Home remodeling can try even the strongest of souls. As much as we all want to be weekend warriors, a detailed plan will help you determine if you can go at it alone or you’ll need a professional’s help. Here are a few tips to start planning your home remodel.
Determine your budget.
The number one factor in any home remodel is budget. It will determine how well your dreams align with reality. You’ll need to provide contractors with a solid price range so they can help you understand the compromises or upgrades they will/can make to fit your budget.
If you’re doing it yourself, research materials to give you a better idea of where you can cut costs and where you can’t skimp. Aim high, most home remodel projects will cost more than you think.
Gather ideas and inspiration.
Mood boards are a great tool when you are communicating your vision to contractors or material suppliers. Include colors, textures, and finishes as well as fixtures, layouts and appliances (if applicable).
Print images from sites like Pinterest or Houzz or tear out pages from your favorite home magazines. Tack them to a small cork board or keep them in a folder for quick reference and portability. Display these images in your come for constant inspiration, especially if you are currently saving for your project.
Create a must-have list.
Form is easy, function is hard. Make a list of any built-ins, cabinets, bars, islands, flooring, plumbing etc. that will ensure the space fits your lifestyle. Consider how the remodel will change the traffic patterns in your home and make note of where exits, entrances, and windows will be installed for maximum efficiency.
If it’s a (mostly) DIY project, you may want to recruit a professional to check your existing structure for immovable support beams or plumbing.
Draw it out by hand or use software.
If you’re going completely rogue, it may be useful to invest in some home design software to help you with proportions and planning. Even if you’re not a pro behind the keyboard, there are some simple and free programs like Google’s SketchUp, are easy to pick up and let you create both 2D and 3D renderings of your ideas.
If you want to stay away from the screen, you can go the old school route and draw your plans by hand. Most likely, these drawings won’t be understood by any contractors you choose to use. A professional draftsman can create plans for your project that will translate between trades and can be used to acquire estimates. Typically, they will charge you a non-refundable design fee.
Get/make some estimates.
If your project is partially or completely DIY, you’ll need to gather some numbers on materials before you start working. Don’t guess how much of something you will need. Consult your supplier (measurements in hand) about the full amount you’ll spend on certain pieces of your project. You may need to find a more affordable option.
If you’re not hiring a professional contractor, chances are you’ll need some tools. Factor in the rental costs for specialized construction equipment that you’ll need to complete the project.
Don’t forget the small stuff. While you may just be concerned about the large ticket items like lumber, concrete or drywall, little items like sandpaper, nails, and paint can add up.
If you’re going to gather estimates from professional contractors, you will need professional design plans to do so. Estimates from contractors will usually be based on the rates of their trusted suppliers and may be more or less than you anticipated.
You DIYers would benefit greatly by consulting the tribe. Whether it’s an online forum, fellow homeowners or blog, ask every question that pops into your head and read the answers to those that didn’t.
Reddit is a great place to read useful home improvement content (and a few horror stories). Check out this subreddit. Don’t be afraid to post your own questions and get feedback from the community.
Reach out to other homeowners around you about their past/current projects and what they wish they knew before starting. Learn from their mistakes and successes!
Dreams are ideals. Life isn’t always ideal. To keep your project pathway clear of unnecessary stress, begin with an open mind. Know that your plans may have to change suddenly due to money, material or morale issues. Taking a deep breath and realize that great change takes time.
Are your ready to remodel?