I know that feeling of despair when you walk in a room and think it will never end. The drywall will never be up and you’ll always see tufts of insulation peeking out from the untrimmed windows. Renovating is hard. We just finished the major parts of our renovation, and believe me, we have plenty left to do.
When we started, our living room had a disgusting dropped ceiling. The previous owners put it in to cover up some old water damage. They fixed the leak, but not the ceiling. The rest of the first floor has these AMAZING high ceilings, so that was the first thing to go. We also tore out every piece of plaster in our living room. Boy, was that a production. Hours of night and weekend work stood between us and the studs. Even cleaning up the debris every night left us doubting it would ever be finished.
We were living in our renovation, which meant plaster dust on EVERYTHING. Floors, chairs, and clothes were all covered, even though we tried hard to contain it. How did we (and continue to) live through it?
Make a Sanctuary
One room, and one room alone remained untouched to the dust–our bedroom. Everywhere else in our house either had construction dust/debris or was stacked with furniture and boxes. Did I mention I just moved in from CT two months ago? I haven’t even unpacked half my stuff and we dove right into a renovation. Probably not the smartest move on our part, but I digress…
Ultimately our bedroom became the only haven in our house. At least in there, we weren’t tripping over boxes or covered in dust. On long nights after working in the living room, we crashed in there. It became the only place in our house where I could work from home.
Remember That Renovation Is Temporary
I always find it helpful to focus on how beautiful my space will be when I’m done with it. I know I can deal with anything on a temporary basis, but having a sketch to return to when I’m feeling overwhelmed helps me cope with the chaos. I’m no expert at interior design sketching, but I always sketch out my ideas. That way I have a clearer picture in my head when I’m designing and shopping. When I feel like it’s never going to be over, I return to that sketch. It reminds me of my vision. Seeing that sketch also reminds me that there is a purpose to all this chaos. It doesn’t have to be anything crazy. Here’s an example of my sketch for the living room:
See? Not the prettiest in the world, but it’s enough for a reminder.
Our renovations tend to take longer than the average reno because we do a lot of the work ourselves. This comes with its own set of trials. I help curb my own anxiety by always having small projects to accomplish between the big ones. For example, there was a week when we couldn’t pick up drywall because it kept raining, so we worked on our dining room set (which we have worked tirelessly to refinish). Stay tuned for a sneak peek into that project coming next week!
Make Your Renovation Fun!
You don’t have to be on HGTV to make a contest out of busting down that wall! But, be sure to read my tips on safe demo here, if you’re doing it yourself. Working a late night after work? Crank up the tunes and do a little karaoke while you work. There are so many ways to make your renovation fun. Sprinkle little pieces of shopping (because who doesn’t love shopping?) between work sessions. That way, you’re still being productive toward your end goal, but you also get to pick out some of the final pieces. My favorite places to go are the fabric store and the paint section of Home Depot.
Seriously, I could spend HOURS looking at fabric. I always make this stop first because it’s so much easier to match a paint chip to fabric than the other way around. I’m pretty handy with a sewing machine (or at least I’m working at it), so I like to pick custom fabrics to re-purpose my current throw pillows a lot. In fact, I’ll be doing that project sometime in the next few weeks, so I’ll be sure to do a tutorial. 😛
Spread it Out
Unless you’re hiring a contractor to get it all done in one shot, spread your big projects out and make sure you relax in between. We learned really quickly in this living room renovation that we needed to still take time for ourselves. Occasionally we took an evening or an afternoon off and just did something for us, whether it was trying some local brews or a walk in the woods. Make sure you take time away from your project to re-center, but be realistic, too. You don’t want to spend all your time away or it will never get done! The important thing is finding balance.
Listen to your gut. It will be able to tell you when you’ve had enough and need to take a break.
This post has been so much fun to write! I hope you’ve found some useful tips for handling your own renovation project. We are still having a blast planning the next phase of our reno, so stay tuned for more progress and reveals!
Be sure to share this post with anyone you know who is going through a tough reno. Comment below if you’ve got a story to tell or a tip of your own to share! How do you deal with reno projects? You can also give me a shout out on social media! I would absolutely LOVE to hear from you!
Don’t forget to keep calm and reno on! 😛
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