If you’re like most homeowners who have lived in their home for several years, you’re likely to catch the “home remodeling itch.” Or, perhaps you’ve recently purchased a home and the avocado countertops and pink tile aren’t exactly what you had in mind in your dream kitchen. As the years go by, tackling a home remodeling project is an inevitable part of homeownership that you’re sure to consider. Whether making simple updates each year for budget reasons or undertaking a large project in one fell swoop, keeping your home on-trend and in-style can be a rewarding experience and increase the value of your home, no matter how long you decide to stay put.

Remodeling projects can be very overwhelming to most homeowners. Even with a clear vision in mind, just walking into your local home improvement retailer can make your head spin. From cabinetry to patio doors and everything in between, styles, finishes, colors and sizes abound.

Here are some tips for making the remodeling process more enjoyable so you can complete the project with ease and peace of mind:

Let Your Design Dreams Take You Away

Like most of us, you probably already have a vision for your dream remodel. For example, perhaps gleaming granite countertops, a custom glass tile backsplash in your favorite shade of blue, endless cherry cabinetry and a built-in wine refrigerator top your list for kitchen must-haves. Or, maybe you have always dreamed of a Jacuzzi tub and bamboo floors in your master bathroom. Wherever your design dreams take you, make note of it. Peruse home and fashion magazines, design blogs and Web sites and home improvement television shows to see which styles strike you. Keep a file folder with images and swatches for inspiration. At this point in the process, the sky is the limit!  Don’t let the budget squash your design dreams.  You need to talk these items through with an expert and see how much of your dreams you can make a reality within your budget.

But Keep Your Budget Grounded

Eventually you will need to set a budget for your remodeling project. Staying on budget can be challenging and end up being more than originally planned. Throughout the entire process, you should keep accurate records of estimates, costs, and agreements and review your running tally frequently so there aren’t budget surprises. Sometimes you may have to compromise on your dreams for budget realities, but with proper planning, you can achieve the right balance. Tapping into the expertise of a design professional can help you determine where to splurge and where to save.  A good rule of thumb for budgeting a typical kitchen remodel is 10-to-15 percent of your home’s market value. Most of the cost of remodeling a kitchen typically can be recouped by increased market value should you sell your home even in a sluggish real estate market.

Think Futuristically

The longer we stay in our homes, the older we get, too. And over time, both homes and people tend to need a little more help. As long as you’re remodeling, think ahead to possible changes in your mobility, strength, or eyesight. Considering things such as this in advance is not only smart but saves costly changes you may need to make in the future… It’s especially important to keep these things in mind when shopping for cabinetry, plumbing fixtures, and lighting.

Pick a Professional

Once you have a good idea of what you hope to achieve and how much you’re able to invest, be careful in choosing a competent design professional to assist you. A knowledgeable expert who can steer your choices and help guide the decisions will be invaluable in helping you achieve your remodeling goals within the budget you need to stick to. Take your inspiration folder with you so they can share your vision. With experience comes knowledge. Designers know which items are likely fads and which splurges will stand the test of time. It’s this sort of knowledge along with their design and functionality expertise is important if you want to do the project well. I recommend that you consider your first design appointment as somewhat of an interview.  Both the client and the designer should get to know each other and be sure it’s a good fit. Choose a designer that takes the time to share their knowledge and expertise with you.  This is the person you want in your corner in case any surprises arise during your project.

About the Author

Gina Richard is the president of The Corner Cabinet. She and her team have more than 18 years of experience helping homeowners design and build their dream kitchens and baths. The Corner Cabinet is in Framingham, just off route 9.