Is your kitchen reminiscent of your doctor’s office? Is it all a soggy mess of fiberboard and Formica? Are the cupboards chipped? Is the laminated composite peeling off your counter-face like a ripe banana??

The word “renovation” strikes fear into the heart of husbands all across America… and titillating, effervescent joy into the souls of wives. Questions and concerns race through the forefront of our thoughts: How much will this cost us? Can we afford it? Where can we cut corners? These are only the preliminary worries.

Concerns will be stuffed to the rafters, but if you have a plan and a full grasp of what you’re getting yourself into, then the home renovation shouldn’t be completely terrifying. Here are ten things to plan for during your home renovation:

  1. BUDGET. Stick to it. Know how much you’re comfortable spending, and what your ceiling amount is. Shinier options will be presented to you throughout each phase of the “reno”. Stay strong or you’ll be in your beautiful new kitchen, deciding which to plate – a can of kidney beans or another sac of top ramen.
  2. CONTRACTOR. Decisions are difficult. Choosing the right contractor will be the first critical decision you’ll make. Be thorough. List out a handful of local remodelers, builders, and contractors. When you’re screening them, ask tough questions: Is this within your scope of work? Have you done projects like this? If so, for how many this years? What is the size of your crew? Do you plan to subcontract portions of this? Where do you get your material? And so on and so on…
  3. PROJECT PLAN. Your contractor should be doing this. Make sure it happens, and make sure you’re given updated versions as the project progresses. Stick to the plan.
  4. EXPENSES. See “budget”… However, expenses beyond the planned scope are guaranteed. You’ll decide the cheaper faucet doesn’t match the decorum, or that the mid-grade countertop looks too much like the lower-grade options. Renovations can very easily get way out of hand very quickly. Stick to your plan.
  5. OPTIONS. There will be more options for color, style, material, texture, shade, shine… than you’ll know what to do with. Then you’ll decide on the color, but there will be three-dozen shades of it. Then you’ll find a countertop pattern you’re in love with, but variations will be available in three different material options… In the age of limitless customization, its easy to get lost in all the options.
  6. MESS. The dust will coat everything. Try as they may, your contractor will not be able to restrain all of the mess created by the construction. Keep this in mind when entering the work area at night, when they’ve shut down for the day. Surface-level cleanliness may be there, but the dust of stone, wood, tile, and older existing materials will take a while to settle.
  7. NOISE. You’re probably not going to want to be sitting in the next room while all the work is taking place. With air-compressors kicking on, drills running, and saws zipping – you’re going to want to find a happy place to retire to during the working hours.
  8. UTILITIES. Or lack thereof… If your kitchen counters are getting replaced, keep in mind that you may not have a sink for a while. Think about it: the sink basin is sealed into underside of your counter. If your new countertop needs to be templated, sent to the stone company, computer-modeled, cut, sent back to your contractor, and then finally installed… this can take up to two weeks. So you won’t have a sink. And you’ll be staring directly into your drawers… and you likely will not have an operational dishwasher (being typically tied to the sink plumbing).
  9. PLANS CHANGE. Whether the old plumbing is irregular or the electrical is poorly placed, simple changes can lead to complex plan changes during installation. Make sure to voice all concerns with your point-of-contact or Project Manager as they occur. Don’t assume things will work themselves out.
  10. YOUR HOME WILL BE CHAOTIC… Until it’s amazing. Stepping into your newly renovated space will be a breath of fresh air. It gives new life to your home. The environment will be crazy for a few weeks, but it’s worth it when the finishes touches are applied to your renovation.