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Facing The First Home Renovation: The Emotional Toll

June 2, 2017

Home renovation is not something that we all take to like a duck to water. It can seem fairly simple – after all, the internet is full of the insistence that there’s pretty much nothing we can’t do for ourselves – but there’s usually trouble ahead.

Even for the most experienced renovator, there can be more problems than they know how to deal with. So how does a novice – who has never done much more than paint a wall – handle a huge change to a fundamental aspect of their home?

In truth, most of the time, they don’t. Renovation is the kind of thing that takes some practice, so if you’re a first timer it’s worth remembering that little is going to go to plan. You’re going to lose track of things, get tasks in the wrong order and even deal with problems like changing your mind about the design you’re going for halfway through.

The positive thing is that these are normal, especially for someone who has never gone through the process of renovation themselves. On the negative side, you still have to deal with them. It’s one thing to feel reassured by the fact you are one of many, and quite another to realise that that’s nice, but it’s not going to put your house back together. It’s even worse if you’re renovating a major room like the kitchen or bathroom; renovations that can be time-consuming and costly. You need changes to these rooms to go well, so it’s natural to want to try and keep the errors minimal.

It’s not hard to find invaluable advice online about the practical side of a renovation. There’s more guides to colour schemes, working with kitchen fitters, how to tile your bathroom and so on and so forth, than you could ever possibly need. But what about the emotional side of a renovation?

It’s not talked about often, but there’s absolutely no doubt that emotion plays a big part in a renovation. The most common feeling is one of stress and – given everything that’s happening – that’s really no surprise. Your home has been invaded; changing for the better but, for the moment, in a constant state of flux. You can also easily stress yourself out about the financial side, as no renovation ever costs what it’s supposed to.

If you’re going through a bathroom or kitchen renovation, then you also have to deal with the realities of being displaced. You’re not going to be able to go through your normal routine for awhile, and it’s justifiable if you find that upsetting. For the most part you might be able to grit your teeth and get through it, but do be ready for occasional moments when it all just feels like too much.

Is there anything you can do to limit these distressing feelings? It would be perfect if there was a great, simple answer that everyone could utilise, but the sad reality is that there isn’t. You can ensure you take things at a pace you’re comfortable with and give yourself some time off from the reno, but nothing is going to stop the feeling of being in constant motion. The only weapon you have is preparedness, which can strengthen you to cope when the emotions hit – and then find the strength to power on through them, too.

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