Want some insider advice on updating and upgrading your home? Real Simple asked readers what they wish they had known before—or would have done differently with—their renos.
“I would have made sure there was more insulation in the wall where the bathroom butts up against a bedroom. My daughter is awakened by every sound in the bathroom. We should have put the closet where her bed is now.” —Ali Dubin
“I would have stuck to my original plan for a stainless steel sink instead of doing a black stone composite sink. Softened water leaves a haze on it, and the sink chips.” —Jennifer Mason Theroux
“Have a guaranteed end date in the contract with your contractor, with a fee for any day that goes over. Mine went months over while the contractor worked on jobs for other people.” —L.S.
“Set aside extra money for unforeseen expenses like rotted wood, consults with a plumber, and the replacement of exterior fixtures. It isn’t realistic to think that everything will work out exactly the way it’s supposed to.” —M.P.N.
“I would have put in more electrical outlets on our kitchen island.” —Jennifer Lijertwood
“Don’t underestimate how much construction dust will permeate the rest of your living spaces through the air and ducts. Remove valuable objects from the walls or displays so you’re not having to micro-clean, and seal off any closets that contain clothes, linens, and food.” —Deborah Fairchild
“Make sure you have all the materials before starting. Some of our items took months to come in after ordering, which held up the work. Four months is a long time to be without a kitchen!” —Victoria Wagner
“When we redid our kitchen, I wish we had included ‘eating out’ in the budget!” —Maria C. Kuntz