From the tiles that will go on the walls to the appliances that will be installed, anyone who has completed a home renovation before knows that it is better to have just about everything picked out before you begin the work. This is because you will need to make numerous decisions once the renovation starts, and the more you’ve made beforehand, the better off—and better educated—you will be. Online tools like Pinterest, showroom visits, and/or material samples can help, and don’t be afraid to start purchasing items to get the ball rolling. 
If you’re house hunting for a fixer-upper, look out for moisture issues, foundation concerns, and bug infestation. These are the top three nightmares where renovation budgets are concerned! Have your home inspector check walls with a moisture meter, particularly around entryways were wood rot can be a concern. If you can do the inspection after a recent rain, that’s even more informative. Cracks in the foundation may be due to settling, but they may also indicate problems with the foundation which are extremely expensive to correct. When getting a home inspection, you’ll have to decide if you want to pay an additional fee for a bug inspection, but who wants to find out halfway through a renovation that you have carpenter ants or termites? Nobody! It’s worth the extra expense upfront.
Invite a realtor or interior designer over to check out your home. Many realtors will do this as a courtesy, but you will probably have to pay a consultation fee to a designer. Check with several designers in your area; a standard hourly fee is normally less than $100, and in an hour they can give you lots of ideas for needed improvements. Even small suggested improvements, such as paint colors or furniture placement, can go a long way toward improving the look and feel of your home.
Before we get started, I wanted to talk about what a “budget renovation” means. The word “budget” isn’t synonymous with cheap. Whenever you spend money, it’s a good idea to know how much of your total income or savings is allotted for the purchase, whether it’s simply a meal out, or something big like a new stove. If you’re planning to do work on your home, I recommend starting with a dollar amount that you’re able to spend before you begin making design choices. Then you can price fixtures and materials and begin to get a grasp on what will work with your budget and what won’t.
Plan your project from start to finish. Talk to friends or family members who have had remodeling work that you like. Try to find pictures of what you like to show what you want. If you are leaving any decisions up to the contractor, make sure you put budget and material requirements in the contract. Be clear about who is responsible for ordering materials and when they need to do it. Remember that delivery times may affect your schedule. Decide what time workers may be in your home and where they should store any materials and equipment when they are not there.
The biggest way I saved money in both of my kitchen renovations was by reusing cabinetry and some appliances. If you need more than paint and new hardware to be happy with your kitchen cabinet doors, then be aware that you can still save a lot of money by refacing doors to change the style, or even replacing the doors but leaving the cabinet body in place.
Replacing the cracked concrete surfaces around your home can cost a small fortune. But for a fraction of that cost, concrete can be resurfaced in a multitude of colors and finishes. Consider adding a cobblestone finish to your driveway, a brick look to an old walkway or a slate finish around the pool or patio. Whichever texture you choose, it will be a huge improvement over standard concrete and potential homebuyers will really take notice.
While it goes without saying that any project needs a budget to keep costs in check, it's not always an easy task to find the balance between your dream designs and the amount in you've allotted for a project. This is why it is essential to get a true understanding of pricing, both with materials and labor, so you can gauge expectations accordingly. 

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Get the most bang for your buck by spending more on statement items, such as quartz countertops or a statement stove, but reserve funds in other less impactful areas. This is a balance you’ll have to figure out yourself, since it varies so much depending on your project and style inclinations. But, in general, I like to spend more money on hardware and less on doors/cabinets. Find your own balance, but don’t make the mistake of going too fancy with an appliance only to install cheap formica countertops. The key is to find balance, not extremes.
There are certain regulations that must be followed for proper ventilation in your bathroom. Not only is it code, but it is also better for your health. Without proper ventilation, things like aerosol sprays will be left to stagnate the air. Over time, this would make it more and more uncomfortable to use the bathroom. Most bathrooms remodeling requires some form of ventilation, either through a centralized system or through the installation of the window.  Shower doors, panels, and screens need to leave ample space for ventilation. The steam that builds up during a hot shower an permeate the air to the point where it becomes difficult to breathe. During a shower, you need someplace for the steam to escape, and ventilation helps circulate fresh air into the room.  Besides, there should always be enough space for clearance during an emergency. In some cases, custom shower solutions offer you the ability to have a glass transom that can be tilted open to release steam and other particles in the air. Adding a fan to the bathroom boosts your bathroom’s ventilation capabilities. If you already have a fan installed, you may want to add a second one depending on the size specifications of your bathroom.
Big projects or small, probably all of us could stand to learn some decent home repair or home improvement skills. (All around the home, there are things we should never have to pay others to fix for us.) Learn Bob Villa-worthy skills and help others at the same time by volunteering or through free clinics and other resources. Turn to great reading resources and try starter projects too. If you get stuck on a project, iOS app Fountain will connect you to a home improvement expert to answer your question for $5. (Also, did you know we have a home improvement subblog here at Lifehacker called Workshop?)
Thanks for these remodeling tips. I didn’t know that it’s important to make sure that your new bathroom is ventilated properly especially if it can help prevent mildew buildup. I’m kind of interested to learn more about how to take this consideration into the initial planning of the project, and how to determine where the best location of the vent should be.
Most en suite bathrooms are attached to the master bedroom, but there may be exceptions depending on the layout of your home. They are meant to be more private spaces than guest bathrooms, allowing you to put a more intimate or creative touch to this space. They are convenient due to their proximity to the bedroom, helping you maintain a comfortable amount of privacy.  Dating back to the 1960s, en suite bathrooms have become commonplace in the modern home. You can add simple or elegant upgrades to your en suite bathroom to make it a distinct selling feature. If you don’t currently have an en suite, you can add one by converting a large closet or building onto the bedroom.

