Even a Small Renovation Project Can Be Complicated – Here’s What You Need to Know

Home renovations can become complex endeavours, no matter how simple they seem – even a small renovation project can be complicated. It might appear straightforward, but as one of my clients recently discovered, managing a bedroom closet makeover requires a lot of work to coordinate the schedules of multiple trades. For this very reason, most of my clients choose me to manage their projects, whether big or small. Here are the various elements of a closet renovation that you should know.


Even a seemingly simple closet revamp requires careful consideration of design details. Its a good idea to plan every feature to optimize space and functionality from layout to storage solutions. And it is essential to declutter to prepare for the design plan. When designing a closet, please ensure you count items such as shoes, bags, jewellery, sunglasses, and clothing. It will allow you to assign the correct amount of space for each group of items. Hiring a designer or professional organizer can be very helpful at this stage.

Quality Matters

Choosing the right supplier for your new closet is crucial. From durable shelving to stylish finishes, each component plays a role in the aesthetics, functionality, and longevity of the closet. Don’t get me wrong, I love the IKEA Pax closet system. However, in most cases, their products only work if you have an empty room you can turn into a closet or an existing large walk-in closet. Generally, the Pax dimensions and accessories don’t work well in an existing reach-in or small walk-in closet. A semi-custom system can be worth the extra cost for those types of closets. It will allow you to have the customized features you need for your lifestyle.

Additionally, if you hire a qualified closet supplier and installer, they order the materials, deliver your new closet, and install it for you. It makes your life much less complicated.

Multiple Trades Are Needed

Executing a high-quality, long-lasting renovation requires skilled craftsmanship. Even for a small renovation project, you usually need a handyperson/carpenter and an electrician or plumber (or both). Each specialist brings their unique expertise. My client was a bit shocked that, besides the closet supplier, she needed a handyperson to remove the old closet shelving and patch and paint the walls. And she needed an electrician to wire and install new lighting. Good lighting in your closet is worth the extra cost – I promise!

Coordinating the Trades

Coordinating the schedules of various professionals can be a challenging logistical puzzle, especially if you haven’t managed a renovation before. I sometimes take for granted how simple this part of a project seems to me, but that’s because I’ve done it hundreds of times.

You must determine the logical steps – what must come first, second, third, etc. For example, with a closet renovation, doing any wiring for new lighting should come first. Typically, electricians make holes in the walls and ceilings to run wires through and those will need to be patched.

Then, have the handyperson/carpenter remove the old closet unit, repair the damaged walls, and repaint the space. Sometimes, it is necessary to remove the baseboards, so be sure to discuss this with the closet supplier. Next, the closet supplier installs the new closet units. The handyperson may need to return to reinstall baseboards, caulk, and paint them.

Take heed: if the various tradespeople you hire haven’t worked together before, they may play the blame game. For example, on this latest closet project, the electrician installed two new light fixtures, one of which stopped working shortly after installation. The electrician tried to blame this on the handyman only to discover that he had crossed some wires which had nothing to do with the handyman. (And, no, the electrician did not apologize; he just got cranky.) So, even on a small renovation project, you may have to play the role of negotiator as well as handle the logistics.

images of a bedroom closet showing a small renovation project
Finished Closet

Managing Your Budget

Balancing the budget can be challenging because there always seem to be unexpected items that need attention. For example, even something as mundane as replacing a light fixture can expose faulty wiring in the ceiling. Or, once they remove the old closet, it may reveal a sloped floor that needs fixing. In fact, I could list dozens of unexpected items I have faced over the years, but you get the idea. The important point is to prepare for the unexpected and add 10% to 20% to your budget. If you don’t spend those funds, return them to your savings account for your next renovation project.

The Cleanup

As the project manager, you will likely be the one who cleans up after the tradespeople. All the tradespeople I work with are good at cleaning up after themselves, but not all do. And one thing tradespeople will tell you (loud and clear) is that they do not clean up after the trade who came before them. One client remarked that tradespeople seem to have large egos. Sadly, that’s often the case, so beware.

Even minor home renovations like closet makeovers require attention to detail. However, understanding the aspects involved beforehand can help you navigate your small renovation project more effectively. It will ensure a successful outcome that enhances the functionality, aesthetic appeal, and quality of your space. If this all seems too much for you, don’t worry. I can help make the process smooth and stress-free. Reach out today to learn more.

Leave a comment