No matter how long you’ve been planning for your remodel there’s always something that comes up that you didn’t plan for. There isn’t much you can do about the shocks you receive once you pull down that old drywall, but there are some things you can plan for.

Once you have the planning, design, demolition, structure, rough-in, and finishes planned for, what else could there be? Here are are a few home renovation tips so you can plan for the unexpected and even get ahead.

1. Pre-Existing Conditions

After the demolition is complete, you will always find things you weren’t expecting to find. If you’ve ever watched any home improvement television shows, you know, this always results in extra time and extra money.

If you expect and plan for pre-existing conditions with your house and renovation, you can manage the surprises without feeling completely out of control. Always add extra time to the schedule and extra money to the budget for contingencies. It also helps to get a professional inspector to take a look at your space before you get started on the remodel. They can often spot potential problems beforehand so you have an idea of what you’re getting into.

2. Hidden Storage Solutions

While you've got everything torn apart, consider adding some less obvious--but very useful--storage solutions. Utilize the space under your kitchen cabinets by installing toe-kick drawers for storing flat items like baking sheets and cutting boards. Convert the space under each step of your staircase into pull-out drawers for extra storage.

3. Delays

Having a schedule is imperative with so many moving parts in your remodel. You have to coordinate the schedules of multiple vendors and contractors for one harmonious project that doesn’t deprive you of your space for too long.

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You can count on delays happening, but you don’t have to redo your schedule every time a delay happens. Be sure to schedule in wiggle room into the timeline and don’t be afraid to use it when needed. Be creative in your use of time. When one element falls through, know what can be done in the meantime. Most importantly, do your research and only hire or work with companies and contractors you can count on.


Electric fireplace in a renovation.

4. Electrical Outlet Upgrades

Install outlets with built-in USB ports to make charging devices more convenient. Use pop-up electrical outlets on countertops for a sleek, modern look that hides outlets when not in use.

5. Inspection & Permits

There will be inspections and permits required throughout your project. These can often cause sore spots because of all the red tape and subsequent delays. Apart from having a friend in the inspector’s office, you have some other resources you can work.

Start as early as you can requesting permits and inspection appointments. Be sure about your plans before submitting them; every change puts you back at the end of the line again. See if your contractor has any relationships or resources they can use to help get things moving.

6. Soundproofing

Add soundproofing materials to walls, especially in home offices or media rooms, to reduce noise and improve acoustics. Use solid core doors or add soundproofing strips to existing doors.

Wall mounted electric fireplace on a decorative wall.


7. Behind the Walls

Though you may be in a hurry to get your remodel done, it’s worth the time it takes to do things the right way. If you need an electrical or plumbing update, now’s the time to do it. Even elective things like smart home technology may not be necessary, but could add plenty of value to your home if you take the time to do it now.

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 Don’t overlook things that increase the efficiency of your home and offer you hidden benefits like adding insulation, new ducting and HVAC, water filtration, etc.

8. Pet-Friendly Features

Adding features that help make your everyday functionality better are always a great addition. That includes functionality for your pets. Create built-in feeding stations, litter box enclosures, or pet washing stations for convenience and cleanliness.

9. Getting Help

Though you may think you are saving money by doing things yourself, you can end up spending a lot more money and time if you get in over your head. At the first sign of overwhelm, it’s time to ask yourself some serious questions.

Be realistic about how much time you have. Be honest about your skill set. Make plans for who you can turn to for help and when the right time is for getting help. If you’ve been honest and planned for it ahead of time, it will be much easier to turn to plan B when the time comes.

Person installing latches on a skylight.


10. Natural Light Enhancements

Adding skylights are an excellent way to increase your natural light. You can also install solar tubes to bring natural light into dark areas like hallways and closets. Add transom windows above doors to increase light flow between rooms.

11. Supplemental Heat

Instead of updating your full heating system, consider adding supplemental heating, such as underfloor heating or an electric fireplace. 

Take the time to think through some of these lesser-known remodel tips to avoid hangups. After all, you know what they say about an ounce of prevention.

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