Sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin when planning a home renovation. Careful consideration of design elements and lifestyle needs will help create a plan that will add value to a house, whether you’re getting ready to sell or stay for years to come.


  • The lower level is a key piece of real estate that can add space and value to your home. Today, families are more interested in having an integrated living experience, so lower level renovations feature large open areas with intimate zones throughout.
  • There are many ways to ‘green’ your home during the renovation process. Adding energyefficient appliances and materials can be done cost-effectively and will pay for itself with the return on investment.
  • The level of finish that you put into a project can make a huge difference. Incorporate thoughtful architectural details that stay true to the integrity of the house.


  • Whatever you budget, add another 10 percent. A renovation always is going to cost an extra 10 percent, no matter how you slice or dice it. Also add two weeks to any timeline that you have with a contractor.
  • Consider refreshing your entryway. People often come into their own homes through the garage, so they don’t pay attention to the foyer, but it’s so important—it sets the stage for the rest of the house.
  • Expand your laundry room, if possible. Laundry rooms now are also mud rooms, storage spaces and activity areas, so if you can afford to enlarge it, it’s a great way to invest your money.


  • Make sure your renovation is harmonious with the existing architecture of the house. The details—trims, flooring, window styles, ceilings, etc.—should tie in as much as possible so the addition doesn’t look like an add-on; it just looks bigger and better.
  • Make sure the architect or contractor creates a very thorough and specific space plan for the room. It should consider how the furniture will be arranged and leave room for window treatments and artwork.
  • Don’t forget to accommodate clutter. Include nice storage built into the renovation plan, so you can store all the accoutrements of your life.