Welcoming a baby into the world and the home? You’re going to be working on making a nursery. Tired of your old and outdated furniture? You’re probably looking up new ones online already. Interested in adding value to your home with the long-term purpose of selling it? Or are you just sick of looking at the same old wrinkly wallpaper and faded carpeting every day? There are countless reasons to undertake home remodeling projects, and we’ve got you covered, from A to Z!

Despite the fact that home improvement shows on TV highlight how renovations can be done in about 40 minutes, those renovations don’t actually take only 40 minutes. Transposing your Pinterest-found ideas into reality will require consistent effort and considerable time, regardless of whether you’re looking to improve your home’s value, perhaps by adding rooms to it, or to simply make it more beautiful or unique. Here’s how to get the process underway.

Planning your remodeling project

Starting off on the right foot can keep things under control, so you should not overlook or underestimate the importance of this initial stage. You’ll start with an idea in your mind, but you might quickly be overwhelmed by the wealth of issues you have to deal with – contractors, materials, design choices, loans, tools and storage, etc. However, taking things step-by-step will allow you to keep on top of everything and complete your project successfully.


  • Start with a technical plan regarding what you want to redesign. It is said that you should not spend more than 10-15% of your home’s value on remodeling a single room, but that could include some major construction work. If you go over this percentage, the value of the home improvement project will not proportionally add to the total value of your home. So, think about your needs and your budget, do the math, and keep your plan in mind at all times. It is said that unexpected costs invariably do come up invariably and that you should add another ~15% to your initial budget for these expenses.
  • Plan your daily routine. Make sure you have a comfortable place to rest, sleep and eat while your home is under reconstruction. The same goes for your belongings – if you want to keep them in peak condition during renovations, renting a self storage unit is the perfect solution. That way, you won’t have to worry about your possessions being damaged. In the same vein, due to the stress and efforts of home remodeling, moods and even relationships can sometimes turn sour. Talk to your partner, find time for yourself, and create a pleasant atmosphere that won’t feed your anxiety even more.
  • Waste management is also something that must be considered. Find a good solution for keeping waste and getting rid of it afterwards in a legal and safe manner. Construction debris is an inevitable part of remodeling jobs. It’s important to organize logistics before plugging in your power tools. This is also true to ensure sufficient sufficient ventilation. Air pollution can be an issue and proper ventilation must be ensured throughout the remodeling process.
  • Research contractors and remodeling companies so that you can compare prices, references, reviews and services. On the other hand, if you fancy yourself quite the handyman and you’ll be taking the DIY route, this research stage is even more relevant and must not be overlooked. In this case, you’ll need to start by making a list of tools and materials and try to stick to your budget. Be realistic with regard to what you can and cannot do! While you can take care of some things on your own, other steps will most likely require a professional. Either way, be prepared for delays and issues.
  • The last thing you need when carrying out a remodeling project is to run into legal trouble. Consequently, it is essential to get informed regarding any official approvals and permits you might need for your renovation. Especially in the case of structural changes, you will probably need at least council approval. Know your zoning regulations and permits ahead of time to avoid any trouble!
  • In order to keep tasks organized and things under control, you should always know what the next step is. This is why it’s essential to draw up a schedule and a timeline. Having a clear list of every job that needs to be done, listed in order, is vital. A somewhat flexible timeline mapping out those steps will also help you make sure everything is on track.

Before we go room by room and show you what you need to know when renovating specific parts of your home, let’s take a minute to talk about the big picture issues. These are also typically the first jobs that your builder or contractor will take care of. This is known as the “first fix stage.”

Home remodeling toolsThe first fix stage

Demolition & walls

Demolition is always a significant undertaking in terms of tools, manpower, time and care. The quantity of waste will also be substantial, while asbestos and lead-based paint in general can represent major health hazards. This is a good place to consider the expertise of professionals. You might also want their services for structural carpentry, moving walls, adding or replacing beams, etc.

Keep in mind that a smart redesigning will add space and bring in more natural light. Creating joint spaces, tearing down walls or creating new ones requires long-term thinking, a solid plan, a flexible budget and the know-how of the pros.


It’s tempting to focus on the stylishness of your floors and to forget about the practical aspects. This is also an area where the pros stand out, and you should consider employing them. Of course, your final floor covering will depend on the room, but there are still structural elements that need to be considered in this “first fix stage.” Besides the technical aspects that are complex and intricate if you don’t have the necessary expertise, there’s nothing worse than a squeaky spot on your floor once your entire house has been remodeled.

Also, it is advisable to plan to install the flooring as late as possible, to save it from getting damaged. Finally, choosing between hardwood, laminate, vinyl, linoleum or tile, among other materials, will depend on the room, on your personal preference and on your budget.

