Getting Ready for a Reno? Check Out These Design Resources First

What to know before you renovate.
By: Erin Loechner
Similar Topics:

You know the idea that a goldfish only grows as big as his bowl allows? In a world full of massively large fish bowls, Husband and I decided we wanted to keep our goldfish teeny weeny. And by goldfish, we mean (a) our mortgage, (b) our household duties and (c) our clutter. And although there may be very little glamor involved in owning a tiny home, it’s certainly the right lifestyle for us.

Colorful Victorian Home With Porch and Small Garden

Colorful Victorian Home With Porch and Small Garden

Photo by: Photo by Janet Loughrey

Photo by Janet Loughrey

With that said, small spaces present their own set of design dilemmas, and Husband and I embarked on a research-heavy adventure to find out exactly how to utilize the space that we did have. One of the incredible benefits to renovating is the amount of information available online. From kitchen planning to renovation checklists, the opportunities for a feasible and efficient remodel are incredible.

BPF_original_glam_livingroom_table_styling_h

BPF_original_glam_livingroom_table_styling_h

Photo by: Brian Patrick Flynn

Brian Patrick Flynn

Of course, we began our research the old-fashioned way with a few great books on the subject. On our recommended reading list:

I can’t sing the praises of these books enough. The knowledge we gained from reading about real homes, real spaces and real lives was enough to make me fantasize about living in a home a quarter the size of ours — just to see if we could handle it.

Luxury Mobile Cabin With Wood Exterior

Luxury Mobile Cabin With Wood Exterior

Photo by: Escape Traveler

By far, the best advice we received from each of these books was this: Every family is different, and every home should reflect these differences. I’m not talking personalization, although I do love a good monogrammed pillow every now and then. What am I talking about? Customization.

If your family is crazy busy and rarely sits down for a meal, why do you have a complete dining room set in your kitchen?  If your entire roster of friends and family lives close by, why do you need a guest room? Ask yourself questions about your lifestyle and answer honestly. Whether you desire a long stream of guests or a sit-down dinner with your family each night, the presence of the space alone won’t change your lifestyle. Yet, by catering each space to your activities and thinking in terms of areas rather than rooms, your livable space will increase tremendously.

Living Room After

Living Room After

From

Buying and Selling

Photo by: Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

Once you’ve settled on your general floor plan (based on your needs, not wants), it’s time to start planning. Here’s where the internet comes in. And although I’m not quite ready to sing a love ballad to The Internet At Large, I will say that online tools have been incredibly instrumental in the continued success of our renovation.

Digital Document Storage: Evernote

Digital Document Storage: Evernote

I’ll do my best to break down my favorite tools in terms of use, i.e. space-planning, organization and home inspiration. Here we go:

Space-Planning Tools  

Kitchen Planner
Self-explanatory and worth its weight in gold. We’ve planned (and re-planned, and re-planned again) our layout multiple times with this handy tool.

Traditional White Kitchen With Wood Accents and Iron Chandelier

Traditional White Kitchen With Wood Accents and Iron Chandelier

My Deco Space Planner
Not sure if your sofa will fit in that tiny living room? Craft a basic floor plan and lay out your existing furniture to get a feel for the space you have and what you need to make room for. Genius!

Silk Sofa Highlighted by Bird Patterned Pillows

Silk Sofa Highlighted by Bird Patterned Pillows

Carpet Calculator
Find out how much product you’ll need in two super-simple steps.

Plush Carpet Samples

Plush Carpet Samples

Photo by: unknown

unknown

Paint Calculator
Another simple tool to calculate how much product you need to buy. Type in room measurements, heights and preferences and receive an instant estimate.

Organization Tools

TS-76800409_checklist_s3x4

TS-76800409_checklist_s3x4

Photo by: Creatas

Creatas

Home Renovation Checklist from Real Simple
I love this checklist, mostly because of the final line item: “Carve out an oasis for you.” This is key during a renovation, so if you can’t phase your project to avoid construction dust, loud noises and general interference, I’d suggest staying elsewhere in an effort to sustain any sanity you may currently possess. Trust me on this one.

Budget Checklist from TrustyGuides.com
Want to get a breakdown of how much your renovation will really cost? Follow a few simple tips from Trusty Guides, along with a helpful budget template you can download to track your own progress.

Home Inspiration Resources

Pinterest.com
Need a landing pad for the endless inspirational images found on blogs, sites and the like? Keep your finds in one spot with an easy, visual pin board at Pinterest.com. (You can see my favorite interior images at my pin board right here!)

Polyvore.com
Fashion gurus flock to Polyvore.com to pull together mood boards of their favorite outfits and accessories, but this also makes a great inspiration resource for your dream home. Craft an online inspiration board (for free) with a few clicks of your mouse.

Small Bathroom Ideas

See All Photos

Architectural Distraction

Bold-Colored Bathroom

Less Is More

Grounded With Graphic

Packed With Pattern

White on White

Hard-Working Hardware

Go With Glass

Floating Free

Open Entry

Next Up

Design Goals: Meet the Hilarious Design Talk Show You Didn't Know You Needed

Our new web series is perfect for the design-obsessed HGTV fan who doesn't mind getting a little irreverent. Read: All of you!

Are You a Rehab Addict? Check Out 5 Design Rules Nicole Curtis Never Breaks

Steal these tried-and-true home remodeling tricks from the queen of rehab.

28 Signs You're a Fixer Upper Fanatic

We asked some of Fixer Upper's biggest fans to share the moment they knew they were officially hooked. Can you relate to any of these?

Can This Major '80s Throwback Design Make a Modern Comeback?

In this week's episode of Design Goals, Meg is inspired by a big-time flashback to her childhood and Lili stirs up a little paint controversy.

11 Celebrities You Never Knew Designed Home Decor

You already know these famous faces, now it's time to get to know their home and design lines.

This Craftsman Home Was Ready to Crumble — See What It Looks Like Now!

A daring newlywed couple called on renovation miracle workers Chip and Joanna Gaines to completely transform this home.

A Fixer Upper Bachelor Pad? Get Chip + Jo's Single-Guy Design Tips

See how the dynamic duo mastered a masculine look for this party of one. (Plus, Jo's tips to get the look!)

Chip and Jo Prove It: Yes, You Can Downsize Without Losing Out On Style

See how Chip and Jo turned a small and dated home into an open space packed with design details. 

Meet Our 2014 Fresh Faces of Design Winner

Meet the rising star who beat out a crop of talented designers.

'Big Brother' House Designer Takes Us on a Tour of This Year's Digs

Step inside the house that promises to take contestants around the world.

Meet the Team

Get to know the talented writers and editors of HGTV's show and design blog. 

Go Behind the Blog

From the Archives

Take a look back at our past posts, from entertaining and design trends to up-and-coming HGTV shows.  

Read All Our Past Posts