If you’re embarking on your first renovation project, then the process can be overwhelming. There are so many decisions to make and details to keep track of – from deciding what spaces to renovate, knowing if you need to get permits, planning the space, selecting the right labor, selecting the right products and materials – how do you know where to start?
For some guidance on how to get started read our tips below.
Create A Plan
The first step, our motto – “it all starts with a plan” is imperative here. First, you’ll want to determine what your goals are – is it to update the aesthetics? Create more space? Improve functionality? Fix any structural problems? Increase the value of your home?
When creating your remodel plan be sure to think about your future needs, not just your current needs. You want your home to function for your current lifestyle, but you don’t want to outgrow it too soon.
Knowing what your goals are will help you figure out how to start working towards achieving them.
Consider the Whole Home
When you’re planning you’ll also want to remember to think about your house as a whole. If you’re only renovating a portion of your house, you’ll want it to still work with the aesthetics of your entire home, otherwise, the spaces will feel uncoordinated and off – a bit like wearing mismatched socks.
However, if your home lacks an identity or clear design aesthetic you can use this as an opportunity to establish your overall design aesthetic and update the other rooms at a later time.
The next step of your plan is to assess your priorities. You may have 10 projects that you want to do, but 5 that you can realistically afford. So make a list of your must-haves and another list of nice-to-haves that you can include if your budget allows or for another project later down the line. Remember, you can always tackle your remodel in stages if you can’t afford to update everything at once.
You should also think about longevity, don’t just think about quick fixes. If you’re renovating an entire room or several rooms, it may be a good opportunity to update an older electrical or plumbing system.
You don’t want to start a project and then run out of money halfway through, so creating a realistic budget and sticking to it is a must.
When creating a budget first you need to do research and get estimates of your costs. A great way to get started with this is by browsing Houzz and Pinterest for ideas.
Think about any structural changes and updates that you’re making, plan for the cost of products and materials, plan for the cost of labor and professional help.
Once you have all your costs outlined, set aside 10-20% for contingencies. This may sound like a lot, but once you start opening up the walls and removing floors, you don’t know what issues may lie beneath. If you run into an unforeseen problem, you’ll then be glad you set aside the money to deal with it.
Assess Professional Help Or DIY
When making your budget, this is also a good time to assess where you’ll need professional help vs. what tasks you may want to do on your own. This will vary based on the size and scope of your project.
Create a list of everything that will need to be done and then note what you can take on yourself and what you’d like a professional to take care of. When doing this it’s important to be realistic and know your limits, don’t think that just because you watched a YouTube video of someone fixing a plumbing issue that you can now do it yourself.
Depending on the size of your project here are some of the types of professionals you should consider hiring:
A general contractor – They organize and supervise every aspect of the construction project. This includes getting permits and hiring subcontractors like plumbers or electricians if needed.
An architect – If you’re making structural changes, an architect will help you devise a plan to meet your needs and local building codes and provide construction drawings to obtain permits.
An interior designer – A full-service designer will help you come up with a plan and provide remodeling construction drawings along with design drawings. They’ll oversee the entirety of the project, including liaising with contractors and subcontractors. They’ll help you select all the finishes and decor to make your home look stunning.
When in doubt it’s always best to go with a professional who will help you avoid costly mistakes and save you time and money in the long run.
When selecting professional help, ask friends and family for recommendations, do your research to ensure you’re hiring experienced and licensed professionals. Get more than one estimate to make sure you’re hiring the right fit for you.
Plan For Set Backs
No matter how organized you are or how experienced your help is, there is always the possibility for unforeseen issues to arise.
Planning for contingencies in your budget helps, but also plan for this in your expected timeline. More often than not the project will take longer than you initially estimate. Also, prepare yourself emotionally – don’t get upset when issues come up, just focus on the resolution and moving forward.
It’s good to have a backup plan in case things don’t go according to your initial plan.
For a more comprehensive guide that includes our design resources and information about material selection download our free remodel guide here. Also, check out the National Association of Remodeling Industry for additional helpful advice.
If you decide you’d like a professional designer to take the stress off your shoulders, schedule a 30 minute consult with us.