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What To Know BEFORE You Renovate Your Home

Updated: Jul 15, 2022

I often work with clients performing in-depth home renovations. Many people start their renovation without realizing what it entails, how much work it can be, or how much fun they'll have in the process! Your home renovation is your chance to turn your space into something personal, glorious, lovely.

I highly recommend that anyone and everyone renovate their home on a regular basis, even if the changes they're making are small. Renovating your home brings your house closer to how you want it to feel and function. Plus, it keeps your relationship with your interior spaces fresh. In this article, I'm going to talk about how to start renovation and why it's helpful to work with a professional when planning your home renovation.

Beginning of Project Oxford with Maria Bowers

Home Renovation - Where to Start?

So, where do you begin when planning for a home renovation? This part can be intimidating! I recommend taking a thoughtful approach at the beginning. Take time to reflect on your home decor, your remodeling goals, and the function of the room.

Ask yourself questions like:

  • What is this room used for?

  • How often will I be using this room for entertaining?

  • How many people actually use this space?

  • Does this room have enough storage, or do I need more?

As you pan around the room, think about what's already there. This is a hard part, but you need to start asking yourself: what should stay? What can I let go? We're all attached to our possessions, but there comes a time when our furniture, decor, and other items eventually outlive their usefulness.

Sometimes items we love can be moved to other rooms. Other times, those items need to be donated or given to friends and family. Remain open to changing everything! One small change ALWAYS leads to more, and I think that's healthy.

Once you've answered the questions I've described above, your project will start to fall into place.

Make a Plan

You can either make your home renovation plan on your own, or choose to work with a professional to help plan your home renovation. Unless your home improvement project is very small scale, I fully recommend working with a designer. What's the benefit?

  • Your designer will understand the basic principles of design and will have a sense of honed creativity that comes from years of doing renovation work.

  • Many homeowners play it safe when they're doing their own redecorating. Your designer may feel a little more daring than you do, which can help you branch out into unexpected colors and styles.

  • Your designer will know which colors, furnishings and decor products will look right with the space.

  • Your designer can also create drawings and give you props to help you envision the final product.

If you're not working with a designer, then I recommend taking a long, thoughtful approach to your renovation.

  1. Choose colors in advance. Selecting a color palette in the beginning will help guide you throughout the renovation process. I've covered palette design several times in my blog, so I recommend going through my previous entries about specific palettes to get some ideas and simplify the decision-making process.

  2. Select a few words or a theme to describe your new decor. Are you striving for breezy and laid back? Fun and energetic? Or perhaps you're hoping for an eclectic home decor theme? Choose a few guiding words to help you find the right home decor for your renovation.

  3. Shop around. Get to know the lay of the land before choosing furnishings and decor for your room. Bookmark pages on home decor websites. Send yourself links to products and furnishings you're considering. Don't act until you find something that really fits with your home design goals.

  4. Look into finding a home renovation planner online. There are many templates and documents available that help outline a list of items you’ll need to make decisions about.


Get to Work

Once the plan is in place and you've selected products to help you meet your home interior design goals, it's time to get to work! If you're working with a designer, much of this work will be done for you. If you work with me, I have stages of the project that are broken down for my clients. This way, from the beginning, my clients do not feel overwhelmed and know exactly what we need to do for each stage. Click here to view my design process. If you are moving ahead on your own, There are many things that you may not think about until they actually come up. Here are some things to consider:

Kitchen Faucet Placement

Your backsplash can impact your faucet placement (particularly if your faucet is a wall-mounted faucet), as can window height over the kitchen sink. If you're doing the backsplash/faucet installation yourself, keep this in mind. If you're working with a professional, they'll manage the logistics of this for you - but be prepared to make or change any decisions regarding faucet placement.

Faucet Placement with Maria Bowers

Sliding Glass Door Positioning

Redoing your bathroom? Will you be adding a sliding glass door to the shower, or maybe a glass door that opens and closes on a hinge? If so, then take some time and give thought to the position of the door in your bathroom.

Make sure the glass door doesn't prevent you from opening your bathroom door all the way, and check to be sure that the door won't get in the way of any open drawers. If it's a sliding glass door, position the door so it will slide open in the correct direction.

Are you installing sliding glass doors on your tub? Tubs can have sliding doors on both sides, with a bar on the outside for towels. Put the door that opens on the same side where you can reach the faucet. No one wants to have to get into the tub or have their arms hit with the freezing cold water!

Cabinet Hardware

Scale is everything when it comes to cabinet hardware! Mix up the pulls and knobs to create an eclectic, out of the ordinary, eye-catching display on your cabinets. I love to see the differences between knobs and pulls, and don't want my clients to feel like they've been chained to one or the other.

Project Stuyvesant Kitchen Design by Maria Bowers

Door Hardware

Door hardware is like cabinet hardware. You don't have to keep the same door hardware throughout your home. Use a combination of knobs and levers to make your home a little more visually interesting.

Keep in mind that levers are easy to open with a push down and require no grasping, so they're great for use in spaces where you frequently enter and exit with large loads in your hands. Your laundry room door, for example, is a great door to outfit with levers.

Trim Work-All Types

Molding (baseboard and crown molding) is a part of the house that people rarely pay attention to, but they absolutely should! Crown molding gives height to rooms by drawing the eye upward. It also adds ornamentation that is subtle but attractive. I think it lends to a more sophisticated look too. Don't forget the walls too! I love adding accent box molding wherever I can to bring some detail to the room. Wainscoting, shadow boxes, you name it, I'll find a place for it haha.

Accent Molding at Project Stuyvesant


Any time you renovate your home, it's a good chance to update your light fixtures. Lighting is one of the tools at your disposal to add to your home's character and make your home stand out. When done well, it becomes another piece of architectural interest in a room, rather than an afterthought.

When you're selecting lighting for your home, it's important to first decide where in your home more lighting is needed and where it isn't. Installing dimmer switches for your lighting gives you some control over the ambiance in your home, but when in doubt about where to install new lighting, talk to a designer for ideas.

Hallway Lighting at Project Oxford

Ready to Start Renovating?

Every home should be updated periodically. Renovating your home keeps your space fresh and fun for everyday living. Not to mention, your home should change over time because your lifestyle, life circumstances, and tastes will continue to change also. Your home should meet your needs and also feel good to you. Renovating can make that happen.

If you're not sure where to get started with your upcoming renovation, no sweat! That's what I'm here for! Contact me today to get started with your upcoming home improvement. Click here for more information!

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