The 5 Most Common Renovation Mistakes


Plus, How to Avoid Them

After 10+ years working as an interior designer, I’ve noticed repeat mistakes that occur for people embarking on a new remodel. That’s why I wanted to share the 5 most common renovation mistakes, plus how you can avoid them! We’re all about sharing our experience to help give our clients the smoothest, most enjoyable renovation process possible! 

Keep reading to discover the 5 most common renovation mistakes, and how to avoid them!

1. Demolition Too Early + Without Adequate Planning

Embarking on a remodel is extremely exciting, and many clients feel the itch to knock down walls and rip out old carpet ASAP…we totally get it. When demolition begins, there’s an undeniable energy as the reality of the project finally sets in.

Construction, architectural and design plans need to be buttoned up before any demolition begins. Why? Because jumping the gun can lead to costly errors—like removing a structural support or taking down walls that did not need to be removed. Not only will it cost you more in the long run, it’ll also delay your project’s completion.

Starting too early and without the proper plan can lead to more stress for FUTURE YOU. Think about it—the day those walls come down you’re going to feel energized, but if they remain ripped open while renovation plans are still being discussed and finalized, that torn-into wall is going to become a huge annoyance. Plus, it makes living through a home remodel that much more stressful—because the mess and chaos is around for much longer than it needs to be! 

So friends, please do yourself a favor and take the time to PLAN your design well ahead of construction beginning. You will thank yourself!

2. Expecting Timelines to be Exact

While we do consider ourselves optimists, construction is simply one of those things that has an element of unpredictability to it, even with the best laid plans. From the uncertainty of what lies behind walls or underneath floors until they are opened up, to the lengthy and often unpredictable lead times of products, not to mention the current labor shortage, it’s likely that your project could be delayed. 

In addition, remodels can take anywhere for 6-12 months, depending on the size and complexity of the project. If you prepare for these things and expect them, you’ll be much happier in the long run.

And remember, you don’t want to rush your crew through the project as this can lead to them cutting corners and not installing things to proper quality standards. Give them the space and time to complete everything correctly and thoroughly. After all, you’ll be living with these new updates for a long time. Trust us, it’s worth the few extra weeks a project may extend out into! 

3. Financial Unpreparedness

Renovations often cost more than clients initially think. For example, a full kitchen remodel where everything is redone—floors and cabinets to the appliances and countertops—can cost $50k to $200k+, depending on size, customization and quality of products. 

In addition to the initial quotes provided by designers, architects and construction managers for the project, there more than likely will be additional costs that will come up along the way. It’s imperative to plan for this, so that the project doesn’t come to a halt should an unexpected cost arise that you’re not financially prepared to handle. 

In the event that the project cost is too much to handle at the time, there are a few options you can consider:

  1. Hold off on the project until you’re able to set aside adequate funds to cover the project costs, in addition to a “contingency fund” for unexpected costs that may come up down the line.
  2. Speak with your design team about breaking the project into shorter phases so that you can tackle the project over time, as your budget grows to fund each phase.
  3. Consult your designer to see what aspects of your initial project can be reworked to be more budget-friendly. This might mean trading custom cabinetry for pre-built options, or choosing mid-tier appliances over their higher-end counterparts. And while this can be a bummer, it’s totally common for clients to adjust some of their costs to fit a realistic budget!

Pro Tip: Hire an interior designer to create your design plan BEFORE you start getting bids from builders/contractors. This way you’ll receive more accurate quotes because they will be able to review the intricacy of your design plans, as well as the level of finishes you desire. This will help you to avoid all the change orders that happen when a designer is hired AFTER you’ve approved the contractor’s/builder’s quote, as well as help you to plan an accurate budget for your tastes and style aspirations from the start. 

4. Forgetting to Budget for Fixtures + Furnishings

Clients often come in with budget expectations that reflect the big ticket pieces, like labor, materials (cabinetry, countertops, windows, etc.), and professional fees, but they often forget alllll the little things that can add up and blow your budget out of the water. This includes things like:

  • Paint
  • Cabinet hardware
  • Door knobs
  • Light bulbs, light fixtures
  • Curtains, blinds, shades
  • And most importantly, furniture!

This is where your interior designer comes in. They will be able to help you budget accurately for these additional costs, and will ensure that each piece arrives in time for the construction crew so that delays and holdups can be avoided!

5. Expecting Everything to Go As Planned

As we mentioned above in #2, construction is full of unpredictability, no matter how skilled and professional your design team is. Setting realistic expectations is essential for a stress-free remodel. 

In addition, we do not recommend waiting until right before a time sensitive event to start construction, as there are often time delays with renovation projects—so don’t plan a big shindig (whether it’s a grad party, anniversary or other get together) at the end of the projected construction date in case things don’t go quite as planned. 

Remember to be flexible with the date to help manage your expectations up front so that you don’t get bummed out later and cause undue stress for yourself! And even if your project is delayed, remember that remodeling your home is an extremely exciting project! When it’s finished, you’ll be thrilled you did it, and will reap its benefits for years to come!

If you’re considering your own renovation, we’d love to help you along the way. Contact us here to book a free discovery call. We can’t wait to meet you!

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Interior Designer Andrea Durcik Columbus Ohio

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Traveling, animals, and all things design encompass Andrea’s life, fueling her creative energy every step of the way.

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