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6 Common Mistakes to Avoid While Designing Your Home Remodel

December 21st, 2023 | 8 min read

By Christine Gauthier

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Are you designing a home remodel filled with visions of your dream space? The excitement is palpable, but have you considered the pitfalls that could turn this journey into a stressful ordeal?

Many homeowners often dive into remodeling projects without understanding the intricate design process necessary to recreate your space. The result? Unmet expectations, hidden surprises, budget overruns, and a space that does not inspire you. An incorrectly designed remodel will cast a shadow over what should be an exciting transformation of your living space.

At Custom Built, with over 15 years of experience, we've worked with homeowners who needed a helping hand designing their home remodel. We understand the stressors, the misconceptions stemming from online sources or home improvement shows, and the frustration of an unsatisfactory outcome.

In this article, you will learn more about the following home remodel design mistakes to avoid:

  1. Not Setting the Foundation for Success
  2. Neglecting the Importance of Functionality and Lifestyle
  3. Inadequate Research of Material Selection and Finishes
  4. Not Addressing Structural Issues
  5. Excluding the Blending of Style and Timelessness
  6. Ineffective Communication During the Design Phase

1. Not Setting the Foundation for Success

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Why is This Detrimental?

Embarking on a home remodel without understanding the project's intricacies can lead to unsatisfactory outcomes:

  • Inaccurate timelines could be created, sparking unrealistic expectations. This not only causes extra stress but also reveals unexpected challenges, often referred to as "hidden surprises."
  • Budgets can go over, especially if clients depend on inaccurate cost estimates from online sources or TV shows like HGTV. We recommend using Angi or remodeling firms’ pricing estimates for online research.

How to Set the Foundation for Success

  1. Define Clear Objectives: Clearly outline your goals and expectations for the remodel. Identify specific areas of improvement and the desired outcome.
  2. Establish a Realistic Budget: Determine a budget that aligns with your financial capabilities and project scope. Factor in potential contingencies to avoid surprises.
  3. Understand Local Regulations: Familiarize yourself with local building codes and regulations. Ensure that your remodel complies with legal requirements to avoid complications.
  4. Create a Realistic Timeline: Work with your contractor to develop a realistic project timeline. Consider potential delays and ensure milestones align with your expectations. If you don’t consult a contractor, talk to friends and family who have undergone a similar remodel. They’ll have accurate feedback about their experiences and help you set the right goals for your project.

By incorporating these steps into your home remodeling plan, you set the stage for a successful and satisfying transformation of your living space.

How Can a Design-Build Firm Help?

Many design-build firms focus on transparency and set the foundation for success from the outset. When their advisors assess a project, they consider all aspects, not only the visible ones. This helps their teams build an accurate timeline for your home remodel.

From the cost of materials to the intricacies of labor, insulation, and headers, they provide a firm and comprehensive price. Unlike some companies that may charge double what it costs, design-build firms ensure that the number you sign is the number you pay. Additionally, design-build firms (with good track records) have incredible knowledge of your local municipality’s building codes and permits, creating a seamless and legal remodeling process.

2. Neglecting the Importance of Functionality and Lifestyle

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How Does This Impact Your Home Remodel?

Ignoring functionality and lifestyle during a remodel can lead to dissatisfaction, such as:

  • Investing money and not achieving the desired outcome.
  • Making design decisions on the fly often leads to mistakes that could have been avoided with careful consideration.

How to Design Your Remodel With Functionality and Lifestyle in Mind:

  1. Assess Lifestyle Needs: Identify the specific needs and preferences of your lifestyle. Consider family size, daily routines, and hobbies to tailor the remodel accordingly.
  2. Create Multipurpose Spaces: Design versatile spaces that can adapt to various activities. Multipurpose rooms provide flexibility, accommodating different functions as your lifestyle evolves.
  3. Prioritize Storage Solutions: Integrate ample storage options to maintain a clutter-free environment. Customized storage solutions optimize space and enhance functionality.

By focusing on these points, you ensure that your home remodel not only enhances the aesthetic appeal but also seamlessly integrates with your lifestyle, promoting functionality and long-term satisfaction.

