We are over three weeks into the New Year, which means I am three weeks into my kitchen renovation – eek! But the process of planning this renovation goes back much farther than just three weeks. There are so many important steps to take before the demolition begins to ensure a successful and (mostly) stress-free renovation. Below are my top tips for getting your renovation plan off to a fantastic start.
Do your homework: Before any checks are written and any sledgehammers are thrown, make sure you spend some time on design websites browsing and collecting inspiration pictures. You may not like everything that you’re finding on Pinterest and Houzz, but you can pull together color palettes and furniture that you like so you’re customizing the project and not just replicating something else. Don’t spend hours on hours on hours on this process though, or you will just end up confusing yourself. Also keep in mind that this part of the process isn’t all about the visuals – it’s just as important to consider how you want your new space to function too.
Set a realistic budget: Unfortunately a lot of renovation and design decisions come down to money. It’s so important that you set realistic budget expectations and leave yourself some contingency money. I know you’ve all seen the HGTV shows where the homeowners hit a $3,000 setback to rewire an electrical panel they don’t discover is busted until halfway through the renovation. I also suggest keeping the contingency fund as a range instead of a hard number so you don’t feel locked in if something like that does happen and you need to go over budget. And be sure to remember that the budget doesn’t just include the renovation – you’re going to need furniture and accessories to complete the project!
Be reasonable about the timeline: Those same unexpected hiccups that will mess with your budget also will mess with your project’s timeline. You don’t just want to get the job done, you want to make sure the job is done right, so stay flexible with the completion date. Expect delays of anywhere from two days to two weeks, depending on the size and scope of your project. Just take a deep breathe, be patient and don’t rush the renovation!
Determine if you are hiring a general contractor: You can choose to manage a renovation project on your own, or you can hire a general contractor to oversee everything. Just like we discussed in regard to budget and timeline, there is always something that pops up and if you don’t handle it correctly – the way a good general contractor would – you end up spinning your wheels and unnecessarily dragging out a project. The money paid to a general contractor is essentially your insurance policy, money spent on somebody managing your project to make sure it all goes smoothly.
Get 2-3 estimates: It is so important to comparison shop to ensure you are getting not only a fair price, but also the best team of people for your project. Make sure that you are comparing apples to apples though, because every company is different as far as what their packages do and don’t include. It’s really important to make sure that every bid you’re looking at means the same thing. And remember that these people are going to be in and out of your house and you’re going to have to communicate with them a lot throughout the process. You want to make sure that not only is your decision based off the estimate, but how well you feel you can work together throughout the project.
Hopefully with this information in your back pocket, you can begin planning your home renovation project with confidence! Just remember that no matter how prepared you are, something unexpected will happen. But trust in the process and remember that being happy with the end result is really all that matters.
Stay tuned to the blog for a more complete overview of my personal kitchen renovation!