6 tips to make it through your DIY home renovation

One of the things that a few people mentioned to me when I bought The Old School with my partner, was something like… “you know most couples end up in divorce, right?”.

And let me start by saying that, yes, it is a crazy ride, 100 times crazier and harder than I could imagine (and I really thought I had a pretty good idea), but it is also an incredibly gratifying experience.

So if you are considering getting into a renovation project with your other half, I have written a few personal tips, from my own experience, that I wish someone had told me when I started.

kitchen renovation, ikea kitchen, brass and black range cooker
The kitchen under construction.

Disclosure: I’m assuming you are rather a skilled handyman/woman, professional carpenter or very passionate hardworking person willing to learn new skills. I also expect that you have quite some free time, if not, I won’t recommend you getting into a DIY home renovation, as much exciting as it might sound!

6 tips to live through your DIY home renovation:

  • Find motivation: Finding a (huge) motivating reason of why you want to do this is a must. It can be that you will save plenty of money, it can be that you will be able to live in a house that maybe you could not afford, it can be that you want to live in your dream home created by you, or all of the above. Whatever it is, you'll need this motivation to keep you going when times get rough.

  • Do one thing at a time: This has probably been the best advice I’ve gotten, and the one that we, unfortunately, weren’t so good at following. When starting a renovation, it is normal to want to do a little bit here, there and everywhere. The problem is that after a while, you will find yourself working in so many different projects and none will be finished, which will create frustrations. I recommend to make a plan, stay stuck with that plan and don’t move on to the next project until the first one is completed.

  • Patience: You will need loads and loads (and loads) of it. As a thumb rule, every project will take twice as the time that one thinks. It will get stressful, and exhausting, and you and your partner will still have to work as a team. Understanding and being patient with each other is another key factor to make this work. The same when taking decisions and neither of you agrees with each other. Keeping calm when one gets irritated has surprinsingly worked pretty well for us (most of the time).

  • Take breaks: You might feel guilty about taking some free time when there is so much to do (I did), but it is SO important to get a weekend off every now and then and do something non-related to get your mind away. Taking breaks will help you charge your batteries and handle your next project with more energy.

  • Don’t do it all yourself: Unless you are a skilled carpenter and bricklayer, don’t do it all yourself. Leave the things you are not so good at or don’t enjoy so much doing to professionals. Keep in mind that the finishes are extremely important and can end up downgrading a property, so investing some money in the things you can’t do well will save yourself a headache or two.

  • Have fun: Last but not least, having fun during the process is as important as the rest of the tips, as it will determine the whole experience. By enjoying what you're doing, you will be in a good mood and that will have a direct influence on your partner's behaviour, which will possitively reflect your aproach to any possible problems in a better way. Having fun has also proved to increase creativity, productivity and reduce stress, all of which you will need!

black Ikea kitchen farmhouse style with rattan barstol
The kitchen built.

With that being said, I want to add that doing your own home renovation can be so worth it!

In my experience, I’ve loved to learn so much about construction and materials, and I love the fact that I was able to design a home with exactly my style and taste. The value of the house has more than doubled after the changes that we have made (and we are still not done), so this has also brought a lot of happiness and satisfaction.

Are you considering doing a home renovation? Or are you already in it? I would love to hear all about it!