Want a New Look for your Home by Summer? Now is the Time to Plan.

I always enjoy welcoming a new year. It’s an opportunity to start fresh, and to enjoy the excitement and anticipation of what the coming year holds.

For many people, the New Year is a time to finally decide to do something about their old décor. Investing in your home is always a sound decision and an exciting prospect. The first thing you should ask yourself, though, is whether you’re planning far enough ahead.

Yes, the year has just begun, and summer seems like it’s a long way away. But renovations – even small-scale ones – can take longer and be much more involved than you might imagine. If you want to be sure that you won’t spend summer break wandering through a house in disarray with children, pets and construction professionals, now is the time to get the ball rolling.

People often ask me why they ought to take such a long view of a renovation project. There are many reasons, and most of them are related to the time it takes to get things just right and avoid costly missteps and mistakes.

Of course, there’s the construction side, which has its own timetable. We have to be aware of that timetable and work within it. We also have to make decisions based on the construction process – for example, you can’t install your countertops and finish your kitchen until you’ve decided what you want to do with your cabinets.

Even if you aren’t planning on taking down walls or installing new cabinetry, you shouldn’t expect everything to be quick and easy. People who haven’t worked with a designer before don’t always realize how many items are custom ordered to meet their needs and desires. It really isn’t a matter of picking something out of a catalog. An experienced and thorough designer has to take scale, proportion, color and function into account, and make sure each decision fits into the design as a whole.

Once you decide on items, there’s the question of availability. If we do choose the perfect chair, or rug, or a lamp, there’s no guarantee it will be available– it may be on backorder, or it may take time to custom make. If it’s the perfect piece, it may be well worth waiting for. Or, it may be wiser to invest time in finding something that’s more readily available.

Sometimes, clients want to go slowly, and take on their home a little bit at a time. It’s up to them – they set the deadlines, and they’re in charge of what they want done and when. With that in mind, though, I advise clients to expect renovation projects to take between 3 to 4 months, depending on the availability of selections, and how much time they want to invest in making decisions.

Overall, a renovation is not a speedy process. Good design is an investment of time and money, and you want to make sure that neither is wasted. If you’re patient, you take your time, and you take full advantage of your designer’s expertise, you’ll find that it’s a small sacrifice to make for years of enjoyment of your home.