When it comes to renovations, there’s always something that could use an update. Even if you’ve already renovated your home from top to bottom, by the time you finish your final room the first one may already be starting to look a little too old fashioned for your liking.
If you’ve got a real fixer-upper on your hands, prioritizing your renovation to-do list is even more daunting. Whether it’s the orange wallpaper in the hallways, warped wooden cabinets in the kitchen or the shag carpet everywhere, how do you decide which unsightly room to tackle first?
Here are some general guidelines to help you figure out which renovation projects to prioritize for your home:
Renovation Prioritization Tips
Establish a budget
Take a careful look at your overall finances and decide how much you can put towards renovating your home. The amount of money you have available can quickly narrow down your list of renovation possibilities.
As a general rule of thumb, if you’re planning on selling your home in the near future, investing in renovations can significantly increase your home’s value; if you’re staying put well into your golden years, you may want to spread out your projects for when you can more comfortably afford them.
Start with what’s broken
If there’s any parts of your home that aren’t working properly, then this is the most logical place to start. Anything from broken floorboards to a temperamental stovetop could be reason enough to focus on the room in which it’s located and tackle the whole thing instead of replacing that one component. If your first project is upgrading to the bedroom of your dreams, you’ll still toss and turn at night thinking about whatever keeps bugging you on a daily basis.
Focus on rooms you use the most
It might be tempting to renovate the sitting room because it’s the first thing that guests see, but it’s probably not worth making it your first project for the two times each year that you actually use it.
Think about what areas of your home you use every day, and where the hard work of a renovation would make a real impact every day. Kitchens, living rooms, bedrooms and bathrooms are always popular choices, but think about which one you would be thankful that you put first in your own home.
Consider the scale of the renovation
Some renos are much simpler than others, so know what you’re getting yourself into before you begin. Are you finishing your basement? Does your project require moving electrical wiring or plumbing? Do you need to completely gut a room and start from scratch? Make sure that you have the energy to go through the time and potential complications associated with the type of renovation you have in mind.
What are you prepared to live through?
Similar to the renovation scale, think about how a renovation will impact your daily life. No matter what, a renovation will impact your routine. Try to time your renovation with when you’re best prepared to live through it. For example, if you’re renovating your master bathroom, maybe waiting until the kids are at camp so everyone isn’t sharing one bathroom makes the most sense.
For more tips, see our guide to staying at home during a renovation.
Is it the right season?
Depending on the time of year, some types of renovations may not even be possible. Winter will be the most difficult time of year, so outdoor projects like patios and decks are obviously out. But some indoor renovations may also be out, depending on the amount of space available inside your home and how much construction is involved. Check with your pro to see if most of the work can be done inside your home; if not, another project may make more sense to tackle first.
Whatever renovation you decide to tackle first, we’d love to see a picture once it’s finished! Be sure to upload a photo and review your service professional on HomeStars!