For homeowners looking to revamp their space, starting the renovation process may seem overwhelming. Simple choices like color and texture may be more difficult than at first glance, not to mention logistics like utilities and building structure. The good news is, with the right plan and people in your corner, the process can be more fun than stressful.
We spoke with Jordan Willaby of White Bear Lake design company Willaby Way about keeping projects fresh and manageable. With Willaby’s background in 3D renderings, interior design and remodels, she has some great tips and tricks to start your home renovation off on the right track.
Make a Plan
As Willaby puts it, having a plan “not only saves time, but it saves money.”
Planning your design in detail from the beginning of the project keeps the renovation on track and helps homeowners budget out their must-have items. Willaby recommends planning everything—from flooring and back splashes to subcontractors and layout—before starting any project.
One way that Willaby Way does this is through 3D renderings that consider design choices and structural needs. With a 3D rendering, you can (virtually) walk through your new home or redesign before a demo or groundbreaking.
Work with Professionals
Whether you’re hiring a contractor or managing the project yourself, Willaby recommends working with professionals to fill in the gaps—for some, that’s a designer. For others, a plumber.
Enlisting professional help means “you have someone else looking over things,” Willaby says. Designers keep the project cohesive, can recommend materials and other building professionals and have an eye for legal considerations, like permits and building codes—all things that keep the renovation running smoothly.
DIY-ing your renovation may seem like an easy option, but just make sure you have the know-how to get the job done. And you may want to leave things like plumbing and electricity to the pros.
Balance Lifestyle with Design
When beginning a renovation, homeowners should think through how to best remodel a home for their lifestyle. For example, Willaby says, people with kids or pets might consider vinyl plank flooring over hardwood floors because it’s waterproof and easy to clean.
Homeowners may also consider if they want to sell their house in the future. People who are planning to sell might “make choices [that are] a bit more neutral,” instead of customizing the space to a more bold taste.
But in the end, Willaby says, “You’re the one [who’s] going to be living with this choice, so I want you to like it.”
Incorporating Current Styles into Classic Designs
It’s no secret that interior design styles come in and out of fashion. To keep a home looking up to date, Willaby suggests picking a few ways to add a pop of style, such as with paint, light fixtures and cabinet hardware. More permanent fixtures—such as counter tops and floorings—should stay neutral and durable.
But not every trend is short-lived. One style that Willaby thinks will stick around? Wallpaper.
“Wallpaper has been around for years and years,” she says. And today, “it’s not like every single room [is wallpapered] like back in the '80s … It’s like one wall or a bathroom.”
Just because you start small with one wall doesn’t mean you can’t go big with color and print. Willaby’s own office features an accent wall with a delicate, leafy wallpaper from The Home Depot.