Our Ultimate Renovation Checklist Will Help You Plan Any Project

Renovating a home is an exciting endeavor, but it can also be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan. Having a comprehensive renovation checklist will help you stay organized and on track during your project. Here is our ultimate checklist covering everything you need to consider when renovating, from initial planning to final touches.

Developing Your Vision

Before diving into the details, it’s important to step back and define your vision for the remodel. Consider the following:

What Are Your Goals?

  • Do you want to update worn or outdated elements?
  • Are you aiming to improve functionality for your lifestyle?
  • Is the goal a full transformation changing the floorplan?

Get clear on your motivations and what you want to accomplish. This will dictate the scope and direction of the project.

How Will You Use the Space?

  • Analyze how you currently utilize each area of the home.
  • Think about how your needs may have changed if it’s been awhile since you updated the space.
  • Plan the layout to optimize the updated space for your lifestyle.

What Is Your Style?

  • Browse design inspiration to identify your preferred interior design style.
  • Collect ideas that align with the look and feel you want to create.
  • This will guide aesthetic choices like color schemes, materials, and decorative detailing.

What Is Your Budget?

  • Research costs for different renovation projects and options in your region.
  • Create a detailed budget with projected expenses and contingency funds.
  • Carefully weigh wants versus needs—you may have to save certain things for future phases.

With a defined vision and goals, you can move on to the nitty gritty planning and prep work.

Planning and Preparation

Meticulous planning and preparation will make the execution of your remodel go much more smoothly.

Create a Timeline

  • Map out each phase of demolition, construction, finishes, inspections, etc. Be realistic about timeframes.
  • Factor in lead times for sourcing and ordering materials, fixtures, and finishes.
  • Build in cushions for potential delays due to problems or backorders.

Select Your Team

  • Vet and select qualified professionals for each aspect of the job: contractor, interior designer, architect, etc.
  • Check licensing, insurance, credentials, reviews, and references.
  • Get multiple quotes to compare pricing.

Manage Permits

  • Research what permits are required for each part of your renovation scope. Requirements vary by region.
  • Apply for all necessary permits well in advance of when they will be needed.
  • Keep approved permits onsite throughout the project.

Sort Out HOA Rules

  • If you live in a condo or subdivision with a homeowner’s association, get their approval if needed.
  • Ensure your plans comply with HOA guidelines, especially for exterior changes.

Update Insurance

  • Contact your home insurance provider to update your policy for the renovation.
  • This ensures adequate coverage for any damage or injuries during the project.

Plan Temporary Living

  • If the remodel will make the home unlivable, come up with a temporary living arrangement.
  • This could mean moving in with family or renting a short-term furnished apartment.

Secure Valuables

  • Protect important documents, heirlooms, art, or other prized possessions from dust and damage.
  • Temporarily relocate irreplaceable items outside the home if extensive demolition is involved.

With the logistics dialed in, it’s time to start making design decisions.

Design Details

Nailing down the design specifics will bring your vision to life.

Select Interior Finishes

  • Choose inspired color schemes, flooring, tiles, cabinetry, lighting, hardware, and other interior finishes.
  • Collect physical samples of finishes you are considering to get a true sense of each material.

Pick Fixtures and Appliances

  • Select updated faucets, sinks, toilets, tubs, showers, and other bath and kitchen fixtures.
  • Choose any new appliances and coordinate delivery timing.

Plan Lighting

  • Determine how much ambient, task, and accent lighting you need in each space.
  • Pick light fixtures that align with your desired style.

Design Storage

  • Incorporate customized storage solutions tailored for how you’ll use the space.
  • Closet systems, built-ins, drawer organizers, and shelving help maximize usable space.

Finalize the Floorplan

  • Work with your architect or designer to tweak and finalize the floorplan layout.
  • Ensure it supports how you intend to live in the space.

Select Furniture

  • Plan furniture placement for optimal flow and functionality.
  • Shop for new pieces if needed, keeping lead times in mind.

With your design solidified, it’s go time for the renovation process.


Demolition and stripping back the space prepares it for rebuilding.

Remove Existing Finishes

  • Carefully gut the space by removing flooring, surfaces, sinks, toilets, cabinets, etc.
  • Salvage anything you plan to reuse or recycle, donate, or sell usable cast-off materials.

Take Down Walls

  • Safely remove any walls earmarked to come down according to the new floorplan.
  • Provide temporary structural reinforcement as needed if load-bearing walls are impacted.

Remove Debris

  • Clear away all debris to make way for new construction.
  • Rent a dumpster to simplify disposal of deconstruction waste.

Check Systems

  • Inspect systems like electrical, plumbing, and HVAC for problems uncovered during demolition.
  • Make any necessary repairs or replacements.

Add Framing

  • Build new framing and backing needed for the updated layout.
  • Frame any bump-outs, new doors/windows, or other structural changes.

With the blank canvas prepped, the physical transformation really gets underway.

Construction and Rough Work

The framing, rough electrical and plumbing, HVAC, drywall, and other structural work establishes the bones of the space.

Install New Systems

  • Run updated electrical wiring and outlets to power the redesigned rooms.
  • Replace old plumbing pipes and add new water supply lines as needed.
  • Update HVAC systems and ductwork for improved climate control.

Frame Walls and Rooms

  • Construct new interior walls and framing according to floorplans.
  • Soundproof shared walls for increased privacy.

