Smith Brothers Architect and Design Team

Prioritizing Home Improvement Projects

When it comes to your existing home, improvement projects are never ending. Even if you built it from the ground up, there’s still much to do on a regular basis from ongoing maintenance projects to small aesthetic changes such as changing paint colors, switching light fixtures, and garden upkeep. It’s easy to become overwhelmed when you assess the to do list, or even the must-have/want list. We get it, this could become a full time job…it certainly is for our team! As professional housing and design project planners we thought we’d offer some advice on how to prioritize home improvement projects. By developing a process and coming up with a plan you’ll gain an understanding of what needs to be done, and you want to have done so you can accurately determine your budget and plan of execution.

Here’s some basic advice to help you with prioritization of your home improvement projects:

Make a List

Jotting things down is a great place to start. This could be thought of as a brainstorming session. Hold nothing back and write down all of your intended home improvement projects, whether it’s a need or a want. Priority doesn’t matter here, yet. Consider everything from maintenance projects that pertain to the safety and upkeep of your home, to repair projects, small cosmetic changes, new fixtures and appliances, down to the larger scale projects such as a potential bathroom or kitchen remodel, or even updating your outdoor living space.

Once you have them all listed out you can determine their priority. You can also determine which projects you can or would like to tackle, and which ones will require hiring a professional. For example, safety related projects such as replacing the smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in your home can be handled on a personal level and should be at the top of your list – safety first! Sure this is a small simple project, but it does incur a cost, that can easily add up depending on the square footage of your home, and it also requires a time commitment from you in order to make sure it’s done correctly.

List Tip: If you’re electronically savvy you can make use of an Excel or Google spreadsheet to further organize your home improvement projects by priority, budget, cost, completion etc.

Let Go of Unnecessary Clutter

It’s hard to see what needs to be done if everything is hiding in a sea of clutter. Life keeps us busy, we get this, but it’s a good idea to rid your home of unnecessary clutter to get a clear vision of what needs to be done. For example, you may find a leaky pipe underneath your bathroom or kitchen sink if you go through and clear out the borage of cleaning products underneath them. Cleaning out drawers, cabinets and pantries may reveal warped shelving or loose hinges that need to be addressed. Even going through closets can inspire some much-needed improvement for better organization, and regular upkeep of your clothing and shoe inventory. This is a great place to start and while these little things may add to your list, at least you’ll have a true idea of what needs to be done.

Determine Your Budget

Whether your home improvement projects are large or small, you’ll need to set an overall budget. Determine what you could hypothetically spend right now to tackle the smaller projects. If your home improvement ambitions fall on the grander end of the spectrum with a bathroom or kitchen remodel, and you don’t have the cash flow to make it happen, do your research on loans that offer attractive interest rates. If you’ve gained some equity on your home, you could look into a home equity loan or look into some options to cash in on the equity you’ve gained. Once you’ve determined your budget for each project you can start planning.

Tip: Don’t get bogged down in the details of the budget. Set a monthly home improvement budget for smaller projects and see what fits into it. As for larger home projects we recommend setting an ideal budget that allows for some wiggle room as there are almost always unforeseen costs that will come up, so it’s better to account for these types of things within your initial budget to (hopefully) prevent taking you too far out of your comfort zone.

Consider the Time of Year

Whether it’s winter, spring, summer or fall, consider what’s going on in your life before embarking on home improvement projects. Are you traveling soon? Do you have family and friends coming into town to stay with you? What’s the season like? Example: Planning a landscaping or outdoor living space overhaul during winter may not make the most sense, depending on where you live. Even with smaller projects, it’s best to make sure you can be present until the project is complete.

Leave the Bigger Home Projects to the Professionals

Lastly, when it comes to larger scale home improvement projects we’d highly recommend hiring a professional designer, architect and or contractor, depending on the nature of the project. This is your home and you’ll want things to be done right. Whether you’re planning to stay long term, or sell in the near future, home improvement projects add life and value to your home. If you’re planning to sell, buyers can tell if you’ve taken the right measures when it comes to fixtures, flooring and design. And this will pay off in the end! If you plan to stay, make it a place that you not only take pride in but offers you peace of mind that things were done right. Hiring a professional also ensures a swift timeline to getting the project done! While we all have a little DIY in us, we also know that things tend to take longer when we attempt to do them ourselves.

Smith Brothers Carpenter
Smith Brothers Carpenter

If you enjoyed this blog you may want to read our blog about, “4 Home Remodels That Make Sense for Increased Resale Value.”

Smith Brothers is a unique team of construction craftsmen, architects, and interior designers. Since 1978, we stress the absolute highest levels of quality, performance, value and service in each and every project. Our award-winning design ideas, expertise, and collective experience allow us to provide the very best in what we do. For more information please contact us at 877-230-0333, (+01) 858-350-1445, or

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