Twenty Tips for Planning a Successful Home Renovation


If you are like most people, renovating your home feels like a dream come true. It can also be a daunting task that entails a lot of planning and preparation to ensure a smooth process. 

Between the endless decisions and the potential for disaster, it can be tough to know where to start. But fear not! We've compiled a list of twenty helpful tips for you to plan a successful renovation, from start to finish. 

So, whether you're planning a total gut job or just a few cosmetic changes, read on for our best advice on making your home improvement project go off without a hitch. 

1. Determine an End Goal

The first step in any renovation is to identify your end goal. What are you hoping to achieve with the project? Are you looking to increase the value of your home, make it more energy-efficient, or change the look and feel?  

Once you know what you want to accomplish, you can start making decisions about scope, budget, and timeline. 

Part of determining an end goal is being realistic about what you can achieve given the constraints of your home. For instance, if you live in an historic district, there may be restrictions on what changes you can make to the exterior parts of your property.  

It's important to do your research and understand the rules before getting too far into the planning process. 

2. Set a Budget

After you've determined your goals, it's time to start thinking about money. Renovations can be expensive, so it's important to set a budget and stick to it.  

Take into consideration the price of materials, labor, permits, and any other unexpected costs that might pop up. It is wise to consider a buffer to your budget of about 20% to account for any unforeseen expenses. 

Budgeting for home renovation requires careful consideration and a bit of creative thinking. If you are not sure where to start, there are plenty of online tools and resources that can help you get a handle on the costs. You can also talk to a contractor or interior designer for guidance. 

3. Peek at the Calendar

Once you've set your budget, it's time to start thinking about timing. If you're planning a major renovation, it's important to check the calendar and make sure no big events are happening during the project. For example, you might want to avoid starting a kitchen remodel during the holiday season. 

It's also important to consider the seasons when planning your renovation. Some projects, like painting or installing new flooring, can be done in any weather. But others, such as roofing or masonry work, are best left to the spring and summer months

4. Do Your Research

Before making any decisions, it's important to do your research and understand the different aspects of home renovation. There are many moving parts to a successful project, from design and budgeting to permits and construction.  

You can avoid common mistakes and make sure your renovation goes off without a hitch by taking the time and effort to educate yourself. 

There are various ways to learn about home renovation, including books, websites, and TV shows. You can also speak to family or friends who have recently completed a project or hire a professional to help you with the planning process. 

Reputable magazines such as Architectural Digest and Better Homes & Gardens are also great sources of information and inspiration. 

5. Know Your Limits

Another critical aspect of home renovation is knowing your limits. It's important to be realistic about what you can and cannot do yourself. Some tasks are best left to the professionals, such as electrical work, plumbing, and HVAC repairs. 

If you doubt whether or not you can handle a particular task, it's always best to err on the side of caution and hire a professional. Hiring a professional will save you time and money and ensure that the job is finished correctly and up to code. 

Being realistic about your limits will also help you set a realistic budget for your project. By knowing how much you can do yourself, you can avoid overspending on labor costs. 

6. Ask for References

When it comes to hiring a contractor, one of the best ways to find a reputable professional is to ask for references. If you know someone who has recently finished a renovation, ask them who they worked with and if they were happy with the results. Referrals and word of mouth are also great ways to find a reputable contractor.

You can also check online reviews to get an idea of what other homeowners have experienced. Once you've found a few contractors you're interested in working with, check their references and get detailed estimates of the costs before making any decisions. 

7. Declutter

One of the first things you should do before starting any home renovation is declutter your space. Decluttering will make the project easier and help you stay organized and on budget. 

Begin by eliminating any items you no longer need or use, such as old furniture, clothes, and electronics. If you have any sentimental items, consider storing them off-site during the renovation. 

Next, look at your décor and make sure it aligns with your vision for the space. If not, now is the time to get rid of it to help you stay focused and save you money in the long run. 

Once you've decluttered your space, it's time to start planning the renovation — the project phase where professionals can help you the most to stay on track and on budget. 

8. Consider Your Routine

A daily routine will help you determine the best time to schedule work and how to budget for any disruptions. 

If you have children, it is vital to plan around their schedules. You may need to hire a babysitter or nanny to watch them while work is ongoing. For older children, you may need to adjust their bedtimes so they're not waking up early to the sound of construction. 

