9 Mistakes To Avoid When Renovating Your Home

A home renovation project can incite some mixed feelings. The prospect of transforming your living space into something fresh and modern is thrilling. However, there are also quite a few challenges. Without proper planning and foresight, your renovation project can easily go over budget and past the deadline.

Recent statistics show that the average bathroom renovation costs around $10,900 and takes 5 to 10 weeks to complete, while the kitchen renovations average around $30,000 and take over 4 to 5 months. With this data, it’s clear that renovations require a significant investment of both time and money.

To avoid turning your renovation dreams into a nightmare, it pays to learn from the mistakes of others. Let’s review the top nine mistakes people often make that ruin their home renovation projects. Being aware of these common pitfalls will allow you to steer your project smoothly from start to finish.

1. Choosing the Wrong Contractor

Hiring the wrong contractor or construction team can single-handedly derail your entire renovation. Unfortunately, the home improvement industry has its fair share of unqualified or dishonest contractors. Performing thorough research before selecting your team is crucial. For instance, if you’re in Pittsburgh and surrounding areas, the Legacy Remodeling Company has built a solid reputation over the years for its trustworthy services and high-quality workmanship.

Check reviews online and ask for referrals from trusted sources. Vet potential contractors thoroughly by checking references and looking into their backgrounds. Make sure they are properly licensed, bonded, and insured. Take bids from at least three contractors before deciding. Also, carefully review contracts before signing to ensure favorable payment terms and accountability clauses are included.

2. Not Having a Clear Plan

The first mistake people make when renovating their homes is not having a well-defined plan. Before demolition or construction begins, you must determine what you want to achieve. This includes defining your budget, timeline, design plans, and materials.

Rushing into a renovation without proper planning leads to disorganization and confusion later. You may find yourself making expensive changes mid-project or utterly failing to meet your goals.

To avoid this mistake, take the time to think through your renovation and put together a comprehensive plan. Outline your budget, priorities, must-have features, and aesthetic goals. Consult with architects, interior designers, and contractors to finalize the specifics.

3. Not Getting the Proper Permits

Another common mistake homeowners make is failing to get the proper permits before renovating. Any major structural changes to your home require approval from your local building department. Skipping permits can put your safety at risk and lead to fines or issues when you try to sell the home.

Do your due diligence and get all necessary permits before allowing contractors to begin work. The permit process may add a few weeks to your timeline but will prevent bigger headaches down the road. Your contractor should be able to guide you through the process.

4. Not Setting a Realistic Budget

Setting an unrealistic budget is a recipe for trouble when taking on a home renovation project. Many homeowners underestimate the true costs involved and find themselves over budget mid-project. This forces you to take out loans or make compromises that undermine your original vision.

To avoid this, research the expected costs for your specific project. Get multiple detailed estimates from contractors to help establish an accurate budget. Also, build a 10-20% buffer for unexpected expenses that commonly arise during renovations.

5. Focusing on Trends Over Functionality

It’s easy to get caught up in current design trends when renovating your home. However, focusing too much on stylish elements over functionality can be a big mistake. Once trends change in a few years, your choices may look outdated. This forces you into additional renovations sooner than expected.

Keep timelessness and practicality in mind when making design decisions. Opt for classic styles and materials that will stand the test of time. Ensure floor plans are logical and meet your family’s needs.

6. Not Planning for Disruptions

From utility shutdowns to temporarily unusable rooms, you need to plan for disruptions. Failing to do so can add unnecessary stress and complications to the process.

Talk to your contractor about what types of disruptions to expect. Make arrangements to access water, power, laundry, cooking, and bathing facilities if needed. For major projects, consider booking a short-term rental apartment to give yourself a break from the chaos.

7. Ignoring Storage Needs

Failing to address storage needs is a big mistake many homeowners make during renovations. You want to ensure sufficient storage space is built into your new design. Eliminating existing storage without adding new space will make your home much less livable.

Carefully consider how your family uses storage in each area before finalizing plans. Incorporate customized drawers, cabinets, shelving, and closets to meet your unique needs.

8. Cutting Corners on Materials

It can be tempting to cut costs using cheaper building materials during renovation. However, lower-quality materials usually don’t stand the test of time and use. This can leave you with damage, leaks, and the need for repairs sooner than expected.

Invest in high-quality, durable materials from reputable brands. Carefully inspect all materials that contractors bring to the site as well. Paying more upfront for quality will pay off exponentially over the life of your renovation.

9. Not Planning for the Future

Even if you plan on living in your home for years to come, it pays to consider resale value during renovations. Customizing changes that only suit your taste can decrease your home’s value.

Look for ways to add special touches or luxuries without compromising mass appeal. For example, turning a bedroom into a huge closet may be feasible now but limit options for future owners. Keeping future saleability in mind during renovations is wise.


Home renovations can be stressful, but they can also be fun. Enjoy the process of transforming your home into a space that you love.

And things might now always go according to plan during a home renovation, so it’s important to be flexible.

Avoid the common mistakes mentioned above, and you’ll be fine. Good luck!

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