How Can a Design-Build Firm Help?

Design-build firms take a meticulous approach to understanding your lifestyle and needs. In kitchen remodels, they explore details such as:

  • If there's more than one chef.
  • The best layout for efficient use.
  • Whether you're a right or left-handed chef

This attention to detail ensures that every remodel element aligns with your daily life.

3. Inadequate Research of Material Selection and Finishes

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Why Should You Avoid This?

Choosing materials without thorough research can have long-term consequences:

  • Failure to match materials with lifestyle needs can lead to continuous maintenance hassles.
  • Opting for an appealing but high-maintenance wood countertop, for example, might not be suitable for a busy household.

How to Properly Research Materials and Finishes During the Design Phase

  1. Thorough Material Research: Invest time in researching materials based on durability, maintenance, and aesthetic appeal. Consider the specific requirements of each space, such as moisture resistance for bathrooms or durable flooring for high-traffic areas.
  2. Harmonize Finishes Across Spaces: Maintain a cohesive design by harmonizing finishes throughout different rooms. Consistent color schemes, textures, and finishes create a unified and visually appealing home.
  3. Sample and Test Finishes: Before finalizing materials and finishes, obtain samples to test in your home environment. Assess how they interact with natural light, existing furniture, and the overall ambiance to ensure a perfect fit.

By integrating thorough research into materials and finishes, your home remodel will not only be visually appealing but also durable, sustainable, and adaptable to future needs.

How Can a Design-Build Firm Help?

A design-build firm can bring extensive knowledge to the table. They inquire about your lifestyle, considering factors like maintenance requirements and functionality. With a wealth of experience in various projects, they guide you toward materials that not only look great but also align with your daily life.

Additionally, design-build firms have access to various materials and finishes that’ll help you visualize your remodel first-hand. Some companies even have showrooms with model kitchens or material samples to view in-person.

4. Not Addressing Structural Issues

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Why Is This Harmful to Your Home Remodel?

Ignoring structural issues can have severe consequences, such as:

  • Potential failures in your home's integrity.
  • DIY remodeling attempts may lack the correct knowledge of header sizes for doors or beam sizes, compromising the safety of your home.

How to Address Structural Issues

  1. Professional Structural Assessment: Begin with a comprehensive structural assessment by a qualified professional. Identify existing issues, potential load-bearing concerns, and any necessary repairs to ensure the safety and stability of the remodel.
  2. Prioritize Safety Upgrades: Prioritize safety upgrades in the remodeling plan. This may include reinforcing foundations, addressing water damage, or upgrading load-bearing elements to meet current safety standards.
  3. Integrate Structural Modifications Early: Integrate structural modifications into the early stages of the design process. Collaborate with architects and builders to seamlessly incorporate necessary changes, avoiding last-minute adjustments that could impact the overall design.
  4. Budget Allocation for Structural Repairs: Allocate a specific budget for structural repairs and modifications. Be prepared for unforeseen issues by setting aside funds to address any structural challenges during the remodeling process.

By proactively addressing structural issues, your home remodel will not only enhance aesthetics but also ensure the long-term integrity and safety of the renovated space.

How Can a Design-Build Firm Help?

Design-build firms understand the severity of structural issues. They are well-versed in the correct beam sizes and, when needed, collaborate with engineers. Whether it's doors or decks, their expertise ensures that structural elements are sound and secure.

Most importantly, they won’t begin your remodeling project once all structural issues are addressed and resolved. This protects the integrity of your remodel from start to finish.

5. Excluding the Blending of Style and Timelessness

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Why isn’t This Recommended?

Failing to harmonize your remodel with your home's existing architecture can result in:

  • A disjointed and out-of-place appearance.
  • Visual clashes that ruin the character and charm of your home.
  • Disrupted natural circulation within your home, making certain areas feel disconnected or awkward.

