5 Keys to a Successful Home Renovation

home renovation research

You've been doing your research and need a little more help on how to steer clear of the potholes in the home renovation process. Whether this is your first project or not, consider some of these points to give yourself a leg up.


When working on a home renovation, one of the most important parts of getting what you want is having a solid direction with milestones and proper timelines. Without this you won't have a path to walk down and you won't have an end goal in mind. There are many elements to consider as you change your current space into a completely new one. The abstract story that describes your family has to come across in the finished product and to do this you have to put all the little details together in just the right way. A lot of decisions need to be weighed and carefully made along the way to create an effect that is functional and says "you". 

A home designer is key because they are bringing the process to you while helping you tie all the little decisions and details together along the way. Trusting a home designer to take your research and planning and help you bring it all together can be difficult at first, but as soon as you start walking down the road you will see how great of a value they can be. Having worked with many clients on similar journeys, a home designer can bring experience, expertise and insight to your home renovation project.

Here are the major components to the process:

  • Layout
  • Finish selection
  • Quoting Products
  • Selecting a contractor
  • Construction

Selecting a Good Contractor

A great addition to all the work you are putting into your home renovation project would be having a good contractor. There a several elements that make a good contractor:

  • They have a process they work by too
  • Responsive to your questions and ideas
  • Has weekly meetings with you to make sure you stay on the same page
  • Gives you a schedule - helps everyone to know when they are needed on the job site

That being said, every home renovation project has hiccups. These hiccups can make or break schedules and timelines. If a contractor gives you a schedule with a lot of detail and not generalizing the work to be done, all parties will be better off. When a contractor gives you a general idea of when things will be done, they typically will use all of that time and more. Having a more narrowed approach helps everyone to make your home renovation project a high priority.



If you've honed in on the prior two "keys" you will notice the common theme is communication. As said before, there are a lot of decisions that have to be juggled at any given time, so the more everyone knows what is going on, the better. Establishing a method of communicating prior to beginning the project can put everyone on the same page. Choose email, phone or some other form that everyone has access to and is comfortable using during business hours.

Also a big part of communication during design and construction is having realistic deadlines. Not generalizing the work to be done and having more focused effort on who is doing what by a certain time is the best practice.

Specification Binder

When you hire a home designer, one of the best gifts they will give you is a specification binder (spec binder). This binder can hold the actual key to getting the home renovation project done correctly. In one binder your home designer will organize your project. Some of the components include:

  • Drawings
  • Pictures
  • Finishes
  • Dimensions

Any good contractor likes organization. By having all of the design decisions in one hard copy binder that is kept on the job site, the contractor, home designer and client can use it as a reference when working and making further decisions. This is one major way the home designer can help the contractor do his job better. The contractor can also use this spec binder to more accurately bid on the project and produce timelines for the client.


Hands of time1.jpg

During the design phase of a home renovation, it is "key" to be realistic with what is going to happen during the process. Ordering cabinets for the kitchen can take weeks from the time you place the order until you receive the shipment. Your home designer should be able to gauge a pretty close guess on when the cabinets will come in so everyone can continue to work at a productive pace. The best idea is to build in buffers of time. This will allow you to account for setbacks during any phase. When you meet with your home designer on the front end of the home renovation project, be honest with one another. How long could it take? Are you okay with that timeline? 

A home designer is essential in bringing a home renovation together. From helping you pull your ideas together to helping you select a contractor and provide oversight to the construction phase of the project, they are worth their weight in gold. Your dream will be realized and your story will be told more effectively and beautifully with the help of a home designer. 

Posted on June 6, 2014 and filed under Home Renovation, Interior Designer.