Many home remodels are doomed from the very start. Often, it’s the homeowner’s own fault that this is the case. Here are four different ways that homeowners often sabotage their own remodel without knowing it.

Hire the first contractor that can start

There are several factors homeowners need to consider when hiring a remodeling contractor. How soon the contractor can start is certainly one of those factors, but it definitely shouldn’t be the only one. In fact, if a contractor can start the very next day, that’s an indication they don’t have any other projects and that could be a bad sign.

Selecting a good contractor is one of the most important parts of a successful remodel so homeowners need to take their time to thoroughly research potential contractors and select one who is experienced, one who will communicate effectively with the homeowners, and who will be professional and punctual.

Fail to plan

Having a mental list of all the things you don’t like about your home in its current state does not constitute a plan. You might be surprised how many homeowners go into a remodeling project with virtually no plan at all. There are contractors who will be more than happy to start even without a firm plan in place because they need the money but there’s no way the outcome will be a good one for the homeowner. One of two things will happen, the project will go way over-budget in order to accomplish everything the homeowner wanted or the homeowner will have to settle for less.

No budget at all

Closely related to the above mistake is when the homeowner will take the contractor at his word when he throws out a low-ball estimate for the project after a quick walk through the home and a list of gripes the homeowner wants fixed. This estimate is sure to be way off and homeowners who are counting on that very rough estimate to be their budget are sure to be disappointed.

A good contractor won’t throw out an estimate without a firm remodeling plan in place. The contractor will have to crunch some numbers and estimate the cost of all materials and time on paper before making a realistic estimate.


DIY remodels aren’t always doomed to fail but they fail more often than not. The key to successful DIY remodeling is for homeowners to be realistic about their own abilities and call in the pros when necessary. There are plenty of home upgrades that homeowners can safely do themselves. For instance, baseboard radiator covers that simply snap into place can be installed throughout the home in no time at all and it’s virtually impossible to mess it up. Larger projects, though are almost always going to go wrong and the homeowner will end up spending more than if they had just called in a professional to begin with.

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Interior designers will tell you that one of the things first time homeowners struggle with the most in decorating their

new homes is deciding what it is they like. Anyone can order a collection of furnishings from a catalogue or show room and make their home look nice like a picture in a magazine. But the best interior designs are ones that allow the homeowner’s personality to shine through. Here are some tips for doing just that.

Look for inspiration

Figuring out what you want out of your interior design can be the most challenging part but you have to know what you like before you can set about decorating your home. To start, you need to look for some inspiration. The internet is a great tool since you have millions of photographs and interior decorating ideas at your fingertips. Create a file where you store the photos and links to articles about interior design that you feel drawn to. These will help you narrow in on what it is you want. 2D images can only do so much, however, so you’ll also want to pay attention when you’re in other people’s homes to see what kind of design elements you like. You’re not limited to just homes, either; you can find inspiration in a hotel room, a doctor’s office waiting room, or a restaurant as well. Always have a camera on you in case you come across something that inspires you.

Choose the big pieces first

It’s much easier to swap out accessories and small furnishings than it is to throw out your sofa and buy a new one. It’seasier to add little splashes of color here and there with accessories than it is to repaint a room. So start by choosing the paint color and larger furnishings that go with it. Take your time to really choose pieces that reflect your personality since you’ll be stuck with them for a while.

A warning here: if you know you really like a certain color, that doesn’t mean you have to make that the dominant color in the room. Most of the time you’re better off going with a light, neutral color like gray or tan, and using your favorite color as an accent to the base color palette.

Don’t stress over trends

Too many homeowners spend their time worrying about what’s currently trending when it comes to home design. The problem with trends is that they come and go so quickly that what’s in fashion now won’t be in a year two. A home that’s designed with trends in mind will be the first to look dated so go for timeless design principles instead of trendy fads. Most important of all is that you like the things you’re putting on display in your home. If you like the look, then itshouldn’t matter whether it’s trendy or timeless.

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​It’s often said that opposites attract, but that doesn’t only apply to people. Most interior decorators agree that mixing opposites can create some unique and exciting effects. Here are just a few examples of ways to mix opposites when doing interior decorating.

Black and white

The great thing about the colors black and white is that they both go with everything, including each other. Even though they’re opposites, mixing blacks and whites in a color scheme creates interesting contrast and can look great. You can blend these two colors with black and white photography or artwork, fabrics, or furniture.

Assorted shapes

Feel free to incorporate different shapes into your interior design. You might choose to have an orb chandelier and a round dining table to soften the hard, straight lines of the walls in a dining room. Similarly, in the kitchen, you can make use of jars, canisters, and other round pieces to contrast with the straight lines of the cabinetry.

