Design Mistakes New Homeowners Make

So you have purchased a new home! Congratulations! Now you want to renovate & or redecorate – let the decision making begin! We understand that you’re excited to start your renovation but before you jump right in, consider planning your renovation first. This month we focus on some of the errors people make when renovating their new home. Here they are so you can avoid them…

Design Excellence :: Design Mistakes New Homeowners Make

Jumping into a Renovation Too Soon

Design Excellence :: Design Mistakes New Homeowners Make

One of the first errors a new homeowner can make is immediately jumping into their renovation after they move in. We get it, you’re excited and you want to get it started. As logical as this can sound it might be best to live in your new home first to understand how you live in it. Getting a feel for the flow of your home first can save you money in the long run. Maybe you always had your laundry in the basement and planned to renovate the lower level for a new laundry room but after living there you realize laundry on the first or second floor makes more sense for you now. If possible spend some time in your new home to realize what works and what doesn’t work for you and your family before jumping head first into a renovation.

Starting a Reno without a Plan

You wouldn’t start a road trip without a map, so why would you start a renovation without a plan? Create a scope of work / plan with your designer and stick to it. This will save you time and money in the long run. They will help you determine what finishes go where and where you can save money and where to spend money. Of course things will come up, suddenly the tile you had your heart set on is discontinued but the more you can avoid making unnecessary changes the better. The more changes you make during the renovation, the more money it will cost you. A good designer will help you create a plan and help you stick to it. Keeping your project on time and on budget!

Design Excellence :: Design Mistakes New Homeowners MakeSkipping a Designer

A designer will help you make the hundreds of decisions that need to be made before the construction starts. This keeps your project on time and on budget. They will make sure all your finishes are functional and work together throughout your home for a perfectly finished space. They will save you both time and money in the long run. Contractors prefer to work with homeowners when they have hired a designer. They know that decisions will be made in advance and they will not have to stop working on your renovation because decisions haven’t been made on finishes. They also know that the designers will arrange for delivery of the product you selected to your job site when it is needed. And let’s not forget that a beautifully designed home is worth more than one that isn’t – at least it will sell faster when you put it up for sale.

Underestimating Costs

It is important to have a realistic budget in mind when entering into a renovation. And sharing this information with your designer and contractor is critical. Renovation costs have been on the rise. Speak to a professional to get a realistic estimate of current costs. Your designer and contractor aren’t looking to spend your entire budget, they want to “give you the biggest bang for your buck”. If they are working without a budget they won’t know when you are reaching the end of it and you risk spending all the budget before all work is complete.

Not Being Prepared for the Unexpected

The best mindset for a renovation is to prepare yourself for the unexpected. Unforeseen issues will always pop up, i.e. plumbing along exterior walls, asbestos tiles under the flooring, shoddy repair jobs from the previous owner. When a contractor gives you a quote they never know what is behind the walls of your home, they find these things out during the demo phase. The best way to deal with these things is to have a contingency in your budget for unforeseen issues and just be aware that they will most likely happen but they happen to everyone, it’s best to deal with them properly at the time they arise and move forward.

Not Selecting the Right Team

The Designer and Contractor you choose to hire will be one of the most crucial design decisions you will make. Always ask for references, checking the quality of previous work. You may get lucky and a previous client will let you walk through their completed home renovation. Ask for a general overview of how you will work together on your project and who is in charge of what. Be cautious about selecting the lowest bidder, it may end up costing you more in the long run. In this industry – you get what you pay for. Once you have selected all the product that will go into your home with your designer – get quotes from three contractors. This way all contractors will be pricing the same thing – for example all marble in the bathroom or all porcelain. Each will have very different price tags associated with them. On your quote ask them to break down the individual construction costs i.e. plumbing, electrical, so you know where your money is being spent and how much.

Not Budgeting to Furnish a Room

Too often people will plan a big renovation and all their money is spent on the construction and labour to build the home. Once that is all complete they realize they have no budget leftover to actually furnish their new home. Consider creating two budgets, one to build/renovate your house and one to make your house a home. As lovely as a new living room with gas fireplace and large custom built-ins sounds you want to have enough money left over to purchase a sofa, chairs, area rug and accessories so you can actually sit and enjoy your new home.

Design Excellence :: Design Mistakes New Homeowners Make

Doing Everything at Once

Another error new homeowners can make is trying to do it all at once, not only can it be overwhelming for you to make all those decisions but you maybe spreading your budget too thin. Having multiple half-finished rooms will add more stress and unease than 1-2 completely done rooms.  Focus on the rooms that get the most use first. The Kitchen, Living Room and Bathrooms are places to consider investing your time and money first, and you can plan the Guest Bedroom later.

The Bottom Line

A home renovation can be a daunting task. It has many moving parts and can quickly become overwhelming when you don’t have a plan, budget and team of experts in place before starting construction. If you are considering a home renovation, please call us at Design Excellence to set your renovation up for success!

Design Excellence :: Lead Interior Designer Jo-Anne Kupiec

About Design Excellence

Design Excellence is a full service interior design company providing a one-stop shopping experience for all your home and office renovation projects.

Designer Jo-Anne Kupiec brings decades of interior design experience and has many exceptionally happy clients. Check out our project portfolio to see some of the projects we’ve worked on, then get in touch and tell us about your dream renovation or redesign project!