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The biggest renovation blunder? Working too hard

By Lucy Cohen Blatter | December 30, 2014 - 2:59PM 

If you're looking to renovate in the new year, be sure to avoid  the biggest mistake people make: Tackling too much at once. It may seem counterintuitive, but completing one project at a time can actually be more effective than starting a bunch of jobs at once. 

"People take on way more than they can chew," Matt Blashaw, host of HGTV's "Vacation House For Free,"  tells Business Insider. Instead, he recommends starting small projects (like replacing kitchen cabinets, then doing the backsplash) one at a time and not starting the next one until the first is completely checked off the list. Likewise, work on one room at a time. "The rule of standard suburban houses is kitchen is king, then bathrooms, then bedrooms," he says. We'd wager that this advice applies equally to New York City apartments. 

It also makes sense for DIY projects, as our Renovation Chronicles columnist Mayra David noted: "Relentlessly renovating is not only unpleasant—who wants to live in a construction zone for months on end?—it's also a recipe for burnout. If you're going to DIY, budget week- or month-long breaks into the span of the job." And every once in a while, tick a bite-size decorating project off your list between the bigger jobs, so you feel that sense of accomplishment that will motivate you down the line. 

Related:

Avoid our mistakes: A brownstoner's advice on picking a contractor

NYC Renovation Qs: What should I ask when checking my contractor's references?

NYC Renovation Chronicles: A pre-renovation checklist for your contractor

NYC Renovation Chronicles: 7 tips for finding a great contractor

New Yorkers' biggest home improvement delusions

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