Five Interior Design Tips for a Successful Remodel

You want a successful remodel, right? To accomplish this life-changing goal, you should consider hiring a designer to help you reimagine what’s possible for you and your home. When most people think of a remodel, they tend to focus on all the “pretty” items that are tangible and fun – like lighting, cabinetry, paint, and furnishings. But an interior designer will take you far beyond the “pretty” to give you a space reflective of who you are and how you want to live. In this article, you’ll learn five interior design tips to prepare for the remodel of your dreams – offering suggestions that will result in a home that is quintessentially YOU. 

1. Collect Ideas 

  • What’s Working. What’s Not Working. You don’t immediately need to solve the puzzle of how your home will function and look – your designer will help with that. But do think about what’s working, and more importantly what’s not working. What might help you relieve of stress and frustration? Next think about what you would love to have, and then the “what if we could do or have this?!” Is it a mudroom? A pantry? A meditation room? Getting on the same page with your partner with your priorities will go a long way.
  • Daydream. Now that you have the function problems prioritized, visualize and daydream about the possibilities of your new space. How do you want it to feel? What colors do you want? Allow your imagination to run wild without limits and learn why this tip is my #1 piece of advice when considering a remodel. 

First and foremost – start dreaming. Reflect on what inspires you, boosts your mood, and brings you sheer happiness. There are a variety of ways you can investigate and capture what really lights you up: 

  • Design Ideas. Flip through the pages of your favorite design books, magazines, or Pinterest and reflect on what sparks joy. Do you love that bohemian-inspired living room? What about the French-inspired kitchen? Take notes of the spaces and why you love them.
  • Memories. Jot down notes about your favorite hotels, restaurants, destinations, or even a friend’s home. What about each place do you remember the most and want to have reflected in your remodel? 

Each strategy will give your designer a deeper sense of your likes, dislikes, what represents you, and what style you want to embody. Don’t put limits on your ideas, because you might just be surprised that you really might be able to have that outdoor kitchen or spa bathroom! Let your imagination flow, dream, and have fun. 

2. Know your target investment

Many clients have a glimpse into what they want their remodel to look like, but most don’t know exactly what that vision will cost. This is a complicated answer, but you can do a  little research ahead of time to get an idea. Here are just a few things to consider:

  • Amount. How much do you have to spend? Do you need to stay within what you have saved? Can you get a loan? Do you want to get a loan? Whatever your final number is, add 25% because things always cost more than you anticipate and there will be areas you don’t want to compromise on and spending more makes good sense.
  • Prioritize. In the prior exercise I asked you to make a list of your needs, wants, must haves, and luxury wishes. Now prioritize that list. Don’t worry about crossing anything off the list but do try to get on the same page as your partner on what changes will have the most impact on your lives.

Ask Around. Has your neighbor, friend or family member recently done a remodel? This can be tricky because costs change dramatically over time. How much remodeling was done to achieve the results will impact costs greatly. But asking will at least give you a number to find out what you are comfortable spending.

The market is constantly changing, especially right now, and you need to lay the financial groundwork before investing. As you research prices, you will determine what feels financially safe for you and what doesn’t. This type of preparation will also help empower your designer to advise you properly through the remodel which leads me to my next tip.

3. Find the right designer 

Interior designers will help you create a space that reflects your identity, personality, and unique style. That’s why hiring someone is more than a business commitment. It’s important to find a designer who will listen to you but also someone you can trust to be honest when a design idea will not accomplish your goals. You will be working closely with each other and despite the stress and anxiety that remodels can stir up, you should still be able to maintain clear communications while still having fun! To make your remodeling journey efficient and rewarding, you need to know what you are looking for in a designer:

  • Evaluate their portfolio. A designer’s portfolio will inform you about their experience and design style. It’s important to ask prospective designers if the style reflected on their portfolio is their own or their clients. While their personal style doesn’t need to match your own – it’s good to know if they have experience with what you’re trying to accomplish (i.e. modern vs. traditional). Pro tip: Look for an interior designer with experience in space planning – this combination enhances the function and flow of your home while uplifting your wellbeing.
  • Inquire about their expertise. There is a difference between a decorator and interior designer. If you are looking to refresh your home and furnishings, both can help you. But if you’re doing a major remodel, you want to be sure that whoever you hire understands the construction process, and how things are built. There is nothing worse than hiring a designer who designs something that can’t be built. I know that sounds crazy, but it happens more often than you might realize.
  • Assess communication and management style and capabilities. How often will they be communicating with you throughout the project. How do they communicate: text, email, phone? What’s your preference and does that align? 

Most importantly, find someone you feel comfortable communicating with and being yourself around. Formulating a genuine and authentic relationship with your designer is key to ensuring a successful remodel. 

4. Letting go of what no longer serves you

This step might be painful, but it’s a necessary step of the remodeling process. Think about what furnishings and accessories spark joy and which pieces no longer serve you. Are you willing to get rid of the outdated armoire you no longer use? How about those throw pillows you bought at a flea market that are collecting dust? To help you during this exciting yet challenging process, follow a few of these methods:

  • Take it slow. When we decide to tidy our space, we experience a range of different emotions. The items we keep carry a lot of emotional weight and memories. Allow yourself time to question the value and importance of each object.
  • Hire a professional organizer. If you start this process and feel overwhelmed and stuck, consider hiring a professional organizer. They are excellent at helping you navigate the decision process. Or read and learn the 6 ways to purge the clutter and adopt a minimalist approach.
  • Communicate. Talk to your interior designer about the furnishings you’re unsure about. Once your designer understands your goals, they can help you make the decision to keep or let it go. 

While everyone tends to hold on to more than they need, remember that you need to make space for the present and the new. Decluttering your home and letting go provides an opportunity for a reset – mentally, physically, and aesthetically. When you feel good in your home, it sets off a chain of positive reactions that boosts self-care in each area of your life. 

5. Be open and trust

Are you hiring a designer to hold your hand and walk you through every step in the selection process? Or – can you let go and trust that you’ve hired the right person, someone who has asked you all the right questions and truly understands your style and goals? The latter will give you more and better than you ever imagined possible. I promise. A designer’s goal is to take you beyond what you can imagine for yourself, and yet still reflect your style, who you are, and what you want from your home. 

I can’t stress enough that understanding your reason for hiring an expert is paramount. That may seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised at the number of clients who hire a designer, and somewhere in the process of making selections, get nervous and start to question everything. This anxiousness leads to clients hopping on the internet at 2 am, researching all the possibilities, and then presenting these ideas to their designer. On one hand it’s understandable – you’re spending a lot of money and you want to be assured that you will love it in the end! But is that really why you are hiring and paying for an expert? I hope not, because I want more for you and your home. If you allow the process to unfold, you’ll be more than surprised, delighted and thrilled in the end! 

Your dream home is possible

Remodeling your home can be a challenging project.  And I know the suggestions I’ve made here may feel overwhelming, but I promise. your efforts will be worth it. Not only will you experience a smoother remodel – you will appreciate peace, happiness, and joy with your home, and you will see this positive effect carry over into your entire life. For some additional help, I’ve designed a three-part series to help ensure that you have evaluated all of your needs and wants, and that your remodel is a dream come true. 

You deserve the remodel of your dreams, and you have the power to transform your home and your life. Have more questions about working with an interior designer? Schedule a free space consultation with me to begin your remodel process.