• Lisa for humble house design

Step 1: Identify which rooms to renovate.

Home finishes can quickly look dated and out of step with the rest of your home if they are installed at different times. If you don’t believe me, just take a look at some of the interior real estate photos for properties listed for sale online. Most people do not have enough money to do a complete home renovation, so it is helpful to have a master plan when replacing interior finishes. This gives your home a cohesive, well designed look.


Most people do not like to spend time planning. They want to get right in and start the project before fully fleshing it out on paper. Don’t skip this stage. Let this stage be long and slow.

Decide which rooms you will be renovating or updating. Some rooms are important to keep current, especially for re-sale. Kitchens and bathrooms are always top of mind when looking for a new home. These rooms tend to look dated quickly because of the permanent finishes in these rooms. Tile and flooring styles tend to change every few years so, it is important to think about how long you will remain in your home and re-sale value when thinking about replacement of your permanent finishes.

Determine when you will renovate each room. All at the same time or over several years. Your particular plan might include renovation of the kitchen this year and renovation of the family room connected to it the following year. It is important to identify all the rooms and spaces, particularly if they are being renovated at different times. This is critical because typically once you renovate a room it looks so good that the other spaces begin to look dated. It is not uncommon for homeowners to let the renovation “creep” into another room without really having a good plan or money allocated.

Define your needs verses your wants. Decide which rooms need to be updated sooner verses later.

It is best to identify everything up front, so you know where the project is going so you can determine how much it is likely to cost. Kitchen renovations are not only the most disruptive to family life, they tend to be the most costly. Bathrooms are also high on the list for disruption and cost.


Time is an important consideration when renovating. It is perfectly fine to renovate spaces within your home at different times but, it is important to remember that some materials and products may get discontinued by the manufacturer. Colors go in and out of favor and may even disappear altogether.

Be cautious when choosing your finishes and steer away from current trends if your renovation is to be done in stages or is a long way off. Stick to classic finish choices so they will be available when you begin your project.

The goal of this step is to clearly identify which rooms will be renovated and when.