How to Prepare for Your Design Re-fresh or Renovation

Have you saved up your funds, created hundreds of Pinterest boards and are now ready to tackle your design project or home renovation? My husband, Josh, and I were in this same place one year ago.

We purchased a new home, moved in and the next day began our renovations. True, it helped that I have my own design firm and could manage the entire project but still... we learned a ton of lessons (the hard way), we overspent, underestimated and lived in the house while it was under construction. It turned out beautiful, however, I like to say "our home was a labor of love", emphasis on "labor".  

Before you start your project, however, let me share with you a few of our tips to help you be better prepared and STAY within budget.

THE DREADED BUDGET: Whether you are looking to redesign a room with furniture, art and accessories or engage in a full renovation job, I cannot emphasis the importance of prep work, especially with your budget!

Do not underestimate the time and energy you should (or your designer) should put into planning your project budget. As a professional designer I can tell you this is my number one priority when taking on a new client. It sets the tone for the project, communicates accurate expectations and helps focus your wants.

We always want more than our pockets will allow, myself included, hah! You need to be motivated to stay on target and not go astray, a good budget will help you do this. Grab a notepad and a pen and start writing. If you're completely clueless as to where to start the budget, contact me and I can help you.  

Top Budget Tips

Deduct your states sales tax from your total budget upfront. You'd be surprised how fast tax will creep up. The amount left is your "true" working budget. 

Set aside approximately 7-10% of your budget as a reserve for unforeseen hiccups that may arise. Trust me there are always a few.  

Set aside funds for a professional cleaning service at the end of the project. This is mainly for the DIYers. A professional designer will have this budgeted in. 

HIRE A DESIGNER: I know I'm completely biased, but I can tell you that hiring an interior designer for your project on the front end is the best time saver and financially smart decision you could make. Do you need an architect, countertop installer, contractor, painter or new cabinets?

A quality designer will be able to not only tell you what your project needs are, but also provide a plethora of vendors and resources you most likely don't have. You're investing up front to ensure your budget and vision are maximized!

Top Designer Tips

Be sure you jive with the deisgner you hire. It could be a long road with long hours and lots of communication together. Make sure you not only get along, but also respect your designer. Collect inspiration. When meeting with me or any designer, it's very helpful if you have magazine cutouts, Pinterest boards, etc., with inspiration of the design styles you enjoy. Make notes: What do you really like in that picture? Is it the clean lines, the color palette or even just that one piece of artwork on the wall? Be specific. I will guide you into understanding your style better, but we need a place to start. 

Be gracious to yourself and ALL the vendors. If you're a DIYer, get ready for potential setbacks. If you hire a designer get ready for bumps in the project. I do my best to ensure a smooth, fun design process for my clients but in the end, bumps are inevitable. The key is to work through them calmly and patiently. 

CONSTRUCTION: Some people love it some hate it. If you've never lived in a home while it's being renovated you're in for a ride! 

In a perfect world you and your family would not be living in the home while it's being renovated. However, most people remain for financial reasons. Working with a qualified and experienced contractor is key. 

Top Construction Tips

If you plan to use a home equity loan or the like to fund your renovation, do not begin demo until your loan has cleared! My husband is a real-estate appraiser and this happens all too often. It will affect the value of the current home and delay, even hinder the equity loan from closing.

Read through every contract and proposal thoroughly. Even if it's 7 or 8 pages long, it's long for a reason.

If you have an architect or contractor on the job be sure you understand their service warranty, and what they are liable for. 

If the renovation is on a large scale, be sure to have new HVAC filters ready to install. You may need to have your air-ducts professionally cleaned.  

I hope these tips have helped you feel more equipped and prepared to hire an interior designer and or help you or tackle a DIY project. Remember the success is in the prep work! Take the time up font to think through your budget, hire a designer, read through all contracts and of course HAVE FUN! 

Next up I'll be interviewing one of my builder clients on how to prepare if you plan on building a custom home!  


Laura Thurman 


 I'm Laura Thurman, creator of this blog and owner of Thurman Design Studio LLC. What I love most about interior design is the design process and all the hidden elements that make a space great: color theory, mood boards and textiles.

Inspiration is all around us in various creative fields; interiors, architecture, graphics design & fashion.

The purpose of my blog is to educate my readers by sharing the "inside scoop" on the design world and, in turn, provide helpful insights that will inspire you to elevate and love the spaces you inhabit.                I hope you leave educated and inspired! 

In need of interior design help? View are services here, or contact us

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