10 Proven Tips for How to Live Through a Renovation

Planning to live in your home during a renovation? You might want to read this first.

tips for how to live through a renovation
How to live through a renovation | r.classen/Shutterstock

So you finally got around to starting that renovation project you’ve been putting off, and now you have to survive living through it. No matter how much planning you do, renovations are messy and can cause a lot of disruption in your life, especially if there are any unforeseen issues that come up during the project.

Watching a renovation show and actually renovating your home while you’re living in it are two different things. And while you might have done all the budgeting and planning for the project itself, it’s also important to factor in how and where you’ll be while the renovations are underway. That’s why we’ve put together a list of proven tips that will help you keep your sanity as you live through a home renovation.

Find temporary living arrangements

Depending on the size of your renovation, moving temporarily to a different location while the project is underway can save you a lot of frustration and stress. This decision is especially important if you’re renovating major areas like kitchens or bathrooms that you need to access daily. While going over to your family or friends' house when you need to eat or shower can be a temporary solution, it’s not a practical one.

Hotel Room is a great option to stay during renovations
Photo by Vojtech Bruzek / Unsplash

If you have kids and/or pets, you also have to keep in mind that renovating your home will disrupt their routine and cause a lot of stress. The chaos of renovation can take a toll on the whole family, so moving elsewhere, if you have that option, is a practical solution. Make sure to budget for the cost of a hotel or other costs, even if you stay with friends or family. It’s easy to overstay your welcome if your renovation hits a snag and takes longer than expected.

Renovate in the right season

For more extensive renovations that involve taking down exterior walls or removing windows or the roof, timing is everything. This is even more important if you plan to stay in your home during renovations. It’s easier to tackle these types of renovations during warmer weather. You definitely don’t want to open up walls and expose your plumbing in winter. Not only can that cause your pipes to burst, but the inclement weather can also damage your furniture and belongings.

couple painting a room
Photo by Roselyn Tirado / Unsplash

Internal renovation projects like painting, tiling or floor installation can be done at any time of the year. Keep in mind that you might have to crank up the heat to speed up drying or open windows if there are any fumes from paint or other materials.

Rent temporary storage

To avoid damage during your renovation, consider renting a storage locker or a small container for your belongings. During renovations, it’s very easy for your furniture or decor items to get damaged, even by accident. While you might want to pack up your tables, chairs or couches, make sure you keep enough items to have somewhere to sit and sleep, or you’ll end up sleeping in your bathtub.

rent a storage locker before starting renovations
Photo by JOSHUA COLEMAN / Unsplash

As you’re getting your home prepped for renovations, it’s a good time to go through all your items and get rid of anything you no longer use. Get rid of broken or damaged pieces, or donate what you don’t need. Another great way to get rid of clutter is to hold a yard sale. This gives you an opportunity to start fresh when your renovation is over.

Control dust during a renovation

Dust is a common and unavoidable side effect of renovations that can damage air quality in your home. Construction dust is not the same variety you deal with on a regular basis. During a renovation, there can be a lot of sanding, grinding and cutting of materials that create harmful dust that’s made up of chemicals or harsh materials that can cause health hazards if inhaled.

control dust during renovations
Photo by Annie Gray / Unsplash

The best way to deal with dust is to close off renovation areas of your home with plastic sheeting. This will stop dust from penetrating other parts of the house and getting into your furniture. You might also want to use air filters and an air purification system. Talk to your contractor about dust control and how to prevent it from taking over your home.

Reduce construction noise

Noise is another unavoidable part of a renovation project. While the construction stops at night, it might start very early in the morning. You might find it difficult to sleep or work, especially if you work from home while your home is being renovated. This can also lead to stress and communication issues, especially if you have to do calls or concentrate on tasks.

Home construction
Photo by Thayran Melo / Unsplash

As you can’t completely eliminate noise from construction, try to work with your contractor about scheduling noisy work for specific times of the day. You might also want to invest in noise-reducing headphones or earplugs to help you go about your daily tasks without interruptions.

Find alternatives for kitchen and bathroom access

The bathroom and the kitchen are the two rooms that you will definitely need access to in your house. If you’re renovating either or both of these rooms, you’ll need to have a plan for how you’ll cook and use these facilities during the renovation. Speak with your contractor so you know exactly the timeline for renovation and whether you need to make your meals on an outdoor grill or bring in a port-a-potty.

Home Renovation
Photo by immo RENOVATION / Unsplash

You can plan to prepare meals ahead of time so that if your stove is out of commission, you have something to eat. You can also opt for takeout, but keep in mind that it might become costly after a while. Try to leave the toilet in as long as you can, but if you need to remove it, have a plan for your options. You can try to stay with family and friends or opt to stay in a hotel where you can take a break from construction.

Minimize smells and odors

In addition to dust, many construction materials can emit smells and odours that can be harmful to you and your family. Keeping windows open and running those air purifiers can minimize exposure to smells and reduce irritation. Make sure to avoid harsh cleaning products when you clean the rest of your home, as they can also add irritants since you’ll be cleaning more frequently.

Comply with building regulations

Before you start your renovation, make sure you and your contractor have the proper permits for the work you’re doing. While some reno projects don’t require a permit, others do. These include more extensive ones like demolition, structural changes or building additions. You might also need to have building inspections to ensure that the work complies with codes and regulations.

make sure you comply with building regulations
Photo by Milivoj Kuhar / Unsplash

Make sure to work with a reliable contractor who is familiar with building codes and doesn’t cut corners. You can face hefty fines if you fail to obtain necessary permits, and if the work doesn’t pass inspection, you’ll have to invest more time and money to fix it. Contact your local municipality for more information and how to file the paperwork.

Secure insurance coverage

Homeowner’s insurance is always handy, especially if your home is unexpectedly damaged or burglarized. While those types of policies protect your belongings, they might not extend to renovations. Renovation insurance covers you and the workers working on your home for the duration of the project. It can also protect you against any structural damage while your home is being worked on.

secure insurance coverage
Photo by Nolan Issac / Unsplash

As your renovation is likely to increase the value of your home, you’ll also want to have your policy reassessed when the work is completed to ensure the coverage extends to renovated property. This is especially important if you build additions or significantly renovate your home.

Stick to a construction schedule

Having a construction timeline and sticking to it is just as important as setting the budget for your project. Using a project management tool and having regular check-ins with your contractor will help you stay on time and on budget. Regular communication also ensures that you are aware of any issues or problems that come up during the project.

Luxury Home Interior Kitchen
Photo by Sidekix Media / Unsplash

The last thing you want is an unexpected problem that not only extends the renovation timeline but also can put a big dent in your budget. This can leave you living in a renovation mess longer until you have the resources to complete it.


As we discussed, renovations can be stressful for everyone. If you’re planning a big project, make sure to consider your family’s well-being during the renovation as much as you do the budget and design. Kids and pets can be especially affected by large projects, and having a crew of strangers show up at your home can also add to the anxiety, so make sure you plan with everyone in mind.

We hope our tips will help you plan for a renovation, especially if you plan on living through one in your home. No matter how long or stressful it is, the whole point of renovating is to create a more functional and improved space to live in. There is always a light at the end of that renovation tunnel.

Want to see what your home will look like after a renovation? Try out different ideas and styles with Planner 5D before you start actual work and save yourself time and money.

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