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How To Survive A Renovation

How To Survive A Renovation

Renovating your home is one of the most stressful things you will ever do. It has nearly done my head in the 2 times we have renovated. I find the mess, the disorganisation and the constant interruptions to our family life to be the most challenging. However the end result is often worth the pain of the process. There are some things you can do to make this process a little easier to handle. Let’s take a look a few of my tips on how to survive a renovation.

Guide To Surviving A Renovation


If you are about to undergo a large renovation, my best advice is for you to move out of your home for at least the contract period. While this may not be practical for a small renovation, for a larger one it is essential. When I say a large renovation I mean anything more than 35% of your home. It is at this point, you will be unable to get away form the dust, the noise and the constant work being done around your home. At this point electricity may be compromised or your kitchen or bathroom may stand for a long period of time, out of action. For the sake of yourself, moving out is a great option. Some builders will insist you move out for the building period.


Plan A Getaway

There comes a saturation point in every renovation. You will be ready to snap, you may even snap at the smallest of things. You can go a long way to preventing this point, if you plan even a weekend away mid renovation. Not only will the physical break help, but it will give you something else to talk about. When renovating you are living, breathing, thinking and talking renovations all the time. A break is essential. If a weekend away is out of your price range, aim for a night, or go out for dinner a couple of times. However you decide to take you break, be sure it is putting physical space between you and your home.

Help The Builder

Helping the builder actually helps you. Be on time with your selections, be very thorough with your communication, pay your bills before they are due. All of these tips will help ensure your builder can keep your job running on time and on budget and believe me, you will want this over with as soon as possible. Building periods can be quite lengthy, allowing your builder the opportunity to get the job done without delay will certainly make the process quicker.


Have a Contingency Plan

Essential for all renovators, contingency plans will help when things go wrong, and they probably will. When renovating older homes it is nearly impossible to be sure of what you will find in the walls, or under the ground, prior to starting the job. Sometimes what you ideally want done, will be found to be impossible. Other times the renovation will uncover another issue that requires fixing. Keep open minded about the process and ensure you have a contingency budget of at least 10% preferably 20% to get you out of trouble. As jobs come along it is very common for homeowners to change their mind, perhaps it doesn’t look the way you thought, or the a cupboard isn’t big enough, all of these will create extra expenses and this is where your contingency budget will come in handy.


As the renovation process drags on, so does the impact of the negative. Try putting a few photo reminders in you phone to help you reflect back over how far you have come. It is easy to get caught up something that has gone wrong and for this to then have a negative impact on how you feel about your renovation. Remind yourself of all the positives, the new space you are creating, visualise the way you will live in your newly renovated home.

There really is no denying that you are going to hate this process, sometimes. These tips are designed to help you minimise how much this negative impacts your process.

Have you renovated before? What did you find the most difficult? Where would you like to go for a weekend away?

Nicole xxx



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  1. Great advice, Nicole. Dave did a small renovation on my Queenslander many years ago. It was mainly to do with the exterior though, so we continued to live there. The dust was shocking though. There are so many places I want to get away to this year. I can’t decide on one just yet ?

    1. Oh the dust, my number one hate!!

  2. Our one renovation experience was great at the time – the builder kept everyone well in check so everything was delivered in time and budget. However, eight years later we have discovered some things should have been done differently (rotting deck due to wrong timer being used) so I think keeping yourself informed is also important.

    1. That is a very disappointing but unfortunately common experience. Sorry to hear you are finding things wrong at this stage. xx

  3. We know a few people going through this at the moment- I’ll be sure to pass this on!

    1. Thank you!

  4. We renovated a very old home. It was all exciting in the demo phase and it wasn’t too bad through the middle of the job. It was once we got the plastering that I started to lose the plot. After three months of hefty disruption, all that dust in every nook and cranny of the house just did me in. The move out, and weekend away advice would be my top tips for managing the personal challenges of having builders in your house from 7am every day.

    We looking to gut and install a new kitchen this year. We’ll stay put and I have some contingencies in mind for meals. Just as well we’re seasoned campers!

    1. The plaster dust is enough for me to loose the plot, every time!! You wouldn’t think I was the daughter of a plasterer. Good luck with the kitchen install, I am sure you will glide through it!

  5. My husband and I have just completed a major commercial renovation and he is now in his wonderful office and others have recently joined him. It was different from a residential renovation in that we were not living in it, but we were certainly ‘living’, breathing and talking about it constantly. And Oh My Goodness, the dust!! I has given me a taste of what a residential renovation must be like and I think I would definately take your advice of moving out if at all possible. Thanks for your suggestions. #IBOT Annette

    1. If ever possible, moving out is what I will do. I cannot stand the dust, and the extra benefit of moving out is that whole process goes faster. Music to my ears ?

  6. Great advice, which I have bookmarked for future reference. V x

    1. Thanks Vicki ?

  7. Great tips. If I ever renovated, I would leave the house. The dust and crap that goes everywhere is enough to do my head in. Having said that, it’s not always an affordable option and if you’re only doing a kitchen or bathroom it’s not usually feasible. The biggest pain is the prep I think and being without your room for so many weeks. But gosh, it’s all worth it when it’s done. Great post. Will share this on The Plumbette.

    1. Most definitely there is a time and a place for the move out option, and one room or another is a good time to stay put. That said, doing a few at once is enough to send me packing ? Thanks for the support.

  8. Great tips Nicole! I’ve said this for ages but we will be making over our kitchen, two bathrooms and a laundry – hopefully this year. I think it might be a tad disruptive don’t you think? Not sure we could move out for a long period but maybe for the worst part of the work. We have a dog to consider which makes things a bit harder. Cannot wait to get it all done though. ? xo

    1. My goodness Min, if it is all happening at once, you will certainly find the value in some temporary accommodation, or a holiday!! Exciting times though xx

  9. These are such awesome tips – especially the one about a weekend away ? We’re addicted to home renovation programmes and we’ve watched enough of them to know that a contingency isn’t a luxury, it’s an essential and the bigger the better because there is always something that goes wrong!

    1. That is so true Sammie, unfortunately there is nearly always something that goes wrong, better to have the contingency in place to deal with it, than have a job half done xx

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