Home Renovation Dos and Don'ts
Do Create a Decorating File
After a yearlong renovation in his home, Editorial Director, Decorating Kevin Sharkey is sharing his dos and don'ts for a successful transformation. Read on to benefit from his wisdom and avoid future home headaches. Start pulling everything and anything that you like or think you would like to see in the space.
Do Measure Everything
Take good and accurate drawings of floor plans and elevations. Don't forget door sizes, stairwells, and elevators.
Do Interview Your Contractor
Interview your contractor or decorator as if you were interviewing a potential spouse. Essentially, that is what they will become during a renovation process.
Do Be Realistic About Renvation Costs
Know this going in: Everything will cost 30 percent more and take 25 percent longer than you expected.
Don't Hate Dust
Learn to love dust. Don't take it out on your contractor or yourself. You can feel better if you keep a great vacuum around and plenty of rags.
Do Be Nice
Be nice to everyone involved. The relationship is important, and it's always evolving. You don't want to be angry two weeks in and then have to live with this person another three to six months.
Do Be Organized
You will regret it if you don't. Staying organized will keep you sane.
Don't Forget to Clean
Keeping a work site clean will make you feel less helpless. You do have to live with dust, but your space doesn't have to look like a war zone.
Do Renovate Floors First
Floors should be the very first thing you do in a renovation.
Don't Paint First
Painting walls should be the very last thing you do.
Don't Leave Floors Exposed
Cover all floors during the renovation.
Do Clean Your Walls
Always have extra paint and cleaning products -- specifically designed to clean your walls. They will get nicked and dirty. That's a given. But create a solution that works for your wall and keep it in a bottle marked "wall cleaner."
Don't Forget Rolling Racks
Buy rolling racks. They are so important. Not only can they hold your clothing (during a closet renovation), but you can store bedspreads on them.
Do Trust Your Big Purchases
It may seem overwhelming when selecting a big item such as a bed, a couch, a coffee table. But when you see it, you will know. Don't doubt yourself.
Do Map It Out
Before buying any large piece such as a wing chair, put down tape to mimic its size, or create a paper template to lay down. This will give you a real idea of how much room it takes up and how it fits in the space.
Do Think About Mirrors
Mirrors are one of the cheapest and most powerful decorating tools you have.
Don't Forget Shades
No matter how much you love a view, you need shades. Not only will they allow for privacy, they will protect your furniture and floors.
Don't Forget to Breathe
Things change and go wrong in a renovation. You have to calm down and realize the things that aren't perfect in the end are what give your space character.
Do Invest in EZ Glides
There is nothing more gratifying then being able to move furniture quickly and easily around your home.
Do Start Snapping
Take pictures of the whole process, to remember the good times and the bad.
Don't Throw Out Receipts
Keep all receipts for everything. You will need them for any possible returns later and for tax purposes.
Do Learn the Lingo
Know what a change order is. Being familiar with the contractor and decorating lexicon will save you time and money.
Pick a Trusted Friend to Give Opinions
Have one trusted friend as a sounding board. And make sure that person understands what you want and what you envision for the space.
Do Get the Right Tools for the Job
Simple items like painters' tape and EZ Glides are lifesavers as you go through a renovation project.
Do Wash the Windows
The very last thing you should do is give the windows a good washing. Then, sit down, relax, and enjoy your new space.