A before and after shower remodel, from glass blocks to single sheet of clear glass and updated fixtures.

Before and after shower remodel.

Anyone who’s lived in their home for a while eventually starts thinking about projects that would improve their quality of life and even resale value. Sometimes, the ideas get big, and move from the realm of “DIY project” to “shouldn’t DIY remodel.”

It’s common to daydream about big changes to your house, but how do you know when it’s time to seriously begin considering some major renovations? A great way to answer that question is a simple walk-through of your house with a keen eye to the clues discussed below. Careful consideration of these clues can help you know it’s time to move your planning from daydreams to reality.

How cluttered is your home?

One of the most obvious marks, but easy to overlook, is clutter. The detritus of everyday life can be what makes a house a home, but too much can be an indicator that it’s more than just “stuff piling up.”

Does it take a while to get all your clean laundry put away because the shelves and racks are already bulging with towels and clothing? Do hygiene and beauty supplies live on your bathroom countertops, or dishes and small appliances on those in the kitchen? Do books, photos and pocket items accumulate in specific piles in specific places? New or better cabinetry in kitchens and bathrooms, or shelving units in bedrooms or closets, can be just the thing to organize your house and your daily life.

Dingy and broken has got to go!

Coupled with those shelves, cabinets and other “home infrastructure” is the concern that they may be worn or dated. Again, part of what makes a house a home can be that “lived-in” feel, but there are ways to address a dingy, out-of-fashion interior décor. Freshening up a home can be as simple as a new coat of paint or as complex as reconfigured walls and all-new windows to let in the light of day and brighten up what might be a dark interior.

But it’s not just the look of your home, it’s how it functions that can affect your quality of life and safety in significant ways. Are your electrical outlets up-to-date, and GFI where needed (kitchen and bathroom)? Are there plenty of accommodations for modern conveniences and technology like phone charging stations, USB outlets, a good spot for that big flatscreen TV, or smart home features?

On an even more basic level, is your HVAC and plumbing functional and in good condition? A basic home inspection can reveal the “health” of your home’s systems and is an important step in any maintenance plan. Remodeling an area of your home – or your entire home – is the perfect time to modernize your electrical, plumbing, and HVAC systems.

Movement and usage are key.

A final clue to look for is a big one: how do you move through your home? Are there stairs or steps? Uneven floors? Are doorways wide enough? Are there tight turns that make navigating difficult? Are there rooms you spend most of the time in, or rooms that you hardly go in?

The answer to these questions can certainly change over time. If you are young parents with children or teens, getting up and down stairs is probably not a challenge, and every room is used. But as your children leave, those bedrooms may not be accessed as often and pathways may be less traveled.

As you grow older, those stairs could become difficult to navigate, and more conveniences may become necessary. Curbless walk-in showers, handrails, wider doorways or even a home elevator are just a few of the improvements that can be made to accommodate aging in place. And it can be a good idea to plan for these considerations before they are physically required.

Are you thinking of tackling a DIY project or realize you should consider professional help for something larger this time? Many design-build companies will happily speak with you on the phone to discuss your questions and needs and even come out to your home for a complimentary on-site consultation.

Photo: courtesy Tracy Tesmer Design/Remodeling