What to Keep in Mind When Remodeling Your Home

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Remodeling a house can be quite the undertaking. And while it's often on many home buyer's lists of must-dos, there's so much to keep in mind before committing to a big change. Whether you're looking to update an old home or want your house tailor-made to suit your family's specific needs, we've made a list of do's and don'ts to keep in mind when renovating.

"Remodeling is a lot of work, but can also be very fun and rewarding," says Home Depot expert Danny Watson. According to Watson, five common areas for remodeling include the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, garage storage, and new security systems. We're sharing tips to make the most of your plans. Before getting started, Watson recommends taking all of your belongings into account. Not only will this help you figure out what you'll need to insure, but it'll also help you prioritize different aspects of your renovation. Meanwhile, interior designer Kate Lester says to measure everything from the start. "If you are not doing drawings, then tape out spacing using blue tape," she says. "This way you can see how everything will look in real-time and see if you need to make any last-minute adjustments or reselections."

Renovations can get pretty pricey. There are ways to ensure all of your renovation aspirations come true, without breaking the bank. "Painting and changing out hardware is within most people's reach," says Watson. Taking on the work yourself, for minor projects, can help cut costs. "An easy way to update a door is to change out the door hardware…it will look brand new," Watson says. Ahead, explore important ideas to consider when renovating or remodeling your home.

01 of 17

Take an Audit of Belongings

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"The first step is always to take an audit of belongings," says Watson. "This will ensure you have an idea of your assets for insurance purposes, but also will help you decide what items are a priority and what items can be thrown out."

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Tidy Up

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Watson says, "It is so helpful to clean out all the old items lying around that have not be used in years. This often frees up space to re-imagine the layout of a room, and also might remind renovators of the décor they already have at their fingertips."

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Have a Storage Game Plan

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Courtesy of the Home Depot

Next, Watson encourages homeowners to come up with a storage game plan. "Where will you put all your things during the remodel? Is there a spare room you can use for storage, or do you need to procure a storage unit? A smart and easy way to get things organized is to employ a shelf like the Husky Black 4-Tier Heavy Duty Welded Steel Garage Storage Shelving Unit ($218.90, homedepot.com)," he says. Making sure you're prepared and organized will make a huge difference during the remodel.

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An easy way to cut costs during a remodel is to plan and make a list of priorities, recommends Watson. A little research at the beginning of the project can save you time and money down the road.

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Put in the Work

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Another simple way to reduce costs is to do some of the simpler work yourself. Most households can easily handle a paint job, says Watson.

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Do Some Homework on Big-Ticket Items

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"A suggestion is to do your research before purchasing big items," says Watson.

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Stay Organized

Kate Mathis

"At our office, we create a project binder and we also keep a plastic box that houses anything too large or heavy for the binder," says Lester. The binder can include everything from wood and tile samples to fabric swatches, and the like. "These samples come in handy later to see the space as 'whole' when you need to pick grout or paint, and everything is a mess or covered up." Lester suggests making a tab for each room within the binder and keeping your design board and a tear sheet for each of the items you purchased in each corresponding tab. "Make sure these sheets have dimensions and any other pertinent information the contractors or sub-contractors will need," she urges.

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Space Plan


Lester says to layout lights and mirrors with blue tape in the bathroom or tape out the furniture and rugs so you can see how it feels with the new kitchen layout and fireplace. "This will save you time and money in the long run!" she says.

09 of 17

Set a Budget

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Do set a budget. This might seem like a no-brainer, but it's an important step. "It's a great way to see where you are and if you have room to add along the way (since you probably will!)," says Lester.

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Hire a General Contractor

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"Managing all of the trades in the most efficient manner, and in the order they should be is a true art form!" says Lester. "Hire a professional and it will save you time, energy, and money in costly mistakes." She says it's always easier if you have a good rapport with the person you've enlisted to run the project. "Also don't automatically go with the least expensive person, because you assume it's the best deal. Often times, contractors are not bidding apples to apples, so make sure each person who is bidding knows what you want upfront and can give you accurate (and realistic) pricing from the get-go."

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Be Patient

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Courtesy of Tharon Anderson

Lester urges those remodeling their homes to be patient. "The truth is that most projects take longer than anticipated and that's usually because our clients add things along the way," she says. "So be patient with your trades and know that if you are adding to your scope of work you need to add to your timeline as well."

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Make Choices as Soon as You Can

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Davies Imaging for K Squared Interior Design and Construction

"Don't wait to select or order your tile, plumbing, lighting, appliances, etc," says Lester. "It's much better for you and your team if the materials are already on-site waiting for them when they start work."

13 of 17

Schedule Meetings


Lester says scheduling meetings depends on the size and scale of the project. "I think a weekly meeting is great—even if there are no big decisions that need to be made, it's a great way to check-in with your [general contractor], talk about the upcoming schedule for the week ahead, and make sure everyone is prepared and has what they need to proceed without delay!"

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Know When to Hire Experts

Fixer Upper
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Lester says to bring in a contractor once there is more than one trade involved in your house renovation. "You may think you are replacing your cabinets until…you need to move the sink a little and then decide on a farmhouse style and want a library light above and need to relocate a switch and add a box," she says. "Now all of a sudden your cabinet replacement just turned into a project that needs coordination between a plumber, electrician, and cabinetmaker." Lester says it's too much for most people to handle, and peace of mind is worth the money for hiring a professional. "Bring in an interior designer as soon as you hire the contractor!" she says. "This ensures they have time to coordinate their processes and it gives your designer time to make proper selections before work gets started."

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Don't Throw Out Receipts


Keep all receipts for everything. You will need them for any possible returns later and for tax purposes.

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Do Clean Your Walls


Always have extra paint and cleaning products—specifically designed to clean your walls. They will get nicked and dirty. That's a given. But create a solution that works for your wall and keep it in a bottle marked "wall cleaner."

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Don't Forget Rolling Racks


Buy rolling racks. They are so important. Not only can they hold your clothing (during a closet renovation), but you can store bedspreads on them.

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