For the past few months, you’ve probably been spending a lot of time at home. Staring at the same four walls day after day can make you start thinking about how to improve your space.
Before you start knocking out walls or reaching for a can of bright yellow paint (no, it’s not going to make your living room seem brighter), stop and take a moment to think before you renovate. Home makeovers are more expensive and longer lasting than even the worst DIY haircut, so it’s important to proceed with caution.
Read on for 6 things to consider before starting your home improvement project—we promise you’ll thank us later!
#1 When in Doubt, Ask Your Landlord
If you’re lucky enough to own your own home, you can skip this step. If you’re subject to your landlord’s rules, it’s important to make sure your home improvement projects aren’t going to cause you to violate any terms in your lease.
In some cases, making too many changes to your rental can cause you to lose your security deposit. No matter how great you think that new wallpaper will look, it isn’t worth causing an issue with your building’s management team.
#2 Determine How Much You Think Your Project Will Cost. Then Add More.
One of the best pieces of advice we can give you when it comes to your home improvement projects is to expect the unexpected.
Setting a budget that’s bigger than what you think you need may end up saving you from having to live in a house with a half-way completed project. Even if everything goes smoothly, there will probably be equipment you didn’t know you needed or tools you realize you can’t live without. Do your research and consider an HVLP list or a review of the tools your might need to complete your tasks. Research is crucial and reviews can be super helpful for saving time and money.
#3 Figure Out a Timeline. Then Extend It.
Again, expect the unexpected. You might think installing a new carpet can be done in one weekend… until you pull up the existing carpet and realize you have to replace the sublayer below it.
Even the most detailed plans can go awry!
#3 More than Just Aesthetics
When you determine how much you’re willing to invest in your home improvement projects, remember that spending money on your home can yield higher returns if you plan to sell. If you’re getting your home in tip-top shape in the hopes of getting a return on your investment, you may want to approach your finances differently.
Saving money on other home expenses like your mortgage can help you allocate funds towards your projects. Refinancing your mortgage, applying for a VA streamline refinance loan, or switching from an adjustable to a fixed-rate mortgage are all great options to consider.
#4 We Know You’re Handy, but Sometimes You Need A Pro
Some high-stakes home improvement projects are instances where hiring a professional will pay off in the long-run. There might not be big consequences associated with rearranging furniture or hanging a few pictures, but some projects can leave lasting structural damage to your home if they aren’t done correctly.
Consider hiring a pro for the following kinds of projects:
- Plumbing – If your project is in the kitchen or bathroom, you’ll want to consult with a plumber to make sure you don’t end up damaging your pipes. Even a small leak can turn into a big problem over time.
- Lighting – If you’re doing anything more than changing a few lightbulbs, please call an electrician. Not only is trying to do the wiring for your new recessed lighting going to be frustrating, but it’s also dangerous if you’re a novice.
- Tile Work – Although installing new tile in your home might not be as dangerous as working with water lines or electricity, it still requires a level of intricacy and precision that’s beyond the skill level of the average homeowner.
#5 Dream Big
A big part of successfully tackling a home improvement project is having a clear vision. Knowing what your dream home looks like can help you bring that vision to life.
If you’re feeling uninspired, try taking some time to:
- Cozy up with a design magazine
- Make a Pinterest board (or 10)
- Get lost in IKEA
- Have an HGTV marathon
That being said…
#6 It’s a Balancing Act
Having a vision is important, but so is being realistic.
If you dream of having an outdoor pool but live in a condo with no yard, you may need to redirect your energy and ambitions. Striking a balance between what you want, what you can afford, and what you can actually do is key to making your project a success.
You’re Ready to Renovate!
If you’ve checked everything off the list above, you’re ready to start renovating. No matter how big or small your project may be, it feels great to put time, effort, and intention into your space. There are plenty of reasons why you should tackle some home improvement projects, and now you’re prepared to make your home the best it can be.