A Guide for Starting an Interior Renovation Project

For Homeowners in Westfield, NJ, and Surrounding Townships

If you’ve lived in your Westfield home for a few years, navigating various life stages, chances are you’ve found yourself browsing Houzz, Pinterest, or Instagram for renovation ideas. Even new homeowners in the area, moving into existing homes, often have plans to make their space their own.

The allure of a renovation is undeniable: envisioning new memories in a remodeled kitchen, enjoying family nights in a spacious living room, or unwinding in a serene, spa-like bathroom.

With over 30 years of experience working with homeowners throughout Westfield, NJ, and the surrounding townships, we’ve seen firsthand how home updates can add significant value. Conversely, we’ve also witnessed DIY projects that end up costing more in the long run. Successful renovations are always rooted in meticulous planning and foresight.


To help you get started, we’ve put together a comprehensive checklist for your interior renovation project. This guide covers:

Choosing a Remodeling Contractor

Identifying Contractor Red Flags

Checking Contractor Reputability

High ROI Renovation Projects

Budget-Friendly Renovation Ideas

Renovation Ideas for Older Homes

Choosing a Contractor for Your Home Renovation

Selecting the right contractor is the most crucial step in your renovation project. A skilled contractor can transform your vision into reality and streamline the process, while the wrong one can leave you with subpar work and additional expenses.

Verifying Licenses and Insurance Coverage

Ensure the contractor holds the appropriate licenses and insurance. In Westfield, NJ, contractors must be licensed by the state and carry liability insurance and worker’s compensation coverage. This protects you from any liabilities in case of accidents or damages during the project.

Avoiding Unexpected Costs

Discuss the budget in detail and get a written estimate. Ensure it includes labor, materials, and any potential extra costs. Ask about the possibility of unexpected expenses and how they will be handled. A reputable contractor will provide a clear plan for managing additional costs.

Approaching Payments

Understand the payment schedule. Typically, payments are made in installments: an initial deposit, followed by periodic payments, and a final payment upon project completion. Avoid contractors who ask for full payment upfront.

Signing a Contract

A comprehensive contract is essential. It should outline the scope of work, timeline, payment schedule, materials, and warranty details. Ensure all verbal agreements are included in the contract to avoid misunderstandings later.

Our free guide to choosing the right remodeling company is an invaluable resource for hiring a contractor. This guide goes into detail on all of the above, simplifies the hiring process, and helps eliminate guesswork and frustration.

Identifying Home Contractor Red Flags

When choosing a contractor, watch out for these red flags:

Lack of Proper Documentation:

Avoid contractors who cannot provide proper licenses and insurance.

Unclear Estimates:

Be wary of contractors who give vague or unusually low estimates.

High-Pressure Sales Tactics:

Legitimate contractors give you time to make decisions and avoid pressuring you into quick commitments.

Poor Communication:

If a contractor is unresponsive or difficult to communicate with during the initial stages, it’s a sign of potential problems down the line.

Checking Home Contractor Reputability

Check the contractor’s reputation through multiple sources:


Ask for and contact past clients to get feedback on their experiences.

Online Reviews:

Look up reviews on platforms like Google, Yelp, and the Better Business Bureau.


Review their past projects to assess the quality and style of their work.

Interior Renovation Projects with the Highest ROI

Mudroom Remodel

A well-designed mudroom can significantly enhance your home’s functionality and resale value. In the Northeast, including Westfield, mudrooms are highly sought after. They offer practical storage solutions and help keep the rest of the house clean.

Lighting Design

Creating an inviting ambiance doesn’t necessarily require expensive furniture or artwork. Strategic lighting can achieve the desired effect. Consider combining the following types of lighting for functionality and aesthetics:

Lighting Design

Ambient Lighting:

Chandeliers, ceiling-mounted fixtures, wall sconces, recessed fixtures, and LED downlights.

Task Lighting:

Pendant lights, track lights, under-cabinet lights, vanity lights, floor lamps, and table lamps.

Accent Lighting:

Wall lights, recessed lights, and spotlights.

Contemporary lighting design for hallway

For instance, we once transformed a dim hallway in a Westfield home by incorporating ceiling lighting, which beautifully illuminated the space and complemented the contemporary design of the house.

Media Rooms in Basements or as family Rooms 

Modern media rooms are versatile spaces that go beyond just housing a big screen TV and lounge chairs. They can include full kitchens, game rooms, or even bars. A finished basement is a popular feature among homebuyers in Westfield, often recouping the investment at resale.


Home Additions That Aren’t Your Average Au Pair

Adding space to your home can greatly enhance your lifestyle and provide a high return on investment. Here are five home addition ideas perfect for Westfield homes:


House or Room Addition:

Adding a new room like a great room, dining room, family room, primary bathroom, or media room.

Bump Outs:

Enhancing an existing room to add square footage.


Modern sunrooms with thermal-resistant glass for year-round use.


Rooms with natural lighting, greenery, and a cozy bistro setup.

Garage Conversions:

Transforming a garage into a living space, often with existing wiring and drywall.

For detailed visual examples, check out our Instagram page showcasing various home addition projects. Always consult with a professional before starting any major renovation. In Westfield, specific permits are required for building and remodeling. We’ve provided a link to access Westfield’s building/remodeling permit requirements.

Interior Renovation Ideas for Historic Homes

Westfield is home to many historic properties, each with unique character and charm. Restoring these homes requires specialized knowledge and sensitivity to their historical significance. Projects like restoring staircases, fireplace surrounds, front porches, bathrooms, and kitchens are particularly effective.

For a detailed guide on historic home renovations, refer to our blog, “Starting Your Historic Home Renovation: What To Do & Not Do.

historic home in NJ

Budget-Friendly Renovation Ideas

You don’t need to break the bank to update your home. Our top blogs for budget-friendly renovation ideas include:

Fall Remodeling in New Jersey – Projects to Spruce Up Your Home

Unforgettable Interior & Exterior Entryway Designs

Here are five key points to keep in mind when planning a home addition/remodel:

Define Your Goals Clearly

Understand what you want to achieve with your renovation. Is it to increase the resale value, enhance living space, or update outdated features?

Set a Realistic Budget

Determine how much you are willing to spend. Consider all costs, including materials, labor, and unforeseen expenses. Stick to your budget to avoid financial strain.

Choose the Right Contractor

 Select a contractor with a solid reputation and experience in similar projects. Ensure they are licensed and insured.

Plan for Contingencies

Be prepared for unexpected issues that may arise during the renovation. Set aside an extra 10-20% of your budget for unforeseen costs.

Obtain Necessary Permits

Ensure you have all required permits before starting the project. This includes building permits, electrical permits, and any other necessary approvals.

Get a Free Remodeling Consultation & Project Quote

About the Author

Mike Rizzo, Owner of SEI Construction Inc.

Meet Mike Rizzo, the driving force behind SEI Construction Inc., a remodeling and renovation company rooted in Westfield, NJ since 1987. With over three decades of industry prowess, SEI Construction is celebrated for its commitment to top-notch craftsmanship and meticulous attention to detail. Under Mike's leadership, the company specializes in historic restorations, home additions, and kitchen, bathroom, interior, and exterior projects. Mike's outstanding contributions have earned him a spot in Remodeling Inc's prestigious top 500 remodeling companies. Notably, his projects have graced A Tour of Notable Homes, showcasing SEI Construction's dedication to quality and preserving architectural history. Since day one, the company has consistently delivered exceptional results, embodying Mike's passion for transforming spaces with precision and excellence.

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