Of course when selecting a contractor or skilled workers to help with your renovation, you’ll want to read lots of reviews or use personal recommendations from friends to choose someone you can trust. I highly caution against hiring a friend of a friend, unless you know of someone who had hired them in the past and had great things to say. I even would advise that you use caution when hiring friends and family to help, too. Someone might be a great friend but an awful contractor, and you don’t want to put a crimp in your friendship if things go south with your renovation. But on the flipside, when you have friends that you know are trustworthy and hard workers, your home renovation can be a great opportunity to give them work!
If you have moderate DIY skills, and want to take it up a notch—now’s the time! YouTube is your friend. As long as you have the availability to learn a new skill, and take your time to do it right, your determination is your biggest asset. If you don’t have the tools required, renting them from a local hardware store will still save you quite a bit of money, versus hiring someone to do the work for you. Plus, rental tool due-dates are great motivators to finish a job!
Painters generally don't expect tips, especially if you've hired a small company where the boss and his brothers are painting your house. Tipping is a must, however, if you ask a painter to touch up that little scuff on the dining room wall, which wasn't in the original contract. Most painters will oblige, and you should reward their generosity with a $15 to $20 tip if the extra work takes an hour or less.

If you have a larger budget and can afford to hire a carpenter to make custom-built shelves for your library, that’s amazing, and I 100% wish I could do that. But for those of us who are trying to stretch our dollars, there’s IKEA! I’ve used IKEA pieces as the base for my projects many times, from my cabinet workspace solution to my kiddos’ toy storage, and soon in the study at my new house.
Waiting for the money to renovate isn’t always a bad thing, because time is your friend when it comes to planning a renovation! If you have the money, it can be tempting to gut and renovate your home all at once, but it can be overwhelming to make a lot of good and cohesive design decisions when you’re factoring in so many things! If you rush things, you’ll most likely regret some of the choices you make.
You’re right that there should definitely be some kind of ventilation in a bathroom to prevent moisture build-up. My husband and I are remodeling our bathroom and removing the window that is attached to one wall (it’s just so awkward having one there) and installing a vent to replace it is definitely something we’ll want to look into. I’m not sure if we already have an inlet valve, but our toilet can be rather noisy, so we’ll have to talk to the contractor about that, as well.

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.
Whether you decide to hire a general contractor or individual subcontractors for the job, it’s important to find the right team to complete your home renovation. While word-of-mouth recommendations from friends might be enough for some, you may also consider doing a full-blown check on your contractor—looking into their license, certificate of insurance, lien history, bond number, and certification—to  ensure you’re dealing with a professional who is in good financial standing. Equally important is finding a contractor you get along with and who understands your vision, so it can be helpful to have an interview or preliminary discussion before the formal engagement of services. 
If you aren't planning to sell your house today, plan for the future with a landscaping improvement that will mature over time. Plant shade trees — not only will mature trees make your home more desirable but a fully grown, properly placed tree can cut your cooling costs by as much as 40 percent. Mature landscaping is also good for the environment, providing a necessary habitat for wildlife while adding valuable curb appeal to your home.
Whether your budget is big or small, the cost of a home renovation can quickly get out of control! I’ve gone through two budget-friendly kitchen renovations in the past three years, so I wanted to share some tips that can help you achieve and manage a renovation that works for your home and budget. Check out our first shoestring-budget renovation we did at our old home, and then see what we did in our newer home with a bit more money.
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.

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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