They say hindsight is 20/20 and that is true when it comes to home renovations. As a serial DIYer a lot of our projects are “learn as you go” and this house has been no different. Although this blog is a chronicle of our home, I rarely share the failed projects or home regrets. I thought it might be helpful to share some lessons learned from renovating our Florida house so that if you’re embarking on this journey you might be able to take some of these lessons to heart.
Here’s some background. We bought our home in 2015 and closed on our house just days after Millie was born. It was a foreclosure that needed some work, mostly all cosmetic, but we’ve spent many hours, blood, sweat, and tear working on making it our own. That being said, we’ve missed the mark on a few fronts so there are definitely things I will do differently the next go around.
My Home Renovation Regrets & Lessons Learned
Regret #1 Overlooking the Floor Plan
I think there are a lot of things that you can overlook when it comes to purchasing a home; paint color, flooring, and even minor layout issues. If you dislike the entire floor plan when you buy the house, changing everything else won’t help that much. Our home has a really awkward floor plan. The living room area is really long, the kitchen is separated from the living area by a wall (with an awful cut out in between), this has always bothered me but I was hopeful that we could potentially update the kitchen by removing the wall that separates the kitchen and living room. Well, after getting bids, we discovered that it would be a major budget buster to change the floor plan in the way we had hoped so we were stuck with it for now. We adjusted our plans and instead made the cut out larger and added a bar. That was regret #1.5. I’m happy we opened the cut out, however, adding the bar was a total waste of money. I had imagined adding barstools and using this as a breakfast bar but we just don’t use it. There really isn’t space and now it’s a bit awkward. If this were our forever home, I would likely change it at some point but since we will likely only be here for another 1-4 years, it doesn’t make sense for us to invest in that way.
Regret #2 Not Scraping the Popcorn Ceilings
Ugh, why oh why didn’t we scrape these ceilings? Well, I know why were didn’t. I had a newborn and we worked three solid weeks on the house getting it livable before we moved in and something had to give so it was either floors or the ceilings. I wish we would have taken an extra few days and scraped our ceilings before moving in, before even putting floors in. I look up a least twice a day in disgust because I hate them so much! Now that we have lived here for almost three years, it is not a pleasant thought to have to take on this messy job. We’ve gotten some bids and considered hiring it out but it’s expensive! So maybe one day we’ll get to it or maybe we’ll save it for the next owners.
Regret #3 Buying the Cheap Carpet
We spent a good portion of our renovating budget on flooring. The entire home needed new flooring and the bulk of the budget went to installing the laminate flooring. We ended up getting a budget-friendly carpet option and regretted it almost instantly. First, there was a major miscommunication between Matt and me when we were selecting the color. I snapped a picture of the color I wanted, and he thought I wanted the shade underneath. So the carpet we ended up getting was quite a few shades darker than I wanted. Not only that, the quality of the carpet is just not very good. We only have carpet in our bedrooms and since they aren’t high traffic areas plus we use area rugs in every room, I expected this carpet to really hold up but it just hasn’t. Last year, we replaced our bedroom carpet with a more premium quality carpet (seen above and discussed here) and it’s much better. Eventually, we would like to change out all of the rooms.
Regret #3.5 I even wish I would have thought about the laminate a bit longer. The flooring is great quality but I don’t feel like the color/style fits with my home style. It’s a bit too orange for my taste which makes me regret the purchase as well.
Regret #4 Painting the Whole House Before Moving In
Sure, it seems like a great idea to paint all the walls before you get your stuff in there but for me, that ended up being a big mistake. I have repainted almost every room in our house since moving in. Unless you know a lot about undertones, lighting, and which direction your home faces, you may want to avoid painting your entire house before moving in. I have learned a ton about paint colors since first selecting paint colors for our home, but looking back, I wish I would have observed the light within our home before painting not after. I’ve discussed this more in this post right after we painted our whole living room white.
Regret #5 Paying to Have our Flooring Installed
Another flooring regret, I wish we would have been a little more patient and just installed our flooring ourselves. We paid almost as much for installation as we did for the actual flooring. Again, we had a newborn so this is probably just wishful thinking, but it would have been nice to have installed the flooring ourselves and spent that money on other things.
Okay, so those are my biggest regrets when it comes to our renovation experience. While I wish we would have done somethings differently, it’s been a great learning experience and I look forward to taking these lessons with us whenever we move on from the Florida house. When you know better you do better, right? I hope this post is helpful to anyone embarking on this journey or considering a renovation. This is my personal experience, but I would love to hear any other lessons you may have learned through updating your home – let me know in the comments below!