10 Things Designers Want You to Know Before Your Next Remodel

From tips for maximizing your budget and saving time to reminders that help you avoid major frustration, check out this advice before you begin a remodeling project.

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June 05, 2019
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Photo By: Lane Dittoe Photography

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Photo By: Jackson Design and Remodeling

Photo By: Jackson Design and Remodeling

Photo By: Lane Dittoe Photography

Photo By: Lane Dittoe

Photo By: Michael Baxter, Baxter Imaging LLC

Photo By: Ryan Garvin

Photo By: Maureen Clark

Photo By: Jackson Design and Remodeling

Know the Reality of Remodel Timeframes

Materials such as tile, plumbing fixtures, appliances, flooring, cabinets and cabinet hardware can take 6 to 12 weeks to receive, says Anna-Marie Claassen with Anthology Interiors. "Generally, these are the items that can put a remodel to a grinding halt: For example, if the plumber doesn’t have some of the items, the contractor or builder might not have him come in for the job until everything is available." She advises that the most efficient way to remodel is to plan the design beforehand, order all of the materials, store them, if possible, and then begin the demolition process.

Retain What's Great

"In this home, we loved the original fireplace dating back to the early 1900s. We added new built-ins and lightened up all of the woodwork in the room as originally it was a dark stained oak paneling," says designer Brooke Wagner.

Determine the Must Haves

You must develop a wish list of "must haves." These include specific colors or finishes, easy maintenance, type of storage, seating arrangements, certain type of appliances or precious furniture and art you own that you would like to integrate with the new design, says designer Tatiana Machado-Rosas with Jackson Design and Remodeling. This contemporary eat-in kitchen has an island with room for four and a built-in bookshelf that holds accessories and cookbooks.

Get Ahead

Tatiana Machado-Rosas of Jackson Design and Remodeling, agrees that homeowners should select and order as many materials, such as shower tile, flooring and plumbing, as possible before starting construction to avoid delays and extra costs. Along with that step, mentally prepare if you plan to live in the home during the process. "Keep in mind that remodeling can sometimes be stressful, due to the noise and dust generated and work crews in your home performing different tasks while construction is happening," she says.

Be Aware of Decision Fatigue

Remodels can give anyone decision fatigue, says Anna-Marie Claassen of Anthology Interiors. Depending on the size of the remodel, there can be hundreds of separate items to specify and purchase, such as patterned tile. Her mantra is: There is never just one best answer for any question. "Don’t get too hung up on exploring every single possible option out there in the world," she says. "If you like it, and you think it goes with the other elements, it is usually a good decision."

Consider Function Before Form

Think about how you will use the space, make sure you have everything you need to serve that function and then get into the fun design part, Anna-Marie Claassen of Anthology Interiors says. For example, in the family room, make sure there is plenty of comfortable seating for everyone who may want to watch TV at the same time. "There are plenty of fabulous pieces out there serving all sorts of needs, and if you need sofa seating for five, purchasing a gorgeous two-person sofa instead, just to look at it but never use it, is just wasted money and space," she says.

Play Up the Ceiling

When a high exposed-beam ceiling is planned for the space, select a chandelier that will add drama and bring the eye up to that architectural detail, says designer Christopher K. Coffin. Arrange your art with paintings stacked, which adds personality, as in this French Country living room with an 18-foot-high ceiling.

Don't Stick With One Style

"In this Bay Area foyer, we kept the original beautiful molding and juxtaposed the traditional space with a modern lighting fixture and deep navy grass cloth to offset the white paneling," designer Brooke Wagner explains.

Create Storage Niches

If the bathroom size doesn't allow for an additional storage cabinet, create spaces for towels and toiletries. "The contemporary bathroom was short on storage, so we left the under counter open for towel storage and then used baskets below to store toiletries when not in use," designer Christopher K. Coffin says. "The two mirrors above open to reveal medicine cabinets."

Take Advantage of the Laundry Room

If you are remodeling your kitchen and plan to live in your home while work is completed, it’s a good idea to set up a microwave, toaster oven or hot plate near a sink in laundry room, or even the garage, designer Tatiana Machado-Rosas of Jackson Design and Remodeling says. This will make it easier to cook a simple meal in the midst of a major home makeover.

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