We have all watched those shows on HGTV where the homeowner walks into a beautifully designed space and wondered how we could get the same results without having our own huge production team.  Those rooms all started with a plan and with some upfront homework, that’s exactly what homeowners can create.

The time and energy you invest in planning your renovation will make a huge difference in terms of the success of the project.  Plan, plan and then plan some more.

1. Walk around your home and write down what you love and what you hate about each room.  

  • Consider how you currently use a room and perhaps, how you’d like to.  For example, if you have a formal living room but prefer to entertain your guests more informally in the kitchen, maybe that room could serve a different purpose.
  • Do some fortune telling and look to the future.  Do you have plans to expand your family and an extra bedroom would be needed or do you intend to invite an aging family member into your home and a basement suite would be a better option?
  • Ask yourself, how long you plan to live in your home?  If this is your forever home, then make a plan that suits your aesthetic and long-term needs.  If you’re planning on selling your home in a few years, then consider what future buyers would like.

2. Look at your list and ask yourself, what are your priorities?  Which items are must-have, and which ones are nice to have, but aren’t essential?

3. Set a budget.  What can you realistically spend on your renovation?  This is an extremely important step so you can appropriately plan within that amount.  There are beautiful options in all price points but a renovator or designer will need to know your budget so that they can provide you quotes that work for you. You shouldn’t be afraid to provide your renovator with your budget. A good renovator or designer will be able to give you the best possible result, and stay within your financial comfort level, by having you budget at the start of the process.

4. Now, it’s time to dream.  Pick up some design magazines or create an on-line pin board and start compiling images of rooms, paint colours and furniture that you like.  You can become overwhelmed by options at this stage, so really focus on what you love.  You’ll start to see some patterns emerge which will set the direction of your design plan.

5. Seek expert advice.  This is when talking to a designer, builder, architect, etc. can provide guidance and give you a better idea of the total cost.  Is it possible to take down a wall or move a staircase?  Will you need to move plumbing and electrical which will add to the cost?  Are there any building guidelines or regulations that need to be considered?

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6. Now that you have obtained some feedback on your plan and what it’ll cost, you may need to go back and revise your must-have list.  Again, you need to consider how long you’re going to be in your home.  You don’t want to invest money that you won’t be able to recoup if you sell your home in five years.

7. With a budget and plan in place do your homework when selecting a builder or renovator.  Once you’ve found someone you want to work with, it’s time to create a detailed plan.  Remember, we started this with “Plan, plan and then plan some more”.

It’s at this stage, when bringing in an experienced professional and working together with them, you will add the final touches to your renovation plan to ensure that it is a success.

Our next article will explore what you can expect and plan for during your renovation.