The benefits of careful remodel preparation become apparent when you’re right in the middle of a project. At that point, you can no longer see your old kitchen or bathroom, and the new one hasn’t taken shape yet. The sight can be unnerving! Now imagine your family coping with all the change and inconvenience a few weeks into the project – what does that look like? It may be scary, but that kind of thinking ahead is exactly what you need to do before you flag off a major home renovation project.
If you’re on the verge of starting a home remodel project, these 10 tips will help you get yourself, your family, and your home ready for an exciting upgrade. As a full-service design remodel firm, we’ve helped clients in Virginia, Maryland, and Washington, DC put these tips into practice. In our experience, if everyone involved is prepared for the challenges, you’re likely to enjoy a smoother process and a better outcome. More importantly, it will encourage your family to be supportive of each other during what is almost certainly going to be a trying time.
1. Write down why you want this remodel
This exercise will remind you why the remodel is important. The list will come in handy on days when you feel overwhelmed, which can happen during any home improvement project, even with the most thorough planning and careful execution. Visualizing your new space can calm you down and help you keep the bigger picture in focus. We suggest inviting all members of your household to participate. A fun remodel preparation activity could be creating a vision board for your remodel together. It can include home remodeling trends that inspired the new design plus little décor items you can add once it’s complete. It’ll show you what to look forward to, at a glance.
2. Compare your current space to your future space
A written description or collage will help you envision the remodeled space, but it helps to go deeper. Do a little comparing and assess how your current kitchen/bathroom serves you vs. how you want your future kitchen/bathroom to serve you better. You can detail out what drew you to specific features. For example, write down why you chose those kitchen cabinet accessories, why a certain type of kitchen cabinetry was the best fit for you, how you settled on a particular material for your countertops, or why you chose metal strips or bullnose tiles for your bathroom tile edges. This is an excellent way to keep yourself and everyone involved excited about the outcome. It’ll also remind you why you made those choices after the fact – sometimes it’s hard to remember the reason behind a decision!
3. Create a budget and shared calendar.
At this point in your home remodel preparation, you will already have a budget for the remodel in place. In addition, plan your living expenses, factoring in additional costs such as eating out. When you do this, having to spend on things like takeout and temporary accommodation won’t feel unexpected and stressful. You can also put together a shared calendar, marking important dates and events as well as different phases of the remodel. This will come in handy if you have to make special arrangements for some days. For example, if you need to find another place to stay during certain parts of your remodel.
4. Have a Q&A session with the professionals
In addition to getting their home remodeling recommendations, consult your team on the practical details that will affect your day-to-day life during this period. Sit down with them and have an honest conversation about your concerns, so they can help address them. At Bath Plus Kitchen, we set up pre-construction meetings with our clients. We make sure all the key team members – the sales designer, job supervisor, specialty tradesmen, architect and/or other designers – are involved in this step of remodel preparation. These meetings help everyone get on the same page, so we highly recommend them.
Once you have a good idea of what to expect, be sure to discuss it with your neighbors so they are prepared for any noise or inconvenience.
5. Evaluate your experience with your contractor so far
Before you commit to a potential contractor for your kitchen or bathroom remodel, ask yourself if you can trust them to get you through any delays or bumps in the road. You should feel sure that your comfort, convenience, and concerns are important to them. Here are some red flags to look out for:
- Unusually low rates. While a low price sounds great, the reason someone charges significantly less than their competitors do isn’t often good. It could be because of poor quality work and bad reviews.
- They’re not keen on detailed contracts. Getting all the details straight is very important and verbal agreements are risky business here. Before you dive into a big project, make sure your contractor is happy to put it all in writing.
- They don’t have project samples or recent references. In addition to looking at their best work, it’s important to see recent work as well as ongoing projects. It’ll give you a better sense of what you can expect now, as opposed to going only by older projects.
Here are some more warning signs to look for when hiring a contractor.
6. Pack away as much as possible
Once you set a start date for the project, it’s time to get packing. This includes things from connected rooms such as artwork, shelves, and clocks, which could get damaged. It’ll protect them and make cleaning up a lot easier at the end of each day. Leave just what you need. It’s also a good time to declutter, to avoid filling your brand new kitchen cabinets with things you’ll never use. If you do find yourself in need of storage ideas, Dura Supreme has some great solutions and creative tips.
7. Prepare a temporary kitchen
For anyone living at home during a kitchen remodel, a temporary kitchen is a must. The last thing you want during a stressful time is to be stuck without your morning coffee or with a pile of dirty dishes that have nowhere to go. Try to include:
- A table or two for counter space
- A few spare sockets so you can plug in your coffee machine, microwave, kettle, and any other small appliances you rely on
- Basic items such as a chopping board, knives, storage containers for leftovers, basic plateware, cutlery, and mugs/glasses
- A temporary pantry with basic food items
- A box to store dirty dishes in, since you may not have running water close by
At the very least, this remodel preparation step will help you minimize how often you need to order in by giving you a convenient way to prepare the essentials.
8. Set up a temporary dining area
Depending on the project, you may need to create a dining area so you have a comfortable place to eat. Just like having a temporary kitchen, this will help your family feel a little less lost in the absence of their usual spot. It will also give you somewhere to spend quality time together and communicate, which is very important when you’re dealing with the challenges of a remodel.
9. Consider the comfort of children and pets
Loud noises, new faces, and a break from the familiar can be stressful for both children and pets. As part of your remodel preparation, pay special attention to their emotional wellbeing.
For children, seeing things in their home being broken or changed can be upsetting, so take the time to explain what’s happening before and during the home remodeling process. Let them know why this is a good thing and share your excitement about the new space.
Pets will need to be prepared for this gradually. You may want them to spend more time in the backyard or in a different part of the house, away from the renovation work and workers. Start getting them used to this new schedule before the work begins. In case your pets find it too stressful, you could ask a friend or relative to look after them temporarily. Some people also choose to board their pets. Be sure to consider pet safety and take all the necessary precautions.
10. Plan trips or time outside the house during the remodel period
A remodel can put a strain, however temporary, on relationships. Ensure you schedule some time away from the remodel with your partner or family – including a break from discussing it – to make it a better experience for everyone. Budget permitting, you can use the opportunity to plan a memorable staycation and even check into a nearby hotel for a few days.
Anyone who has been through a remodel will tell you that you’re in for a challenging time. But you can make it less stressful by planning ahead, considering everyone involved, and focusing on the joy the new space will bring you. Communicate clearly about what to expect and how you will handle the unexpected. Once you do this, we believe a good contractor should be able to get you through the rest. That’s why we ensure our clients can sit back and relax as we create the bathrooms and kitchens they’ve always wanted. To learn more about our work and process, get in touch here.