Hang Drywall

  • Cover open framing with drywall sheets for clean wall and ceiling surfaces.
  • Mud, tape, and finish drywall seams for a seamless look.

Build Custom Elements

  • Construct any built-ins, wet bars, customized shelving, or other specialty items.

Protect Floors

  • Cover subfloors with Ram board or other material to shield from damage during active construction.

With the bones complete, it’s time to give your space back its personality.

Finishing Touches

The finishing details breathe life into the new space.

Install Cabinetry

  • Have new cabinet boxes and fronts put in per your designs.
  • Adjust as needed to ensure proper fit and alignment.

Set Countertops

  • Carefully template and install natural stone, quartz, or other countertop materials.
  • Use waterproof backsplashes to protect walls.

Lay Flooring

  • Acclimate hardwoods, tile, or other flooring before installation.
  • Use spacers for consistent grout line spacing on tile.

Paint Walls and Trim

  • Prime surfaces and apply two finish coats in your selected interior paint colors.
  • Use painter’s tape for clean edges at trim and ceilings.

Hang Doors and Windows

  • Install interior and exterior doors and hardware. Make sure doors swing freely without rubbing.
  • Affix any new windows and confirm they operate smoothly.

Install Plumbing Fixtures

  • Mount sinks, faucets, shower systems, toilets, and other bath hardware using a plumber’s level.
  • Seal any deck-mounted tub surrounds with caulk.

Add Finishing Touches

  • Affix mirrors, sconces, towel bars, and other decorative details.
  • Bump out nailing imperfections and apply touch-up paint.
  • Clean and seal all surfaces.

You’re so close to enjoying the finished space!

Final Inspections

Final inspections ensure all work meets local building codes and requirements.

Schedule Inspections

  • Arrange for your contractor to be present during all final municipal inspections.
  • This typically involves electrical, plumbing, mechanical, and overall final inspections.

Complete Punch List

  • Verify all work matches the agreed-upon plans, correcting any inconsistencies.
  • Repair flaws noted during inspections and walkthroughs.
  • Clean work areas thoroughly.

Obtain COO

  • Secure a Certificate of Occupancy from your local building department upon passing inspection.
  • This grants legal permission to occupy the newly renovated space.

Review Contractor Payment

  • Verify you have been billed only for completed work and actual materials used.
  • Process final payment to your contractor upon a satisfactory final walkthrough.

Get ready to break in your beautiful new space!

Completing Your Project

These final steps finish everything off.

Install Furniture

  • Arrange furniture pieces according to your floorplan.
  • Add new décor and art you’ve selected.

Unpack Essentials

  • Move kitchenware, linens, toiletries, electronics, and other essentials back into the appropriate rooms.

Clean Thoroughly

  • Do a deep clean of all surfaces to remove dust and debris from the project.
  • Vacuum and mop floors, wipe down walls and counters, sanitize bathrooms.

Run Appliances

  • Ensure all new appliances are functioning properly.
  • Test out kitchen appliances and laundry machines.

Finish Landscaping

  • Complete any exterior work like plantings, patios, walkways or deck additions.
  • Extend safe, attractive outdoor living space.

Throw a Party!

  • Show off your “new” home by hosting a housewarming party.
  • Celebrate the successful finish of your project!

With proper planning and attention to detail guided by this comprehensive checklist, you can expect your home renovation to proceed smoothly from start to finish. What part of your transformation are you most excited about? Let us know if this checklist helps you take on your next remodeling project with confidence!

Frequently Asked Questions About Home Renovations

Renovating a home is exciting yet involves many decisions. Here are answers to some common questions about home remodeling projects.

How long does an average renovation take?

The timeline depends on the scope, but most whole-home renovations take 4-8 months from start to finish. Smaller projects can be completed in 1-3 months.

What should I budget for a kitchen or bath remodel?

Allow $25,000-50,000 for a major kitchen overhaul including new cabinetry, counters, appliances and finishes. A bath remodel often costs $15,000-30,000 with updates like tiling and plumbing fixtures.

When does it make more sense to move vs. renovate?

If your home lacks enough space or the right layout to meet your needs, moving may be better than renovating. The existing bones of the home limit how much you can change.

How disruptive is it to live in the home during renovations?

If extensive structural work is involved impacting livability, temporarily moving out is wise. For cosmetic updates like flooring and paint, you may be able to live amid the work.

Should I use a general contractor or manage subcontractors myself?

A general contractor oversees the entire project and subcontractors for you. This makes for a streamlined process but costs more. DIY project management takes effort yet can save money.

How do I ensure I’m hiring reputable professionals?

Vet anyone you hire thoroughly. Verify they are licensed, insured, have strong reviews, and provide client referrals. Get quotes from multiple companies.

What renovations offer the best return on investment?

Kitchen and bathroom overhauls tend to offer 60-70% ROI. Curb appeal upgrades like siding, door replacement, landscaping also add value for resale.

Should I set a contingency fund and how much?

Yes, set aside an extra 10-20% of your total budget for unexpected costs. Renovation projects often involve unforeseen issues driving up expense.

When should I order fixtures and finishes to prevent delays?

Order customized or specialty items like cabinets, lighting, tile, and hardware 8-12 weeks prior to when they will be installed. Confirm expected lead times.


Completing a successful home renovation requires careful planning, quality execution, and smart decision making through each phase. Use this comprehensive checklist to keep your project running smoothly from initial visioning to the final reveal party. What part of the process excites you most? Let us know if this guide empowers you to take on your home improvement dreams with confidence!