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Home Renovations: 5 Things You Need to Know BEFORE You Start.

Updated: Apr 25

Renovating and Redecorating can be large undertakings, with high price tags and a lot of moving parts.

On top of the unavoidable disruption in your home, making sure all the items are ordered properly, arrive undamaged and on time, and get installed as intended can take a lot of time and add a lot of stress.

Here are our top 5 things to know before you start down this path, to help avoid surprises and reduce the worry.

1. Be prepared for dust and disruption!

There is just no avoiding it. Even with the area blocked off and the crew cleaning up each day, your home is going to get messy. Brace yourself for a light layer of dust on everything for a while.

You'll have to move everything out of the work zone so be prepared for the disruption that causes in your home and in your daily routines.

  • The electricians will need to shut off the power periodically, which could impact your use of the wifi, television, and other appliances and devices.

  • The plumber will need to shut off the water periodically, which will impact your use of the toilets and sinks.

Pro Tip: Consider moving out of the area, especially when you redo your kitchen or bathroom.

When remodeling your owner's bathroom, I recommend moving into the guest room and covering your bedroom furniture with plastic. If you're renovating your kitchen, now's a good time to take that vacation! If you can go into the office instead of working from home, do so on the days the power and water will be impacted.

2. There are more decisions to make than you think.

It's not just selecting the shower tile.

It's the shower tile, the layout pattern, the height, the grout color and thickness, the edging, and so on.

It's not just selecting a pretty light fixture.

It's the pretty light fixture that's the right size and amount of light, where the light switch will go, will it be on a dimmer, what temperature light bulbs are needed, and so on.

It's crucial to make sure that all the necessary items are specified, so that you're not surprised when something is installed differently from how you envisioned it.

Design Plan elements
Design Plan items

Pro Tip: Have your Design Plan in place before your contractor starts any work.

This way, the contractor has a plan to follow from the start and can point out any missing elements or considerations in advance.

  • What color grout do you want to use with your tile?

  • Which wall do you want your light switches to go on, and in what order?

Then, you're not trying to make design decisions in a rush, based on what's currently in stock, with your disheveled home clouding your thinking.

Better yet, hire an interior design firm to manage this effectively and take that weight off of your shoulders. Working without a designer or Design Plan can lead to making isolated decisions, which can turn into expensive mistakes.

3. Expect a little "paint shock."

It can be a bit scary to make a major change to your home. It's normal to feel nervous about whether or not you made the "right" decisions, especially as you're watching the change slowly take place in your home.

I often see this worry pop up with new paint colors.

Pro Tip: Trust the Process; Don't Panic and Don't Quit.

Have faith in your decision-making process and that you already determined that this was the best choice.

  • the right wall color

  • the right shower tile

  • the right pretty light fixture

Don't second-guess your selections or change anything mid-renovation. Wait until the room is complete and then decide how you feel.

(I bet you're going to love it!)

For more tips on painting and color selection, check out this post.

4. You'll need a space to store materials.

Your contractor will likely ask to temporarily store items in your home or garage as they are needed (i.e. the bathtub, lighting fixtures, flooring, and so on).

In many cases, they will also need to place a dumpster outside of your home, along with a portable toilet for the crew to use.

Dumpster in front of the home, storage space in side the home
Renovation material storage and disposal

Pro Tip: Designate the best place for these items in advance.

The crew will need easy access to this space to unload items, and would ideally like an area large enough to open up boxes and stage items as they are ready to be installed.

For the dumpster and portable toilet placement, check if your Home Owner's Association (HOA) has rules around what can be outside or requires permits.

Bonus tip: If you have the space, you can save money by storing your own furniture and decor until they're ready to be installed too, instead of storing it with the receiving company.

5. Be prepared for an emotional rollercoaster.

Know that you will run into a hiccup or two:

  • The contractor may open up a wall and realize they're not able to do what was planned.

  • There may be a delivery delay and you need to decide to wait on the item or to select a replacement.

Renovation emotional rollercoaster graph
Renovation emotional rollercoaster

Excitement may be high on demo day, and as framing and rough-ins are happening. But then it can feel like progress has slowed when you're in the electrical and drywall phases, which can cause a dip in mood.

Pro Tip: Don't get discouraged! These things happen, so enter into the project knowing you'll have some ups and downs, and some flexibility may be needed along the way.

Be clear about your communication preferences and expectations with your designer and contractor.

They are your partners for problem-solving and decision-making when these things inevitably happen.

I promise, the excitement comes back at the end when the finishes and final touches are going in, and you can look back on the journey and see what you've accomplished together!

I hope these tips help make the entire process smoother and less stressful, and that you love the outcome of your renovation!

Be sure to talk with your designer and contractor teams so you know what else to expect during your specific home renovation project.

When you're prepared for these things, you can handle whatever comes your way with ease, and just enjoy the transformation.

Happy renovating!


If you'd like help pulling together the beautiful, comfortable, organized home you deserve, and making sure it gets installed the way you want it, contact us! (Richmond, VA area)

Our complimentary, 30-minute call is the best place to start:

Pattie Kelly is a Certified Interior Decorator, Certified Color Expert, and President of Inspired Home Interiors. She is passionate about designing beautiful, comfortable home living spaces that are organized and maintainable, and bringing those visions to fruition for her clients in the Richmond, VA area.

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