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What Not to Do When Remodeling Your Home

Most homeowners remodel their house or at least portions of their house at some point during their stay there. Often, it sounds like a good idea but can lead to difficulties. Lots of homeowners make mistakes, some of which are pretty basic and simple, others which are not.

Here is a list of 14 items on what not to do when remodeling your home. We cover a broad swathe of mistakes others have made to help prepare a potential home remodeler for the task before them. We cover everything from windows to landscaping and then some.

So, get ready and prepared. Let’s dive in and answer the question? We’ll cover 14 common mistakes people make.

What You Should Not Do When Remodeling a House

Well, you want to know what should you not do when remodeling a house? Let’s get started.


Not Using Pictures When Hiring a Contractor

When hiring a professional remodeling contractor communication is key. A renovator that fails to convey his precise intent may regret it later. Such can lead to costly repeated renovations or just a sense of dissatisfaction with the completed job—and the resultant house.

However, pictures, as they say, are “worth a thousand words.” Nothing will convey a renovator’s desire better than clear photos of what he wants. He might be able to find such photos in his favorite magazine, or just a brochure collected for that specific purpose.

This should be done in the prep stage of the renovation. The renovator should collect the pictures he thinks best capture his desires and show them to the contractor/s he hires. That level of clarity should be richly rewarded.

Don’t Assume Your Dreams Are Out of Reach

Sometimes a remodeling project may look out of reach if the cost of the project, the time required, and the resources needed are not known. The naysayers inside a homeowner’s mind might pull the plug on a project before it even gets off the ground or lead to a somewhat the unfulfilling result of “settling.”

This may not be necessary, though, if the homeowner does some research. She can talk to professionals like architects, interior designers, and what-have-you. If she is intent on building her dream house, she may be surprised to find it may be within reach after all.

Sometimes it may just require compartmentalizing the project and approaching it in stages. Even if it turns out to be out of reach, the research she does will shed a clearer light on what is possible for her. And that is worth doing.

Not Complementing the Original Style of Architecture

A renovator needs to have a firm grasp of the style she wants her house to incorporate. If she is adding on an addition, it doesn’t need to match the original architectural style of the main part of the building precisely. There is some degree of variability permitted.

However, a new addition shouldn’t clash and conflict with the original structure. Instead, it should complement it and contribute to the making of a harmonious whole. A good addition will help her house look great and feel just as good while she is living in it.

Failing to Consider Function in the Design

Any room or space renovated must incorporate a consideration of its function. Too often, homeowners focus too much on aesthetics and forget all about the function of each room in their home. Things like door and window placement, or even the locations of outlets are all significant.

Basically, the idea is to create rooms which are structured and furnished in such a way as to contribute to their function instead of inhibiting it.

For example, a kitchen should be designed so as to permit easy traffic and workflow between the stove, the refrigerator, and the sink. Ideally, it should contain few obstacles between these areas. Otherwise, the design will serve to impede the proper functioning of the room not promote it.

Installing New Appliances Too Soon

One of the first things a homeowner should do when preparing for her renovation is to choose what appliances she intends to purchase and place in the home. This is necessary to get proper measurements and to make sure the overall design of the house and each room accommodates the selected items.

However, she should wait until the renovation is complete before she purchases the appliances and has them installed. Such will make the renovation go that much more smoothly.

If they are installed first, the appliances are likely to get in the way and interfere the work. Plus, it is far too easy to unintentionally damage a new appliance by some unfortunate mishap.



Focusing Too Much on Appearance

Renovating a home isn’t simply about making the house look nice and pretty. No, there is more involved in it than that. Of critical importance are structural and safety concerns.

The homeowner should have the various systems in the house checked. These include:

  • The electrical system
  • The plumbing system
  • The heating and air conditioning systems
  • The foundations
  • The subflooring.

Fixing problems in any of these areas will save the headache that might result from problems that could occur after the renovations are complete. His fresh, new finishes could easily be damaged if problems developed in any of these areas. And that would be more than a little frustrating!

Failing To Consider Workflow

A concept related to function, which we discussed above, is workflow. Basically, a homeowner should make sure renovated rooms are designed with an eye on workflow. As before, the great danger is getting lost on the details of aesthetics at the expense of other critical elements like this.

