Wish you can take a page out of a lessons learned book on home remodeling? Some lessons are hard to learn and can be costly when you are remodeling.  If you are remodeling a whole home or just a room, there are a few design tips to keep in mind to save your sanity later. These are things you probably won’t notice until the project is complete but you need to think about it in the planning stages. Let’s focus on an open floor plan since that is one of the popular areas that is redesigned or when building a new home.

Home remodeling lessons learned

Window sizes

When you look at plans for a room,home remodeling windows dimensions are normally written to show the size of the room. However, sometimes architects use a different numbering system for the window sizes. Ask how to read the window sizes on the plans. This will help you decide what kind of window coverings you will need when the project is complete. If you are adding a window, think about where the sun is coming in. You might want to consider tinting the window or adding some shades or curtains as part of your design. Also keep in mind how the windows look from the outside. Are they symmetrical on both sides of the house? Does one window look out of place?  Be sure to look at the elevation plans to see all sides of the home.

Appliance sizes and openings

Sometimes all a kitchen needs are some new appliances. However, keep in mind that new appliances may be bigger than the old ones. The design tip here is to measure the openings available for your appliances. Pay particular attention to the refrigerator doors. Make sure the unit has some space behind it and you can still open the doors more than 90 degrees. If there is a wall to one side of the refrigerator, measure how deep the wall is and the refrigerator itself. This will save you hassle at the end of the project.

Door openings

home remodeling tipsWhen it comes to doors, one of the first things to check is the door swing. Will it open into a wall or is there a light switch behind the door? If you can make it a pocket door to avoid multiple doors hitting each other, do it. Maybe a barn door would work better. I had one project where the pocket door was 24 inches and the door opening could not get any bigger than 32 inches. A swinging door would open into a bank of light switches too. So a barn door was installed to maximize the door opening.

Also keep doorways in mind if you plan on living in the same house for 10+ years. Aging in place is a new concept where people want to live in their home until they die. They don’t want to move into a retirement community or a home if they are healthy. If you have a wheelchair, then the doorways need to be at least 3 feet wide. Most door openings are not that wide, so some adjustments will need to happen. If you are planning on home remodeling project anyway, a wider doorway should also be discussed in the planning stages.

Return air vents

Ask where the return air vents will go and how big they will be. Sometimes they can be in the most inconvenient places and you don’t want to block it with furniture. Try to keep them on a wall towards the floor so you can change out the filter. Otherwise, when they are placed on a ceiling, it will be an inconvenience for when you have to replace the filter and then you will not replace it as often as needed. Also if you can keep the vents the same sizes, you don’t have to keep multiple sizes of air filters on hand.

Home remodeling can be daunting. But if you keep window sizes, appliances, doorways and return air vents in mind, you won’t go through the same lessons that I had to learn along the way.