The top two remodeling projects for homeowners are kitchens and bathrooms, and it’s no wonder.

Kitchens are widely regarded as the most important room in the house. The kitchen is the center of day-to-day life at home. It’s often where we start and end the day’s activities, from a morning cup of coffee, to loading the dishwasher before heading to bed, to entertaining friends and family. It’s where we cook, eat, and gather together.

Bathrooms are often the smallest rooms in a house, but inadequate bathrooms can have a big impact on both resale prospects and day-to-day convenience. While the kitchen is more central to the feel and flow of the house, an updated bathroom can be a peaceful refuge that adds comfort and value.

Bathrooms and kitchens are the most commonly remodeled spaces, but they are by no means the simplest. The complexity of a kitchen or bath project might surprise you. These are rooms that contain a multitude of different finishes, fixtures, and appliances. Making meaningful changes to a kitchen or bathroom usually involves multiple specialty trades, such as plumbing, electrical, tile work, and more. It’s important to work with a designer who understands how all of these things come together in your home AND is knowledgeable about state and local building codes. For example, in Vermont a kitchen island must have an electrical outlet.

Planning a kitchen or bathroom remodel involves making lots and lots of decisions, which can be both fun and overwhelming. Some design decisions can be made with the help of your Pinterest board, and some require the input of construction expertise. Some decisions have a great impact to project costs and others not as much.

A design-build partner can help you understand the impact of different options and ultimately help keep your budget focused on your priorities. For example, you might be surprised to learn that it’s generally easier to relocate a shower than a toilet. High-end kitchen or bath fixtures can really drive up the price of a project, while other value-add features, like under-cabinet lighting, are often a more affordable upgrade than homeowners assume.

Kitchen and bathroom renovations are the most popular because they can have the greatest benefit to day-to-day living and future resale prospects. However, it’s common to be surprised by just how many components a remodeling project entails. Once construction starts, doing without the kitchen or bathroom for the duration of the project can be stressful because of the role these spaces play in your daily routine.

So, how do you survive a kitchen or bathroom remodeling project?

PLAN AHEAD.

Work with your design-build team to make as many product and material selections in the planning and design phase as possible. It’s nerve-racking enough to be living in a construction zone without a hundred little decisions hanging over your head.

Talk with your household about how you’ll manage your needs while the project is underway. Can you use your neighbor’s shower? Will you be getting a lot of take out? Make sure everyone is aware of the temporary inconveniences you’ll bear while your dream space is in the works.

COMMUNICATE.

Voice your concerns and make sure that you understand the costs and timeline of the project upfront.

Make time to talk with your design-build team throughout the course of the project. Weekly meetings are recommended. Make an effort to understand how they are approaching your project and who you should talk to if questions arise.

EXPECT (SOME OF) THE UNEXPECTED.

Remodeling always involves some risk of unexpected challenges because you are not working with a blank slate. Depending on the age of your home, you and your builder might already have specific suspicions that can be investigated in the planning stage, but many common remodeling issues are impossible or impractical to uncover before the project begins.

The many components of a bathroom or kitchen mean that many people are involved in bringing your project to bear. From the person installing your brand new faucet to the person packing your backsplash tiles onto a pallet in the warehouse, they are all humans capable of human error. Your builder will most likely have planned for one or two small delays in the schedule they shared with you, but if your beautiful new farmhouse sink falls off the back of the shipping truck, they will be just as disappointed as you at the delay and inconvenience.

FOCUS ON WHAT YOU’RE ACCOMPLISHING.

You are bringing your personality and style to life with your remodeling project. You’ll have a beautiful, functional kitchen or bathroom to enjoy AND it will add future resale value.

Renovating can be stressful, but all of your decisions small and large are coming together through the hard work of skilled tradespeople. And that’s pretty cool!