How to Blend Style and Timeliness While Designing Your Home Remodel

  1. Classic Architectural Elements: Incorporate classic architectural elements into the design, such as crown molding, wainscoting, or traditional cabinetry. These timeless features add an enduring charm to the space.
  2. Neutral Color Palette: Opt for a neutral color palette for larger and long-lasting elements like walls, flooring, and large furniture pieces. Neutral tones provide a versatile backdrop that can accommodate evolving style preferences over time.
  3. Quality Materials and Finishes: Invest in high-quality materials and finishes that withstand trends. Durable and timeless materials, such as hardwood floors or granite countertops, contribute to the longevity of the remodel.
  4. Flexible Decor: Keep the decor flexible and easily changeable. Choose furnishings, accessories, and decor items that allow for style updates without significant renovations, providing flexibility as design trends evolve.

By merging style and timelessness, your home remodel can achieve a harmonious blend that adapts to changing tastes while maintaining an enduring aesthetic appeal.

How Can a Design-Build Firm Help?

Design-build firms have a team skilled at blending styles or maintaining a consistent look. They know different styles to ensure your remodeled space matches your home's architecture.

With hundreds of remodels under their belts, these in-house designers have transformed living spaces with varying architectural details into products that blend seamlessly with every client’s design vision.

6. Ineffective Communication During the Design Phase

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How Can This Negatively Influence Your Remodel?

Poor communication between you, your architect, and your contractor during the design phase of your remodel often leads to the following:

  • Unmet design expectations that take more time and money to correct.
  • Misunderstandings and errors, particularly in a complex process like home remodeling.
  • Different interpretations and terms can confuse your contractor or subcontractors and slow the project's progress.

How to Communicate Effectively During Your Remodel

  1. Regular Updates and Meetings: Establish a regular communication schedule with your remodeling team. Weekly or bi-weekly meetings help keep everyone informed about progress, challenges, and upcoming decisions, fostering a collaborative and transparent environment.
  2. Use Visual Aids: Utilize visual aids, such as mood boards, sketches, or digital renderings, to convey your design preferences. Visual representations are effective in ensuring that everyone involved has a clear understanding of the envisioned outcome.
  3. Open Dialogue for Concerns: Encourage an open dialogue for concerns or questions. Create an environment where all parties feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, ensuring that any potential issues are addressed promptly to avoid misunderstandings.
  4. Document Changes and Agreements: Maintain clear documentation of any changes or agreements made during the remodeling process. This includes design alterations, budget adjustments, or any modifications to the project plan. Having a record helps prevent miscommunication and ensures accountability.

Effective communication is the cornerstone of successful home remodeling projects, fostering collaboration and ensuring that the final result aligns with your vision and expectations.

How Can a Design-Build Firm Help?

Various design-build firms prioritize effective communication. With a united front, they eliminate the risk of misunderstandings. Plenty of firms build their process on communication, ensuring that if challenges arise, they tackle them together as a team.

Some firms have 3D conceptualization baked into their design process, allowing them to make accurate changes based on client feedback.

Next Steps to Designing Your Home Remodel

As we wrap up this guide, let's revisit the concerns that brought you here in the first place. The thrill of a home remodel can fade due to possible issues like unexpected challenges, budget overruns, and the stress of unmet expectations. Misinformation and oversights can jeopardize the transformation's fulfillment.

In this article, you've learned to sidestep these common pitfalls. From setting a transparent foundation to meticulous considerations of functionality and material selection, you're now equipped to navigate your remodeling journey with confidence. Avoid frustrations, pitfalls, and unsatisfactory outcomes by implementing the lessons learned here.

At Custom Built Design & Remodeling, we don't just offer remodeling services; we provide a holistic approach that ensures your journey is as seamless as possible. With over 15 years of experience, we've walked alongside countless homeowners, guiding them through the intricacies of their unique remodeling projects.

Your next steps are crucial in transforming this knowledge into action. Ready to embark on a successful remodeling journey? Contact our team of seasoned design-build professionals. With Custom Built Design & Remodeling, you're not just hiring a service; you're gaining a partner dedicated to bringing your vision to life.

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Now that you know which common mistakes to avoid while designing your home remodel, let’s explore what the first step of the Custom Built Proven Process looks like with your build, the projects that can increase the resale value of your home, and how long a luxury kitchen takes with us:

Christine Gauthier