How to Get Inspired for Your Next NJ Kitchen or Bathroom Renovation

By March 23, 2016Home Guides
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Quick Summary

Remodeling your kitchen or bathroom can be a stressful process.  One way to make it less stressful for everyone involved is to do your research before getting started.  Your contractor will thank you, and you will be pleased.  Know what you need and want from your remodel, talk with your contractor, be flexible, and be ready for an amazing process that can be fun and frustrating at different stops along the way.  In the beginning you may need to put in some effort to determine what you want your new kitchen or bathroom to look like, but the end results will make it well worth the time you spent on it.


SECTION I: Introduction to Remodeling Inspiration

SECTION II: Go Into Your Remodel with Open Eyes

SECTION III: Kitchen and Bathroom Remodel Idea Sources

SECTION IV: Mistakes to Avoid

SECTION V: Talk with Your Contractor

SECTION VI: Conclusion

SECTION I: Introduction to Remodeling Inspiration

You’ve been looking around your home for a while now and have decided that you need to do a little kitchen or bathroom remodeling.  They are pretty outdated or just no longer fit your current needs, but you’re not really sure what you want.  This guide will help you to get prepared for the remodeling process by helping you to start getting some ideas, and give you the information that you need to be aware of when getting involved in a remodel.  This information is vital, especially if this happens to be your first remodeling project.

Chapter 1: Research!

Research is a vital part of this process from determining what you want to be done to finding a contractor.  You have to research your upcoming remodel with ideas before talking with your contractor to get a better idea of what you are looking for and want to accomplish with your remodel.  That being said, you should also talk with your contractor to make sure that your thoughts and design ideas are feasible for your space and budget.  A great contractor will be able to take your vision and see ways to improve it based on their previous experience to help it better fit with your thoughts on the process.  You may be tempted to try your hand at a DIY project, but this is just something that can create more mess and problems then it will fix.  Some may find that their project is more expensive because they need a contractor to come in and fix what they did themselves.

SECTION II: Go Into Your Remodel with Open Eyes

You should go into your remodel with open eyes.  This means that you know you want a remodel, but you should do your research before speaking with your contractor about what you want.  A good contractor can work with your ideas, but they need something to work with, and if you don’t know what you want, they may not even know where to start to help you get the new kitchen or bathroom you’ve always wanted.

Chapter 1: Brainstorm What You Want

One of the first things that you need to do is brainstorm what you want to have in your new kitchen or your new bathroom.  This can get you started on ideas that are possible for your remodel.

Chapter 2: Create a Diagram for Ideas

There are tools online that will help you start the planning process on your own to start playing around to see what will fit where in your new space.  These tools will allow you to create a diagram of what your room looks like empty, and you can start placing objects into it, such as adding an island to your kitchen or putting in a shower stall into your bathroom.  Your contractor can take this information and put it into their own tools to come up with your final plan.

Chapter 3: Determine Lists with Wants and Needs

You need to create a list that separates out your wants from your needs.  It is one thing to have a dream idea of what you want your new space to have it in, but reality must also be kept in mind.  You may not be able to have everything that you want in your remodel due to budget, space, or other issues.  Creating this list will help your contractor come up with the best remodel possible for what you need the room to have, and what you want it to have in it.

Chapter 4: Set a Realistic Budget

You may think that you should wait to see your contractor before thinking about cost, but that is not a great idea.  You need to start thinking about what a realistic budget will be for your purposes.  You may want to think about how much you will be able to afford with your remodel.  Everyone wants the biggest and the best remodel he or she can possibly have, but you have to think about what you can afford.  You should be realistic when starting this process.  You can set your budget lower than you expect it to be to allow yourself to grow this figure as features and ideas are incorporated.  You should also have a firm idea of how much is too much, especially if you have to borrow the money to pay for the remodel.  A remodel will not help anyone if you can no longer afford your mortgage payments.  Starting lower will allow you to be more flexible in your budget.  