Fist fix phasePlumbing

This is an area where practical aspects must come first. In case you plan on replacing stuff in your kitchen or bathroom, you have to start with the layout of the plumbing. Moreover, if you’ve never dealt with these sorts of projects before, it’s best to call in a professional and let them know where you want your sink, bath or washing machine. Should you choose to leave these in their original positions, you won’t have to waste your money on additional plumbing elements such as pipes or switches.

It’s essential not to overlook this step, as improper plumbing can bring about serious damage to a newly remodeled house. Also, it’s not uncommon for certain states to regulate who can perform these installations, so you have to be aware of who has the permission to deal with your home’s plumbing.


While you can take care of some stuff on you home, it is again advisable to leave the roofing to the pros since it’s dangerous work that requires attention to safety at all times. Leaks are the most common issue and should only be dealt with when the weather is dry. Do not go for quick fixes, and make sure you have proper equipment, a harness and somebody to lend you a hand. Spraying the roof with a garden hose is one of the most common ways to detect leaks and you can do this yourself if you have the time and know-how.

However, roofing matters are also linked to ventilation and temperature control. Especially if you want to go for a complete roofing renewal, there are many things to consider, and such projects should be trusted to professionals. There’s nothing more disastrous for a new home than a failed roof. Redoing it might not seem that glamorous, but once you think about water destroying your newly painted walls, your attic and then making its way to your freshly decorated living room, you’ll give it the attention it truly needs.

First fix carpentryDoors & windows

Punching in new doors or removing existing ones, along with framing for newly constructed windows or enlarging window openings, represent other important ‘first-fix’ projects. If you’re a DIYer, you have to know if you’re dealing with supportive or non-supportive carpentry. Just like in the case of your roof, doors and windows also play an essential role in keeping your place dry. Water infiltration is a serious matter and should be addressed competently, along with energy efficiency and condensation, ultimately saving money on heating and electricity.

Keep in mind that in the case of windows, doing it yourself might invalidate the warranty of the manufacturer. You should also decide whether you need to make a full replacement or if the frames are still in a good condition. While choosing the materials for the frames, be aware that wood is pricey and that if you want to save money, you can go for aluminum, vinyl or fiberglass. An additional solution for saving money is buying hardware and windows during winter or late fall, as that is considered to be the off-season.

Now, let us take you through remodeling each room in your house.


  • #1 most common remodeling project
  • Average cost for kitchen remodeling – $25K
  • Main difficulties encountered – HVAC issues spell trouble, and cabinetry and labor are expensive
  • Main emerging trends – stainless steel range hoods, kitchen islands and high-end appliances

Needless to say, the cost of your remodeling will depend a lot on how much you want to change up, on whether you want an upscale renovation with high-end appliances and custom cabinets, or if you’re willing to settle for a minor remodel. The most common price range for a kitchen remodel is $13K-$38K.

If you do want to reduce costs, you can do some of the labor yourself, as this is usually what sets you back a lot, apart from the cabinetry. IKEA-style cabinets and appliances could save you valuable money, but you’ll have to spend some time on doing the assembly yourself. Check out this IKEA kitchen remodeling that only cost $7K.


  • #2 most common remodeling project
  • Average cost for bathroom remodeling – $12K
  • Main difficulties encountered – price of tiling and plumbing-related contractor labor
  • Main emerging trends – fancy tiling, spa-styled bathrooms, open digital showers

With costs generally ranging from $5K to $20K, depending on fixtures and finishes, you can often save money on your bathroom renovation by finding recycled fixtures and using a coat of paint instead of pricey tiling. Investing in your bathroom is a good money-maker in the long run, and you’ll realize this when you sell the place. Doing it yourself can save around 60% of the total costs in the case of the bathroom, according to data in the American Housing Survey from the Census Bureau.

Perhaps because the bathroom is the first room you step into when you wake up, and thus gets to set the mood for the rest of the day, renovating bathrooms has become more and more popular. Finally, homeowners know that bathroom remodels will have a positive return on investment and will significantly improve the home’s resale value.

Bathroom-remodelingLiving room

  • #3 most common remodeling project
  • Average cost for living room remodeling – $8K
  • Main difficulties encountered – lack of storage space and clean sightlines to kitchen pose issues
  • Main emerging trends – fireplaces, open floorplans, home entertainment systems

Since a living room remodel does not require plumbing work or dealing with gas connections and fixtures, you’re probably going to be able to do most of the work yourself. In the case of the living room, even a coat of fresh paint can brighten up and revamp your space.

Fireplaces are currently trendy and will set you back $2K on average, while open floorplans that allow you to keep an eye on the kids from the kitchen are also increasingly popular. Removing an interior non-load-bearing wall and enlarging your living room space is something to consider. Replacing and widening your windows is also just one of the many ways to brighten up the place and create faux extra space. Statement lighting is also a rising trend, suggesting light fixtures or accessories that are eye-catching and unique.


