When Are You Ready To Renovate?

Have you been eying up certain rooms or areas of your house wondering if you should tear a wall out, add more storage, or change the entire physical layout?

Well hold your horses.

Whether you're going DIY or not, I'll give you the advice others have given to me:

Give it a year.

Live in it, try it out, figure out what drives you crazy, and what you absolutely love. You may be surprised. Things you thought you'd despise may become your favorite features, or things you swore you'd change, may have a rhyme or reason to their placement. Spend your time sifting through other ideas.
There's more than one or two ways to create built-ins, for example. We could have spent a lot of time and money on the same old built-ins that everyone else does in their home. Instead, we sat on it. We looked up costs of every different idea and weighed out what look we were specifically going for... and lo and behold, we found the most cost effective and fitting solution possible. 

We knew upon buying our home that we'd be renovating the kitchen. It was small, crowded, and a terrible use of the potential space. We lived in it for several months, and each month grew increasingly frustrating. We literally couldn't do tasks we had been used to doing. Like rolling out pie crust... with such minimal counter space, some things were downright impossible. We used our kitchen table as extra counter space, but when guests came over, that felt really embarrassing. I hate to say it, but it was!

Admittedly, we didn't give it quite a year, but the layout really affected our every day life, so when an IKEA kitchen sale presented itself, we jumped at it. We had spent days and weeks and hours of the previous months, talking about the logistics of the design and financial bits and pieces, so we were sure of exactly what decisions we'd be making. We had lived in it long enough to know what needed to change, and what wasn't as bad as we had thought. Some of the layout that we were sure we'd change, we actually kept with a few small tweaks. Getting advice from the right people also really helped us gauge our capabilities and sway us away from spending more than was necessary (thanks mom and dad).

I'm so glad we took (almost) a year to live in it, though. It brought up a lot of important questions that I'm going to share with you... just in case you're on the fence about starting a renovation.

1. If you'll be living in the home during the process, can you handle the chaos of things piled up in rooms temporarily as storage? Will you be able to handle the dust, no kitchen (if that's what you're renovating), not being able to walk in certain areas without shoes?

2. Do you know how much this is going to cost? All the way down to the smallest nail? Make sure you're not low-balling this, because sticker shock sucks.

3. Do you have a reputable contractor that will be timely and fair? Are you ready for the contracting team to be in your home in early morning hours or late at night? Can you trust the deadline he tells you, or the put up with constant noise?

4. If you are not staying in the home, do you have elsewhere to go? Will that cost you extra, or are you staying with family who may get tired of you being there if the project goes beyond the deadline?

5. Things will inevitably go wrong, or you'll hit a speed bump. You can't prepare for them, so I won't ask you if you're ready... but I hope you're not expecting everything to line up perfectly!

6. Can you handle the stress of the time, money, and labor commitments? Along with the costly, split second decisions you may need to make along the way?

7. Have you thought through your design and are fully aware of the workings? Like the cost of switching from gas to electric or vise versa? Or if moving some plumbing will be a small job or large? Will adding more lighting add more to your expense than you thought - or will it even be possible? Do you understand what needs to be done to stay up to code?

8. Do you realize the renovation may be the bane of your existence during its entirety? 

How do your answers look? Regardless... DO YOU. I'm no pro, and I certainly can't guarantee your success, but hopefully you snagged a few ideas to get your renovation dreams going!

Have you done a reno before? What would you add?