10 Best Tips for Condo Renovations: We've Been Through it! | TRB


A condo renovation is a monumental task – especially if you’re gutting your entire condo. There are many big decisions to make and a lot of advance planning to ensure a smooth and fun experience. After the final nail has been hammered and the coats of fresh paint have dried, you’ll be incredibly happy with your end result. You’ll feel as if you’re in a brand-new home – one that you designed, and one you’ll never want to leave.

We learned a lot from our experience renovating our condo, so here are our top 10 tips to keep in mind as you embark on your renovation journey.

1. Know the Rules of Condo Renovations

Can you renovate a condo? Well yes, but the condo rules must be followed. Plain and simple. If you keep this in mind from the very beginning, you’ll likely have the board on your side, and even the day-to-day property management team. Need the elevators booked for a last-minute load-in? If you’ve played fairly from day one, the team that helps your condo run smoothly will likely be on your side and allow for last minute requests.

2. Hiring a Designer for your Renovation

A designer can help with everything. It was one of the best ideas we had for our condo renovation. Not only did Karin Bennett instill in us the great taste we aspired to have, but she helped speed up an otherwise long renovation. From furniture selection to paint, door handles and fixtures – it truly was all of the little things that made such a huge difference in the end in making our condo our dream home.

3. Picking the right contractors

Having a stellar contracting team is critical to the success of your condo renovation. JP and Paul Sales from Red Mailbox worked tirelessly into the night on several occasions to keep our project going. Their exceptional team of trades and attention to detail really shined through in everything they touched. Having a contracting team that actually works the project is the most valuable piece of the puzzle. They were not the traditional contractors who manage communications and trades, they were hands-on and could solve any issue with a phone call or two. Look for these traits when hiring your team and you’ll be singing their praises in the end as well.

4. Know Who You’re Renovating For

When embarking on a major condo renovation, you need to decide who you are renovating for. Will you be staying in your condo for many years of enjoyment? Or are you updating for the sole purpose of selling for more money? Once that decision is made, you’re able to follow one strategy or the other. You may end up stretching your budget a little more if it’s for your pleasure.

5. Stay Somewhere Else

Relocating during your condo renovation – it’s a critical step to ensure a smooth and quick(er) process. Short term rentals for two or three months can be found and although it’s another line item to your budget, your contracting team will be able to work on the entire space rather than room-by-room. Condos are small enough so don’t think you can live through it. It’s just not worth it in the end.

6. The Best Kitchen Updates

In a condo, the kitchen is typically the focal point of the main living space, so splurging on a few things will pay back in the value of your condo. A show-stopping stove with a matching range hood is always a good idea, as is an oversized island that can serve as an eating space for those without a dining area and a place to gather when entertaining. And you can never go wrong with a statement cabinet colour if you’re daring enough to try.

7. Best Bathroom Upgrades for a Condo

Condo bathrooms that feature custom storage and cabinets look polished. You’ll never go wrong with spending a little more on fixtures, especially if you have glass shower doors or a great bathtub. Adding a custom mirror also helps with creating a streamlined look that can’t be found in every condo bathroom you tend to see.

8. Changing Your Condo Flooring

Before purchasing your new condo flooring, make sure you speak with your condo board and building management team. There are specific rules and requirements to meet when you’re replacing flooring – the under pad usually has to meet a certain standard for sound resistance and your condo management team will likely need information on your new floor. Ask before placing that order to avoid a costly condo renovation mistake.

9. Less is More in 2019

Once you’ve picked all of your stunning finishes, let the space speak for itself. You won’t want to junk your new condo up with all kinds of decorative pieces – trust your designer and let your home shine.

10. Where to Splurge and Where to Save on Your Condo Renovation

The best places to splurge have to include a showpiece in your kitchen, be it an oversized island or stunning stove, and your faucets. Bathrooms need stunning fixtures – they’ll serve as the jewelry to your room and add a polished touch. Flooring can always make a difference in a condo so think out of the box on this one. Perhaps a herringbone pattern?

Savings can be seen in bathroom stone by using porcelain rather than Quartz or Marble. Furniture is also a big-ticket item that doesn’t have to be so “big”. Look online and work with your designer to find items similar to those expensive chairs or sofa you fell in love with. Furniture can always be changed – bathroom tile or your kitchen backsplash – not so much.

Renovating your condo can be a rewarding and very worthwhile exercise and when done right, can increase the value of your home by $100,000 plus. Was it worth it? Absolutely.


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