Smart Design By Suzette: Common Renovating Mistakes

When looking at renovations, focus on the most used spaces such as the kitchen. Courtesy image

Rememeber to consider a room’s lighting when doing a home improvement project. Courtesy image

Don’t ignore a home’s style. Keep removation projects within the style. Courtesy image

Los Alamos

Taking a sledgehammer to your outdated kitchen may sound like fun, but realistically, renovating your home is a process that requires a lot of time and care.

Deciding to gut the bathroom and add a master walk-in closet is a great idea until you realize you need to do a plumbing update throughout the house and you already blew your budget on a heated floor, claw-foot tub and those lighted closet bars you had to have. Focus is key, as is a bit of thoughtful planning.

As an Interior Designer I know about remodeling a space.

Below are the most common mistakes that nearly everyone makes before and during a big renovation so you can avoid them.

Ignoring Your Home’s Style
You bought that mid-century home or that adobe home for a reason, because you liked that style. Keep your new design, your new build projects within that style. Mixing and layering different styles and time periods are tricky, always respect the original architecture, and hire a designer if you need help.

Setting an Unrealistic Budget
I think that people often underestimate what it’s going to cost to do a big renovation, and part of that is because they don’t realize the biggest cost in a renovation usually is the labor.

Setting a Budget Without Overages
You should budget for approximately 15–20 percent in overages. Things will definitely run over—there are almost always unforeseen issues once you start to tear down the walls. 

Failure to Anticipate Chaos
I think it’s really important to anticipate the time and the pacing of your renovation. Renovations usually take twice the time you think it should.

Forgetting to Update the Electrical System
I think people sometimes forget about electric when renovating because it’s costly and it’s hidden. You want to walk through the house with an electrician before you start the renovation to talk about a possible upgrade to your panel, where the outlets are, where you want new outlets, etc. You want to make sure everything’s up to code.

Ignoring Lighting
Another mistake that homeowners will often make is not taking into consideration the lighting in their home. The lighting in your home can completely change the colors, the feeling, and the ambiance. There are really three main types of lighting: general lighting, task lighting and drama or accent lighting. You need a combination to have a really good end design.

Avoiding Permits
Always check with your County or City about whether you need a permit for your renovation. In most cases you do! The bottom line is if you do perform work without a permit and something serious happens, your homeowner’s insurance will not cover it. Your local building department is there to ensure safety. It’s important!

Not Using Green Materials
People will often make the mistake of not going green with their home project for two reasons:

1. They don’t know how to, and

2. They think that it costs more money. If you’re doing your renovation green, you’re really ahead of the market right now. So going green is a very smart investment.

Overlooking the Most-Used Rooms
People often do not invest in the rooms that are the heart of the home. It’s important to prioritize these spaces. The kitchen, living room and bathrooms need to be up-to-date, especially when considering resale value. Only after these rooms are in great shape should you move onto less-crucial spaces like the bedroom or an office.

Buying Cheap Materials
You get what you pay for. You want something that’s going to stand the test of time, and you want something that’s going to last for years and years.

With all of this said, keep a positive attitude and have fun! It’s not all doom and gloom. There’s nothing more rewarding than watching a space be transformed by good design decisions and great workmanship.

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