5 Questions You Need to Ask Yourself Before Embarking on a Huge Home Improvement Project

February 25, 2022

Let's say you want a new kitchen or a new living room or a new master's bedroom. Before scoping out interior fit-out companies in Dubai, New York, London, or wherever you are – and before beginning a major home improvement project – ask yourself these five questions first.

Do I Want To?

This is the very first thing you need to ask yourself before embarking on a home improvement project, especially a big one. Is it something you truly want?

If it's something you're doing just because you can, it might be best to rethink doing it. You need to want to do a home remodel, considering the cost and the inconveniences it would cause.

Do I Need To?

This goes hand-in-hand with the above question. Do you need the home improvement project?

To illustrate, someone who has a growing family needs a new bedroom, perhaps one for each child. A big family needs to add one or two more bathrooms to decongest the bathroom they already have.

How about you? Why do you need to do what you are planning to do? Ask yourself that question and be clear about your answer.

This is not saying you absolutely must need to do something before you can do it. It's just much more practical to need something before you do it. But if you really want to do it, that should be reason enough.

When it comes to home improvement projects, want trumps need. The desire for something will help you happily spend on the cost of renovations and gladly go through the inconveniences of a home improvement project.

What's My Vision?

After establishing that you want or need to follow through with your major home improvement project, move on to the planning stage. At this point, ask yourself what your vision is. What do you envision seeing after all the dust has settled?

Vision-Setting Example

Let's suppose you want to renovate your kitchen completely. The 2019 Remodeling Impact Report by the National Association of Realtors says a complete kitchen renovation brings more joy to homeowners than a master suite renovation project.

After a complete kitchen renovation,

  • 93% of homeowners surveyed said they wanted to be home more
  • 95% said they felt a keener sense of enjoyment at home
  • 87% percent said they felt a sense of major accomplished

And from a practical viewpoint, a complete kitchen renovation can make your home 46% more livable and functional. It should also make it easier to sell. Moreover, the realtors surveyed say homeowners can recoup around 59% of the cost of a complete kitchen renovation upon the sale of their home.

So, it's final. Your goal is an entirely new kitchen.

But you can't stop there. After determining what your goal is, you now need to get down to specifics. It's like art. After the broad strokes, you need to fill in the fine lines and all of the details.

What does the kitchen in your head look like? You will need to ask yourself the following questions:

What Layout Will It Have?

Will you have an island layout, a galley kitchen, a U-shaped kitchen, or something else?

Your kitchen layout is likely to be influenced by your home's existing layout. But, of course, you can still knock down or add new walls to make your vision come true in a complete kitchen renovation.

In What Style Will It Be?

Will it be traditional, contemporary, modern, transitional, coastal, country farm chic, cottage charm, Mediterranean, Old World, a combination of one or two of these, or something else entirely?

Just remember that you cannot go too far out that your finished kitchen looks like it doesn't belong to your house anymore. Consider the current aesthetic of the rest of your house when deciding on a kitchen style – unless you plan to renovate everything else around the design of your kitchen.

What Do You Need in Your Kitchen?

How many windows will your kitchen have, and where will these windows be? What appliances will be in your kitchen, and do you need to buy entirely new ones?

How about lighting? Where will the electric sockets be, and how will the wiring be laid out? How about the plumbing?

Is My Vision Suited to My Lifestyle?

After drawing up a complete vision of your home improvement project in your head, you will need to evaluate your vision against your lifestyle.

Let's say you want a contemporary living room with stark angles, a floating staircase, and sweeping, empty spaces. Is that vision truly practical if you have a baby or a toddler that would love to draw on your sparse walls, break your contemporary silver ribbon sculpture, and carelessly run down those lovely, floating stairs?

Who Will Help Me Execute My Vision?

A major home improvement project means permits and plans. You need the help of a contractor.

Your contractor will help you get the necessary permits, convert your vision into an executable plan, and hire the professionals (engineers, architects, interior designers, if necessary) and skilled workers needed to bring that plan to life.

Just remember to interview several contractors before settling on one. In your interview, you'll want to explain what you wish to achieve. And the contractors will tell you how they plan to bring your vision to fruition. They should also send you a detailed proposal, one with costs itemized.

Be sure, too, to ask for references before you select your contractor. Don't base your decision on price alone.

Do I Have the Budget, the Time, and the Patience?

A major home improvement project will cost a lot of money. Frequently, home renovation projects cost more than the initial estimate.

A contractor might remove the tub to find any mold underneath. They will have to treat that, replace the flooring, and repair the plumbing before they can proceed. That means a lot of extra costs and project completion delays.

And a home improvement project means noise, dust, dirt, and lots of aggravation. Can you live with that – probably for a protracted period – while the project is ongoing? And if you imagine you can't, do you have a place you can hide out when things become unbearable at home?

Are You Committed?

Think carefully before embarking on a huge home improvement project like a bedroom addition or a complete kitchen renovation. Do you want it and need it? What's your vision, and who's going to help you implement it?

And most importantly, do you have the budget, the time, and the patience to see it through? You need to have considerable amounts of all three to survive a major home improvement project. If you have all these, then by all means, do it.

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Rachel Hennessey
Rachel Hennessey manages the Pools and Landscaping Division of Hennessey LLC. She also works on Tender and Pre-Qualification and brings in new business to the company's Construction, Interiors and Civils Division.

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