Silver and gold

Some decorators will tell you to stick with one or the other but gold and silver together can be quite a pairing and can really add some glamour to any room in the home. Just remember that a little goes a long way when it comes to gold and silver.

Rough and smooth textures

You can create some nice layered effects in a room by including furnishings with a softer or smoother texture with items that have a more rough texture. For instance, you might pair a sisal rug with a softer shag style one.

Patterns and solids

A blend of solid and patterned textiles such as throws or pillows creates visual interest and is a great way to mix opposites into your interior decorating.

Traditional and modern styles

Most people assume that everything in a space needs to match one particular style but the opposite is actually true. A blend of traditional and modern styles within a space, for instance, actually looks really good. So shop around and feel free to mix styles and time periods with your furnishings.

Old and new

Not everything has to come straight from a department store or home fashion retailer. You can find some great pieces at second-hand stores and in yard sales. Blending old, repurposed items with brand new ones makes a space look more real and lived in.

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Whoever thought up the term “golden years” to describe old age apparently hadn’t got to that point yet. Sure, there are advantages to being older such as seeing grandchildren come into your life and the wisdom that comes with more life experience. But there are difficult realities to confront as well. One of those realities is the possibility that you’ll have limited mobility or other issues related to age. If you wait until that time comes to get your home ready, you’ll probably end up spending more money and it will be obvious that these projects were rushed. It makes more financial sense to begin incorporating age-in-place features into your upcoming remodels than to wait until you already need them. Here are a few to consider.

Age-friendly appliances/features

It’s never too early to start thinking about features that will make your life easier in the future. If you invest in some nice motion-sensor triggered faucets now, you’ll be grateful when you can operate them without a lever or handle later. You can minimize the need to bend by investing in a wall oven and separate stovetop range so your pull down oven is within easier reach. A comfort height toilet which is usually a few inches higher than a standard toilet will be much easier to use as you age and it’s not uncomfortable to use in the meantime when you don’t really need to have it.

Grab bars and other safety features

Falls become a much bigger hazard as you age so you want your home to be as safe as possible now. A walk-in, no-threshold shower is a great investment that will make your bathroom safer for you. Grab bars in your bathroom and other areas may be helpful as well. If you want to put off grab bars until you need them, you can at least have the studs put in place during current renovation projects so that installation will be quick an easy later on.

Easy home entry

Less than half of homes have a no-step entry. Building a ramp should you need it is an option but it advertises to the world that you have a mobility issue and could put you at greater risk of a home burglary. It’s better to do something with landscaping that eliminates the need for steps for the front door. No threshold doorways and wider entryways throughout the home are good ideas as well.

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​There are few things as stressful as a home remodel, especially when it’s a fairly large project that will require multiple contractors with different specialties coming together to do the work. In these situations, it’s always best to have a general remodeling contractor who will oversee the entire project from start to finish and coordinate everybody’s schedules to make sure everything goes according to plans. It’s a major task and the success of the remodel will depend on the quality of the person you hire so it’s crucial you can trust him/her. Here are seven questions you’ll want to ask your remodeling contractor before work begins.

Are you licensed and insured?

Most areas require contractors to be licensed and insured. Never feel embarrassed to ask a contractor to see proof of license and insurance. Any reputable contractor will have no objection to supplying proof. If they can’t or seem unwilling, look elsewhere. This protects you by ensuring the work is done up to code, the necessary permits are pulled, and any damage to your property is covered.

Can you draw up a detailed proposal?

Never enter into an open-ended agreement with a contractor. You want a specific, detailed proposal that outlines every aspect of the project from an estimated timeline and completion date to a list of all materials and costs. The more detailed this proposal the better. Turn away any contractor who seems unwilling to do this for you.

Who are the subcontractors you’ll bring in?

Usually the general contractor will have his/her own people to bring in for various aspects of the project whether it’s architects, plumbers, electricians, flooring experts, etc… Ask for a list of subcontractors that would be brought in for this remodel and vet them yourself to make sure you’re comfortable with the general contractor’s selections.

Do you have any input?

A good contractor will provide input, probably without being asked. But if you ask for their input and the contractor seems in a hurry or perfectly happy to just go along with whatever you say, no questions asked, you may want to get a different general contractor.

Do you have shopping discounts?

Many contractors get a 10% trade discount on appliances and other merchandise relating to their trade and they will offer this discount to you as a courtesy. Some may even be willing to go and pick up appliances and deliver them to your home at no extra cost so don’t be afraid to ask.

How often will we check in about the progress?

If you’re planning on living elsewhere during the remodeling project, it’s a good idea to plan out in advance how involved you’ll be when it comes to checking in on progress. It’s best if you can stop by regularly because it will keep everyone on schedule better.

