Nothing makes a home-owning couple happier than putting their own stamp on a place, ripping down walls, putting up extensions, redoing the bathroom and renovating the kitchen, your effervescent personality glistening in every detail as you finally collapse onto your new IKEA sofa, glass of wine in your hand and big old smile on your face. But before you can get to this stage and revel in the heavily-filtered snap of hindsight, you’ve gotta go through a whole lot of stress, one that is going to test your relationship like nothing else.
It doesn’t really matter how big or small the remodeling project you're looking at is, or whether you use whole home remodelers or try and do it all yourself, there is going to be a decent dollop of fallout for you and your partner to shoulder, maybe even your entire family. Everything about a remodel is geared toward upsetting your nerves. The thick layer of dust, the constant chaos, the stream of tradespeople invading your home, the loud noises - it all takes it toll on you, irrespective of how patient you might be or how much yoga you practice.
That said, there are some ways you can reduce the stress and make the whole home remodeling thing a million times easier to navigate. All you need to do is read on to find out how:
1. Pick The Perfect Contractor
If you really want to reduce the amount of stress you succumb to, then you need to ignore all hopes of doing this yourself and bring in a contractor, preferably a specialist, unless you want to gut your entire property, in which case you should get in touch with some whole home remodelers. But always, always do your research. Get to know them, read their reviews, ask to see a portfolio of the previous work, or ask people you know - those who have remodeled their own homes - for a few recommendations. Then, when you think you have found the one, go in a bit a deeper and ask them for some references. This may sound over the top, but you want to be absolutely certain you’re paying the contractor that will deliver you results to the standard you expect, on time and under budget.
2. Schedule It All To Suit You
There might not be such thing as a good time to schedule a home remodel, but there are certainly better times than others. It’s just about knowing what your needs and schedules are and then planning around this. For example, if you usually go on a month-long Grand Tour around some far-flung state every summer, why not have a home makeover tie in with this so you’re not affected in the slightest - or any time you’re away for that matter. On the other side of the coin, you don’t want to have builders coming in and ripping down walls while your eldest child is trying to study for their final exams before heading off to college. That sort of ill-advised timing would be about as far from ideal as anything possibly can be.
3. Always Have A Contingency
In case you hadn’t noticed already, the biggest cause of stress is money or, more specifically, a lack of it. That’s why you will want to avoid running out of cash or being left in the you-know-what in any way possible. Our advice would be to keep track of your budget while the work is getting underway and always-always set aside a contingency so that you can ride out any of those unexpected hiccups without breaking any kind of sweat. We always recommend popping around 10% of the total cost of your project into a piggy bank, you know, just in case the worst does happen. If you’re doing up a period property, however, you might be better off stashing 20% away because you never know what sort of issues you might be set to uncover. It’s a different era thing.
4. Have A Little Chinwag With The Neighbors
Another major source of stressful living is having a war with the people who live on either side of your garden fence, having to time when you leave your home around their schedules so that you don’t bump into them on the driveway, and avoid having barbecues in case another squabble breaks out. So, to avoid this sort of unhealthy conflict, try and keep your neighbors in the loop as much as possible. Let them know about anything that might affect them and see if you can help in any way. After all, they’re going to have to put up with a whole lot of noise, banging, and disruption for the duration of your project. At the very least, tell them what you are doing, when the work is due to start, how long it is meant to last and give them a ‘thank you for being so awesome’ hamper at the end of it.
5. Declutter Your Home As Much As Possible
Before you open the front door and let your chosen contractors in, it’s a good idea to empty all the areas in which they could be working, and all those spaces they’ll have to get through to perform their work. Empty all your cupboards, take all your furniture to a storage company, remove your artwork so there are no risks to your favorite pieces, stash your curtains and blinds into bags and pop them out of the way and just generally declutter. Like we said, you can either put your tidbits into storage or move them into a room that’s not being remodeled. As for everything that’s left, cover it all in plastic sheeting and then shut and seal any rooms not in use with thick tape so no dust creeps into unwanted places.
In between all those questions of what will it cost? What will it look like? Who will build it? Where will we stay during construction? It can be easy to forget about the stress this might have on your relationship. Don’t fall into that trap.