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Dumb is relative and not all "dumb" renovation ideas are universally bad. Nevertheless, some trends, past and present, stand as out little more than poorly planned updates.
Boredom with a house shouldn't be reason enough to skip consulting with a professional. What seems like a great idea to you could have long-lasting consequences, some of which you may be stuck with for years.
Consider these four "dumb" remodeling ideas to see how good intentions can sometimes go terribly wrong:
Great Rooms Aren't Always Great
What's so wrong with a great room? Nothing, and everything. The idea of a great room is an open floor plan. It's spacious, but it can also feel cavernous.
Great rooms were a big remodeling and building trend in the 80s and 90s. Since then, homeowners have struggled with comfortable furniture placement, keeping clutter out of sight and creating a cohesive look throughout the whole space. When great rooms include the kitchen, as is common, this can be quite a challenge.
That said, great rooms aren't all bad. With smart furniture groupings and a strict eye for clutter control, a great room really can be a wide-open space that feels comfortable. Just remember, a pot or pan on the stove, shoes by the front door, and a briefcase or jacket on a dining room chair is visible from every angle in a great room. Where there's a balcony, it's also visible from above.
The Appeal of Popcorn Ceilings Didn't Last Long
We've all seen them and they did serve a purpose. Popcorn ceilings are the bane of many homeowner's existence. Worse than plain popcorn are ceilings that add glitter to the mix. This goes to show that everything new and trendy runs the risk of becoming old and tired one day.
Popcorn ceilings developed to disguise the joints and imperfections in drywall ceiling panels the fastest and simplest way possible. For a traditional, smooth-finished ceiling, finishers apply a drywall joint compound (mud) and seam tape, and then sand and perfect the surface until smooth.
Popcorn ceilings meant the surface could be finished without tedious finish work. The downside is that they collect a lot of dust and if you try to paint, the pieces loosen and stick to the roller. Many homeowners are now scraping off old popcorn and going back to the traditional smooth-finish ceiling.
Garages are Cumbersome as A Focal Point
Garages are great, but some garage additions overwhelm the whole facade of the home. When you view the front of a house, the entry should greet you and not an enormous metal door to a two-car garage.
The solution to this problem might not be as simple as relocating the garage door. For some homes, there's only one place for a garage addition and that's at the front. Where space allows, a side-entry garage is a much better choice. If that's not possible, the visual impact of a garage door may be mitigated with clever landscaping and upgraded garage doors with style, such as carriage house doors.
The key is to stand back and look at how a garage addition will alter the appearance of your home. If the result will take the focus off the front door and place it on the garage, talk with a builder or architect to see what other options are available within your price range.
Then again, you can also view ImproveNet's garage cost estimator to see the prices in your area.
Some Renovations Permanently Change A Home's Character
Older homes often have irreplaceable character. When remodeling turns into remuddling, character is sacrificed for trends. Unfortunately, some of these updates permanently remove or ruin original features unique to the home, and updates can go out of style.
If you live in an older home, consider what makes your house unique. Maybe it's a staircase or parquet floor in the foyer. Perhaps its exposed brick or plaster walls or 10-inch-tall baseboards throughout the house.
Any architectural element that is original to the house deserves careful deliberation before making a permanent change. In some cases, the elements weren't all that great to begin with, like faux wood paneled walls. But when the element is a form of true craftsmanship, such as old wood windows, repair is often a much better choice than replacement with something different.
Remodeling isn't for the faint of heart. What seems like a straightforward and beneficial change could end up as something that decreases your home's value and is difficult to live with.
Before you take the plunge, why not talk with a professional who can guide you with years of experience. Don't forget to request free estimates from contractors in your area.