While I’m in the early stages of thinking about our longggg awaited kitchen renovation (!!!), I thought I’d share some things to keep in mind to set yourself up for renovation success. Having gone through a few renovations, I know that the more you prepare, the better off you and everyone involved in the renovation will be in the long run.
1 // GATHER INSPO
I have a Pinterest board and Instagram folders for all the inspiration I gather for projects. Pay attention to the common threads among your saved inspiration. For example, 99% of my kitchen inspiration photos feature shaker-style cabinetry with brass hardware. This is important to keep in mind when you…
2 // MAKE A LIST OF MUST-HAVES AND NICE-TO-HAVES
Since 99% of my saved kitchen inspiration photos feature shaker-style cabinetry and brass hardware, that will definitely to be on my list of “must haves” for our kitchen.
Take note of all the changes you’d like to see during the renovation and what you’re willing to pass on if need be. This will be helpful when you’re getting quotes from contractors for the work. Some things will be more expensive than others, so having this list will be helpful when it comes down to quotes.
3 // TAKE YOUR TIMELINE AND DOUBLE IT
That way, if you finish early, you’ll be happy.
Items arrive late, broken, etc., and issues will undoubtedly come up, so keep your expectations low when it comes to your timeline.
4 // PLAN TO DO AS MUCH WORK AS POSSIBLE AT ONCE
A mistake I’ve made in the past is saying “we’ll do that down the road” when really, it would have saved us time and money if we just did it then.
For example, I had the nursery and hallway doors replaced in April and said “we’ll replace the other closet doors another time” in an effort to decrease spending. But a few months later when I wanted new closet doors, it ended up costing more than if I had my contractor replace them in April since he charges by the day.
For major renovations, think about what you want to do while the walls, ceiling, or floors are opened up. Do you want your home to be more energy efficient? Install floor heating? Do you want to install more lights? Shift some walls? It’s more cost-effective to do these things at one time.
5 // MAKE A MASTER SPREADSHEET
I use Google sheets since I can access it at any time and share it with Angelo. Having a spreadsheet during renovations has been a lifesaver. I keep tabs for all the steps that need to be completed, budget, (rough) timeline, trade contacts, inventory and links to products, and notes.
Speaking of a budget tab…
6 // CREATE A BUDGET
and then increase that budget by 10-15% for unexpected expenses because they will come up
Make a list of every single thing you’ll need for your renovation, from the cost of labor all the way down to the switchplates. I recommend including everything in that master spreadsheet. If you don’t have final numbers, guesstimates will suffice.
7 // FIGURE OUT IF THERE’S ANYTHING THAT YOU CAN DIY
Not everyone’s a DIYer, but can you save on costs like painting? Maybe you’re a more experienced DIYer and want to try making your own cabinet doors.
8 // GET MULTIPLE ESTIMATES
You should get at least 3-4 estimates before starting a major renovation. Costs will vary dramatically by location and materials, which can then impact the cost of labor (i.e. ceramic tile is easier to install than marble tile).
Also, be sure to get everything in writing. Always reiterate changes that were discussed, timelines that were quoted, and most importantly, scope changes. Communication issues do happen and the more you can get in writing, the better off you are covering your ass.
The best contractors I’ve used I’ve found through word of mouth. Ask friends/family or neighbors who they’ve used and trusted. Check on the contractor’s past projects. It’s incredibly hard to find a contractor that is communicative, shows up (on time), does good work, and is reasonably priced. So if you find that, hold on to them.