Why Designing Your Home Before Remodeling Is Imperative

Spring’s arrival means many people get bit by the DIY bug. If you’re among them, this may be the year you decide on a major remodeling project. Taking the time to carefully design your home from start to finish benefits you in multiple ways.


Many steps occur between your initial vision and your finished project. Designing your home before you commence remodeling streamlines the process and eliminates pricey headaches.

Why You Need a Solid Plan for Your Remodel

You reap multiple benefits from sitting down at the drawing board and drafting a solid plan for your remodel. Here’s why taking the time is imperative:


  • Clear vision and goals: Have you outlined all your needs and preferences? Have you defined the scope of the work and thoroughly visualized your desired outcomes?
  • Efficient space planning: Does your design utilize space efficiently to balance practicality with aesthetics? Have you considered traffic flow, furniture placement and future storage needs?
  • Sustainable materials: The materials you choose affect your and your family’s health along with the planet’s. Have you explored options such as cork, bamboo, precast concrete or reclaimed wood to minimize your footprint and feel better about your upgrades? How can you make the healthiest choices within your budget constraints and still meet your desired aesthetic?
  • Avoiding costly mistakes: This may be the most significant benefit of designing your home before remodeling. Tearing out changes you’ve already made costs a fortune, harms the planet and wastes time. Using the right design tools and software lets you visualize the final product, make informed decisions and head off problems before they emerge.
  • Enhancing resale value: While resale value may or may not be your primary objective, have you considered incorporating timeless design elements that may attract potential buyers, finding graceful ways to merge them with your personal aesthetic? Have you considered upgrades that promise a significant ROI, such as painting or refreshing your landscaping?


5 Steps to Designing a Remodeling Plan

You do yourself a service by designing your remodeling plan from start to finish. How does the process look in reality? Review the steps you should take before you start swinging hammers.

1. Inspiration and Research

Start with the fun part. You now have an excuse to splurge on those architectural magazines you see in checkout lines — use them for inspiration. Search online magazines, saving photos that match your desires into a special folder for later organization. Utilize social media — for example, Reddit has several subreddits such as r/homeimprovement, r/DIY and r/Home devoted to renovation where you can ask questions and share ideas with others.


Once you have your ideas, it’s time to organize them. Create a mood board, either using old-fashioned paper and glue or software such as Canva. You might also create a design portfolio filled with pictures, ideas and inspiration for every room of your home — including that dream lanai and manicured backyard.

2. Space Planning and Layout

Next, assess the existing space to determine the optimal layout for functionality and flow. Begin with the trusty tape measure. Then, utilize design software or apps to create floor plans and 3D models so that you can visually represent what you want the finished product to look like. Some you might try include:


  • SketchUp
  • Planner 5D
  • RoomSketcher
  • Homestyler
  • Sweet Home 3D
  • HomeByMe
  • Floorplanner

3. Choose Between a Contractor, DIY or a Combination

Nearly anyone can paint an interior room, but other elements of your remodel design may require professional attention. For example, adding a wing or transforming a basement into an accessory dwelling unit may require installing a bathroom that requires the combined expertise of a plumber, pipefitter and welder. Techniques like millwork also require specialized equipment and pros with the know-how to operate it.

4. Material and Fixture Selection

Your research comes in handy as you shop for the textures, fixtures and finishes that make your vision a reality. It also reveals where you can save money. For example, you can sometimes find perfectly serviceable metal sinks and other household fixtures at scrapyards.

Keep in mind that the initial price is only one factor to weigh when selecting material. You must also consider longevity and maintenance requirements — you don’t want to have to redo all your hard work in a few years if things wear out.

5. Covering the Budgetary and Legal Bases

Depending on the scope of your remodel, you may need to pull permits. Contact your local city or county offices to inquire what Xs you must cross to avoid future problems. Unpermitted work can cause resale issues and authorities can sometimes force you to undo upgrades that fail to meet code requirements.


Furthermore, review your budget. Completion time might be a factor if you plan to sell, so ensure you have more than enough resources to complete your vision — or determine what you need to do to attain those reserves. For example, you might investigate a home equity loan or line of credit or put that tax refund to good use.

Design Before You Remodel

The old cliche reminds you that a failure to plan is a plan to fail. Designing your home before you remodel is imperative to preventing costly mistakes. It also clarifies your vision and goals and results in a sustainable, aesthetically pleasing remodel that brings you and your family joy for years to come.