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Ready to remodel? Here are some steps to make it easier

(Public Domain Photo)

You’re afraid of making a big mistake if you remodel, repaint or refurnish.

After all, you might have to live with some ugly results.

You keep asking yourself if a decorator or remodeler will cost too much. As a result, nothing at all gets done. So what do you do next?

Many homeowners get anxious about redecorating, designer Barbara Kaplan of Scottsdale said. Just picking new paint colors or a new couch is overwhelming for some people, even when their home seems uncomfortable and outdated to them.

There are many ways to get help, but you need to spend some time researching your improvements. Here are a few suggestions:

Go online to look at dream houses

Look at the Houzz Web site, started by a couple who were remodeling and struggling to make choices. The site can help you find the style of kitchen or bath you want or the right color for the living room.

Another favorite of homeowners is Pinterest, where you can collect whole electronic “books” filled with rooms that you wish belonged to you.

Get some quotes on the job you want done

Before a major remodel, start by talking to remodelers to find out what different versions of the room may cost. The most cost-efficient way to remodel, of course, is by keeping the same footprint for the bathroom or kitchen and changing the surfaces and/or cabinets.

But, of course, maybe you want to remove a bathtub or expand a shower. Then what?

Check on businesses offering full-service design, building and remodeling. Show these contractors photos of ideas you like. They can tell you what works and what doesn’t.

Often, with larger jobs, remodelers will bring in a designer for a consultation before starting the project.

The time you spend screening contractors is time well-spent. It will pay big dividends and help you avoid remodeling nightmares.

There are low-cost and even free ways to get advice

Paint and furniture stores will send designers to your home to measure your spaces and give advice on what to buy so that you can make educated decisions.

You can check out paint colors online as well, but that’s not always very accurate.

You can paint large squares on your walls of your various choices in order to get more input on what colors will do for a room.

Another option: Try painting a powder room or closet with a favorite color to see how you feel once it’s done.

Here’s what professional designers really charge

On large assignments, designers and architects can get a percentage of what the total job costs. Sometimes, interior decorators are paid at an hourly rate that can range from $75 to $300 per hour, Kaplan said.

For a first visit, a professional shouldn’t charge at all, she said. Just talking to them will help you make decisions.

Kaplan has also developed what she calls the Bajaro Method with the aim of helping homeowners make confident decorating choices and thus shed their inhibitions. She’s even written a book about it and holds seminars for anxious homeowners.

Her slogan is: “Rooms have no feelings; you do.”

The book provides a process of self-discovery that starts with readers recording their family history and attitudes toward homes they had in the past. It ends with readers starting to plan to redo their homes.

For more homeowner advice, DIY tips and videos, and information about all the projects around your house, home, castle or cabin, visit Arizona’s largest collection of homeowner DIY advice and information at

And if you are in need of a quality contractor you know you can trust, visit our list of Arizona’s very best contractors or service providers for your home improvement projects at – Arizona’s most-trusted referral network.

Tune in to KTAR every Saturday morning from 7-11 a.m. for the Rosie on the House broadcast!

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