3 pitfalls in a renovation: Don’t make these mistakes!

3 pitfalls in a renovation: Don’t make these mistakes!


I am working with a number of clients who are in, what I like to call, the ‘Discovery Stage.’.  These are clients who have reached out to me to start the discussion of an upcoming renovation.  They are in the process of thinking of doing something in their home, but really don’t know where to start.  In most cases, these clients have watched a few TV renovation shows, they may have pinned a few things on Pinterest or saw some photos on Houzz.  Other than that, they haven’t really nailed down what they are hoping to do in their space(s) and most have no idea the cost involved in a renovation.

It is during this ‘Discovery Stage’ that I try my best to educate the clients on the process of a good renovation.  Once I start talking about timelines and their expectations, I start to discuss pitfalls that can happen.

#1 Pitfall in a renovation

Not having a plan

I believe it is important to be fully planned for a renovation.  To be fully planned to ensure the renovation goes off without a hitch, I believe you need the following:

  1. A design drawing of your space.  This is where, depending on the complexity of your space, you may need a professional to do this for you.  It is this drawing that all of your steps moving forward will be geared towards (electrical and plumbing are common steps that DIY forget to include).
  2. A budget.  Once you have your designed space planned out, you can start to take this plan and get fixtures priced out as well as any labour you will need.
  3. Labour.  You obviously need someone to take your design on paper and build it.  You may want to have a contractor look after the entire project or only need a few people here and there (if you are DIY).  It doesn’t matter which route you take, there will be labour involved.  If you are a DIY and going to do the entire project, the cost of your labour will be your time (and how much time you will need to invest in your renovation).  Just remember, no renovation lasts 1 hour (like you see on TV).
pitfalls in a renovation

These three steps are essential to save you time, money and stress when construction begins.

#2 Pitfall in a renovation

Overcapitalizing = silly spending

Oh my…Carerra marble is a very popular pin on Pinterest.  Why?  It’s gorgeous!  Who wouldn’t want it in their home?

pitfalls in a renovation

Image source

While Carerra marble may be the one thing you want in your upcoming renovation, the pitfall to avoid is: does it belong in your home?  Are the homes in your area calling for Carerra marble?  Does it fit in with your budget?  There is nothing worse than seeing shitty old cabinets and then having a counter, like Carerra marble, installed.  What do you end up with?  Shitty cabinets and gorgeous counters.  Do you think no one is going to see the old cabinets?  I know they are not going to just forget about them.  They will see them.  And what a shame that would be to put out that expense and not get the the full WOW factor. Take time to do your research!

#3 Pitfall in a renovation

Trendy vs timeless

Trends come and go roughly every ten years.  What you need to remember is that every permanent fixture that you have installed in your renovation will become a fixed element in your space (and a fixed element is something that is not always easy to change).  Fixed elements are things like:

  • flooring
  • cabinet colour(s)
  • counters
  • tile

Is it ok to have a trendy space?  Of course.  How far do you wish to take that design is totally up to you.  It also depends if you are renovating to get your home ready to sell or if you are renovating to live in it.  What you do need to know about ‘trendy’ – is that the trend will come and it will go.  If you prepare for that, then you’ll be prepared for your home to be dated in roughly 7-10 years.  If you’re ok with that – then go for it!  Right now, in my neck of the woods, grey is still hot!  Will the grey trend stay? No, it won’t.  Just like espresso dark kitchen cabinets didn’t stay.  Just like the Tuscan trend (browns and yellows) didn’t stay.  They’re all trends.

pitfalls in a renovation

Image source

Pitfall in a renovation

This blog is not intended to scare you off a renovation project.  What it’s meant to do is educate you.  If you’re going to spend $50K, $75K, or $100K+, then take your time!  Do your research, hire professionals (where needed) and have all your ducks in a row before the hammer gets swung.  Having gone through my own massive renovation, the more detailed your renovation plan is, the less time you waste in the construction phase, the less stress during the construction phase (as all decisions are made), and the budget gets to stay in tact!

Sheri Bruneau Get It Together

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