How to Renovate Your House and Still Live in It

Many long-term homeowners will undergo some form of home renovation during the course of owning a home, be it remodeling a bathroom, having a kitchen remodeled, or finishing the basement. And while renting a home during the course of renovation may be convenient, living in your home while it’s being renovated may very well be your best option (if not your only option). For starters, it allows you to be close to the work that is being done, be there to make decisions, and supervise renovation work as needed. Additionally, home renovations often take longer than anticipated, meaning you could quickly go out of your budget by renting a home in the meantime. So if you’re looking to renovate your home soon, here are some tips to living life comfortably despite the fact that major work is being done to your house.

Kitchen Design Drawing

Have your contractor set up at least one construction-free zone.

Having workers walking in and out of your home can feel invasive. Have your contractor set up at least one sealed-off, construction free zone in your home to help you and your family maintain your sanity. In addition, be sure to establish some ground rules with your contractor on when workers can and can’t access your home. This will help you and your family plan when to do certain things (shower, for example), and it will give you a quiet time of the day that you can continually depend on.

Convert a bedroom.

Depending on what type of renovation you are having done, you might be losing living room space (or at least access to it). If this is the case for you, consider converting one of the bedrooms in your home to a miniature living room where family members can congregate and watch TV or a movie. It may mean having some family members share a bedroom, but having that living room space may prove much more important.

Alternatively, you might be losing access to your kitchen during the renovation. Many homeowners choose to convert a bedroom into a temporary kitchen, moving a microwave, refrigerator, and perhaps a slow cooker or coffee pot to that space.

Pack unused textiles in vacuum-sealed bags.

Packing away clothing and bedding that you won’t be using during the renovation in vacuum-sealed bags will ensure that these things remain clean and dust-free throughout the renovation process. Vacuum-sealed bags also minimize the amount of space required for storage, making relocating these items a cinch.

Room Addition

If possible, turn off the HVAC system during the day.

This will keep dust-filled air from the renovation site from circulating throughout your home. It’s also a good idea to cover ducts with plastic.

Keep things tidy.

Even with renovation going on, it’s important to ensure that the renovation site and surrounding areas remain as tidy as possible. Insist that workers conduct a daily cleanup and take measures to prevent excess mess (laying down runners, putting up plastic barriers between rooms, etc.) You should also ensure that your workers have some method for consolidating and disposing construction materials, such as bringing these materials to a C&D materials sorting facility like this one.

Go on vacation.

If you and your family were already planning on going on vacation at some point during the year, then a great time to do it is during your home renovation—especially during the demolition phase. It will give you a welcome break from the noise and inconvenience, and you may even come home to completed work. One thing to keep in mind here, however, is that some homeowners come home to a renovated home after vacation and regret not being around more to supervise construction. So if you are considering going on vacation during renovation work, be sure only to do so if you truly trust your designer, contractor, or construction manager.

Construction Accessories

Have a backup plan.

Even if you and your family don’t go on vacation during the renovation, it’s a good idea to have a backup plan in place in case things do get overwhelming. Your backup place could be simply a few days in a motel, or it might be going to a family member’s or family friend’s home and staying there for a few nights or longer.

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