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Renovating? Make These 9 Decisions Early On

Renovating? Make These 9 Decisions Early On
4 min. read

Image: Stock-Asso / Shutterstock.com

A successful renovation project requires a good amount of planning and flexibility. But besides that, there are some things that you really should decide on early. This will ensure the project runs smoothly and prevents you having to make rushed, last-minute decisions that you end up regretting.


Will you just freshen up the walls with a coat of paint, or are you going for structural changes? Some renovation projects may require permits, such as building or demolishing walls, installing fences or decks over a certain height, adding a garage, or even a fireplace. Also, make sure that your plumbing and electrical outlets are up for the job.


Regardless of the size of your renovation project, budgeting early on will save you a lot of hassle. Prospecting materials, colors, designs and so on will give you an idea of what costs to expect. But once you have that on paper, it’s best if you also prepare a 15-20% buffer for unexpected expenses or delays.


Designing the changes to your home is always the fun part of any renovation project, and also the one where you have the most freedom. At least at first. But what happens when the colors and materials you see in a catalog or shop end up looking like several shades of wrong in your home?

Take a moment to think about whether it’s worth hiring a designer or architect. You’ll still have the final word in the design, but they can help point out the ways in which some elements may not work, and even create a digital rendering that will give you a better picture of the finished product.

Floors and Tiles

When renovating, it’s usually best to start from the bottom and work your way up — unless you’re painting walls. Which is why picking the right floors and tiles is one of the first things you need to decide on. Tiles in particular will take up a significant part of your budget, and are also very difficult to replace later on. And while you’re at it, here’s one more thing to consider…

Underfloor Heating

Not only is it an energy efficient way to heat your home, but it will likely increase the property value if you decide to sell one day. It also works with both wooden floors and tiles, and can blend into any home design. However, installing floor heating is a costly and labor-intensive project, and not something you can decide on a whim.


Like underfloor heating, windows can also help increase the energy efficiency of your home. If your budget allows it, double pane glass is always a good choice. Think about whether you’d rather go for motorized window shades, or if you’d rather keep it simple with curtains and blinds. Also, think about the structural changes to your wall that might come with the new windows, especially if you’re considering floor to ceiling ones.


Surprisingly, appliances are also something you need to decide on early in your renovation project. The size and placement of the fridge and the stove will directly impact your countertops, for example. You also need to allow space for a sink waste disposal, a range hood, dishwasher, and anything else that’s going in the kitchen. It’s the same with the bathroom, where you need to decide if you have enough space for a washing machine and dryer, or whether you’d be better off creating a separate laundry room.


DIY-ing your way through home renovation projects can be a very appealing option. And if you only have a few small projects to get on with, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider it. But it can also become a slippery slope leading towards delays and complications.

It may seem like you’re cutting costs at first, but when you add up the money invested in tools and the time spent on the job, it soon loses its charm. Also, some projects are always best handled by professional builders. So when drawing an outline for your renovation, make a list of the jobs you can take care of yourself, and one for the ones you’ll need to hire someone for.

The Right Builder

Contractors will spend a lot of time in your home, which is why it’s important to find someone you can trust. But it’s not just about getting along with them. Take a look at the local companies and their reviews, then reach out to request a quote. Remember to specifically ask what is and isn’t included in the price. A low quote may seem like a steal, but it could pack several hidden costs. Also, keep an eye out for suspicious offers, especially if they sound too good to be true.

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