Chapter 5: Be Flexible

You will need to not only be flexible in your budget when it comes to adding up all the different things you want in your new kitchen or bathroom but also with the process itself.  You may not want to hear from your contractor that all of your ideas will not work in your new space, but it is possible that something you’ve got your heart set on will not come out exactly as you want it.  The timeline may not work out as you thought it would or other issues may crop up.  Be prepared to be flexible.

SECTION III: Kitchen and Bathroom Remodel Idea Sources

You may not realize it, but there are plenty of sources of ideas for your kitchen and bathroom remodel available to you all around you that you can tap into to start getting ideas on your remodel.  It may not work exactly the same in your space, but it will help to get the creative juices flowing for the remodel process.

Chapter 1: Talk to Friends and Family

Your family and friends are excellent sources for information on kitchen and bathroom remodels as they may have been through the process themselves or know someone that has been through it.  They can give you ideas on what worked great, and what did not.  You can even visit their remodels to get an idea of the space.  Be sure to ask if they have before and after pictures to get the full effect of what was accomplished in the room for them.

Chapter 2: Watch HGTV and Shows about Remodels

Take advantage of the television programming that you know and love.  HGTV and other channels have quality shows about remodels and remodeling that can help you get ideas about what you are looking for in your space.  This is also a great source of information for understanding the whole undertaking of the remodeling process, but of course, keep in mind that some of the drama may be more from the fact that it’s reality television than the actual remodeling itself.

Chapter 3: Online Sources

The Internet is a massive source of ideas that you can use for your upcoming remodeling process.  You can check out social media sites, like Pinterest or Instagram, to see what other people are doing in their homes.  You may even luck out with getting more before and after pictures.  Houzz is a website that is dedicated to helping people with their home improvements.  Explore blogs on kitchen remodels, bathroom remodels, and other ideas about what to do with all of your space.

Chapter 4: Local Real Estate

Don’t forget to check out your local real estate.  First, you can talk with local real estate agents about what things are selling well in your neighborhood, and what remodels are not doing as well in adding value to your home.  Secondly, just because you are not thinking of purchasing a home doesn’t mean that you can’t visit open houses.  Open houses can be a good way to gauge what is possible in your neighborhood, and get plenty of ideas for what you like and what you don’t like.

Chapter 5: Window Shopping

Go window shopping to stores that offer interior design and other products.  You may not be doing the work on your remodel yourself, but these stores are still a great source of information for what you may like or dislike in your newly redone room.

Chapter 6: Home Improvement Shows

Checking out your local home improvement shows are a great idea when you are looking for remodeling ideas.  You’ve got a concentrated group of companies that are looking to tell you about their services and products.  Often, there are model homes or set-ups that can give you some great ideas about what you’d like to see in your home.

SECTION IV: Mistakes to Avoid

Sometimes getting involved in a remodel isn’t just knowing about what you should do, but also how to avoid mistakes in your remodel.  DIY projects are something that can seem really exciting when you first get started, but they can often end up the complete opposite.  Often, home remodels that started out as a DIY project turn into a disaster for the homeowners that were so excited to get started, and becomes a very expensive project to fix once they turn to a professional to help.  Often, these costs can be kept much lower if you just enlist the help of a professional from the start.  Trying to tackle intricate remodeling projects yourself because you saw online that anyone can do it may be setting yourself up for a big fall and your home may not be as you wanted it to be.

Chapter 1: Expect Your Contractor to Know What You Want

As much as they might wish otherwise, your contractor is not a mind reader and is unable to know what you want.  When you are meeting with your contractor, you should be able to give them something to work with for your project.  This does not mean that your plans are going to be set in stone when you get to the meeting, but that you have some clues as to what you are looking for with this new space to have and things you may want to see in the remodel.

