Be Prepared to Start Your Home Renovation Right

Sherry Willing

By Sherry Willing

Lead Interior Designer and Co-Owner of Make It Real Design

Home remodels, or even a room refresh, come with a lot of questions. Chief among them is, “Where should I start?”

Having helped homeowners with design and renovations in Victoria since 2001, the team at Make It Real Design knows where to start – but it’s probably not where you think.

Read on for the secret of not only how to begin, but how to start your renovation project right!

The Secret of Where to Start

When people think about where to start a remodeling project, a jumble of ideas spring to mind. Should I start with the bathroom? Do the cupboards need to be emptied? Maybe I should get a permit. All worthy questions, but before those things, you must begin with preparation.

Thoughtful preparation helps home remodeling projects flow smoothly. Best of all, being prepared helps ensure that the final product matches your personal style and needs. 

The three areas you should start with are:

  • Exploring your design style and needs
  • Knowing your budget
  • Building trust with your reno team

Design: Know What You Like, Focus on What You Need, and Bring Pictures

If you’ve decided on a home remodel, you are probably looking for a fresh look. While interior designers can put together a room, it’s your space. Your likes, dislikes, needs, and sense of taste are paramount. 

Spend time planning where you want to see changes and what those changes might look like. Think about colour, feel, style, and functionality (things like more storage or better lighting).

upper cabinets and bar stools

Also, understand the purpose of your project. Are you adding space to the floor plan for an expanding family? Downsizing? Preparing to sell? A clear sense of purpose will help you understand more about your wants and needs. 

You may have a sense of what you like and don’t, but don’t be afraid to explore ideas outside your own thoughts. An easy way to do this is to browse magazines and home design websites for inspiration. Check our kitchen remodel and bathroom ideas gallery too! Once you have a general idea of what you want, collect photos or create a Pinterest board with images that capture your vision.

When you meet with your designer, bring in the images of rooms or features you like. The photos are a great way to communicate your style to the designer. Even if the ideas in the photos don’t fit your home’s style, your designer can help you distill what attracted you to those images and figure out how to bring that into your space.

Oak Bay pantry interior designed for organization

Pro Tip: Have some fun pulling some ideas together. If you’re feeling ambitious, try creating a mood board! Make It Real Design has some incredible design eyes on our team, and if you come prepared with a few photos or even a couple of paint swatches, that will help point us in the right direction. Together we can draw out the perfect scheme for your dream space!

Budget: Know What You Can Invest

There are two ways to approach your remodeling budget.

The first way is to come into the project with a firm budget or a set number. From there, the project team can show you some options and focus on what they can realistically do within your budget.

The second is to approach your project team with your ideal renovation. Give them the full list of hopes and dreams for your space, and they can tell you what it will cost. 

Either way, knowing what you can spend is essential. Even a ballpark number gives you and the design team a great starting point for the conversation about where to put your money and where it will have the most impact.

Pro Tip:  You spend a lot of time in your home. Being comfortable there is a valuable asset. When planning your budget, think of your renovation as an investment that will pay you dividends every day for the next 10 or 20 years.

The Key to Successful Renovation


Build Trust: The Key that Unlocks the Door to a Successful Home Renovation.

We know a renovation and hiring a contractor can be a big deal. You’re turning your home over to a designer and construction team. Plus, you’re likely making a significant financial investment.

To ease your stress and ensure your home improvement project runs smoothly, do the work of building trust with your renovation team. Knowing your design style, priorities, and your investment comfort level all help. But communication and the relationship you have with your renovators is priority one. 

For example, no one likes talking about money. It’s largely a private matter. However, if you trust your team, you can have budget conversations with less stress. When you know where everyone stands, it’s much easier to make decisions that work for you and the project.

simple contemporary kitchen. White with wood counters and backsplash

Pro Tip: We feel so strongly about building rapport and trust that we wrote an entire article on why trust is essential, and how you can contribute to the process. We hope you’ll take a look: The Key to Successful Renovation: Build Trust with an Expert Team.

At Make It Real Design, we know that a home renovation work comes with many questions. Even knowing where and how to get started can be daunting. Our interior design and construction teams are here to help, and being prepared from the outset clears the way for open communication and a smooth renovation process.

The right place to start your project is by understanding your design needs, knowing your budget and building trust with the people who will be making your home desires real.

When renovating, the best approach you can take is to trust your ability to contribute, to listen, to consider, to evaluate with an open mind, and make decisions based on the relationship evidence.
Sherry Willing

Lead Designer & Co-Owner, Make It Real Design

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