This might not save you money up front, but it certainly will in the long run! If you know you’ll be happy with patterned tiles covering most of your open-concept kitchen, then feel free to take that plunge. But removing tile, repairing walls, and replacing tile can be a big project, so if you’re not sure you can live with something so bold and permanent, make a safer choice you’ll be happy with for years to come. Obviously we’re seeing a lot of subway tile in kitchens these days, but to be fair, it’s a classic material that will age well, and it also provides a nice neutral backdrop for other easily changed trendy items like a candy colored stand mixer, pink painted walls, or a basket-style pendant light.

One of the most expensive changes you can make in renovations is moving the big guys. I’m talking about sinks, bathtubs, stoves, walls, and windows. Sometimes removing a wall means needing to install expensive load-bearing beams, but other times opening up a wall might be easier than relocating a gas line and ventilation for a stove. Not only do you need to pay for the materials to support the move (plumbing, conduits, wiring, beams, new countertops, cabinets, etc.), but you usually will need to hire a professional to do the work. Unless the functionality of your space is really suffering, it’s not always worth the cost involved with making these big-time changes to your home’s footprint.
If you jump into a remodeling project with an ambiguous contract or no contract at all, you may as well hire an attorney and set a court date right away. "The contract needs the right address, a start date, a completion date, and a detail of what is and is not going to be done," says Rosie Romero, founder of Legacy Custom Builders in Scottsdale, Arizona.
The size of your home dramatically affects the value, but square footage isn't the only space that counts. Visual space or how large a home feels also counts. The key is to make each room in your house feel larger. Replace heavy closed draperies with vertical blinds or shutters to let light in — a sunny room feels larger and more open. Also, try adding a single large mirror to a room to visually double the space. Finally, clear the clutter. The more clutter, furniture and plain old stuff you have in a room, the more cramped it will feel. For less than $400, add an attractive shelving unit to an underused space and store your clutter out of sight.

No one knows your kitchen space better than you do and your storage needs building DIY storage kitchen cabinets will not only help you save money and reuse old materials at your house but it will also ensure that you’re building exactly what you need. If you already have cabinets which are enough for storage then you don’t need to replace them you can just repaint them to make your kitchen look as good as new.


Dear Debbie: Tipping isn’t the standard in the home services trades, as it is in the restaurant and personal grooming trades. Still, it’s a question many homeowners wrestle with. To help answer it, Angie’s List recently polled nearly 5,000 home service professionals across the nation to find out if they expect a tip and if so, what they tend to collect.
The vanity could very well be the largest piece of “furniture” in your bathroom. As such, you have a prime opportunity to show off your style with a vanity makeover! In a DIY bathroom remodel, you may not feel completely comfortable with replacing the vanity altogether…or you might. But if you don’t, there are still some great ways that you, yourself, can take your bathroom vanity from drab to fab.
A "bright" way to increase the value of your home is to lighten up. Adequate lighting in a home makes a big difference. Not only does a bright, well-lit room feel more cheerful but it also makes spaces feel larger and cleaner. A well-lit room also shows that you have nothing to hide, so should you decide to sell, prospective buyers will feel at ease when touring your home. Hire an electrician to add recessed lights to a dim kitchen or family room or to brighten up a formal dining or living room with elegant sconces. You'll enjoy the bright effect now and your home will feel warmer and more welcoming to homebuyers.

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The thrill of a home renovation can quickly be diminished by unforeseen circumstances, stretched budgets, and other unexpected issues. The good news is that most of the time these problems can be mitigated, if not avoided entirely, by keeping an eye out for warning signals. Read on as we go through essential home renovation tips to consider before kicking off your own revamp.
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