Chapter 2: Get In Over Your Head

You do not want to get in over your head when it comes to your remodel.    This means that you should not think that just because there was a website offering instructions on doing it yourself, that you will be capable of handling this project alone from start to finish.  You may find that you’ve bitten off more than you can chew or made big mistakes that will cost a great deal more to fix.  A kitchen and bathroom remodel can be dangerous because of that fact that you are dealing with electricity, water, and gas lines.  A poor remodel can also damage your house’s value in the eye of potential buyers, so rather than giving more value, it takes it away.

This also means that you should go into the process with a budget, a realistic idea of what will be happening with your remodel, and ditching the idea of the perfect kitchen or bathroom based on your original dream ideal.

Chapter 3: Budget Problems

Money can sometimes be a problem, and can cause mistakes in the remodeling process.  Some people have a hard time talking about money.  Some people try to cut as many corners as possible to save money.  Some people set unrealistic budgets that are not going to work for their remodel.  They may want a luxury bathroom that evokes a spa or master chef kitchen but finds that their budget is way below that level.  This is all okay as long as you prepare in advance.

You should prepare yourself to talk about money.  You will need to be open with your spouse or roommate about the money that should be budgeted for this remodel.  You should also be prepared to discuss where this money is going to come from, such as if you have savings or will need to take out some type of loan to pay for the remodel.

You may think that you should choose the cheapest option for everything going into a remodel, but this may not be the best plan, either.  You should evaluate each option not only based on the cost, but on the durability of the item, the difference in price, and other factors.  Choosing only the cheapest items because of cost may mean that your remodel does not hold up for as long as you wanted it to or look as good as you imagined leaving you unhappy with the process.

Setting an unrealistic budget can be a killer for a remodel.  You should take how much you’d like to spend, and then increase it by about 20% to get to a more realistic figure.  You never know what may be found when the remodel starts that could impact your final price tag.  There may be bad plumbing in your bathroom or mold in your kitchen cabinet under the sink.  This cushion can help to absorb these costs that you were not thinking about when you were getting started with your contractor.

Chapter 4: Rush Into the Remodel

The final mistake that you shouldn’t make when getting ready for your remodel is to rush into it.  This can be very detrimental to the process and the end product that you are looking to get out of it.  Some things that you may do that are rushing the process faster than it should be are not doing your research, planning as you go along, and skipping the beginning conversations with your contractor.

Ignoring the research phase of this process can mean that you end up with a space that doesn’t truly fit your needs or that you grow tired of rather quickly.  You should take the time to research the different trends and what you like before getting started.

Planning your remodel as you go along may mean that you are missing vital parts of your remodel or that the perfect plan that could’ve been had with a little prior planning is now gone forever because you already started moving forward.  You should have all your ducks in a row before beginning this process.

This is a major undertaking for your family and your home.  Skipping the important conversations with your contractor might cause problems down the road.  You should carefully go over the research that you’ve already done, and what they believe can be done with your space along with how this process will be accomplished.  This is the perfect time period to get some feedback on how the remodel is scheduled to progress, such as a timeline and so forth.

SECTION V: Talk with Your Contractor

Of course, your contractor will need all of this input to help you get the best remodel possible within your budget.  Meeting with your contractor at various stages of this process is an excellent idea to make sure that all parties are on the same page with your remodel.  The beginning meetings with your contractor might be the most important conversations that you can have with them, and will help to set the tone for the upcoming project.

Chapter 1: Meet with your Contractor

The time has come to meet with your contractor, and you need to be ready.  One of the first things that you should do to prepare for this meeting is to gather up all of your inspiration and ideas to bring along with you.  You should also be sure to bring along your realistic budget, want and needs lists, questions, concerns, and any other thoughts you had during the research and brainstorming portions of your remodeling project.  Not having this information may mean that something gets missed in the meeting, and you might have to go back to the drawing board, so to speak.

