Darlington Designs
Interior of family room featuring wood-paneled floors and ceilings and a fireplace surrounded by windows.

How To Renovate a House (And, Avoid Nine Common Mistakes!)

So You’re Ready to Renovate Your House…

… now what? 

As much as we’d like to tell you that remodeling your home will be a snap, we all know it’s a bit more complicated than that. 

Most people don’t know the ins and outs of how to renovate a house. Sure, there are resources out there, but who has the time to master such a complex trade in today’s busy world?

That’s where we step in. The team at Darlington Designs brings more than 15 years of experience in home design and construction. We specialize in home renovation and outdoor living, which includes pool and spa construction

We pride ourselves on our ability to be a “one-stop shop” for our clients by streamlining the design and build processes to ensure maximal efficiency. We prioritize open, constant communication with our clients—a necessity in keeping them informed throughout the entire project.

We hope that you will work with us for your next home renovation, but we also understand that you might want to take on the project yourself. 

Regardless of what you decide, it’s important to do your homework and avoid these common pitfalls when starting a project:

Mistake Number One: Not Setting a Realistic Budget

If you’re wondering how to renovate a house on a budget, the first step is to define that budget carefully and precisely. Setting a budget is crucial to building a feasible plan for your project. It’s not uncommon for homeowners to go way over budget because they didn’t take a good hard look at how they can allocate expenses. 

Evaluate your finances carefully so you can set realistic expectations for you and the contractor. However, experts agree that you should build an extra 20% into your budget for unexpected expenditures. 

At Darlington Designs, we utilize an extensive design agreement process to ensure that we stay within our client’s budget while meeting their goals for the project.

Mistake Number Two: Not Getting the Necessary Permits

When you work with Darlington Designs, we take care of obtaining all necessary permits and compliance codes before beginning a project. 

If you are going to tackle a project yourself, however, make sure you check with your county or local municipal building department before starting construction. If you do not, you risk being forced to tear it down, in addition to getting fined heavily. You will also face challenges in the event that you choose to sell or refinance your home.

Mistake Number Three: Not Maintaining a Consistent Style 

We understand the urge to do a remodel inspired by the trends you’re seeing in the magazines. But, we recommend careful consideration of how the remodel will fit with the rest of your house. If one area of your home features a chic new fashion while the rest of the house evokes a completely different style, it can drastically decrease your home’s resale value. The completed remodel should complement and add to the atmosphere of the home as a whole. 

At Darlington Designs, we offer expert design advice so that any renovation will not only meet your expectations, but also enhance the overall design of your home.

Mistake Number Four: Not Taking Correct Measurements

This is critical for your budget as well as the length of the project. Mismeasuring by even a fraction of an inch can throw the entire project off, causing major delays as you repurchase necessary materials. Buy the proper measuring tools and double-check your measurements every time!

Darlington Designs is known for our attention to detail and quality craftsmanship. We utilize the industry’s most cutting-edge tools in order to guarantee the accuracy of our measurements. 

Mistake Number Five: Not Working on One Project at a Time

The prospect of completing multiple renovations at once may be enticing, but this can also disrupt your home and cause complications during project execution. If you choose to do it yourself and manage multiple subcontractors, you may end up dealing with conflicts in the workflows and scheduling. 

It’s best to prioritize your list of renovations and focus on one project at a time so that the work is done at a quality standard. We can help you create a realistic plan that will bring your vision to life on a comfortable timeline for your household.

Mistake Number Six: Not Paying Attention to Infrastructure 

Back of house with a stone patio raised about one foot from the ground.

Most people start their renovation project thinking about the aesthetic changes they wish to make. However, if your project entails heavy construction, it’s important to check on the architectural integrity of the room before moving forward. 

As an example, when you spend a substantial amount of money remodeling your bathroom, you want the renovation to last. Water is a major cause of mold, and once mold grows underneath floors, it is almost impossible to get rid of unless you rip apart the floorboards. A simple membrane system can be installed underneath the floor ensuring that water won’t seep beneath.

At Darlington Designs, we carefully screen the infrastructure involved before initiating construction to ensure that your remodel doesn’t cause problems down the road.

Mistake Number Seven: Not Allotting Ample Time for the Project

Home renovations tend to come with their fair share of inconveniences and setbacks. Depending on the scope of your project, your daily routine and indoor living conditions may be affected for days, weeks, and even months.

This unfortunate reality might tempt you to hurry the project along. Rushing a remodel, however,  does not equate to a job well done. You may get back to your normal routine sooner, but you won’t save money in the long run. The flaws of a quickly-executed project will force you to spend even more time and money when things start to break down. 

We prepare our clients with realistic timelines so that they know exactly how long the project will take. Our construction crew is careful to minimize disruption to clients’ daily lives and complete building as efficiently as possible.

Mistake Number Eight: Not Choosing Quality over Cost

Homeowners sometimes make the mistake of using the cheapest building materials in order to lower costs. In some cases, one material can be substituted for another with adequate results. In others, compromising on materials can mean a poor finished product, leading to extra spending on repairs. 

It’s important to do your research and then take a look at your budget to decide which materials are ‘must-haves.’ You might find that you can choose a less expensive option for some aspects of building but in other cases, you’d be better off investing in the highest quality materials. Cutting costs at the outset can end up being more expensive in the long run for certain projects. 

At Darlington Designs, we advise you on how to choose materials within your budget that are aligned with industry best practices.

Mistake Number Nine: Not Asking Enough Questions

Whether you are working with a contractor or doing a project yourself, it is always important to ask questions and vocalize any concerns you may have. You may save yourself and your house renovation contractor from making a costly mistake.

Staying apprised of the progress of your project is important, which is why we make communication a top priority in our work. You can contact your designated Project Manager at any point throughout the duration of the project with questions. We also schedule regular check-ins to keep you in the loop on upcoming events in construction.

Now that You Know the Basics of How to Renovate a House

Are you ready to begin?

Contact us today at info@darlington-designs.com or call us at 856-442-0440. We pride ourselves on excellence in craftsmanship and unique design. Our goal is to bring your vision to life by working closely with you to execute a one-of-a-kind design that will endure for years and raise the value of your home. We look forward to helping you create the home of your dreams so that you can enjoy many more wonderful moments together with loved ones.