What’s the best way to communicate?

Good communication is key to the success of any major remodeling project. Think of the general contractor as the go-between who can relay messages from you to any of the subcontractors and vice versa. It’s a good idea to establish from the beginning how you’ll stay in contact whether it’s daily or week meetings face-to-face on site, phone conversations, or email.

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​Ideally, every homeowner could afford to bring in a professional interior decorator to decorate their homes. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Interior decorators can be pretty pricey and the average homeowner can’t afford that expense. Fortunately, interior decorators are often willing to share some of their tricks. Here are eleven interior design tips that come straight from interior decorators.

1. Let your home tell a story. So many homeowners think that interior decorating is about imitating that beautiful room you saw in a magazine. But anyone can do that (with an unlimited budget). The trick is making the space look nice but still personal. Your home shouldn’t look like a picture in a magazine. It should look lived-in and should reflect your personal style. So worry less about trends and worry more about adding your own touch.

2. Start from the ground, then up. A good rug is hard to find so start with that and then work up from there. It’s easier to find fabrics, furniture, and paint colors that will work with a rug but not vice versa.

3. Style every corner. Don’t let any space go to waste. That doesn’t mean you can’t have any empty space in your home but it does mean that every corner in your home has to have some attention paid to it as you decorate.

4. Mix and match. Don’t think that all of your furniture and pieces need to match or even come from the same period. Acquire furniture and other home décor items from different periods and styles to have a home that’s truly yours.

5. Be curious and inquisitive. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. A little curiosity and a willingness to experiment and try new things will yield exciting results.

6. The rule of 3. Though you don’t want an entire room to be a single color, you don’t want to have too many colors clashing with each other either. Follow the rule of 3: a main color, a complementary color, and a highlight color.

7. Flexible lighting. Most rooms have two options when it comes to lighting: lights on and lights off. But as the lighting changes throughout the day due to the location of the sun, it’s nice to have lighting that comes with a dimmer so you can adjust the light to suit the time of day and the mood you’re trying to set.

8. Make use of vertical space. Most people don’t utilize the vertical space in their home very well. Some floor to ceiling book cases or tall mirrors can make a room seem larger simply because it uses some of that vertical space that usually isn’t used in a room.

9. Don’t neglect the ceiling. Believe it or not, it’s okay to paint the ceiling too so don’t forget to.

10. Give old things new meaning. Everyone has vintage items, antiques, or family heirlooms that have sentimental value. If you’re struggling to find a way to make use of them, think of creative ways to give them new meaning. For instance, you might convert a vintage cabinet into a new bathroom vanity.

11. Switch things up. Once a space is decorated, that doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to change it anymore. Periodically move things around and try to create new looks.

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​A major home remodel is one of the most stressful things you may ever have to undergo as a homeowner. When walls are being knocked down and entire portions of your home are inaccessible for days or even weeks you may find yourself asking why you ever signed up for this. Here are some tips to help you stay sane during the renovation.

Stay out of the house

If it’s at all possible, try to live outside the home during the course of the project. If there are family members in your area that could take you in that’s ideal. If you can afford to stay in a hotel for the duration of the project that can work as well. When you’re living inside the home where all the racket and disruption is taking place it will add to your stress.

If you will be staying outside your home, store valuables far away from the work site in a distant corner of the home, a storage facility, or at a trusted friend’s or family member’s.

If you have to stay in your home, a good contractor will help you minimize disruptions. For instance, if your kitchen is being remodeled he/she can help you set up a temporary kitchen space in another room. You can always find things to do to get out of the house for a few hours if the stress gets to be too much.

Stay involved

This may seem like a contradiction of the previous step but it’s not exactly. Even if you’re living elsewhere during the project you can stay involved by stopping by periodically, watching the progress, and staying in close communication with the contractor. Don’t just move out and return when the project is done and write a check. By being involved you make it much more likely that you’ll be pleased with the end results.

Always go through the general contractor

If you’ve got a general contractor and subcontractors working on the project, always go through the general contractor when you have concerns. It’s the general contractor’s job to keep everything running smoothly. Trying to approach the subcontractors directly can lead to confusion and unsatisfactory work.

Don’t destroy relationships in the process

Many couples are surprised at how taxing a home remodel can be on their relationship. If you’ve got a significant other, maybe start with a minor remodeling project before doing a full kitchen remodel or bedroom addition. Make time for your partner throughout the course of the project and don’t let your relationship fall by the wayside.

Share your experience

When it’s all said and done, whether the experience was good or bad (it was probably both) go online and share your experience with others. Your reviews of the contractor(s) will be invaluable to other homeowners who are planning a remodel and your friends and family will want to hear all about the project. It’s a great way to regroup and debrief after a very stressful time.

