Having walked clients through the home renovation process countless times, we have first hand experience with how life can look for families that live through a home renovation project. No matter the size of your remodel, you must be able to tolerate the fact that your normal daily life will be disrupted for the duration of the project. Things like dust, noise, the inability to access certain areas, and a steady stream of workers moving about can be hard to handle if you’re not prepared with tips for living through a remodel.
Trust us though—the beautiful end results absolutely make up for these inconveniences even though the process can be stressful at times. However, with proper planning, flexibility, the hiring of quality trades and more, your home renovation can go smoothly for everyone involved!
Read along to pick up helpful tips for living through your home remodel.
Plan Your Remodel Well In Advance
Planning ahead of time is absolutely key to having a stress free—and dare we say enjoyable—renovation process! It takes time to properly layout, design and coordinate a renovation of any size or scale. So the sooner you can line up your trades (contractors, designers, architects, sub-contractors, etc), the better. You want things to be as functional and beautiful as possible, and these things take time to properly plan and execute.
If you are going to engage a designer in your remodel, we recommend contacting them at least 2-6 months ahead of when you plan for construction to begin. This gives your designer time to design the space, fully communicate the design to the contractor, and order all materials so that the contractor is never held up, which causes delays to the project timeline.
Tip: We do not recommend waiting until right before a time sensitive event to start construction, as there are often time delays with renovation projects.
Create Makeshift Spaces for Rooms that May No Longer Be Available
Here’s another tip for living through a home remodel: If you temporarily lose use of an essential room, try to recreate it elsewhere. This one is a bit trickier, but it makes all the difference!
Let’s say an essential storage closet or the laundry room has been torn down. Brainstorm where in the home you can remake this room, and set it up as best as possible. This could mean purchasing an inexpensive shelving unit that you can use in another room to function as temporary storage until the renovation is complete. Once you’re able to move back into your original storage room, you can move the shelves you purchased to the basement for storage so there’s no waste created!
Tips For Living Through A Kitchen Remodel
If you’ve lost use of your kitchen during a remodel, things get a bit more complicated.
Oftentimes, the construction crew will do the best they can to keep old appliances functioning for as long as possible so that you can still use the stove, sink and refrigerator through a good chunk of the remodel. However, the room will be dusty, and a bit difficult to move around in, so we have found that clients are much happier throughout the construction process if they plan for alternative ways to get/make their meals.
Here are some options we’ve seen work very well for clients during their kitchen remodel:
- Plan for take out during the period you are without your appliances
- Move out into temporary housing, or in with a family member or friend during the construction process
- Use a hot plate and toaster oven for cooking and set-up your old refrigerator in your basement or garage until construction is complete
You’ll have to get creative with meal planning and take out options when the kitchen is totally closed down, but have fun with it! Use this time as an opportunity to try new restaurants, eat more raw meals like salads or sandwiches, and have fun with grilling!
Communication is key! Be sure to keep in close communication with the crew and your interior designer to make sure you’re aware of when you’ll lose access to your appliances (and for how long).
Tips For Living Through A Bathroom Remodel
Things are also tricky when you live through a bathroom remodel, as this is another room of the house that is essential for daily functions. If you have more than one bathroom in your home, we recommend remodeling just one bathroom at a time so you still have access to a bathroom during construction.
We’ve found that creating a daily schedule for when each family member can use the bathroom to get ready for the day helps significantly to ensure a smooth flow in the mornings. It also helps if each family member only keeps the bare essentials they need for showering and brushing their teeth in the bathroom to help free up space. Additional products and tools for getting ready like make-up, hairdryers, hair styling products, lotions, etc. can then be kept in each family member’s room until the project is complete. This further helps to keep the bathroom open and clear by reducing the amount of time each person needs to spend in the bathroom to get ready.
Remember that the name of the game during a renovation is flexibility and learning how best you can make do during the temporary time of upheaval. Keep your eye on the prize and remember there will be HUGE benefits at the end of the construction process!
Communicate Boundaries & Expectations to the Construction Manager
If you’re living through a home remodel, comfort and privacy should still be a priority, which is why it’s essential to communicate boundaries and expectations to your construction team. If you don’t feel comfortable speaking with them directly, you can communicate these thoughts to your interior designer or other project manager who can relay the message to the crew.
Establish Appropriate Work Hours And Equipment Storage Expectations
Find out the time window when the crew will be arriving on site. Some crews prefer to start very early in the morning, but you may be able to negotiate particular start and end times to make sure you won’t be woken up to the sound of a drill or saw!
Be sure to coordinate parking zones so that a truck isn’t sitting in your car’s spot when you return from work, and get an idea of where the crew plans to store tools so that you can negotiate and manage any spillover from the project, keeping things as tidy as possible.
Create Construction “Off-Limits” Zones
Living through a home renovation can be stressful for the family. Communicate construction “off-limits” zones in your home so that you can provide your family with space to live as normally and distraction free as possible. If the construction is happening on a particular side of the home, keep things on the opposite end free of any spillover from the ongoing work.
Plan Ahead for Timeline Delays
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 from the pandemic, not to mention the current labor shortage, it’s likely that your project could be delayed. If you prepare for this and expect it, 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!
Refrain From Planning Events Until After Your Home Renovation is Complete
With that being said, we always caution clients against planning a big shindig at the end of the projected construction date in case things don’t go quite as planned. Whether that’s a graduation party, anniversary or other get together, 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 remember, even if your project is delayed, remodeling your home is an extremely exciting project! When it’s finished, you’ll be thrilled you did it!
Have you ever lived through a home renovation project?
We’d love to hear your tips below!