  • #4 most common remodeling project
  • Average cost for bedroom remodeling – $8K
  • Main difficulties encountered – wiring & lighting, misusing small spaces, temperature issues
  • Main emerging trends – walk-in closets, skylights, headboards and minimalistic settings

Bedroom remodeling usually includes replacing windows, carpets, molding and heaters, along with the bedroom door. Adding insulation or redoing old lighting and wiring is also a common aspect of renovations. If you want to replace your bed, your closet or other items of furniture, costs will be higher. Likewise, knocking down a wall to open up the room is a popular idea, but it will raise the overall cost.

Bedrooms have increasingly become places to lounge on a sofa or relax on a large armchair, not just sleeping rooms per se. Additionally, more and more people are looking into skylights, since they bring in valuable natural light and a pleasant vibe without sacrificing privacy. The same goes for floor lighting, quirky-shaped bookcases, cozy reading areas, loveseats and unique bed frames. Ultimately, while you have to start from a big-picture vision or theme of your bedroom, it’s the little things that define its character.

Remodeling a bedroomBasement

  • #5 most common remodeling project
  • Average cost for basement remodeling – $20K
  • Main difficulties encountered – plumbing work, mold, insulation, moisture, etc.
  • Main emerging trends – home gyms, man caves, home theaters, home spas

The $20K average for your basement remodel might seem like a lot but revitalizing your basement will substantially expand your usable living space. Adding drywall and flooring are essential aspects and you should also consider sealing the room in order to protect your home from moisture. Water damage, cracks, low-hanging pipes, posts and beams represent common issues that need to be addressed for a successful basement remodel.

Revamping your basement is considered one of the best renovation investments you can take on. In fact, Zillow argues that finished basements increase the home’s resale value considerably, with an average return on investment of 70%. Depending on your budget, you can build a games room or a home cinema, or simply have an open space that you can enjoy with your family. Whatever you decide to do, try going for light-colored furniture, as this can brighten up the place since basements don’t usually enjoy plenty of natural light.


  • #6 most common remodeling project
  • Average cost for attic remodeling – $30K
  • Main difficulties encountered – permits, insulation, HVAC and lighting
  • Main emerging trends – extra bedroom, storage room, cozy nooks, kids’ room

Along with your basement, your attic can be subject to major variations, depending on what you want to do with it, on your budget and on the amount of living space you can create. However, you’ll get your money’s worth when you decide the sell the place, since the return on investment is substantial, especially if you’re willing to add an extra bedroom up there. If the ceiling height exceeds seven feet and your attic is connected to the rest of the house through a stairway, it’s the perfect location for adding livable space.

Adding more (or larger) windows to the attic is also a great way to bring in more natural light and brighten up the place. Another essential aspect that you have to consider in the case of the attic is maximizing space by any means. Knee walls that have drawers, cabinets and shelves can be a very good solution. Ultimately, an attic room has a unique warmth and appeal, and if you don’t make the most of it, you’re just wasting space.

Attic-remodelingFinal touches

Just like our bodies need to recover after intense physical effort, so do our homes. Your property needs time to recover from remodeling works and some minor issues can come up in that time span, such as walls cracking, minor leaks and issues with newly installed systems, along with small scuffs and scrapes. These snagging issues do not usually represent considerable problems but should be addressed in a timely manner.

Home remodeling may be daunting, but the main way that it can add value to a home is by replacing older items with newer ones. That is arguably the essence of any project. Resist the temptation to add more stuff – simply replace things. The new items you bring in should add financial value to your home and also truly revitalize your living space. What should you do with the old stuff? Easy, self storage is the answer!

Renting a self storage unit for the belongings that cannot fit into your renovated home is easy and beneficial. Consider that it can take some time to get used to your new home and that maybe you will miss your old antique wardrobe, so it’s good to keep it around. You might end up selling your stuff in the long run…until you find the right buyer, they’ll be kept safe and in top condition in a climate-controlled storage unit. Finally, your friends might need a mattress, a table or an armchair sometime in the future, so keeping them in self storage, just in case, can be a great solution. Once you have decided on what type of unit you need, you’ll realize that self storage is a great idea both during the renovation process and afterwards.

StorageCafe can help you find the best home for your belongings, while you’re transforming your place into your dream home.

*All estimated costs represent information from HomeAdvisor


Matei is a creative writer for StorageCafe and has an academic background in urban development, governance and linguistics. Making use of these disparate sources of expertise, Matei has now turned towards the real estate industry, after covering the latest trends and projects in urban planning, regeneration and green city initiatives all over Europe.

1 Comment

  1. Absolutely! This blog post on planning a remodeling project really hit the nail on the head. It’s so true that starting off on the right foot is crucial. I’ve been there before, and it can get overwhelming with all the decisions and tasks involved. But breaking it down step by step is key. It helps you stay organized and ensures a successful outcome. Thanks for sharing these valuable insights!

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