A successful home renovation begins with good design. Whether you are remodelling the entire house, turning your basement into living space or updating your kitchen, the design of your renovation ultimately determines how satisfied you will be with the finished job.

Getting expert assistance in the early planning stages is a definite advantage. Experienced renovators will work with you to explore designs that fit your home, lifestyle and budget. They will also advise you on the level of design assistance you might need, before you can get a firm cost estimate and the work can get underway.

  • For a simple renovation project, you and the renovator may be able to work out the design details in the course of your conversations about the project. If your renovation is large or complex, the renovator may suggest that design be dealt with as a first and separate step of your project.
  • A growing number of renovation companies have a designer on staff - part of a growing trend towards one-stop shopping. Alternatively, renovators may recommend a designer or architect from their network of professional associates Either way, having a renovator involved at the design stage helps to ensure that your design is practical and feasible from a construction standpoint.
  • Typically, the design process begins with a discussion of your ideas and a look at photos, drawings or product literature that you may have collected. The renovator or designer will also ask you to describe what you are trying to accomplish and what do you really need and want.
  • Based on this information, "concept sketches" are developed, usually more than one to give you a range of options. Often additional fine-tuning is needed to complete the design of your choice.
  • At the end of the design phase, you will have a set of drawings or plans that are the basis for getting cost estimates. The drawings should show clearly what the final project will look like, including close-up details, and be accompanied by a specification list of the products and materials to be used.
  • When your renovation entails structural changes or other work that requires a construction permit, working drawings or blueprints are required for approval by your municipality. Professional renovators can take care of all the details, including dealing with building officials.