No Straightjacket Required: How to Stay Sane During Home Renovations

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Deciding to embark on a home renovation can be a very exciting prospect. Additional square footage, altering the architectural features of a room, and having a whole new floor plan opens you up to all sorts of possibilities. You can spice up your decor, and breathe new life into a once stagnant living space. Renovations can also have a very positive impact on your home’s property value.

The drawback of a major home renovation is the fact that your living space will be under siege with carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and the like. These workers will be in your home for months at a time, tearing down walls, and spreading construction dust all over the place. Tools lying around, strange people using your bathroom facilities; it’s all a bit intrusive. If you can keep focused on the finish line however, the inconveniences of renovating can be bearable.

How do you keep calm during such a stressful time? Proper planning is the best defense. First, if you are renovating a single room at a time, be sure to analyze all of the purposes that the room will serve. Design the layout based on how you are going to use that space. Then, you will want to select colors, flooring materials, and small features such as light fixtures, door handles, and window coverings. While it may seem premature to decide all of these things before the demolition has even begun, you will save yourself a lot of grief later. If you wait until the construction is almost finished, you will likely be tired of the whole experience, and not give these important details the thought that they deserve. Also, the longer you wait to decide, the riskier it becomes if the floor tile or paint color you want is unavailable and will take months to arrive. This will just lead to more frustration and longer delays for both you and the contractor. It is much simpler to make these decisions in the beginning stages, when you are excited about the project.

You will also want to plan ahead in the event of problems such as extreme weather conditions, and faulty materials. Such things are uncontrollable, but will slow down the progress of the renovation. When giving an estimate on a job, most contractors will consider such factors in their time line. It would be wise if you also add on 10% to that time line for yourself, just in case. If the job is done earlier, so be it, but if it takes longer than expected, frustration and disappointment can occur.

Another step you can take to make this whole process easier is to tuck away everything in the room. If you leave furniture or personal items in a construction zone, it will become covered in dust, and is likely to get broken. Do everyone a favor and put everything in a safe place.

Communication is a key component of staying sane during a reno. If you have question or concerns about a project, say something right away. The contractor is not a mind reader, so don’t treat him as such. And the longer you wait to say your peace, the more emotion will become entangled in the situation. Express your worries in a respectful manner, and listen to his or her feedback. There may well be a very good reason for things to be progressing as they are.

The most effective way to handle a renovation is to stay as far away from the house as possible. If you can, stay in a hotel or with family. Perhaps rent out an apartment during the renovation. This will spare you the day to day headaches of construction, and keep you excited and motivated about the whole project. If you are unable to leave, try to get out for a period of time every day, just to clear your head and get some quiet time. If you stick around for every minute of the reno, the noise and the dirt will get to you at some point, and you’ll want to pull your own hair out. Try to avoid this if possible

And remember, nothing relaxes like a nice massage or trip to the spa. Plan a couple of retreats during the renovation process; your mental health will thank you.