The Ultimate Guide to Planning a Home Renovation

Greetings from HartLand to all of you beautiful people out there!  We hope you are having a good week.  The weekend is almost here again.  Is that a time of relaxation for you, or…projects?  

While we do take a little time off to relax in the pool, we always seem to have a variety of things that need to be done.  Now.  Right now.  Let’s see…weeding, weeding, and more weeding.  Deadheading flowers in the garden.  Power washing the house.  Sweeping the porch.  Sweeping the endless number of little white stones that end up everywhere but in the driveway.  Picking mulch out of the gravel.  Washing all the windows.  Decorating for fall…my head hurts from the never-ending list of chores!  If my little list makes you weary, imagine having to renovate your whole house!  Where do you start?  Take a deep breath and read on.

Are you Renovating Your Home?

First of all, if you’re in a position to completely renovate your entire house, congratulations!  Do it well and you’ll feel like you just moved into a brand new home.  

Do it poorly and cut too many corners, and you’ll end up with renovation regret, so sit back, relax and read all of our home renovation tips.

How to Prepare to Renovate Your Home

1. Decide which areas of your home you plan to renovate.  

Keep in mind that your plans could change once your bids start coming in.  Things always cost more than you think, so realize this now and plan for it.

2. Before you begin, how long do you live in your home?  

If it’s your forever home, justifying a large expense is a whole lot easier if you plan to stay.  If you don’t plan to stay, what is your motivation to renovate?  Do you need to update to sell?  Do you just want to enjoy your home for a finite period of time?  It is important to consider these questions, as the answers will impact how much work you decide to take on, and will determine the quality of materials you plan to use (example carpet vs. hardwood floors).  Even if you don’t have a “champagne budget” you will still be able to find good-looking materials that will hopefully satisfy your vision.  Other things to think about:

  • Will you renovate the entire exterior and the entire interior of your home?
  • Will your renovation require an addition?
  • Will you renovate just the exterior?
  • Will you renovate just the interior?
  • Will you renovate specific rooms only?

3. Determine your budget.  

Once you figure out your budget, add another 20%.  Yes, for real.  People think that sounds high until they’re in the middle of the project and find that they’ve run out of money.  You also don’t want sticker shock at the end.

4. Will you do it yourself or hire someone?  

Do you have the skills necessary to carry out the scope of your renovation project?  Can you do certain things yourself?  Make a list.

5. Research contractors.  

We recommend that you find three or four contractors to bid out your job.

6. If your project is extensive and requires an addition, changes to your home’s architecture, or requires moving or removing walls? 

Hire an architect.  An architect will often work with a structural engineer to ensure structural safety and integrity.

7. If at all possible, hire an interior designer or decorator.  

This is an area people skip, and often realize after the fact that a good designer actually ends up saving money.

8. Sketch your vision; you don’t need to be a draftsman to do this.  

Just draw it out on a sketch pad so you have some type of visual representation.  Ask Cheyenne…she’s really good at this!

How Do you Plan for a Home Renovation

If you are planning to renovate your home, you may be overwhelmed with where to start. Read on for our tips on how to plan your home renovation!

What do you want your home to look like?  

Consider the inside to outside flow and make sure the styles are harmonious and compatible.  There’s nothing worse than walking into a lovely traditional home and then finding that the interior was badly updated to look “contemporary”.  Ugh.  Enough said.  If you have a contemporary interior, you darn well better have a contemporary exterior.  Likewise, if you want the modern farmhouse look, please don’t force that on a 1950’s mid century modern rancher.

Peruse Pinterest and Instagram for inspiration.

Check out our Pinterest if you are looking for inspiration, or want to save a specific photo we shared on our blog!

Again, hire a professional to help you. 

If you don’t require the full services of an interior designer, consider hiring an interior decorator to help you select finishes, paint colors, furniture, and fabrics.  You’ll be happier in the long run if this is not your forte.

Get my Free Design Estimate

Can you live in your home during renovation? 

If you can move your things from one area to another, the answer may be yes.  If your project is a major undertaking, you may be better off moving into an apartment for a few months, or perhaps with family, if that is a possibility (and you can stand each other for that long, lol).

Is it safe to stay in your home during a renovation?

If you plan to stay during the renovation, will you have water?  Electric?  Will you have to tiptoe around wet paint?  Will dangerous fumes be present in the house?

Determine your renovation timeline.

Determine a reasonable timeline and discuss with your contractor the importance of sticking to it!  Contractors are generally notoriously bad at sticking to a time schedule, and some are not very good at sticking to a budget.  Be watchful.

Looking for Home Renovation Resources? 

See our blog post called “What Came First the Chicken or the Egg” for information about choosing paint and fabrics.

See our blog post called “How to Add Color to Your Home” for advice on decorating with color.

See our blog post called “Would You Rather Be a Glass of Milk or a Pitcher of Cream” to see whether cream or white is the right color for your project.

Doing an exterior renovation?  Check out our “Shutters or No Shutters” blog post.

How about a kitchen renovation?  Take a look at our “How to Choose Colors for Your Kitchen Cabinets” post.

How and When to Make Your Selections During a Home Renovation

Make major selections before you get started.  

For example, there is a big difference in price between faux marble laminate, the real thing, and marble-look quartz.  Depending on the kind of marble you choose, quartz may be the most expensive option!  Do your research and take a look at our blog post on Brittany’s kitchen renovation.  She didn’t have the champagne budget, but she wanted a classic updated look.  She chose faux Carerra marble laminate for her countertops, and wow!  Fantastic look at a fraction of the price.

Make a list of all major purchases.

This includes appliances, furniture, accessories, etc.

Shop around!  

Cheyenne found a brand-new bathroom vanity from Potterybarn on Facebook Marketplace for a fraction of the price, as well as a brand-new, still in the box stainless steel farm sink.  She’s finding deals now for her future farmhouse (that is on hold at the moment).  Smart girl!

Create flow from room to room.  

A general rule to follow for those of you who have trouble with this, is pick a main color and two or three accent colors.  Rinse and repeat.  Okay, you don’t have to rinse, but you do need to repeat.  That’s how your design looks intentional, rather than thrown together.

Don’t Second Guess Yourself

Take it from a former second-guesser.  It only leads to wasted money, wasted time, and excessive worry.  Just don’t do it.  There will always be someone out there with a nicer house than yours.  There will always be someone out there with nicer stuff than you have.  So what?  When you die one day, you can’t take your house or your stuff with you.  Instead of shaving off years of your life with stress, do your due diligence, make solid decisions, and stick to them.  And then STOP looking at pictures.  Take a break from social media and focus on your project, watch it come together, and enjoy the journey, as they say.  When all is said and done you will have a fresh new space where you can make beautiful memories.  You won’t remember the hassle of pulling together the dining room paint, fabric, and furniture, but you will remember all of the family dinners and wonderful conversations.  

Until next time…

From the HartLand with Love,

Monica, Cheyenne & Brittany

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