This is also a great time to learn more about the contractor.  Ask questions to find out more about them and their business.  You may want to see how long they have been doing business in your area to see if they are well established, and may be able to offer some references from people that had similar projects done.  You can ask about whom they use as their supplier to learn where the materials are going to come from for your home.  Talk to them about their employees, and see if you are able to meet the foreperson and anyone that might be coming to your home to work on it.  Ask them about their portfolio to get an idea of the projects that they have done previously.

Chapter 2: Get Their Input

While you don’t want to go into your meeting with your contractor without any ideas, this initial meeting is a great time to get their input on your project.  They can go over your ideas, your needs, your wants, and other things that they see in your project to help you come up with even better ideas and thoughts on it.  Trust that they are able to put their prior experience to work for you when it comes to creating the perfect design that balances everything you want with what is possible.  Your contractor will have a good idea of what is going to work out well, and what will not.  Ask them their opinion if you are not certain on an aspect of your design to see what they have seen with past clients.  Put their knowledge and expertise to work for you in the initial project phase.

Chapter 3: Talk Budget

As mentioned previously, a budget is always a difficult topic for some people to discuss as money is almost a taboo topic for some families.  Setting a realistic budget by doing your research may help you to be better prepared for the bid that the contractor is going to give you on the project with the details that you have come to them with for the meeting.  Don’t be shy during this portion of the meeting.

Be sure to ask questions.  Find out if you are able to get an itemized bid that helps you to determine what things can be axed or what can just be changed to better fit your needs.  Also, it is important to ask at this phase whether or not the bid that is given to you is an estimate or if it is a fixed price.  If it is an estimate, you can expect that this final bill may be higher than what has been quoted to you during this meeting.

Chapter 4: Discuss What Is and Isn’t Possible Between Budget and Need/Want Lists

This is the perfect time to start discussing what can be done and what cannot be done based on your budget and your need/want list.  This may help you and your contractor come to a better agreement on a budget that will work for you both.  Be prepared to give up some of the things on your lists if your realistic budget amount and the bid amount are not close enough together at first.  You may even have to dig somewhat into your list of needs, depending on what is able to be done with your budget.  The good news is that your contractor might have ideas for ways that you can save money, such as tweaking the design to fit better or ideas on using reclaimed materials.

You should also keep in mind that some things may need to be knocked off your need/want list, not because of the budget, but due to other restrictions.  For instance, you may have it in your mind that you want to knock down a wall to make your kitchen or bathroom bigger, but based on your home plans, the wall may be a load bearing wall.  This is another instance where your contractor may be able to help you salvage your idea to make it work for your space.

Chapter 5: Discuss Timeline

You should work on discussing a timeline at this portion of the meeting.  This is where you should start setting a schedule.  You should be able to determine a start date, an estimated finish date, and other milestone dates that should be completed at certain stages.  You can also start creating a clear schedule, such as what time they will start working, what days of the week they will be working, and other timing details.

SECTION VI: Conclusion

Your remodel is something that you should be excited about, but you need to go into it with a better plan than just trying to wing it.  Try to avoid the mistakes that other have made in the past to ensure that you get the best remodel possible for your space.  This is not an easy task, but following these steps may help you stay away from the pitfalls.

Chapter 1: Do Your Research, Brainstorm What You Want and Talk with Professionals

Your remodel process will be whatever you put into it.  You will want to take the time and effort to do everything that you can to get the best remodel with the budget that you have available to you.  Start this process by doing your research.  Look into what is popular and trending.  Look into what styles you like.  Research what remodels will help your property value and what will be detrimental to your property value.  Take this information and brainstorm the ideal remodel that you are looking to have in your home.  Your brainstorming can help you to discover what you want this new space to do for you, what you are able to pay for it, and what things you would like to have in it and what you need for it to have in it.  Then follow this up by taking all your information to a contractor that can take what you imagine and help you turn it into a realistic reality for you to enjoy on a daily basis.

Contact us today to get started on the remodel of your dreams.  We’re here for you.

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