A Guide for Starting an Interior Renovation Project

Nine times out of ten, if you have lived in your home for a few years and have gone through many life stages in it, you likely have found yourself on Houzz, Pinterest, or Instagram looking at house renovation ideas. Even most new homeowners who are not moving into a new build, have interior renovation ideas of their own. 

It’s easy to get caught up in the newness of it all: the new memories that could be made after that kitchen remodel is completed, the family nights in a new spacious living room and the serenity of a spa-night post bathroom remodel.

In our 30+ years of working with homeowners throughout Central New Jersey on their home improvement projects, we have come across some great home updates that have added significant value to homes as well as some DIY projects that have cost homeowners money rather than saving them money. The most successful home projects are those that have been planned with foresight. 

We’ve put together a renovating a house checklist to use as a step by step guide for after you’ve gathered interior renovation ideas. It includes: 

  • How to choose a remodeling contractor
    • What red flags to look out for 
    • How to check if the home remodeling contractor you are interested in working with is reputable. 
  • The interior renovation projects with the highest ROI 
  • Interior renovation ideas for old homes
  • Interior renovation ideas on a budget 

By the end of this blog, you’ll have the insight needed to get your interior renovation off on the right start. 

Choosing a Contractor for Your Home Renovation

This is the most important phase of your interior renovation project. The right contractor can take your concepts and create the space you have been dreaming of! They can also take the burden and stress associated with remodeling away by creating a streamlined process for the interior design and construction phases of your project.  The wrong contractor can leave you feeling helpless during each phase, provide subpar work, and worse, cost you more money. 

Our free guide to choosing the right remodeling company can be used for hiring a contractor as well. This guide takes the guesswork and frustration out of the hiring process. You’ll get insight on how to:

  • Verify licenses and insurance coverage
  • Avoid unexpected project costs 
  • Approach payments 
  • Sign a contract 

The Interior Renovation Projects with the Highest ROI

The Mudroom Remodel

In past blogs, we’ve shared ideas for fun and creative mudrooms that do more than keep mud out. Mudrooms make a great interior renovation project and with the right features, most homeowners recoup their investment during resell because mudrooms are in-demand in the Northeast. 

Interior Renovation Lighting Designs

Have you visited a place or home that left you with an inviting aura? You don’t need expensive furniture or artwork to pull this off. You can achieve the same ambiance through a combination of lighting types. The lighting types for interior renovating projects are:

Ambient indoor lighting (general lighting) 

  • Chandelier
  • Ceiling-mounted fixtures (pendants)
  • Wall-sconces
  • Traditional recessed fixtures and/or LED Downlights

Task Lighting

  • Pendant and track lights
  • Under-cabinet and vanity lights
  • Floor lamp
  • Table lamp

Accent Lighting

  • Wall lights
  • Recessed lights and spotlighting

By combining each, you can achieve functionality and aesthetics. And because each type of lighting serves a purpose, you can expect to see your this type of project investment go a long way come resell time. 

When we worked with past clients on their interior renovation in Westfield, NJ, we created a hallway that guided those who walked through it – with light.

Rather than just go with a traditional sconce on the walls, we added lighting to the ceiling. In doing so, we were able to light up the dim, narrow hallway leading from the living to dining space, and keep with the contemporary design found throughout the home.

Contemporary lighting design for hallway

Media Rooms in Basements or as family Rooms 

When it came to interior renovating in the early 2000s, homeowners would jump at the chance to turn that unused room into a media center with a huge TV, surround system, lounging chairs, and wet bar. Nowadays, that’s still an option, but let’s face it, the possibilities have trended beyond typical media rooms.

Today’s media rooms are spaces that can support family gatherings and hobbies as well as that big screen TV and extra-large lounge set. Media rooms now include full-kitchens to eliminate the need to go downstairs or to the other room when you have guests. They’ve become game rooms and even bars as shown in the image below.

media room interior renovation

And because a finished basement is on most people’s checklist when searching for a home, you can expect this project to recoup its investment come resell.  

Home Additions that Aren’t Your Average Au Pair

Adding space to your home is an investment in your home…so, why not make it an investment that’s going to fit your lifestyle, or if you plan to sell, provide you with a high ROI? Here are the top five home addition types that will make great interior renovating projects and additions to your Westfield home:

  • House or room addition
  • Bump out
  • Sunroom
  • Conservatory
  • Garage conversion

House or room addition 

With this type, a new room is added to the house: great room, dining room, family room, master bathroom, or media room (if you got inspired by the ideas above, and need more space for your growing family, this option is for you).

Bump outs

Bump outs are enhancements to an existing room. Homeowners often go this route if they’re looking to add more square footage to a particular space, like a cramped dining area that isn’t comfortable and lacks sufficient space to entertain and socialize.


Sunrooms have long been the red-headed stepchild of the home addition world, thought of as drafty structures of aluminum and thin glass that are either too cold or too hot. Thus, they never get used.

Pre-fabricated sunrooms have evolved. They can now be built with thermal-resistant glass.


What’s a room with natural lighting without plenty of greenery and a bistro table to enjoy a drink on during a hot New Jersey day? Not one designed for full enjoyment. Today’s conservatory designs can include fireplaces and full dining areas.

Garage Conversions

Garages are tempting to convert: the box is already there, so how hard can it be just to finish it? If you’re turning the garage into a general living space, the wiring and number of outlets already in place can usually be extended. Some garages already have drywall on the studs, leaving one less task to do.

But garage conversions come with some serious downsides. For one, it’s tough to make it blend in with the rest of the house on the outside, and for it to flow on the inside. HVAC systems need to be ducted to the garage. Garage conversions have low resale value, and houses with no garages are harder to sell.

If you want to put a picture to each example, you can find plenty of home addition types on our Instagram page.

Keep in mind that any type of house or room addition is like building a mini-house, complete with all the trappings of a house-build: architect, contractor, permits, wiring, HVAC, plumbing, change orders, and more.

Always consult with a professional before moving forward. In most cases, you’ll have to apply for certain permits. If you live in or near Westfield, New Jersey, we’ve provided a link to access Westfield building/remodeling permit requirements.

Interior Renovation Types for Old Homes 

There are many historic homes in Westfield, NJ & surrounding townships. Many homes with character, history, and value. If you’ve recently decided to restore a home to its glory days, you’re likely to have a lot of questions. After all, undertaking a historic restoration isn’t the same as remodeling the average home. For that reason, we suggest you take a look at our blog on Starting Your Historic Home Renovation: What To Do & Not Do.

What about the best interior renovation types for old homes? 

Each home is different and comes with its own charm. We suggest taking your concepts to an experienced historic home restoration contractor and getting their feedback on possibilities, limitations, materials, and timelines. In our experience, restoring staircases, fireplace surrounds, front porches, bathrooms, and kitchens make for the best types of interior renovation projects for historic homes. 

Interior Renovation Ideas on a Budget 

There are a variety of home renovation ideas on a budget you can gather from the web and social media. Below are our top blogs to reference when gathering project types and inspiration.

For both interior renovations and exterior renovations: 

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Don’t worry, we wouldn’t sign off without giving you the information you need to get started. Here are 5 important things to keep in mind when considering a home remodel.

If you’d like more information on where to start when remodeling a house, reach out to schedule a free no-obligation consultation. 

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