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It happens to all of us.  It doesn’t matter how well you physically or mentally prepare for your renovation. There will come a time when your positivity will wain, your excitement will dissipate and your bra will be so full of brick dust you just want to walk out your house and never look back. 

Renovation fatigue can manifest in many ways. Some will totally lose it and scream at whichever unsuspecting trades person is in sight. Some will burst into tears and have an embarrassing meltdown. And others (like me) will just suddenly not give a shit about it anymore. I think that’s the worst reaction. I know renovation fatigue has taken it’s hold when I suddenly don’t care what shade of white or whether it’s made from plywood or MDF. Not giving a shit is a sure sign I need to go to reno-rehab. 

How to beat renovation fatigue

WILL IT HAPPEN TO ME?

Yes. And just because you are doing a small project like a bathroom refit, don’t think you’re immune. Because you’re not. Renovation fatigue is not directly related to time it’s related to percentage progression of the project. It doesn’t matter if it’s a 2 week job or a 2 year renovation your fatigue will kick in when the project is around 76% complete. Just as you think you are turning a corner and the worst of it is over it will smack you in the face. 

But don’t worry. It’s totally normal. It happened to me last week. I guessed it was coming when I agreed that my electrician should choose the downlighter fittings rather than sourcing them myself (what was I thinking)!? So I went through my recovery steps and now I’m totally back on track. So obviously I wanted to share them with you so you have them in your armoury for when it next happens to you. 

how to beat renovation fatigue

How to beat renovation fatigue.

1. TAKE A BREAK

Yeah kind of obvious, or is it?

Of course any sensible person would tell you to take a break, but it’s actually really hard to take a break from something when you feel under enormous pressure to get it done. So this isn’t as easy or obvious as it sounds. If trades are in full-flow then you may not want to physically take a break from the project but you definitely should take a mental one. If you are living through your reno then a change of location, even for just a few days, will have an enormous positive effect. Visit a friend for the weekend or book a really lovely hotel for a night to be somewhere inspiring and dust free. Or if that’s not possible then just get outside and see some nature. A daily break from the dust and dirt to look at a river or trees will really help give you some mental distance from your renovation.

2. MAKE A MICRO-LIST

Having a daunting to-do-list of large jobs can be really overwhelming and anxiety inducing. So try breaking down the list of jobs into a micro-list. Yes, this will create a much longer list, so may feel counter-intuitive. But a longer list of more manageable tasks will mean you more regularly tick-off items. This means you will see the that you are making good progress. So rather than having ‘paint the guest bedroom’ on your list which could take you a week or more, break it down into smaller tasks.  So your micro-list could be; order paint for guest bedroom, collect paint, wash and prep walls, sand woodwork, paint ceiling, paint walls, paint woodwork. It’s a longer list but each day you can make visual progress which given you a bigger sense of accomplishment.

3. ASK FOR SUPPORT

Just because someone is physically living through the renovation with you doesn’t mean they are emotionally living through it. So if you’re the one bearing all of the strain then reach out if you are starting to struggle. I’m 10 months into my renovation and my partner has had very little to do with it. This totally totally suits him and me. But when I was struck with reno fatigue last week I called an emergency summit meeting. I talked to him about how bored I was with it all and showed him the enormous to-do-list.

He still has no intention of picking up a paintbrush or choosing tiles but he listened, took me out for a glass of wine, didn’t take the piss too much, and showed an interest. And that’s all I needed! I just needed him to care. Even if they can’t do much to help on a practical level you’ll feel much better battling through the project knowing they’ve got your back.

Family support

Moral support makes all the difference

4. EXPRESS YOURSELF

Your trades people can make a massive difference to how you emotionally feel about your project. A good tradie can make a project an absolute breeze. And a bad one can create a shit storm. So if there are issues air them. There’s nothing worse than a tense atmosphere or bitterness building up over the weeks and months of a project. So just like in any part of life, professionally, and with kindness, express how you feel. Better to have one awkward conversation or to part-ways than have a dickhead builder who parks their van with an oil leak on your driveway every, single, bloody, day. 

Builder issues

The bastard builder who leaked oil onto my drive every day for weeks (and broke my Dyson)

5. SET REALISTIC DEADLINES

A big contributor to the severity of your renovation fatigue is your expectations of the timescale. The less realistic your expectations, the earlier and more intense your case will be. So whatever approximate timescale your builder gives you double it. If budget it going to be tight then triple it. If your house is older than 100 years then quadruple it. And if a pandemic hits 6 months in then don’t even bother having a timescale.

underpinning

6. CREATE A VISUAL INSPIRATION

Most of us will have a Pinterest board or a load of saved images that are a source of inspiration. But to truly beat renovation fatigue you need to see beyond that. We don’t renovate our homes just to end up with an insta-worthy kitchen. We renovate our homes to make our lives better.

Maybe your new kitchen will mean you spend more time together as a family, or you finally learn to cook (that’s for me). Or maybe your new guest bedroom will mean you can accommodate your family and see more of them. Maybe your new utility room will  make laundry easier and free up more time to spend with your kids. Maybe the additional light from your roof lanterns will improve your mental health.

Your visual inspiration shouldn’t be tiles and worktops it should friends, family, well-being, quality of life, these are the things we are working toward. The things that will make the stress, agro and dust all worth it.

Remember you are not alone. We are all vulnerable to this condition, the most important thing is to be prepared for it!

If you enjoy reading my blogs and would like some real life interior design advice then please check out my services. I cover Southampton and Hampshire and would love to help you with your own renovation beast!

Sarah x