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Getting an Understanding of the Renovation Process

Jul 23, 2008
Whether you are looking to sell your home or simply add value, the kitchen and bath are the two key rooms in any home. These spaces should be comfortable and welcoming, while reflecting both the homeowner's personality and a safe and efficient design solution.

Even for seasoned remodelers, a renovation project can be a stressful and confusing process. From choosing a designer and selecting a style, to establishing and sticking to a budget, kitchen and bath projects can be daunting to any homeowner. Here are several tips to help simplify the process:

Analyze your space. The first step is to decide what is the goal of your remodel. Are you looking to add extra space, upgrade the kitchen/bathroom, improve security, make changes for health reasons or just to improve your living space? Is there room to expand or redesign the existing floor plan? It is important to get feedback and input from the rest of your household. Be sure to consider the short- and long-term implications of your renovation decision. It is important ensure that your project will add value to your home, and that you don't spend more than you will get back when it is time to sell.

Map out the terrain. As you make your observations, write down your daily routine on paper. It is important to know what features of your kitchen work and which ones need to be changed. As you do this, be sure to note all obstacles that now keep your current kitchen or bathroom from meeting your needs. Start to look closely at how you and your family use the kitchen and bath. Note traffic patterns and how accessible the important features are to all family members.

Start gathering ideas. Look through magazines and save photos of rooms, products and floor plans that catch your eye. Don't just look at the traditional outlets for design, such as design studios and home improvement stores... visit your neighbors homes. See what features you like and don't like from all the homes in your neighborhood. Don't limit yourself to what you think you can afford at this point. Build an idea file of the things that appeal to you. The idea file will help you create a context, a look and feel that best reflects your personal tastes and will act as a stimulus and constant reference point for your plan.

Set a budget. The next logical step is to look at what this will cost. Money is always an object, so this is a good time to determine how much you want to invest in your kitchen or bathroom. What is the total amount you are willing to spend and how much can or are you willing to borrow? Establishing your priorities early will help decide where to spend the money. Don't forget the most important rule of remodeling... always factor in an extra 10-15% to your budget for unexpected expenses.

And lastly, once you are ready to start your project, always look for a licensed contractor with strong references. It is important to communicate your needs and your vision. Too many renovation projects turn into a disaster because of inexperienced help or lack of communication.
About the Author
Find out where the experts go to get all of their kitchen cabinets and accessories. Learn how to save thousand on wood cabinets by buying them where contractors and builders shop.
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