How To Decide Which Home Improvement Project To Do First

Being a homeowner comes with a lot of responsibility. Whether it’s leaky faucets, creaky kitchen cabinets, or splintering decking, there are a lot of challenges and opportunities for home improvement along the way.

But deciding on which home improvement project to start on first can be its own challenge. We’ve built a roadmap to help guide you along the path to enhance the beauty and functionality (and make some repairs) of your home. Let’s take a look at the strategic decision-making process so you can start transforming your home into a space that reflects your personality and meets your unique needs.

ASSESS YOUR IMMEDIATE NEEDS

The home improvement needs for each home will be different, so the best place to start is by conducting a thorough evaluation of your home and property. Take a pen and paper and note any potential safety hazards, structural issues that might compromise your home, and any aesthetic changes you may want to make.

Safety Hazards: Walk around your home (inside and out) scrutinizing for any safety concerns — pay attention to areas where there may be tripping hazards, faulty wiring, fire hazards, or loose materials/uneven surfaces. It’s a good habit to do this at least once a year, but it’s particularly important when assessing what projects you need to focus on. If you’re unsure of how to perform a specific inspection (like your appliances or electrical system) don’t be afraid to hire a professional.

Structural Issues: Inspect your basement, crawlspace, and/or foundation for any cracks, settling, or water damage that may cause issues if left unrepaired. On a nice day, inspect your roof, attic, walls, and windows for any signs of physical or water damage.

After assessing any immediate safety hazards or structural issues, make a room-by-room list of any functional and lifestyle improvements you’d like to make. Start by looking at key areas of your home like the kitchen and bathrooms. Consider upgrades that will enhance the usability and convenience of these areas, like modernized appliances, custom cabinets, and new countertops.

SET A BUDGET

After making your list of needed and wanted home improvements, it’s smart to get a clear understanding of the financial cost of each project. Setting a realistic expectation for yourself on the expected cost of home improvements is pivotal in the decision-making process.

Begin by researching the costs associated with the home improvement projects that you are considering. Websites like Angi and Remodeling Magazine’s “Cost vs. Value” report can offer insight into the average cost of improvements based on project and location.

Don’t hesitate to call local professionals and request an estimate — these are often provided for free, but make sure to ask if there is a cost for an estimate. Don’t simply think of the short-term cost of projects, take into consideration energy savings by updated appliances as well as the longevity of materials and equipment.

Remember that no matter how diligent you are in planning, you’re likely to run into unexpected delays, repairs, or urgent fixes during a home improvement project. Make sure to include a buffer in your estimate for contingencies that arise during the project. This emergency fund will give you peace of mind and the flexibility to face any challenge.

While planning your budget, take a critical eye on each home improvement job and identify whether the project is a need or a want. During the planning phase, it’s easy to get lost in your dreams of a perfect home. Prioritizing projects by need ensures you enhance the longevity of your home and creates a solid foundation for future projects.

PERSONALIZE YOUR LIVING SPACE

Your home is a reflection of your personality, experiences, and style. As you’re planning your home improvement projects, think about how you can transform your living spaces into functional areas infused with your personality.

Think about your daily routine, your hobbies, and the activities that bring you joy. As you build out your home improvement list, take notes on opportunities for customization and efficiency.

After any immediately needed improvements have been made, consider choosing projects that align with your lifestyle. Look for projects that will make your daily life easier or more convenient, like building a kitchen island or renovating a room to be a home office. A crucial step here is evaluating the storage needs of your home. Look for ways to declutter your home (and regain floor space!) by building custom closets, shelving units, or cabinets.

FUTURE PLANNING

The final thing to consider when planning a home improvement project is the long-term goals and uses of your projects. Look beyond the immediate need or use for an improvement and think about how your home and family will be growing in the future. This phase is about making sure that you’re choosing and planning projects that suit your current needs and can accommodate future changes.

If your family will be growing or downsizing, think about the ways that your home can adapt. This process might mean converting a home office to a bedroom, or vice-versa! Design and choose your projects with flexibility in mind. If you’re planning to stay in your home long-term, look at energy-efficient upgrades like new windows or doors or high-efficiency HVAC systems.

If you’re ready to move forward on a home improvement project, Big C Lumber has the materials you need! Whether you’re updating your countertops or building custom cabinets, we’ve got solutions for you. Contact us today to get started!