(Family Features) With the extra time many Americans have spent at home over the past few months, there have been plenty of opportunities to think about how that living space could be improved.
While this may not be the ideal time to tackle a full gut and renovate project, it may still be possible to do some smaller scale remodeling projects that update and improve your home. For example, simple cosmetic repairs like painting and replacing vanities can make a noticeable difference with minimal work or investment. Or if you’re hesitant about bringing contractors into the house, outdoor projects like replacing fencing, adding paver stones or constructing outdoor living spaces may be a benefit for your family.
Before you take on a project, consider these tips from Robi Kirsic, MCKBR, UDCP, chairman of the board of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry and co-CEO of TimeLine Renovation & Design.
Define the Purpose
The first consideration whether you’re making changes for yourself or for future resale is the purpose of your project. This determines everything from the budget to the materials you select. Remember projects in the kitchen and bathroom typically bring the greatest return on investment.
It’s also a good idea to plan how you’ll use the renovated area. When possible, incorporate elements of universal design that don’t change how the space looks but will change how it works. For example, in the bathroom, install a curbless shower, taller toilet and block in walls to allow future installation of grab bars.
Stick to a Budget
Another early decision is your budget. It’s fruitless to spend time looking at materials and making design decisions based on products that exceed your budget or, conversely, fall below the quality level you prefer. Having a professional involved can help keep you from overspending and identify areas you may want to splurge or pull back.
Select a Remodeler
Friends and family can be great resources when it comes to choosing a remodeling contractor since they’re likely to give detailed and candid opinions about their experiences. When you begin interviewing companies yourself, verify they’re licensed and insured, and ask what they offer above those minimum requirements. Are they certified or accredited? Do they specialize in the type of work you’re considering? Also be sure to request and check references and search online for reviews.
Conduct Virtual Meetings
While some projects may require an in-person assessment, many planning sessions can be conducted virtually. You can even shop products to be used in your project virtually since online catalogs typically show a variety of colors and finishes along with prices. For items you need to see or feel to choose, like flooring, request samples to test in your home. To make your virtual meetings most productive, prepare by providing a detailed scope of work and be ready to provide measurements and show the space cleared of clutter.
Keep it Safe
For some families, sticking to outdoor projects may be more comfortable in the short term. For those who are ready to bring contractors inside, there are numerous steps you can take to create a safer working environment. Examples include asking everyone involved to wear face masks and gloves and using plastic at doorways to keep the work area separate from the living area. Regular disinfecting and a thorough cleaning at the end of the project are also important preventive steps.
Find more remodeling resources, including certified contractors in your community, at