Home Remodeling: Which Room Should I Start With?

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Did you just purchase your first home and you’re ready to transform it into a space you can call your own? Or maybe you’ve been living in it for over a decade and you want to give your home a facelift and a fresh look?

Probably, one of the top questions you have in mind is “What room should I remodel first?”To answer this question, there are a couple of considerations you have to ponder on before making a choice. Remodeling pros would tell you to start with the room where you will recoup your expenses and increase the value of your home.

As exciting as a home remodel sounds, it is also overwhelming. You can define remodeling with 4 Ds – difficult, dusty, and dirty work that would disrupt your household. However, even if remodeling is challenging, seeing the result will make all your hard work and investment pay off – well, that is if you get it done correctly.

Before you jump into the project of revamping your home, let us give you a few tips to help you.

Kitchen or Bathroom: What should I remodel first?

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If you’re planning to remodel your whole home and don’t know where to start, most contractors will recommend that you begin with the kitchen or the bathroom first. There’s a good reason why you should start with these rooms and that’s because they have high returns on investment (ROI).

The recent industry average on ROI for a mid-range kitchen revamp is anywhere between 50% to 60% of the overall cost to remodel. Remodeling a smaller kitchen will give you an ROI from 75% to 80%. For a bathroom revamp, the RenoFi Renovation Index estimates that homeowners can earn an average of 64% ROI for a mid-range remodel and 56.6% on an upscale bathroom remodel.

Now for the question, where should I start – the kitchen or bathroom? There is no right or wrong answer to this as it would depend on these factors: cost, resale value, convenience, and lifestyle.

Cost

If you have little wiggle room in your home remodeling budget, the cost would be surely one of your top concerns. Typically, you should expect that remodeling a kitchen will cost far more than revamping a bathroom – and this is also true even if you’re planning for a low-budget remodel or a more upscale one.

You might come across the common wisdom that a kitchen remodel would cost around 10% to 15% of the overall value of your home. Although this is a good starting point to run an amount, contractors would agree that remodels could be more expensive than this. The reason for this is that, besides your contractor, you will need to work with several pros to get everything done. For example, (this also applies to bathroom remodel) you might need a plumber, a licensed electrician, or a tiles installer.

Some items can affect the price of a kitchen remodel, such as buying new appliances, what brands you will purchase if you’re replacing the cabinets or countertops, and where you live.

As per Forbes, the average cost (2021) for a small kitchen remodel is $9,500 to $14,250, while a bathroom remodelstarts at $2,500. 

So if you’re on a tight budget but want to begin remodeling your home, it would be good to consider the bathroom to be the first area to revamp.

Resale Value

Another thing to consider when debating on whether to remodel a bathroom or a kitchen first is the resale value. This factor is especially important if you’re planning to put your home on the market soon. As discussed above you will see that a kitchen remodel will yield a higher return than a bathroom remodel.

It is good to note that the more complex a remodel is, the lesser you can recoup your costs. That’s because complex revamps can involve tearing up walls, electrical rewiring, or relocation of the plumbing, which all can increase the cost. These types of improvements will significantly enhance the livability of the room; however, they may not translate to an immediate ROI.

If you’re planning to put up your property for sale and are concerned about its resale value, a kitchen remodel is the better option.

Convenience

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Even a simple remodel in a small room in your home could create disruption in your household. And this is true especially if you’re going to revamp your kitchen or bathroom.

In weighing your options, think about which space you’re comfortable living without for quite a while (think a few weeks or months).

For example, if you only have one bathroom in the home, it would be better to start with the kitchen. Or you can look for ways to establish portable showers or ask the contractor to reset the toilet daily so that it’s operable before they start working for the day. Of course, this wouldn’t be a problem if you have multiple bathrooms in the house.

If you’re planning to remodel the kitchen, start thinking of ways on how you can set up a temporary kitchen. Look for a space, like a basement or somewhere indoors for the makeshift kitchen, or if the weather permits, you can fire the grill and do the cooking outdoors.

Lifestyle

Another important factor to consider is your lifestyle. Evaluate which room in the home you use the most. Do you love cooking for the family? Is baking one of your bonding activities with your children and do wish you had a larger oven or more counter space? Or maybe you enjoy taking long baths to rest and relax after a tiring day? Think about these things and what room will make you happier if you renovate it first.

What upgrades should I get when I remodel my kitchen and bathroom?

To give you ideas and so you won’t miss anything, we came up with this list of some changes and updates you can get for your kitchen or bathroom revamp. The upgrades that you will implement will depend on the current state of the space, for example, replacing your old-fashioned countertops with granite will update the look of the kitchen and is also a good investment; here are some of our suggestions:

Kitchen Remodel Ideas

  • Upgrade appliances with more modern and energy-efficient models
  • Replace light fixtures to provide better illumination and create a more inviting space
  • Re-arrange the layout to open up the room and make everything more accessible
  • Update the flooring or give the kitchen a new backsplash
  • Change the countertops (will add value to the home)
  • Add a kitchen island to have more prep or storage space
  • Include a pantry to keep things tidy
  • Switch old cabinets to more sleek, modern ones or give the existing ones a fresh coat of paint and new hardware

Bathroom Remodel Ideas

  • Switch toilets with hidden tanks – these are great space savers and will also fit any modern design
  • Use textured tile for the flooring for safety
  • Improve ventilation by adding a window in the shower – this will help prevent mold and mildew buildup and allow natural light to enter the room
  • Improve the lighting (consider adding a dimmer) to help set the mood when you’re taking a relaxing bath

Read our guide on light switches and dimmers

  • Consider adding heated flooring – this could save on energy costs in the long run as it’s more efficient in heating the bathroom than using a central heater

How do I find the best remodeling contractors near me?

Given that home remodeling involves a huge investment, it follows that you carefully choose the contractor and other pros that will get involved in the project. You want to ensure that you hire people who are qualified for the job.

For example, consider only hiring remodeling or renovation contractors versus a firm that only does new construction. That’s because a remodeling pro is someone who is used to working with occupied/existing facilities, meaning they will remember to block the entryways to protect the rest of the house from dust or protect your flooring from the continuous flow of traffic.

Especially if you’re planning for a more complex or major remodel, a licensed contractor is the right one for the job. They will take oversight of the project and ensure that the job is up to code, is completed safely, and within the budget and timeline.

Some homeowners will opt to hire a handyman to do some work like installments of cabinetry or lay new flooring. However, you want to make sure that the handyman’s license covers the work that you hired them to do. For any task that involves electric work or plumbing, you should hire a licensed contractor for the job. This assures you that the work is done correctly and you’re also covered from any liabilities should accidents happen during the project.

A few tips you can follow so you hire the right contractor:

  1. Make sure the contractor is licensed and certified
  2. Check if the contractor carries a workers’ compensation and liability insurance
  3. Inquire if the contractor will take care of the building permit
  4. Ask about the previous jobs the contractor has done that is similar to yours
  5. See if they offer some form of warranty for their work
  6. Discuss your timeline with the contractor
  7. Ask about the steps they will take to protect your home and other belongings
  8. Interview multiple contractors and compare their quotations (however, remember that the lowest bid isn’t always the best choice – make sure to check their qualifications first!)

Are you ready to start your project? We can help you find remodeling contractors near you, as well as other professionals like electricians, plumbers, and more. Click here to find licensed pros near you.

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