7 Things to Know Before a Home Renovation Project

Before we bought our house I had never done a large home renovation project. Sure, I’d worked on a million DIY projects and painted walls, but making part of our house un-liveable was a new experience entirely.

Our floor remodel was a huge project – much bigger than I expected. Now that we’ve lived through it, I’m sharing what I’ve learned (so far) and giving a few tips to help your next project go as planned (almost!).  😆

You’ll be living in mild chaos.

home renovation tips messy house I snapped this picture the day we did most of our floor remodel. At this point I was feeling slightly overwhelmed. As you can see, our bed is in the living room, there are baseboards on the kitchen table, and there’s miscellaneous furniture and equipment, well, everywhere.

TIP: Know the mess coming and accept it. An unexpected mess is a lot more stressful than a planned mess. Also, clean beforehand so you don’t create a mess on top of a mess.

the project will probably take longer than expected.


If it’s your first time doing a certain project, it’s really difficult to guess how long it’ll take. We thought our entire floor project would be done in one weekend – that was July 15th. Today is September 30th and it’s still not done. I mean, within a month, we had it about 95% done, but be ready to run into a few bumps (and exhaustion) along the way!

TIP: Plan, but don’t over plan. I had expectations for exactly how long it would take, then had a mild meltdown a couple weeks later when it still wasn’t done. Roll with the punches and be prepared for a few bumps in the road.

You might spend more money than anticipated.


When we started, we had a basic tool box and that was about it. When you calculate the cost of the materials, also factor in the cost of the tools you’ll need to buy.

TIP: Check with a friend or family member about borrowing tools you’ll need (especially expensive ones!).

Think about how you value time vs money.


A common reason to do big projects yourself is to save money – that was a big reason for us! One thing we didn’t consider was how we valued our time. We both work full-time jobs and usually go to bed early, so we place a high price on every second we get to spend together.

TIP: Estimate the amount of money you’re saving by doing the project yourself. Now, estimate the amount of time it will take for you to finish the project (I know, I just said that part is hard, but give it a guess or try looking online for other people’s experiences!). 

For example, let’s say we saved $500 by doing our own floors but it took us 3 weekends. Is $500 worth giving up 3 full weekends? For us, probably not, but at least we learned!

It looks more fun on TV.


It just does, and that’s OK. That’s why it’s called “entertainment.” You also really shouldn’t jump through a wall unless you are absolutely sure there’s nothing in there. Also, jumping through that wall was about 2 minutes of fun in their 6 week project. I’m just putting this into perspective.  😉

TIP: Enjoy TV! Just remember that they show the highlights, and your home renovation project probably won’t feel like the ones they show on HGTV.

Home renovation is super exhausting.

home renovation project tips exhausted

Alright, I took this picture after doing some yard work in the dead of an AZ summer… but it’s a similar feeling when we’re in the middle of a big project!

TIP: Take breaks when you need it, drink copious amounts of water, and stock up on some good snacks.

It’s not as much of a “joint project” as you might think.


We realized afterwards that we didn’t spend as much time together as anticipated. Andrew’s great at laying down the floor while I’m better at caulking the baseboards, so we didn’t really work together.

At the end of the project we felt a bit disconnected. The reason ended up being because we had hardly talked or spent quality time together! That being said, Andrew and I are somewhat inseparable so this point might not apply to everyone.  😆

TIP: Be aware of this beforehand and if needed, schedule time to go out to dinner and bond! And PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY!  😉

What have you learned from taking on a big project? Share your tips in the comments!

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