Note from the editor: Houzz is an amazing resource for those looking to update their home, do some decorating, and prepare their home for sale. You can share these these articles with your clients who are looking for ways to fix up their home to help it sell. We appreciate Houzz for providing us with this guest post.
By Laura Gaskill, Houzz
If you bought your house with an eye to remodeling it, you may be tempted to make big changes right away — but there are some surprising benefits to waiting before you leap. While there is no reason to live with features that make you cringe (icky carpeting in the bathroom) or make daily life difficult (a nonfunctional stove), you also don’t need to feel rushed or pressured into a costly and time-consuming remodeling project before you’ve had a chance to live in and experience your home. When you take the time to listen to your house, it could offer some creative solutions that you would never have come up with if you had dived right in.
Living with your space allows you to get a better sense of your real priorities. Perhaps when you initially saw your house, you thought the dated kitchen would be the most important room to renovate first. But after living there, you might realize it’s more important to add French doors to lighten up the dark living room where you spend a lot of time. Remember, it’s your home, so try to push aside what you think you “should” update and focus instead on what will improve the quality of your daily life.
Living in your house for a full year can give you a fuller picture of your needs in every season. If you move into your home in midsummer, you may not be thinking about all of the mucky boots and jackets dripping snow that will fill your hall come winter. Likewise, if you move in during the cooler months, you may not realize there is a major mosquito problem in the area, making a screen porch much more appealing than the open design you were first considering. Simply by experiencing your house in all seasons, you can make smarter choices — and avoid costly mistakes.
Temporary fixes can help you visualize a bigger change. Removing a medicine cabinet and installing a cool mirror will help bring your bathroom up to date right away — and it can help stretch your imagination so you can better plan further changes.
Having one piece in play (like the mirror) will give you more to go on as you choose paint colors, new fixtures and so on. Use this strategy elsewhere in the home by painting dated kitchen cabinets, applying peel-and-stick floor tiles or swapping out light fixtures.
You may like your “temporary” changes so much, you make them permanent — and save lots of money. After cleaning up your guest bath, giving the walls a coat of crisp white paint and putting in new towel racks, mirrors and window treatments, you may like the results so much that you decide a full remodel is unnecessary. Score!
Waiting to remodel lets you experience the flow of your home firsthand. Living in your home, moving furniture around, testing layouts and simply going about your daily routines will give you a better idea of changes that will have the biggest positive impact. Something as simple as reorienting the furniture in your living room can completely alter the flow of your space. So many times we (consciously or not) copy the furniture layout as it was during the open house, even if it isn’t right for the room or our furniture.
Waiting to remodel can give you better ideas. It may not occur to you at first that removing a small closet or repositioning a door could make a huge difference in the working space of your kitchen … until you’ve lived there for a while, that is. Pay special attention to the traffic patterns (where you walk) in your home, as this can offer you a clue about which doors or walls to consider moving or removing.
Making do allows you to test out a new space before committing. Thinking of transforming a garage or shed into extra living space? Consider what you can do to make it usable before spending big bucks on a full remodel. Even if you can’t turn your garage into an overnight guest room the DIY way, you may be able to transform it into a functional office or studio, which would allow you to experience the space and learn more about what it might need before committing to a major project.