6 Ways to Help You Prioritize Home Projects

Audrey Bruno
Written by Audrey Bruno
Updated August 16, 2021
A bright sitting room with the kitchen in the background
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These tips will help you figure out which home improvement projects to put first

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Whether you’re moving into a new home or thinking about improving your current fixer-upper, it’s never easy to decide which home improvement projects are most important. After all, how are you supposed to choose between tantalizing plans like reupholstering your favorite couch or laying down hardwood floors? The next time you’re having trouble making a choice, use these tips to determine what needs your attention ASAP and what can wait until later on.

1. Get Organized Before Starting Any Projects

It’s always a good idea to sort through what you already have before making any major home improvements or renovations. If you’re thinking about adding more cabinets to your kitchen, for example, you may actually find that you have plenty of space once you get rid of everything you don’t need. 

It’s also much easier to get a good picture of what your home requires when it’s in a relatively tidy and organized state. You may realize that you don’t need to swap your bathroom vanity for a new one—that really, it just needs a refresh! Or that your tile floors aren’t as bothersome as you thought, but they could use a few rugs.

2. Evaluate the Needs of Your Home Room by Room

Take out a pen and paper and organize all the home improvement projects that you want to do by room. Start in the spaces that get the most use, like the bathroom and kitchen, and work your way towards the spots that don’t see as much traffic, like the bedroom. Divide each room into two categories: what absolutely needs to be done and what you simply want to do. Being able to see what’s urgent and what’s not plainly written out will make it easier to discern what should be prioritized.

3. Separate the Necessities From the Luxuries

A carpenter laying new wood flooring in a house
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4. What's your remodeling budget?

Now is the time to be honest about what can and can’t wait. Ask yourself if the project you have in mind is one that will improve your life in a minor or major way. Retiling a shower that wasn’t properly waterproofed can have a dramatic impact and is something you’ll want to correct quickly. But cosmetic changes—like new floors or a fresh coat of paint—are typically less urgent and deserving of a spot lower  on your list.

4. Put Safety Issues Above All Else

Fixing tripped electrical breakers, leaks in the ceiling, cracks in your siding, or other similarly hazardous issues should take precedence over the other home improvements on your list. Problems like these will get worse the longer they’re left unchecked, which means they’ll be pricier to fix the more you wait. Take care of anything that could put you or your home at risk before moving onto more exciting projects.

5. Consider the Time of Year

Certain home improvement projects will cost less to do during specific seasons. Spring and summer are the biggest moments for home remodels, for example, and a higher price tag reflects the demand. But you may be able to save money by scheduling your project during the off-season. Of course, building a new addition like an extra room or a pool is not always practical depending on where you live—a foot of snow will certainly make the process more difficult during the winter months. But smaller-scale renovations, like a bathroom or kitchen remodel, are possible even when the weather isn’t ideal.

6. Determine Your Budget

A couple painting together a room of their home
Alistair Berg/DigitalVision via Getty Images

Once you’ve narrowed down your home improvement projects, move forward by figuring out what you can afford on your budget. Research the cost analyses of each idea and create a document with all the must-know figures. Having all the factors laid out can help you realize what you can DIY, when you need to hire a pro, what will be less expensive to build in a few months, and what you can live without.

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