As homeowners, we all have those things we wish we could do, or should have done already, but things like time, finances, weather, or simple procrastination get in our way. Why not make 2017 the year you structure a plan to complete some much-needed home projects and carry them out? Don’t let peeling paint, dull landscaping, broken fixtures, or uninspiring decor give you the blues! Use these handy steps to guide your New Year home project planning.
If you are a naturally creative person, a house is truly the gift that keeps on giving, because there is always something to do! For the rest of us, we may need some help gathering ideas of what our home can become. Spend some time watching the DIY Network or consulting Pinterest for endless ideas for every room and space in any type of home. Don’t be afraid to dream! Do not immediately discard any idea, but compile them in a notebook for consideration. Sometimes the combination of a few ideas become the single unique thing that fits your needy space.
One thing that can impede your dreaming is fear of costs. We will talk about budgeting in a moment, but for now dream long and large as if money didn’t matter. Money does matter, or course, but you may be surprised at how much you can do on your budget, whatever its size. Many creative touches or necessary repairs can be done on the cheap, and some professional services may be more affordable than you realize.
Do Your Homework
Now it’s time to plan your project. Obtain color samples, catalogs, service estimates, and everything else you will need for planning your projects. Take photos and measurements of the existing spaces you wish to improve and keep all this information together.
- How can lighting improvements add new life to different spaces?
- What colors work best together? Would contrasting or complimentary colors work best?
- What window treatments can be upgraded and how? Are your window measurements standard or unique?
- How much square footage is contained in each room? How can changing the flooring make the room more spacious?
- Can cabinetry and other storage spaces be upgraded? How?
- What kind of indoor plants can add color and pizazz without much upkeep?
- What variety of outdoor foliage grows best in your area? Which type would best compliment your home?
These and other questions will lead to still more questions that must be answered. Instead of getting bogged down, consider the homework phase as the cold-weather phase of the adventure. While low temperatures linger, making many projects difficult, spend cozy moments indoors gathering the facts and numbers necessary to lay out your project plans.
Budget for Improvements
A home project budget doesn’t have to be huge or complicated. Dropping a predetermined amount into an account or jar each month will go a long way toward funding your home improvement projects. Consider creating a new line item in your family budget for home improvements and treating it just like a bill that must be paid; non-negotiable. You may also want to consider redirecting some of the equity from your home into improvements via a home-equity loan. Finally, why not convert some of that clutter in the garage or attic into project funding by having a yard sale or opening a Craigslist or eBay account? Sell your unused stuff in the yard or online and reinvest all the cash back into your home.
When creating your home project budget, follow these basic guidelines:
- Generate Ballpark Estimates for Costs – Do some online or in-store shopping for pricing on materials and necessary equipment. Compile a round dollar estimate for each project.
- Calculate How Much You Have to Spend – Look at your funding sources and determine a top-dollar amount that you can spend without damaging your existing monthly operating budget.
- Get Quotes from Contractors – Compare quotes from contractors for larger jobs with DIY costs and time. You may be better prepared to spend money and save your time; or, your time may be the best investment you can afford.
- Set Priorities – Now that you have a budget in hand, which projects can be completed first? Which ones can be accomplished easily or quickly? Which ones are needed most?
Choose a Room and Go!
After you set your budget and project priorities, choose where to begin and get started. You will definitely increase the probability of completing the job by picking one project in a single room. Remember to take a picture so you can compare the beginning state to your successful renovation. Just like losing weight, pictures are a great way to measure the results of your work. And, the sense of accomplishment gained from the photos will provide encouragement to complete the next project on your list. And the next.
Go Easy on Yourself & Enjoy Your Home
If you are not careful, you will get so caught up in changing things that you forget this project is your home. While setting a timeline for completing your projects can be helpful, don’t forget to enjoy the journey. Take time after each completed project to celebrate. Invite friends and family over for a party and show off your work. Make celebrating part of the renovation process, with accompanying pictures to record the event. Your hard work has earned you the right to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
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