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​Your home’s value comes down to what a person is willing to pay for it. If your home is the worst on the block, you won’t get as good a price for it. When selling your home, deciding on which remodeling projects to tackle and how much to spend can be tricky. There’s danger in not doing enough but there’s also danger in doing too much. If you put too much money into a remodel, your home will be worth more than what people are willing to pay in that neighborhood. That means your remodeling budget is a sunk cost you won’t be reimbursed for.

If your budget and your time is limited but you know you need to spruce up your home before selling, here are some quick, inexpensive remodeling projects that you can tackle yourself on a weekend.

Landscaping maintenance

It’s been said that bathrooms and kitchens sell homes. But before that, curb appeal will determine whether a person even wants to go inside. Curb appeal also influences how much a person is willing to pay. A little bit of yard work can go a long way in changing a prospective buyer’s mind.

To start, trim back any overgrown plants or trees in the yard. Go through and remove all of the weeds that you can see. All of this work costs nothing if you do it yourself. If you can afford to invest some money into your yard, plant some new flowers and trees. Lay down some wood chips or plant some ground cover plants. You may even want to replace the grass. You don’t need to do a complete landscape overhaul to boost curb appeal.

Front Porch

Another way to boost curb appeal is to tidy up your porch. Do some deep cleaning and repaint any wood. Clean and repaint the door or replace it completely if it’s too old. Make sure the doorbell is working and replace it if it isn’t. Put away the ice melt, snow shovels, and other things that tend to accumulate on the porch over time. Put out a few potted plants and maybe even install some hanging planters. Repaint any railing or columns. Install new, large house numbers that are attractive but inexpensive and replace your porch light. As a final touch, lay out a new doormat. Sometimes the little things make all the difference.


After the kitchen, the bathrooms are the most important rooms when selling a home. In addition to standard deep cleaning, you should also try to remove any rust. Fix or replace any drippy faucets. Replacing the bathroom fixtures is usually a pretty easy project you can do yourself for minimal cost. Replace the toilet with a new, water-saving one. Re-caulk the bathtub, replace the shower curtain and towels with new ones, and upgrade the light fixtures to give your bathrooms a new look without spending thousands.

Regular home maintenance

Finally, take care of any miscellaneous maintenance tasks that haven’t been done in a while. Fix that gate that squeaks. Replace boards in the backyard fence that have pulled loose or broken. Clean out the rain-gutters and patch any holes in the drywall. If you know there’s a problem with something, fix it now or expect the cost to be subtracted from the value of your home.

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Bathrooms never seem to be big enough for all the stuff they contain. No matter how much you try to keep drawers and cabinets organized, it is always difficult to give everything a home. Obviously the bathroom is a vital part of a home, and most of its contents are vital to the functionality of the bathroom, but if those items are not properly stored and organized, they can be difficult to find and use. Here are a few creative ways to store your bathroom items, and keep your bathroom organized and functional.

Affordable organizational tools

Always start with organization tools because most of them are affordable, and can be of great service to you. Purchase drawer organizers and drawer baskets to make finding specific items easy. Purchase baskets or bins with drawers to put in the cabinet or bathroom closet to keep items organized, but make sure the baskets and bins are either clear or easy to look into so you know exactly what is in them without having to dig through them. Consider using a shoe organizer on the back of the bathroom door, or perhaps cutting it in half and hanging it on the back of a cabinet door to hold bottles and other items that take up valuable space.

DIY organizational tools

Even if you are not into DIY projects, DIY organizational tools should be considered. Explosion suggests hanging magnets next to the mirror to hold bobby pins, nail clippers, eye lash curlers and other small metal items that can easily be lost in a drawer. Consider fastening mason jars to a decorative board and hanging it on the wall to hold toothbrushes and toothpaste as well as act as a towel hanger. Hang baskets on the wall to hold towels to open up cabinet and closet space. Repurpose pot holders that hang on the wall to be used as a storage space for hair dryers and other larger products that take up cabinet and drawer space. DIY projects are affordable and should be considered.

Inexpensive ways to create more space

Creating bathroom space is the ultimate challenge, but it can be done. Consider installing a shelf above the door if there is enough room to act as more storage space in a decorative way. Instead of using a bulky magazine rack or shelf, consider building your own magazine rack onto the wall next to the toilet. Each item in your bathroom should serve a purpose, and décor can definitely act as storage while looking nice such as a decorative tiered tray that also holds jewelry or other items. Instead of storing toilet paper under the sink or in the closet, store it in a decorative basket on top of the toilet so it is easier to access, and you open up more space in your closet or cabinet.

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