Look closely at the space
The first step is to decide what is the main purpose of your remodel. Are you looking to add extra space, upgrade the kitchen/bathroom, improve security, make changes for health reasons or just to improve your living space? Is there room to expand or redesign the existing floor plan? Get input from all members of your household to find out their wants and needs. Be sure to consider the short- and long-term implications of your renovation decisions. For example, will your choices increase or decrease the house’s resale value?
Map out the terrain
As you make your observations, write down your daily routine on paper. The best way to evaluate the functionality of a space is to create a clear picture of what works and what doesn’t work. As you do this, be sure to note all obstacles that now keep your current kitchen or bathroom from meeting your needs. Start to look closely at how you and your family use the kitchen and bath. Note traffic patterns and how accessible the important features are to all family members. It is important to decide what you want to change most and what you can keep or update later. Question everything. Don’t overlook the obvious.
Start gathering ideas
Look through magazines and save photos of rooms, products and floor plans that catch your eye. Collect fabric, wall covering and surface samples. Visit design centers and manufacturer/supplier showrooms. Don’t limit yourself to what you think you can afford at this point. Build an idea file of the things that appeal to you. The idea file will help you create a context, a look and feel that best reflects your personal tastes and will act as a stimulus and constant reference point for your plan.
Set a budget
You’ve seen what you like. Now you’re getting a sense of how the things you like coincide with how you actually use the space. The next logical step is to look at what this will cost. Money is always an object, so this is a good time to determine how much you want to invest in your kitchen or bathroom. What is the total amount you are willing to spend and how much can or are you willing to borrow? Establishing your priorities early will help decide where to spend the money.