Home renovations can be costly, require tons of decisions, and involve workers being in your space for quite a long time. In other words, they are often stressful. All is not lost though, there are steps you can take to reduce the strain a remodel can put on your life. Here are some tips we've gathered from home renovation pros and survivors.

Expect chaos

No matter how well you plan your project or how good your contractor is, every home renovation project has variables. When you open up a home, what you get is sometimes different than what you expected, so factor the potential for chaos into your vision for the project.

“The first and most important thing to do during a home remodel is to prepare ahead of time – both literally and emotionally," says John Linden, an interior and furniture designer based in Los Angeles, Cal. “I always tell my clients that it's going to be a lot worse than they think it is, just so that they're prepared."

Get out of the way

A major home renovation WILL test your patience – especially if you're living in the home. Daniela Andreevska, Marketing Director at Mashvisor, a real estate analytics company, recommends moving in with friends or family members or taking a vacation while the project is underway. “This is particularly important if the work you are doing is major and dirty, and it'll save you a lot of discomfort in the short run," Andreevska says.

Linden agrees and recommends staying in a hotel while the work is being done, especially If your project involves renovating your only bathroom. “A bathroom under renovation isn't fun to live with, especially if you like to shower before or after work," Linden says. “It's a bummer to pay for a hotel when you're already shelling out money for the remodel, but the convenience of a working toilet and shower are well worth the added expense."

Keep the dust down

Dust and debris are an inevitable part of home renovations, so it's crucial to prepare for the onslaught before the job starts. Tonya Bruin, CEO of To Do-Done, a remodeling contractor in Ottawa, Ontario, shares the following tips:

  • Remove all personal items from the room before beginning renovations
  • Seal entrances to the renovation room with plastic tarping to keep dust contained
  • Have a specific pair of shoes to wear in the renovation area, so you don't carry dust throughout the house

Know what you want

Major home renovations involve making a lot of decisions. You might be selecting layouts, paint colors, fixtures, appliances, finishes, and more. So do what you can to have all of those decisions made before your contractor begins work.

“Contractors see it time and time again: homeowners who are indecisive and keep on changing their minds about what they want out of the project," says Sophie Kaemmerle, Communications Manager at NeighborWho, an aggregator of public records about people and properties.

When contractors start a project, they have a plan for how long the project will take, the materials needed, and the cost. “When the vision keeps changing, the longer the project drags on. Changing your mind mid-way through a project can not only be aggravating but costly as well," Kaemmerle says.

Don't micromanage

Every homeowner wants to make sure their contractor has what they need to get the job done and produce the desired results. But don't let your involvement in the project cross into meddling territory or breathing down your contractor's neck.

“Not only does micromanaging make being in your home uncomfortable for your contractor, but they may end up making mistakes," Kaemmerle says. “In short, give your contractor some space!"

Any home remodeling project, no matter how large or small, can upset your life and cause frustration. Following the ground rules above will minimize frayed nerves and misunderstandings and keep your project on track.