Questions to consider when planning a renovation

Soon the days will grow shorter and we will spend more time inside looking at our floors and our walls and planning the next big renovation which is a good thing because then I get to meet you!

Often the task is so overwhelming and seemingly unattainable that we give up and give in before the project can be started. It can be broken down into manageable tasks by asking you a few simple questions:

(1.) How much do I want to spend on this project? We all know how easy it is to break a budget but the process of budgeting will help you to define the parameters of the project. If you have a small amount to spend, work on one room until completion instead of trying to spread the dollars out over the entire main floor. Choose rooms that you spend the most time in for your comfort or look at doing rooms which provide the most impact if you are fixing up to sell.

(2.) Am I doing this project for my enjoyment or am I working towards increasing value and selling? Stand at your front door and observe the most obvious points of need. Kitchens and bathrooms are always good to update as they immediately increase the value of the home.

You must consider the value of what you are putting into the project compared to what will come out of the project should you sell. You will enjoy granite countertops for decades and get all the value back out of the initial investment but may not actualize that purchase if you sell within one or two years.

(3.) Am I doing the work myself or am I hiring a contractor? Please consider hiring a contractor for any work which requires permits (plumbing/electrical/heating). These projects need to be done by professionals and can affect your insurance should things go wrong.

Other projects such as painting/flooring/tiling can be tackled by a DIY’er but do your research first! Ask professionals you trust the right methods of preparation before tackling a job. I once found a living room dining room that looked level yet when my installers began to remove the carpet they found carpet over pad over carpet over vinyl over more vinyl.

Total difference in flooring height was three inches between rooms resulting in us having to rebuild the dining room floor just because someone who owned the home before them took shortcuts.

(4.) Do I require the services of a designer? You had to know I would throw this in here! Designers have been in the renovation and building market for years and we can save you costly mistakes and help you with details you may not readily see.

I went to a very frustrated client once who had painted her bedroom four times and hated the colour every single time. She just didn’t understand how paint is made and what sorts of pigments were added. She saw pink in everything!

Once I could direct her to the correct neutral without red pigment she happily painted her bedroom for the fifth time and it was lovely. Meeting with me the first time would have saved her time, money and paint – even with my consultation fee.

Have a happy back to school season and get excited about your fall renovations; it is the most wonderful time of the year!

Kim Lewis is an interior designer in Red Deer with Carpet Colour Centre. Feel free to contact her at 343-7711 ext 227, email her at or join her facebook group called “Ask a Designer”

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