At Renovations we are often asked, “What are the most common remodeling mistakes people make?”

So I thought it best to write a little bit about that this month. There really are some common faux pas that folks make.

A common gaffe is choosing products that are ‘Trendy’. Whether it be color, (remember hot pink and lime green?), bath and shower faucets, appliances or even flooring (shag carpet?), these types of choices really date a project and, in a few years, the remodeled space will seem out of date. All that effort and dollars may need to be redone. Instead look to more timeless products that may not seem as flashy, but will not ‘age’ before their time.

Another huge misstep is not giving the design and planning process sufficient time and attention. The planning process is the foundation upon which the project is built. The guessing and deciding as you go can lead to poor coordination, increased time, increased dollars and a level of frustration that nobody wants. Do the hard work of planning!

On the blunder list is buying products before you engage the remodeling process. We have encountered projects where someone has gone out and bought all the flooring they believe they need because it was very cheap and going to be discontinued. They were short by about 60 square feet. So we either use a different product to finish (looks terrible), or throw it all out and start over. See the above paragraph, plan first, shop later. Don’t buy it because it’s cheap today.

One of the unfortunate missteps we have encountered is seeing a remodel that was done in a style that did not blend well with the overriding design style of the original house. Usually somebody buying the house asks us to help get it back together. I often wonder if the folks who did the work just lived with it?

Lighting is an aspect of remodeling that is too often overlooked. While daylighting is a huge consideration, artificial lighting needs sufficient attention. We get many folks who have a beautiful space, but it is too dark, day and night. Going back and adding lighting can be done, but good planning and thought initially is a lot less intrusive.

Permitting is another misconception. When do I need one and when do I not? Most folks are hesitant to engage their local building jurisdiction for fear that if they proceed to do anything, the building department will be watching. Over the past 40 years I have not found that to be the case, however, you can always consult with a professional to find out if a permit is required. Several times a year we are asked to look at a completed or partially completed remodel and try to get a retro permit. Often this is very expensive and may require undoing a lot of what was done.

Lastly, I would like to tell you about the biggest mistake anyone can make. That is sacrificing what you really want just to get something done. The last thing anyone should do is spend a lot of time, effort and money on a project, sit back when it is completed and say, “You know, I wish I would have done the ‘FILL IN THE BLANK’, “. We never want to hear, “I wish I would have!”