Planning a home remodel is an exciting, but complicated, process. Before you jump into material selections and demoing, here are the top 5 things every homeowner needs to know before remodeling. Whether you are tackling a DIY project, handyman list, full-scale remodel, or home addition, this list applies to you.


The best way to ensure you are making the most of the thousands of dollars you invest into your home when you remodel is to fully flesh out a thoughtful design. It may take more time upfront, but we promise it’s absolutely worth it. Many homeowners rush through this phase on their own, or are discouraged when they find out how long the design process can be, but a thorough design plan will ensure that both you and your remodeling team have an aligned vision of how the project should be completed.


Successfully redesigning a space – or planning an entirely new one – is extremely complex. The design process timeline ranges per homeowner, depending on the scope of your remodel and how quickly you make decisions. Finding a design solution that captures your vision, feasibly works in your home, and fits into your predetermined budget takes extensive research and planning. Between scrolling through Pinterest boards, your initial design consultation, site walkthrough(s), selection meeting(s), and number finalizations, the design process could take a few weeks or a few months.


Taking time to thoroughly plan every detail of your remodel upfront will save time, money, and prevent headaches during construction. Not to mention you’ll end up with a rewarding design that complements your life and style for many years to come! Don’t be discouraged if the planning phase takes longer than you expected- this step is important in order to end up with a home that you love.



As you plan your remodel, you need to have realistic budget expectations for the project you’re considering. Many homeowners come up with their project vision before exploring the cost of it all, only to find out the actual project cost is more expensive than they originally guessed. Work with a company that has processes in place to help you accurately build your budget and find the realistic cost of your remodel. Your project cost is often a reflection of what you’re paying for – so as you explore contractor options, make sure you understand the scope of work, experience, and quality of work you’re agreeing to before signing a contract.

Click here to see the average cost of a kitchen remodel and bath remodel for the Chicagoland area, as well as what increases the cost of a kitchen remodel and bath remodel.


Remodeling typically involves custom craftsmanship that is one-of-a-kind to your home. You can create unique spaces that increase the value of your home, as well as the time you spend in it. Having a home that reflects your specific organization needs, material preferences, and ideal layout is absolutely worth the investment. There are a multitude of ways to customize your home that will likely increase the cost of your project – like millwork, tile, structural alterations, specialty spaces, and more. To bring your beautiful vision to life, you need a talented designer, skilled craftsmen, and specialty trades.


Understand that you can’t fully prioritize both cost and quality at the same time. The two go hand in hand: if you’re looking to spend as little as possible on your project, the quality of materials and labor will most likely be lower. In the same way, if you are looking for professional craftsmanship and materials, you can usually expect to pay more for those services.


Once your project reaches the construction phase, you may encounter some unpredictable hidden costs, like upgrades needed to electrical or plumbing work to comply with city codes. A qualified contractor who has worked on similar projects to yours will have processes in place to accurately quote your project and know how to address issues should they arise. At Advance Design Studio, we do this by scheduling a comprehensive construction walkthrough during the design phase of our remodels.


As you consider who you’ll partner with for your project’s construction, it’s important to understand that there are many different types of contractors. Each has their own specific skill set to offer and are qualified for different types of remodeling projects. Whoever you hire needs to share your vision, as well as provide the expertise and standards to successfully produce the work within the estimated timeframe and budget you agree on.


Contractors who specialize in a specific type of work are great to have working on your project – as long as they are a match for the type of work you’re looking for. For example, a handyman may be a great fit for your home honey-do list, but they may struggle with balancing timelines and quality of work with a larger project like a full remodel or addition. If you’re looking for a specific level of craftsmanship or style in your home, look at past examples of work before hiring someone. Partnering with a contractor who specializes in your project’s specific needs will lead to a more successful outcome (meaning less time, cost, and better quality of work) for both you and your contractor.

To help you find the best fit for your project, here are the top questions to ask before you hire a contractor to see if they are the right fit for your remodel.



Working with a contractor who has an excellent reputation of planning accurate construction timelines – and sticking to them – is critical if you want an efficient remodeling experience. No one enjoys the experience of living through home construction, but knowing you have a realistic timeline will help you feel confident in the construction phase. Understand that even the most accurate timelines are only estimates. They cannot be guaranteed due to the risk of unforeseen issues or delays that may occur during your project, such as weather delays or material delays. In our experience, client-initiated delays happen too, because of family vacations or unexpected emergencies.


Even with the most diligent planning, there are always unforeseen challenges that arise during the construction of your remodel. It’s important not to panic in these situations. Mentally prepare yourself for potential delays or change orders, and understand that these are the risks you take on when taking on a home remodel. Having a contingency fund of between 5-10% is generally recommended, as many homeowners find they want to add or change something in their remodel during construction. Even without change orders, having a contingency fund will be helpful when addressing unforeseen issues that come to light mid-project.


Talk openly with your contractor if issues do arise to find the best solution for your home. This is why partnering with a contractor who is well-equipped for your project’s needs is critical. If your contractor has extensive experience with your type of project, they will have better long-term recommendations (and be more efficient in the problem-solving process) if issues do arise.


If you’d like to learn more about the design-build remodeling process we utilize at Advance Design Studio, we’d love to chat with you. Connect with a designer here. If you’re about to start a remodel, don’t start until you read these articles: