Generally speaking, I would strongly advise against living in a house undergoing a renovation.
Sure you can save money doing this, but will you save your sanity?
Even with this strong warning in place, I know there will always be those who live in the home during a renovation. Often, the decision is for economic reasons, and sometimes, homeowners under-estimate the difficulty of living in a space that is a construction zone.
It’s important to know what you’re in for. If the work extends only to a small part of the house, it is easier to maintain your equilibrium. If the whole house is involved, you will need to anticipate some very trying circumstances.
Here’s how to survive:
• If you’ve got young children, stay with a relative or consider temporary living arrangements during the most disruptive periods of work. Construction sites can be unsafe for curious and active children, and produce a lot of stress for people who try to keep them safe.
• Minimize to an extreme degree the things that are stored in the house. Before construction starts, get rid of those you don’t want or need. Then store as many things as you can in labelled containers, preferably away from your home where they won’t get wrecked.
• Keep two rooms renovation-free to maintain at least some sense of order and routine, and a space into which to escape. Keep these rooms meticulously organized.
• Maintain some semblance of your normal routine (homework time for children, simple meal preparation and cleanup, bath, and so on) to keep you on an even keel.
• Always have a working bathroom.
• Always have a cooking area, even if it is temporary, involving a prep surface, a working sink and a stove.
• To avoid decision fatigue, make as many decisions as possible about flooring, colours and finishes ahead of time. Try to work out disagreements at this point, rather than during construction when delays can bring the whole process to a standstill.
• To keep your family and marital relations on an even keel, take the time to do something regularly that does not involve discussing the renovation.
• Realize that renovations usually take twice as long as expected.