Whether your project is small or large, whether you’ve hired a professional contractor or decided to do it yourself, following the steps outlined in this infographic will help you organize and manage the process. This infographic goes though six steps to help homeowners manage any remodel or home improvement project.

Step 1 – Ideas and Concepts

Find inspiration! Inspiration can come from many different places. Take photos yourself, find images one the internet, or even take cut outs from magazines. Simply find styles of similar projects that you like and gather them so you can look over them when you’re trying to decide how you’d like your home to look.

When starting to plan your project you’ll need to find conceptual styles and themes you like. For example, if you’re considering a kitchen remodel, do you know if you like a modern theme, a Mediterranean theme, or a traditional theme? There are many different styles for you to consider.

Additionally, what kind of materials and finishes do you like? Do you prefer wood, glass, tile, steel, fabrics, etc.

When you’re planning a larger project, you’ll also want to be sure to have a general idea of the spacial layout of how the various pieces will come together.

Step 2 – The Design Phase

Once you’ve collected enough inspiration for your project, try to narrow it down to a specific design.

Small projects typically only involve a few items and that can be decided by you. For example, if you want new floors you can list all of the items you’ll need to complete the project and estimate the quantities. If you’re planning on a larger project, such as adding a new garage, you’ll need multiple items to come together in just the right way. In these scenarios, you’ll probably be better off hiring a pro.

Step 3 – Product Research

In the Ideas and Concepts phase you determined the style you’d like your remodel to take, including the materials that you like. In this step, you’ll find the specific products and brands for your project. The main reason why projects are generally over budget are; poor planning, no budget or estimates, no comparison shopping, bad contractor contract, not pitching in on labor.

Visit local stores. Take a day and visit multiple stores that are  likely to have items that will work well for your remodel. Take photos of products you like, take samples when possible, and also collect brochures of brands that you are considering.

Visit websites. Bookmark the pages of specific product brands that you are considering.

Step 4 – Determining Your Budget

It’s time to set a budget for your project. Here are  some budgets for typical remodeling or home improvement projects; finished basement (61k), kitchen remodel (54k), bathroom remodel (16k), wooden deck (9k).

Comparisons – Analyze and compare your highest and lowest choices from the product research phase.

Cash Flow – Determine the timing of the project and also remember that you may be planning multiple projects for your home.

Balance – This is the hardest part. You need to know where to make compromises on what you like versus what you can afford.

Step 5 – Execution

Time to get ‘er done.

How do you decide if you should DIY or hire a contractor? Here are three things to consider;

  • Time – Do you have the time? Would it be better to spend your money hiring out a contractor?
  • Skills – Do you have the skills and tools for the project?
  • Quality – How important is quality of craftsmanship on the project? You’ll generally get better quality from the people that do this for a living.

DIY – Make sure you have all of the right skills and tools to install the equipment and materials. If you are willing to learn, make sure you research ‘how to’ information before starting your project. Keep safety a top priority.

Hire a professional – Interview multiple contractors for the job. Be sure to hire the one with the right skills, experience, references, and mutual contract terms. Don’t just hire the cheapest bid! Be sure to keep communication steady during the project.

Step 6 – Closeout

Once the project is complete there is still some work to be done.

Collect photos, warranties, and owner manuals of all of your new products and features. This is especially important due to most home insurance policies.

Schedule maintenance. New building materials, equipment, appliances, etc. need annual maintenance to keep running smoothly. You might as well schedule it now while it’s fresh in your mind.

Keep records of contracts, receipts, permits, and other important documents for tax and re-sell purposes.