Are you tackling a home renovation? Or are you working on DIY home projects? Me me me! We’ve got all the home projects going on at our house.
Last year we purchased and moved into a fixer-upper. We are never moving again — hence why I’ve been tagging our progress with #whitneyforeverhome. That means, this house will be a continual, life-long project, and I’m loving it.
And yet. Loving interior design and remodeling a ton of projects does not mean they’re easy for me. There are so many decisions to make, options to weigh, budgets to manage. I’m tired just thinking about our latest project, the scullery, I’ve been sharing peeks of on Instagram. But oh it is going to be beautiful, friend!
I’m an interior designer by training and a home renovator by choice. I’ve learned some hard-won lessons about home projects. Today, I’m excited to share 5 of my most tried and true tips for staying organized and sane during a home remodel.
I’m also throwing in some design advice too, because, well, I can’t help it. Timeless design means you will never grow tired of it, saving you time, money, and energy. Isn’t that the ultimate way to stay organized and sane during home projects?
Read on for resources available in the shop and home remodeling tips!
Tip Number 1 — You will save money by planning ahead.
We all want to save money, right? When we first met with the contractor on our current house, he said something that stuck with me. He said “the more decisions you make upfront, the quicker it will go. The better your plan is for your home, the least expensive it will be in the long run.” Yes. Planning saves you time and money!
What does that mean for you and your projects? Establish the big picture for your home remodels or projects. Break it down into phases if needed, then map out what you want to do. Do your research. Get bids. Talk to professionals. The more work you do at the onset of a project, the happier you will be. You don’t have to have every finish or paint color selected, but you do need to know your end goals. I love using our Project List Organizer Notepad to help me plan!
Tip Number 2 — Use a home design binder to keep all your projects organized.
As we started work on our home, I realized I needed a place to store any and everything related to the project. I created a digital resource, part how-to guide, part scrapbook. It’s a place to store your samples, paint chips, research, vendor bids, and more. It’s also a tool to help you determine your interior design style! The Home Design Guidebook is a one-stop guide!
I printed the digital guidebook then added it to a cute binder. Then cataloged all our design decisions, specifications, and measurements. I took the binder with me to every design meeting and check-in with my contractors. The guidebook is also chock-full of my best interior design advice!
Tip Number 3 — Test test test! Especially when it comes to painting!
DO NOT TRUST THE PAINT CHIP. I repeat, do not trust the paint chip! Never look at a paint chip and say, “This is too ___.” Color is only color in the context of other colors. What does this mean? It means the colors next to something, or the light in the room will influence the color you are looking at on the chip. You must test paint samples in your home! Trust me, it will be worth it in the end. If you’re looking for paint inspiration, I shared the paint colors from our last home here!
While we’re talking about paint, be sure to grab our digital painting guide in the shop. Use it to track the paint colors you’re using in your home or as a contractor’s instruction sheet.
I also suggest testing out as many other interior choices as possible when working on a project. I love doing room mock-ups to get a better feel for the design of the space. Tweaks and changes are much easier to make before you start work.
Tip Number 4 — Don’t be afraid to mix DIY with professional help.
It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Sometimes I get an itch to paint a room or a set of cabinetry. Other times I hire out painting jobs to save myself the headache. It’s a balance and often times a financial necessity to take on projects yourself.
We worked with an incredible contractor who helped with some of our bigger projects. But there are plenty of projects I have managed on my own. Over the years I’ve learned to ask for help when I need it, but not be afraid to tackle projects myself. One tip I’ll share is to ask a lot of questions when working with professionals. You’ll learn a ton and might end up saving yourself time or money using what you’ve learned down the road.
Tip Number 5 — Lean into a timeless design.
As a general rule of thumb, avoid any trends that are being knocked off by big-box retailers. These are the elements that will become hallmarks of a decade and tire out. Remember avocado-colored appliances? AVOID at all costs. Surround yourself with quality, not clutter. Buy it once, and buy it right. To stay ahead of trends, look for timeless pieces. Think clean lines & furniture made out of solid wood.
If you’re still unsure about your design style, choose muted colors with the same undertone. It will help keep a room from being too harsh or off-putting. If you like blue, look for muted blues. If you like pink, start with a muted blush instead of hot pink. You can also adopt this principle when buying household essentials. Even the utilitarian areas of your home will start to look beautiful and organized. Consistency is key here!
I love sharing my love of interior design with you! Follow along on Instagram for more tips and tricks, along with updates on our forever home!