Consider the laundry room. A good one will have a washing machine, a dryer, a table for folding clothes, a sink, plus someplace to store the detergent and similar items. Then, all that stuff needs to be arranged in a fashion that promotes the work instead of impeding it.

Not Choosing Contractors Well

As the contractors are the ones who are going to be doing all the work, it is critical that the homeowner approaches the process of choosing one seriously and critically. She can’t choose a remodeling contractor on a whim or rush through the process.

She must make sure to interview multiple contractors and check their references. If she can, she should speak to their previous clients and check their listings on-line. If she has questions, she should feel comfortable enough to ask them. Leave no stone unturned.

She shouldn’t select the contractor based solely on price. It’s a game of compare and contrast, and there is more to it than dollars and cents. There are considerations like tools and experience—can the contractor do the job? Also, does the contractor have insurance should something go wrong?

Once she’s evaluated all the pros and cons of each contractor she can make her choice and feel confident about it.

Failing To Take Lighting into Account

Lighting can play a critical role in the comfort and usability of a home and the rooms therein. It can be easily overlooked, and the results of such can often be detrimental. There is lighting from windows to consider. There is lighting from the lamps in the house to consider. There also influences from things like the color of the paint on the wall.

All these things can be addressed and evaluated by a lighting specialist. A lighting specialist can help optimize the lighting layout of a home so that the homeowner can feel comfortable in every room and can work wherever she wants without undue difficulty.

Failing To Consider the Small Details

A home is made of many parts. All the details of all these parts work together to create a single cohesive whole.

All the little details matter. Even things like:

  • The floor
  • The color of the walls
  • The lights,
  • The fixtures
  • The faucets
  • And innumerable other elements.

A homeowner could easily ruin the entire ambiance of a room with a wall color that is just a shade off.

It is important to remember the old maxim “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” But you only get there when those parts work together.

 Skimping on the Windows

The windows of a home are one of the most critical aspects of its construction. Not only are they of particular importance aesthetically-speaking—everyone wants windows that look nice—they can also be of critical importance in particular climates.

A homeowner should select high-quality windows that have the appropriate thermal properties and energy efficiencies according to her locale.

The correct windows will help keep her comfortable in her home regardless of season. Plus, the correct windows can prevent heat loss in the winter and even the reverse in the summer. Both of those things can lead to energy savings in her utility budget.

Don’t skimp here!

 Don’t Overlook Landscaping

The first thing anyone who comes to a homeowner’s home sees is the yard and how the home looks in the yard. The homeowner shouldn’t overlook the impact this can have. For example, if he is selling his home, potential buyers will likely look poorly on it if the yard is overgrown and poorly maintained. Indeed, the landscaping of the yard sets the tone for the whole home experience.

Even when money is not involved, the landscaping can negatively affect how the homeowner and others view his home. A well-maintained spruced-up yard will boost attitudes. The reverse will have the opposite effect.


It’s also important for the homeowner to keep in mind that, most of the time, her home is part of a larger neighborhood. As a result, she needs to keep the ambiance of the neighborhood in mind for her remodel. It’s that “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts” thing, again.

If a home is noticeably different from the other homes in the area, it may wind up looking awkward and out of place. This can negatively impact the homeowner’s return on investment or even cause friction with neighbors.

To avoid such difficulties, it is best for the homeowner to try to complement the other homes in the neighborhood when he remodels.

Having Unrealistic Expectations

A homeowner planning on remodeling should start by doing research so that she knows what to expect. Remodeling is often noisy, messy, as well as inconvenient. Sometimes there are unexpected delays, or accidents, or other mishaps. The homeowner must be prepared to deal with all of those.

For example, if she is remodeling her kitchen, she may be prepared for it being out of service for a day. But if something goes wrong? And it is out for three days? Or a week? Is she prepared for that? Those are possibilities that need to be taken into consideration.

Kitchens and bathrooms are critical rooms in the house. Unforeseen delays in either case can be difficult to manage.


Well, there you go. That’s our list of 14 items on what not to do when remodeling your home. We hope you take advantage of this information and put it to good use, and that your future home remodel leaves you with something you love!  If you are located in The Bay Area and are looking for a highly rated home remodeling company in The Bay Area, contact Element Home Remodeling today.  We are one of the highest rated remodeling contractors in The Bay Area and offer free consultations.  Contact us today to learn more.

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