Home renovations have been some of the most exciting, but also most trying times in my life. My biggest advice is to just know yourself and what you’re cut out for, and don’t get in over your head, budget-wise. No beautiful home is worth the anxiety that comes along with consumer debt! If you have the extra money, it’s worth saving yourself the stress and hiring out the work, as long as you found someone good and trustworthy—otherwise it may equal even more stress! Sometimes homebuilding also equates to character building, and I’m talking about personal growth here, not investment growth. But the two aren’t mutually exclusive.
We used a hole saw to cut into the drywall between every stud, which should be placed every 16″ on center, but you should check with a stud finer first. You can rent blowers at hardware rental places, and then we bought some curved PVC pipe pieces to connect the blower to the holes we drilled. Then we dumped the shredded insulation we had bought into the blower and just blew it in! Pretty simple. The trickiest part was just patching all the drywall, but I’m sure you can find some drywall patching tutorials on YouTube. 🙂

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.
Hands down, one of the biggest returns on investment comes from a kitchen remodel. Most experts agree that if you plan on updating only one room in your home, it should be the kitchen. Large, open kitchens have become the social hub of the modern home. High-end touches like granite countertops, richly stained custom cabinets and energy-efficient stainless appliances are the gold standard in modern kitchens. Experts agree that kitchen remodels return an average of 80 to 85 percent of every dollar spent. You can expect an even higher return if you are remodeling a really outdated kitchen.

We used a hole saw to cut into the drywall between every stud, which should be placed every 16″ on center, but you should check with a stud finer first. You can rent blowers at hardware rental places, and then we bought some curved PVC pipe pieces to connect the blower to the holes we drilled. Then we dumped the shredded insulation we had bought into the blower and just blew it in! Pretty simple. The trickiest part was just patching all the drywall, but I’m sure you can find some drywall patching tutorials on YouTube. 🙂
The old adage that you only get one shot at a first impression is true. So, make the interior of you home shine from the moment someone walks through the door. For less than $400, hire a cleaning service for a thorough top-to-bottom scrubbing. Even if you clean your home regularly, there are nooks and crannies that you may miss or overlook. Let a cleaning service do the dirty work to really make your home sparkle.
If you have limited budget and need to keep the same footprint. Don’t worry, you can still give the impression that the space is a little bigger through the use of some tricks specifically made for that purpose. For instance, pedestal sinks are best known for making the room look more spacious, then clear glass shower doors are more preferable than the shower curtains on tubs as this would block the light and make it seem more enclosed. Likewise, you can also consider using a big mirror as an alternative to a small medicine cabinet mirror. Doing something like this could visually double the space around your vanity area.
Of course, finding less expensive ways to do expensive-looking things doesn’t begin and end at IKEA. All you need is a little creativity (and maybe a little help from design blogs) to come up with a less expensive way to do a project you’ve been dreaming of. I was able to create this large dynamic wall of chunky shelves for very little money by polishing up construction-grade lumber, and Laura made her closet doors look brand new with a little applied moulding. If you don’t want to shell out a lot of money to replace your laminate countertops, you could refinish them with concrete feather finish like Josh did in the Habitat House. And if you like shiplap and want to make it on the cheap, try using inexpensive lauan instead of shiplap siding! You’re really only limited by your creativity or your internet connection!
This planning would be very helpful and go a long way toward keeping with your bathroom renovation plan as you move along with the project. Once you start with the renovation, you have to know that the process could take around 30-90 days. No matter how long it is going to take, try to resist the temptation of changing your plans unless financial constraints or problems arise. Change of plans will force you to spend more and for the completion date to extend further out.
The first impression of your house is your door. If you are unable to change the door completely and if your existing door is in a good condition then you should repaint your door. Your doors could also affect the lighting of your room, and you could benefit from this great technique interior designed Amy Lau uses, “When dealing with a dark room, whatever color is used on the walls, I paint the ceiling, trim, and doors the same color but 50 percent lighter. Too much of one shade can overpower a space.” So, when renovating on a budget if you are repainting your door try to use different shades according to the concentration of light in your house to optimize the lighting of your house the way you want to.
Realtors agree that top on most homeownes' list of wants is ample storage space. For less than $5,000, consider upgrading your home's storage by adding custom shelving systems to a closet or garage. The first step to really getting organized is de-cluttering. Start by sorting your belongings, then stash them away in your new organized closet or garage to really maximize your home's value.
Due to the proximity of the bedroom to one’s bathroom, noise is usually an issue for most homeowners. If there aren’t any windows attached to the bathroom, an exhaust fan should be installed as it can help in removing moisture. Likewise, if you want to reduce the noise made by your toilet tank while it’s being refilled, then you should install a modern inlet valve.
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.
Shop around quite a bit before hiring professional help with your project. Elsie has mentioned that in order to save money, she didn’t use a general contractor initially when renovating her home. This ended up causing a lot of stress because of all of the organization involved with using different skilled workers in a project. You should check out the post she wrote about renovation mistakes, especially the parts about hiring out help. I don’t have too much experience with that aspect of home renovations, though I did hire someone to lay the stone veneer for our fireplace and also hired a crew to do some subfloor work and drywalling when I was too busy to do it myself last summer.
Try to use all the space of your bathroom as much as possible, if your bathroom is on the smaller side, then you have to unleash your creativity in order to design the space and make it look larger. Glass doors for tubs and showers are perfect if your purpose is to open up the room, and the pedestal sinks are ideal since they occupy lesser space when compared to cabinets.  All cabinets and tower cabinets above the toilets, as well as towel racks are perfect for those who need storage, but who don’t have much space to work with.
Walk around your home and make a list of all the little things that are broken or in need of repair. Individually, small repairs might not seem important, but if every room has just one thing wrong, those small things will add up to create the impression that your home has been neglected. If you don't feel comfortable tackling the repairs yourself, hire a handyman for a day and watch your "to do" list disappear. Staying on top of maintenance today eliminates problems down the road should you decide to sell.
I recommend starting with one or two rooms and finishing those before moving on to other areas. For one thing, most people find it difficult to finish a project before moving onto the next thing. Prioritize what will be the most intensive project and do it first, otherwise it may drag on for years! If you force yourself to finish one project before beginning another, you won’t have to live in a house full of unfinished rooms. Also, from a budget standpoint, beginning with only one or two rooms is smart because if you run into unexpected expenses, you can deal with them without having to halt work, take out a loan, or make huge compromises in other spaces.
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.

That’s a great point that good bathroom lighting will eliminate shadows on your face in the mirror. That would be really nice because then you wouldn’t ever be frustrated about not being able to see parts of your face well. We are thinking of doing a bathroom remodel, and the lighting is the top priority on my list because our current lighting is quite dim.
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.
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Shop around quite a bit before hiring professional help with your project. Elsie has mentioned that in order to save money, she didn’t use a general contractor initially when renovating her home. This ended up causing a lot of stress because of all of the organization involved with using different skilled workers in a project. You should check out the post she wrote about renovation mistakes, especially the parts about hiring out help. I don’t have too much experience with that aspect of home renovations, though I did hire someone to lay the stone veneer for our fireplace and also hired a crew to do some subfloor work and drywalling when I was too busy to do it myself last summer.
However, if you’re considering a home renovation, think practically about what you can and cannot do; painting the walls of a small bathroom may be totally feasible by yourself, but painting all of the walls of a 4,000-square-foot house is likely less so. While you may think you would be saving a lot of money by doing the work yourself, if it is something unfamiliar, it might cost even more to have a professional undo and then properly complete the project. 
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