How to deal with people involved in your home renovation project

A home renovation tends to bring the worst out of people.


We said it.

It is stressful. And it’s not stressful because it’s hard to combine different types of tiles or choose a perfect armchair. It’s stressful because you’re about to spend a significant amount of money – maybe even loaned money. It’s stressful because you’re about to sacrifice a lot of your time – and by that, we mean free time you’re used to spending resting or having fun. And it’s stressful because it usually involves a lot of people.

Now, you get to choose how much money you’re willing to spend. You also get to choose how much time you’ll dedicate to this project. But people?

Family members, neighbours, architects, contractors…

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Photo by Jeff Sheldon on Unsplash
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To deal with them successfully, you have to fully understand one thing: you’re in charge. You initiated this project and you have to make sure your project follows your plan. You don’t get to act like a passive watcher of all the things that went wrong.

You are in charge. But being in charge means different things for different people. You might start to think you have to know everything. Or even worse, you might start to think you already do know everything.

So maybe this post could have been titled “How to be in charge the right way” because we’re about to share, from our experience, three simple rules that will help you manage your home renovation project (or any type of project, actually) without losing your mind.

home renovation | demolition | work in progress
Photo by Milivoj Kuhar on Unsplash
  1. Be respectful

Think about all the people involved in your project.

Your family members who have to adapt their daily routine to a new situation. Friends you’re constantly asking for an opinion. Architects who are doing their best to fulfil your wish list. Contractors who actually know how to do their job. People who work in stores over the weekend so you could choose everything you need when it suits you.

They deserve to be respected. Even if they have a bad day. Even if you have a bad day.

Trust us, showing respect makes all the difference in the world.

  1. Clarify expectations

We can’t even begin to tell you how many friends and acquaintances asked us to design something for them – sometimes their homes, sometimes visit cards or party invitations, “whenever we get to it”, only to start feeling resentful few days later because it’s not already done.

Set deadlines.

Set priorities.

Set limitations.

People can’t read your mind.

home renovation | kitchen renovation [ tile work | subway tiles
Photo by Charles Deluvio on Unsplash
  1. Be accountable

You wouldn’t believe how many clients don’t have floor coverings/bathroom fixtures delivered on site the day contractors arrive for installation, just because they didn’t make up their mind and chose something.

Do your part on time to encourage others to follow your time schedule. Remember, everyone you hired work on other projects, too. They won’t waste their time just because you keep changing your mind. And they won’t tell you that either – they’ll probably continue to drag out simply because you showed them it’s ok.

This rule applies to time schedule as much as sticking to your budget or staying within any limits you have set.

No one cares about this project as much as you do – nor they should. You have to do your best.

And that is literally all you have to do as a home project manager. Respect other people’s time and profession. Make sure everyone understands what is it you expect from them, and apply those high standards to your own behaviour as well.

Because actually, home renovation doesn’t have to be stressful. You get to create something you’ll enjoy for years to come. So let’s make it a pleasant experience!

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