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  • Katherine Walker

15 Tips on how to prepare when planning for a major renovation

Although we take pride in handling as many of the little details as we can for our clients, there are some tips and suggestions we have to help our clients prepare for a major renovation.

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Katie Walker | Owner + Principle of Slate Studios

I know this can be stressful so let me help!

It is rare that our clients are able to fully vacate the home during the renovation, so we try our best to communicate what to expect ahead of time to allow for a smoother renovation with less stress! Living in your home during a renovation can be an inconvenience but we coordinate the timeline based on product lead-time, and scheduling with our contractor to have the least impact our your daily routine as possible! Below are some tips we recommend:


1. Ensure only approved personnel have access to your property.

Consider getting a key lockbox to provide contractors entry to your home when you are away so you don't have to leave the house unlocked. Give out to only those you trust.

Photo of glass shelves stacked with decorative items and books

2. Safe and organized storage of belongings.

Store your belongings for large renovations. This could be in another room of your home or off-site storage facilities.

  • Move fragile and precious items out of the work area and into safe zones. We love storage bins, so you can still access the items if needed.

  • Clear rooms of large items that are to remain, and seal them tightly in plastic sheeting.

  • Keep your items safe from theft or misplacement. You don’t want to play the blame game with the contractor or their workers.

Photo of kitchen shelves neatly organized

3. Reorganize essential items and appliances to decrease inconveniences.

Planning your living arrangements is essential to a smoother experience. For instance, if your kitchen will be under construction for a while, then think about where you will prepare and eat meals. You may put your microwave, toaster, and other small appliances in your laundry room temporarily. Plastic plates and cutlery is your friend during this time! If you are removing a wall adjacent to a bedroom, you may need to consider sleeping arrangements.

Photo of room with carpets removed, a ladder in upright position, and paint supplies in the middle of the floor

4. Minimize interruptions through alternative living arrangements.

If your entire house is undergoing construction at once, you may need to rent accommodations or stay with friends or relatives. We do not advocate leaving town during this time, as nothing compares to seeing your renovation progress in person!


5. Inform neighbors of construction or renovation plans.

Be considerate of your neighbors, you may want to let them know about your upcoming plans as this can sometimes take longer than you expect. Letting them know will gentle the blow.

Photo of living room carpet being vacuumed and a dog lying in the corner watching the vacuum

6. Clean often to reduce mess.

There will be lots of dust and dirt, it is unavoidable. To avoid tracking it through your home, we recommend doing a quick vacuum at the end of each day.

Photo of man dressed in white sanding off a wall, with a plastic sheet sectioning off that part of the room, containing dust particles

7. Reduce dust exposure using dust containment sheeting.

Make sure the contractor hangs plastic sheeting to best eliminate dust for getting through by ensuring it's taped down properly to the floor and ceiling and has no gaps.

Construction worker drilling a hole in the pavement

8. Prepare for noise.

Expect it to get noisy. Drills, saws, and pounding is inevitable.

Portable bathroom porta potty

9. Rent a portable bathroom or porta potty.

Consider which bathroom in your home will be available to workers. We recommend removing hand towels and providing a roll of paper towels instead. For larger jobs, they may bring a portable toilet.

Photo of two children sitting in the garden playing with their dogs

10. Consider children and pet safety.

Keep children and pets safe! We recommend child safety gates, electrical safety covers and do not allow children in renovation areas without supervision. Consider a place for your pet as doors may be kept open to bring tools and materials in and out of the construction or renovation area.

Warning sign: Caution.  Closed toe shoes required.

11. Always wear shoes.

Remember, it is a work zone, wear proper footwear when in renovation areas. Otherwise, you or your family members may accidentally step on something that hurts (nails, screws, glass, or unfinished wood, etc).


12. Ensure you are prepared for possible AC and water shut-off.

There are times when the water may be shut off. Or we may have to cut power to electrical or air conditioner. Knowing when these times will occur can help plan your day/week around shut off times.

Photo of clouded sky and lighting strike

13. "Plan" for unexpected delays caused by interruptions due to weather.

Consider the weather, there could be delays caused by mother nature. For example, if we are scheduled to lay pavers, but there is a torrential downpour, we will have to reschedule for another day.

Photo of man dressed in white vacuuming a floor during renovations

14. Post-renovation clean-up.

Clean up after renovating, you will need to give your home a thorough cleaning. In most cases, the cleaning will need to include:

  • Dust, sweep and vacuum all surfaces (don't forget ceilings and walls)

  • Mop and disinfect floors

  • Vacuum upholstery

  • Wipe down doors, knobs, baseboards, moldings, window sills and windows

  • Thorough cleaning of bathrooms and kitchens (including appliances, cabinets, and counters)

  • Dust all ducts, grates, vents, blinds, ceiling fans, and lighting fixtures

  • Clean all hardware, hinges and handles, shelves, and cabinets

  • Removal of any remaining trash and debris (contractor should remove most of this but there will likely be a few items left)

Photo of Katie looking at a wall, holding paint color sample cards

15. Prepare mentally.

Our final and biggest tip is to prepare mentally! Yes, construction will be disruptive, but always remember there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Once construction is complete, you will end up with a beautiful new space!

So there you have it! Our 15 Tips on how to prepare when planning for a major renovation. We would love to share our expertise with you on your upcoming project. I have extensive experience in renovations. But I love most of all is working 1:1 with YOU to create an authentic haven for you and your family. Consider the Slate Studios team if you have a renovation coming up.

No trends here - your personal story is center stage! If you're looking to get some help with designing your home to be more of an authentic haven - I'm your girl.

Let's hop on a Discovery Call to chat. 30 minutes can be life-changing.

- xo Katie


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