Moreover, it's important to plan your renovation around your work schedule if you work from home, which can mean working late nights or on weekends or taking a temporary hiatus from your business.

No matter your situation, it's important to be realistic about how the renovation will affect your daily routine. By being prepared, you can avoid disruptions and stay on track. 

9. Establish Mission Control

One of the best ways to stay organized during a home renovation is establishing "mission control" — a central location where you can keep track of progress, schedule work, and manage finances. 

"Mission control" can be as simple as setting up a folder on your computer or creating a bulletin board in your kitchen. The important thing is to have one central location to access all the information you need.

It would help if you secured all the tools you need to complete the project, including a tape measure, level, drill, saw, and other essential tools. If you don't have all the tools you need, be sure to rent or borrow them from a friend. 

10. Protect Your Children

If you have children, it's important to take precautions to protect them from the hazards of a home renovation. Keep them away from areas being worked on and protect them from dust and debris.

You may also want to keep them out of the house during work hours. If this is not possible, be sure to create a safe space for them to play in, like in another room or even outside. 

11. Don't Forget the Pets

Pets can also be a consideration when planning a home renovation. If you have dogs, you may have to make arrangements for them to stay with a friend or neighbor during the project. Cats are usually more independent, but you'll still need to keep them away from areas being worked on. 

Please be cautious of hazardous materials, such as power tools, nails, and sawdust, involved in a home renovation. Ensure to keep your pets away from these dangers. 

12. Plan for Utility Outages

Another thing to consider when planning a home renovation is the possibility of utility outages, which can include electricity, water, and gas. 

It is important to make arrangements with your utility providers in advance to help you avoid any disruptions during the project.

13. Make a Master List

Once you have considered all the factors involved in a home renovation, it's time to make a master list of everything you need to do. This list should include all the tasks and the materials and tools you'll need to complete them. 

Making a master list can ensure that you don't forget anything important and stay organized and on track. 

14. Draft Drawings

If you're planning a major renovation, it's good to draft drawings of your plans to help you visualize the project and ensure all the measurements are accurate. 

You can also use these drawings to obtain estimates from contractors to get an accurate idea of the costs involved in the project. 

15. Obtain Permits

You may need to acquire particular permits from your local government depending on the scope and extent of your home renovation. Permits are usually required for major renovations, such as adding a new room or doing structural work. 

Be sure to look into your local building department to see if you need a permit. Failure to do so could cost you fines or delays in the project. 

16. Create a Renovation-Free Zone

It is important to designate an area of the house that will be free from construction — a safe place for you to live in during the project. 

You can use the renovation-free zone to take breaks from the project and store materials and tools. 

17. Schedule End-of-the-Day Cleanup

Scheduling an end-of-the-day cleanup will help you avoid any accidents or injuries. 

Have a plan for dealing with the debris and waste accumulated during the project. Be sure to check with your local government for regulations on construction waste disposal. 

18. Plan Ahead

Another important tip for a successful renovation is to plan ahead, which means anticipating problems and having a contingency plan in place. 

By planning ahead, you can avoid costly mistakes, which will help you stay on budget and on schedule.

Advance planning also allows you to be prepared for the unexpected. For example, if the weather forecast calls for rain, you can arrange to have the work done another day. 

19. Schedule the Help

If you're planning a major renovation, it's important to schedule the help in advance, including contractors, electricians, plumbers, and other tradespeople. 

Get references and check with your local business bureau before hiring any contractors. You should also have a contract outlining the scope of work, timetable, and payment schedule. 

Further, be sure to schedule the help so that they are available when you need them and any delays in the project are avoided. 

20. Check the Weather

Before starting any exterior renovations, be sure to check the weather to avoid delays or problems due to bad weather. 

Also, ensure you have a plan for dealing with inclement weather, including renting a storage container to store materials and tools. 

Be sure to check the short and long-term forecasts before beginning any work. Also, consider heat and cold on days you may have to work. 


By following these tips for planning a successful renovation, you can avoid common mistakes and ensure that your project runs smoothly. The above tips will help you save time, money, and stress. Also, seeking professional help, when needed, and being prepared for any contingencies can make all the difference in a successful home renovation.

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