How to Prioritize Your Long Remodel Wish List

Darby Sargent

Do you have a long remodel wish list for your home? Whether you need to remodel a room or update your entire home, there are several ways to approach it. Some homeowners choose to phase out their remodeling projects. This means that we create a game plan that makes sense for the current project as well as thoughtful planning for future work. Other homeowners would rather bite the bullet and remodel everything at one time.

Updating your entire home requires a different strategy than updating a single space like a kitchen or bathroom. A whole house update includes refreshing multiple spaces such as flooring, paint, finishes, lighting, or updating the overall vibe throughout the home. For example, what starts as a kitchen remodel may spill out into other adjoining rooms because once you make new selections for that space, you realize that it will affect other areas.

Hear from Darby Sargent, designer with Mountainwood Homes, on how to approach a whole house remodel and how she helps her clients tackle their projects and their growing wish lists.


How do you help clients prioritize the items on their wish list?

Darby: Usually, we’re at our client’s home for a specific reason. Then the conversation turns into reviewing their list. They might say, ‘Well, while you’re here…’ and the scope of the project grows.

I like to talk to clients about what triggered them to want to do the project. Did they see something they loved in friend’s kitchen? Lately, many clients have referenced features they have seen in an Airbnb they’ve stayed in. Once I know the specific items they want to change, I can help them. Is it a storage issue? General aesthetic? Need to make their home lifestyle appropriate? Once we start talking, I’m able to listen and help them to identify what truly trigged them to call us in the first place.

What happens if the remodel wish list is longer than their budget allows?

Darby: Our Project Developers do a good job asking for their budget from the start. During meetings, the Project Developer and Designers may suggest looking at the extra items on the client’s wish list as options. We’ll say, “Let’s price that out.’ If it works with their budget – great. If not, at least you’ll know the price. If someone mentions something and adds, “if we can” then that is a good indicator that it was never really a priority.

What updates will pay off in the long run?

Darby: Flooring and paint have a really big impact. They can make a house look cleaner, brighter, and altogether create a different color palette. They are also the two things that have huge square footages. For example, just updating the trim color can greatly change the whole look of the house.

Is it better to update one room fully, or do a light refresh on multiple rooms?

Darby: It depends on the starting point and the house layout. Open-concept homes can become a black hole of remodeling since everything touches each other.  The areas spill out into other areas so your budget needs to match the scope of work. The more you can do at once is really is the best way to do it. It is also the most economical since the trades are already there. Plus, you have a team of people to help you make choices and ensure it’s done correctly.

What trends are you seeing?

Darby: Clients are seeing more color on Pinterest and Instagram. They do not want their home to look like everyone else’s house. A lot of clients have said, “Actually, we are going to be in our home for longer than we thought.” It seems like not as many people are worried about resale value.


Next Steps

If your home could use an update, it is helpful to identify what you’re looking to change. If you create a remodel wish list, have a section of Must-Have items and another list of Nice to Have items then it’s easier to narrow down your project scope and align it with your budget. Our goal is to help our clients balance their wish list with their budget and make the best decision for them.