The First Step – Even before you consult an architect, you can begin sketching out your ideas and imagining your remodeled home. If you are adding or expanding a room, think about how the space will be used and how the changes will affect traffic patterns. Also consider how new construction will effect the overall context of your home. An over-sized addition may overwhelm your house or crowd a small lot. There are many magazines on the market that are filled with ideas to help get you started on both large and small projects. Home improvement shows or a simple home design software program can help you visualize your project.
Learn from Others – One of the best ways to get inspiration and to avoid pitfalls is to follow the experiences of other homeowners. A number of web sites offer online chronicles of home improvement projects, along with reply forms, message boards and chat rooms that let you ask questions and get feedback.
Think Ahead – Although you may dream of having a spacious new addition, the project may not make sense if you plan to sell your house in a few years. A luxury bathroom or kitchen can price your house beyond the values in the neighborhood. Some projects, such as modernizing a historic home will actually decrease the value of your property. Moreover, your own family’s needs may be very different in a few years. A little research now will ensure the plans you draw today will fit your future.
Plan Within Your Budget – Chances are your remodeling project will cost more than you expect. Be prepared to compromise. If you have your heart set on high end ceramic tile in your kitchen, perhaps go with a nice mid grade in your bathroom. Find out how much you have to spend and make sure you have a cushion against cost overruns. For must have items that could wipe out your savings account, explore home improvement loans and other financing options.
Choose your Team – Unless you plan to take on the entire remodeling project by yourself, you’ll need a qualified contractor. You’ll want to make sure that he is licensed, and properly insured. If a project is large enough to require drawings, your contractor should be able to recommend an architect that is capable of designing your project. Remodeling can be overwhelming, picking out tile, paint, floor coverings etc., a good interior designer can help you in coordinating your choices for your desired outcome.