. If you just bought your house, before starting a renovation, first learn how your life flows in it. Meaning, where you put the groceries down, whether you enter through the garage or the back door, and where the morning sun shines. This insight will advise your decisions as you begin to create a home that works for your needs and lifestyle.
2. Don’t Think You Can Do It All Yourself
But, “I don’t need any help.” Yes you do. Even if you’re an ardent do-it-yourselfer, it is wise to consult an expert prior to demo day. When hiring professionals, do your due diligence in research. It’s great you’re asking for help, but make sure you find GOOD help. Dive into whether they have ample experience, are licensed, and have past client references. But just because they’re a good architect, interior designer or general contractor, doesn’t mean they’re right for you. To choose the best person for your project, also consider if they are paying attention to what you say. Are they asking the right questions? Do they seem curious about your needs, wants and the way you live?
The right design experts and home improvement product specialists will make all the difference. They have the industry know-how and experience to provide you with guidelines on what to do and what not to do. “One of the benefits of talking to a designer is that you can be educated about what is actually possible to achieve with your space, so that you know what you’re getting yourself into” says Barry Lane, Kitchen and Bath Design Manager at CCL HomeScapes.
A consultation at the onset of your project will help you establish a firm game plan, minimizing unexpected detours that you may encounter later on. Remember, you are about to spend more than you ever thought possible, it might as well be designed correctly!
3. Don’t Try to Tackle The Unknown
“You don’t need a professional for that.” Whatever you do, don’t believe this lie. Sure, you can take on painting your living room, but when it comes to structural changes, electrical, plumbing, roofing and windows, leave it to the pros. It isn’t uncommon to discover structural problems as you tear down walls, replace cabinetry, or re-tile a floor, especially in older buildings (but new construction doesn’t guarantee smooth sailing either). This can make your ‘weekend project’ a ‘whole life project’.
It also isn’t unheard of that homeowners want to save money and fix these issues themselves. Attempting a project that is too dangerous or risky can result in a disastrous amount of money down the drain. Whether it’s a carpenter who can repair a rotting floor joist or a plumber who can fix the piping in the kitchen before new cabinets are installed, you want to involve them not just for expertise, but for a paper trail should you ever need the updates verified. Such information is helpful, and often required for insurance purposes, property assessments, and real estate filings. This is especially valuable should you plan on putting a home on the market.
4. Don’t Be Cheap or Lavish. Be Smart With Your Renovation Budget
While it can be easy to want to go all out and spare no expense when remodeling or building a new space, price tags do matter. Quality is certainly crucial, so by no means should you settle for shoddy materials over trusted brands, but you want to keep the big picture of your project in full view. This includes long term maintenance, energy loss, and repairs. Those expenses add up quickly, so consider them in your plan when comparing prices.
A good rule of thumb is spending good money on things you touch everyday, like doors, hardware, faucets, appliances and kitchen cabinets. Spending a fortune on updates is a gamble, as there is no guarantee that you will get that money back should you ever resell. That wiring for all your technology may sound like an awesome feature, but due to the pace of our digital world, the next family might not be so impressed with your outdated updates.
Also, don’t splurge where you could save! Using pavers made of high performance composite material, for example, can be much less expensive and lower maintenance than using brick. And try not to get caught up on the idea that the biggest items should cost the most. A few nice throw pillows can style up a mid-range sofa, and a statement light fixture can bring elegance to an inexpensive dining room table. Start your project with a budget range in mind and plan accordingly.
Going through a home renovation is tough, so don’t go at it alone. Get the right help when it comes to planning, budgeting, and jobs that require professionals. You’ll be thankful in the long run. Oh, and good luck!