Updated: Oct 9, 2020
Renovating a house is a big undertaking, and therefore not something to be taken lightly or done without proper planning. The key to a successful renovation lies in proper planning and organization: planning a budget, organizing a work schedule, planning contractor work hours, organizing a list of priorities, etc. However, the first step, and arguably most important step to a successful renovation, is asking yourself the following questions.
1. What do you want to renovate?
While it may seem like the most obvious place to start, asking yourself what you want to renovate is still a very important step. When you renovate one room, the appearance of all adjoining spaces may be affected. If you only renovate your kitchen, for example, the dining room that is right across the counter may appear dated or have clashing aesthetics. Even if you are working on a limited budget or determined to execute a room-by-room approach, you still need to consider how one space will affect others and plan accordingly.
2. How will you use the newly renovated space?
When designing a renovation, it is very easy to get caught up in design choices without considering the practicality of an option, or how likely you are to even use that high-end niche product you are considering. It is important to consider what use you will give the room you are renovating when designing. For example, will your new living room be a place for entertaining guests, or will you be entertaining yourself with a flat-screen TV? Will your kitchen be catering for huge dinner parties, or will it be a shared living space for a family? These decisions may seem superficial, but in fact should drive the function, look, and design of the renovated room.
3. How much can you really afford to spend?
A renovation is not something you can go into with a shoestring budget and expect it to go well, but at the same time you need to be realistic about what you can afford. When making the budget there are a lot of things that you need to plan for. Your budget should include room for taxes, consultant fees, and surveys, as well as accommodations for you and your family if you need to vacate the home while renovating. Additionally, the budget needs to include room for appliances, lighting fixtures and new furniture; that sounds obvious, but many people leave it as an afterthought and run out of money before it comes time to furnish their new rooms. Additionally, there will almost always be unexpected costs outside your construction budget that can sneak up on you, so you should consider having a buffer for these costs.
4. What are your aesthetic preferences?
If you’re working with a designer, you should let them know right from the start what design choices are paramount for your renovation. Let them know whether you want bright, bold colors, or more subdued, neutral colors in your design. Similarly, you should make sure you choose the right materials for your aesthetic designs: do you prefer sleek and shiny surfaces like lacquered wood and glass, or do you prefer more subtle matte finishes? Do you want hardwood and tile surfaces, or carpeted floors? Do you want to focus on more sustainable and energy efficient design choices, or do you want to focus more on the aesthetics of the room? Do you need to plan for long term accessibility for your forever home, or are you just designing for the next 5 to 10 years? These choices should be made relatively early into the process, so you can choose your furnishings and get everything squared away. We recommend using a tool like Houzz or Pinterest to consolidate your design style preferences before your first meeting.
5. What are your storage needs?
Decisions about storage will likely be guided by other questions, but it’s still an important decision you need to make. Do you have a lot of stuff such as furniture and decorations that will need to be stored while you’re renovating? How much of your furnishings will be purchased for this renovation, and how much of what you currently have will you want to sell or throw out? Storage is an important part of your renovation plans, as it can be difficult to work around furniture that is kept on site, and it can be expensive or difficult to make use of storage solutions at the end of the project.
By carefully thinking through these five key questions at the onset of your project is the first step to a successful renovation. Whether in the Tampa Bay or afar, our experienced team at Ramos Companies can lead you through our design and preconstruction process to help you get answers to all these questions, and which typically costs 5% of the project budget.