Remodeling a home is similar to approaching a blank canvas. There are so many possibilities, even within limited space, that it can be overwhelming at first.

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There’s nothing like a fresh coat of paint or the completion of a remodeling project at home.

Homeowners tend to design and remodel their homes to make them an extension of their personalities and create a comforting atmosphere in which they can raise families, entertain friends or simply relax. In 2013, Americans spent more than $150 billion on remodeling their homes, condos and townhomes, according to the National Association of Home Builders.

Remodeling a home is similar to approaching a blank canvas. There are so many possibilities, even within limited space, that it can be overwhelming at first.

Plus, there are lots of questions you need to ask yourself. What style do you prefer? Do you want your remodeling to be green and sustainable? What is your budget? Will it be a DIY or will you hire a professional? Will you need to get a permit? What is the motivation behind your desire to remodel? Do you want to add space, provide a facelift, improve energy efficiency, or increase the value of your home? These are just a few of the questions that need to be asked and answered.

(Note: If your motivation is resale value, you may want to do your research — typically, homeowners don’t recoup the full dollar amount of the remodel. Check out for more info).

When you begin your research, be open and start broad. You may surprise yourself and find new styles that work within the room you plan to remodel. There are so many choices, styles and colors. Write down your list of needs and wants. This will help you start narrowing down your likes and tossing out the dislikes.

There are a variety of ways to get inspiration: research online using Google or Pinterest, talk to friends and family, or begin subscriptions to home design magazines.

Another way, which is more unique and doesn’t happen very often, is to visit local home tours. The Master Builders Association, in partnership with the Association’s Remodelers Council and local remodeling companies, is hosting a home-remodel event called the Remodeled Homes Tour on Oct. 17. During this tour, you’ll see before photos, after designs, and meet the remodeling professionals who did the work. It’s a great way to see firsthand the design work of local remodeling companies, meet the remodelers in person, and ask them questions. You can find more about the Remodeled Homes Tour at

Once you’ve come close to your remodel design, the next step is deciding on whether to hire a professional or do it yourself. The answer depends on your skillset. Tasks that involve electricity, heights or digging can be hazardous.

Time is also a factor. Doing it yourself typically takes longer than if you were to hire a remodel contractor because of work and family obligations. Do you understand the permitting process, if it’s required? If you plan on taking out a wall, are you able to determine if it’s weight bearing? If you’re not sure, it’s probably safer to hire a professional.

Remodeling can be time-consuming and at times frustrating because problems can and likely will arise, but remember the end result. Soon, you’ll be enjoying your newly remodeled kitchen, bathroom or whatever room you desire. And, best of all, your remodel will reflect you and your family’s personality and values.

August Bergdahl is president and general manager of Crescent Builds, and is the chair of the Remodelers Council of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties. HomeWork is the council’s weekly column about home care, repair and improvement. If you have questions about home improvement, send them to