Look Before You Leap: 10 Tips Before You Start Your Home Project

Look Before You Leap: 10 Tips Before You Start Your Home Project

Abby Stone
Mar 13, 2008

Looks like they forgot to budget for a roof...

Whether you've decided to join us for LA Spring Cure 08 or are just planning a home project on your own, here are the steps we've learned, through trial and very very expensive error, to follow.

For those taking the Cure, we'll cover these steps over the 8 weeks:


  • Dream A Little Dream: After taking the AT Quiz, we drafted a list of all of our specific wants and cut out pictures for our Style Tray. We don't know whether we believe in "The Secret" or not, but we did notice that the things we wished for seemed to start appearing, whether in AT columns, Craig's List or in catalogues.

  • Budget: Yeah, we hate this word but home decorating can easily swing out of control. Figure out what you're comfortable spending before you start.

  • Walk The Walk: Get out, visit stores, surf the web and get an idea of what things cost.

  • Prioritize: Looking at your budget and your wish list, decide what's important and what you'll have to wait on. Maybe you can swap out something less expensive?

  • Decide On Your Plan Of Attack: Make your wish list a reality by adding numbers from your research and listing all the projects that have to be done. Will you do everything yourself or farm some stuff out?

  • Balance Your Spends With Your Saves: Splurge on big ticket items, dream wants or "jaw droppers;" save on decorative items and accessories which may change as your taste, the season, or trends, change.

  • Stop and Take A Deep Breath: Reevaluate mid project. Are you on budget? Is your vision for your room changing as your research expands? Take the time to take another look at your wish list and make changes.

  • Plan for the unexpected: Tips, impulse buys, taxes, delivery charges and painters that take longer than expected will all eat into your budget.

  • Farm some stuff out: Although you may want to do everything yourself, sometimes a professional can save you money simply because they get it right the first time. We always hire a painter; it saves us time, money and aggravation. And, frankly, we hate painting.

  • Babysteps: Most of us can't do everything at once. Start with high impact and move towards lower impact: painting and new flooring have the most impact on how a room looks, then new furniture, then new draperies or fabric, then lighting, then accessories. Sometimes, a new paint job, a little decluttering and moving the existing furniture around is all it takes to take a room from blah to ah.

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[Image courtesy dingbat2005]

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